TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
RUNNING BACK “TOUCHES” – HIGH ON AJAYI AND NOT LOW ON CROWELL
On Tuesday we looked at the strong connection between targets and Fantasy success. It wasn’t a big surprise that the most targeted receivers (at all positions, not just WR) were also the highest scoring. The lesson is “Pay Attention to Targets,” both in draft prep and in your in-season analysis.
Today we’re looking at running backs. We’re looking at the connection between attempts plus targets and Fantasy success. We shied away from touches not to be different but to evaluate how many times a receiver gets the call, either through a carry or a target.
First we’ll look at the leaders in Attempts and Targets. We eliminated any runner with fewer than 50 rushing attempts and ended up with 72 rushers – most teams had two and a few had three. We also looked at their total yardage and their rank among those 72 rushers.
|Name||RushAtt +RecTgt||RushYds +RecYds||Yardage Rank|
The results are expected but shockingly similar too. Of these top 20, only Adrian Peterson and Isaiah Crowell are outside 20 total yardage ranks. Crowell was number 20, so that hardly counts. Peterson just isn’t very effective anymore, as evidenced by his current free agent status. Everyone besides Peterson is within five spots of their Attempts/Targets rating.
Obviously, (mostly) the best players are going to receive the most chances at the NFL level, but these numbers show a strong correlation between touching the football and gaining yardage. Like, duh, right?
We do have two “openings” in our top 20 yardage rankings, so it will be curious to note those names. And in a related story, where is Alvin Kamara?
Let’s look at a much larger data set – all 72 of those rushers and several key numbers. We’ll comment about what jumps out to us below, but we’d love to know what you see in the numbers as well (e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment).
We’ve sorted these by teams so you can compare teammates across several statistical measures.
|Name||Team||Games Played||Rush Yds/Gm||Rush Att/Gm||Rush Yds||Rush Yds/Att||Rec Tgt/Gm||RushAtt +RecTgt||Recs||Rec Yds||Rec Yds/Gm||RushYds +RecYds|
We’ll assume your eyes went right to the NO rows, and look at that balance. Ingram and Kamara within a single yard per game. That’s remarkable.
- We see some teams (the Falcons, Vikings and Jets) employ the split-load model that is assumed to be the trend in the NFL. In the case of the Jets, neither player was significantly above average enough to make him a bell cow, but mixing up the touches is a clear trend.
- Pass catching running backs are just a good bet. If a quarterback trust his RBs hands and route running, he will get the ball. Looking at Kamara, Chris Thompson, and Duke Johnson show us that prolific pass catchers are not just a PPR option. You touch the ball, you score points – easy peasey, right?
- Think Seattle didn’t know who to give the ball to in the backfield? That’s a pretty good indication of the big year Russell Wilson had.
- We are hugely optimistic about Jay Ajayi this year. (Pardon us if you’ve heard that before). We’re not saying that someone can’t take the role that LeGarrette Blount played for the Eagles, and we’d like to see more than 2.4 targets per game for Ajayi, but if he can manage even 18-20 carries, he’ll have a huge jump in production.
- In a similar fashion, we are high on Isaiah Crowell, now with the Jets. Bilal Powell is a nice back but he can’t be the featured back and if Crowell can exceed 15 carries in New York, we think he’ll be successful. Also, a young QB (Sam Darnold) and/or an old QB (Josh McCown) often rely on their RBs for receptions when they don’t have a lot of time and the Jets line is, well, not good.
- Le’Veon Bell was the only back in Pittsburgh to exceed 50 rushes. Call him Le’Veon Bell Cow.
- The two RBs who snuck into the top 20 total yardage? Obviously Kamara (he was 9th) and Chris Thompson checked in at number 13. They were number 30 and number 41 in total Attempts/Targets, demonstrating huge efficiency.
We will study this chart and dozens of others before our Fantasy drafts. You should too, but if you’re too busy (or too lazy) check back with Big Mac frequently or sign up below for the Knowledge Drop, delivered straight to your inbox at least three times a week.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today @BatFlipCrazy is confused by Nick Pivetta’s approach:
Nick Pivetta changed his pitch mix recently and it’s been disastrous. FA (.375 BABIP career): 60.6% last 5 / 53.0% first 13 CU (.364): 27.0% / 22.4% SL (.242): 9.6% / 15.9% BABIP: .392 / .312
Nick Pivetta has pitched 4 games this year where he kept his fourseam under 50% of pitches. The results: 26 IP, 5 ER, 15 H, 4 BB, 32 K (1.73 ERA, 0.73 WHIP). Yes, small sample, but he should try it more often.
RIDDLE ME THIS
A man went into a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone at the party who drunk the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die? (And he didn’t poison the punch)
Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
Thursday’s riddle:You had 10lbs of cucumbers, each of which consisted of 99% water. After leaving them in the sun, some of the water in the cucumbers evaporated. If the cucumbers ended up with 98% water in them, how much of their weight did they lose?
Nobody correctly guessed this one. It was tough:
The cucumbers lost half of their weight. If the water was 99% of the total weight, the remaining substance must have weighed 0.1lbs. If, after the evaporation, the substance comprises 2% = 1/50 of the cucumbers, the total weight must be 50×0.1lbs = 5lbs.
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
A man hurt his foot while driving. Who did he call for help?
A toe truck
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