Where are the RB1s – Part 2

Does safe floor mean great volumen?

After taking a look at an RB’s perspective on the run play segment, lets see what volumen is for our fantasy running back.


So only having the rush attemps opportunities over the other running backs in the team does not necessarily means (fantasy) production (Gore, CEH, etc). The volumen also needs to be there. This is mostly determined with the general philosophy of the team. (Of course we could cherry pick from multipe other reasons.)

It is well known that weaker teams tend to pass more and have less offensive plays. In 2020 the Texans had the fewest offensive plays, 187 less then the Chargers, who had the most.

If we take the teams average rush attempts per game in 2020, we can see that the top 5 teams best RB was in the fantasy PPR top 10. (We only included player with more than 8 game played.) But even teams with the most run plays could be less fantasy relevant. That can suggest a running back by committee approach, where the opportunites were spread out even among the RBs in the team (Buccs, Rams, 49ers). In the top 10 there were two RB1s (Robinson, Montgomery) with less then 20 avarage team carries.

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In todays NFL carries are just one attribute of an RB, but some backs are really involved in the passing game as well, so it is better to assess the carries and the receptions as well. Of course there are still run first RBs with huge volumens and fantasy productions (Henry, Chubb, Ingram, AP, etc), but since PPR started to take over in fantasy pass catching back are almost the crown jewels of the game. I would stay away from players who are only up on the field as RB to catch passes (Cohen, Hines, White), they are not really fantasy relevant. The best case are the dual threat RBs, who mainly run the ball, but are often used in the passing game (Kamara, CMC, Cook, Jones, Ekeler, Swift), they have upside written all over them.

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So it is a really general statment, but true, touches can give a really solid floor for your RB in fantasy. There were potent options like Carson, Gurley, Conner, R. Jones, Sanders who hit a ceiling, had less the 15 average touches per game, so they were far from a fantasy RB1 production range for most of the season.

In the third and last part of this series will be about RedZone usage, and that will conclude our RB evaluation!

All the data is available in the table below, feel free to download, hope it helps in the preparation for 2021!

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