Key to the table below:
Fant – Player’s rank
in a PPR fantasy league where all touchdowns are worth six points.
0-9% - This column represents the
percentage of games in which a runner collected no more than nine
0-9 - This column represents the
actual number of games in which a runner collected no more than
Note #1: Running
backs had to play in at least eight games and average at least
eight touches. The top 40 backs are all included, with “**”
denoting the players that did not make the cut but figure to have
some impact in 2013.
You may sort the table by clicking on the column headers.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Observations: Of the 12 running
backs that played in at least 15 games and received 15+ touches
75% of the time or more, eight finished in the top 10 in fantasy
points. Only Chris Johnson (pathetic offensive line), Green-Ellis
(average talent and not heavily involved as a receiver), Greene
(read Green-Ellis) and Steven Jackson (limited supporting cast
reduced scoring opportunities) were left out, but none of those
outsiders finished lower than 22nd.
Running backs who commanded 20+ touches more than 40% of the
time (and played at least 15 games) were a lock to wind up in
the top 20 in overall fantasy points, as one would expect. Of
the 14 backs who met the above criteria, all of them finished
among the top 18 in fantasy. Even when the requirement is lowered
to only 10 games, none of the 19 backs that qualified finished
lower than 30th.
What effect did high-catch volume have on the final rankings?
Of the 15 backs that recorded at least 40 catches in 2012, all
but two were ranked inside the top 25. Only Reece (31st) and Ronnie
Brown (38th) failed to fall within that range, which was due in
large part to their limited roles – and even they finished
inside the top 40.
Last but not least, sometimes the best ability is availability.
Of the 31 backs on this list that played all 16 games, 20 landed
in the top 30! In most cases – such as Ballard, Bryce Brown,
Ingram, Pierce and Wilson – a late-season emergence was
to blame for their somewhat low year-end fantasy-point total.
Fantasy impact: Find the backs
that will get the touches and the fantasy points will almost always
follow. Running back is the one position where owners can generally
feel pretty good about volume leading to fantasy success, if only
because the variables needed for their success are often less
complex than for quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends. In other
words, the number of times a defensive lineman or linebacker is
able to generate penetration in a way that affect the running
back’s movement behind the line of scrimmage pales in comparison
to the number of times a quarterback is hurried, inaccurate with
his throw, has his pass deflected or watches his intended receiver
drop the ball. When running backs are asked to contribute as receivers,
they rarely are asked to go downfield, which obviously leads to
a much higher-percentage throw.
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Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and appeared in
USA Today’s Fantasy Football Preview magazine in 2010 and
2011. He hosted USA Today’s hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy
football internet chat every Sunday this past season. Doug regularly
appears as a fantasy football analyst on Sirius XM’s “Fantasy
Drive” and for 106.7 The Fan (WJFK – Washington, D.C).
He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.