Welcome to the 2018 Game Level Similarity Projections (GLSP) for running backs, a weekly column designed to help you identify high upside standouts and set your season-long lineups.
GLSP uses historical matchup, team, player, and Vegas lines to generate situation-agnostic projections. The low projection is equivalent to the 25th percentile point total from the comparable matchups. The median projection provides a benchmark, with even odds of the player producing more or less. The high projection is equivalent to the 75th percentile point total from the comparable matchups.
Remember, the most valuable way to incorporate GLSP into your lineup setting process is to identify surprisingly high and low projections, then strategically start or fade the outliers. All of our Week 1 RB projections are included below.
These are the projections from Dave Caban. They’ll be available each week on Wednesdays as part of the Weekly Explorer. The apps version of the GLSP will be available after Week 1.
Week 1 Game Level Similarity Running Back Projections
Dion Lewis has the fifth-best high projection and fourth-best floor projection. Of course, GLSP doesn’t know how usage in the Tennessee backfield will shake out. But it does know that players like Lewis have really high ceilings against teams like Miami. In separate work, I’ve found that players with Lewis’ profile have great odds of out-performing their ADP, and their backfield teammate as well.
Rex Burkhead and Duke Johnson also look interesting. Both have projections that are very similar to a handful of higher-profile backs.
Hear what Mike Giardi had to say about Rex Burkhead on RotoViz Radio
Burkhead and Johnson suggest a path to lineup diversification without sacrificing a decent projection. In season-long leagues, Hasan Rahim explained why Johnson’s usage is capped, and suggested he was overpriced at the time. Situation matters though, and Johnson could be a solid flex play this week. I think it helps that Carlos Hyde also has a high ceiling; it suggests that the matchup itself is exploitable.
This week’s hot waiver wire pick up, Alfred Morris has a sub-two point floor and just an eight-point ceiling. GLSP doesn’t know that Morris is in a new role and is expected to get a lot more work. In this case, however, that’s kind of a good thing. Since Morris has only been with his new team for a short time, it’s entirely possible he gets limited work in Week 1. Teammate Matt Breida doesn’t fare much better. This looks like a backfield to avoid, which is an odd – but I think appropriate in this case – thing to say about a Shanahan offense.
The same goes for Adrian Peterson. GLSP is basing its projections in part on what Peterson did last year, which wasn’t much. But we don’t really know what he’ll do this year.
Chris Carson and both Jets RBs, Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell, make the fade list along with Derrick Henry. His 13-point high projection isn’t very promising. Blair Andrews breaks down Henry’s red flags here.
Odds and Ends
- C.J. Anderson’s floor is much lower, but he sports a comparable ceiling to Christian McCaffrey.
- Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon have similar floor and median projections. Eric Moody called Bernard an enticing late-round target; he could pay off as soon as Week 1.
- Marshawn Lynch has the seventh-best median projection. See why John Lapinski called him a potential league winner.
- Kenyan Drake and Alex Collins have top-12 median projections, making them great candidates to be weekly RB1s.