Last week I posted a visualization of running back fantasy football performance relative to snap percentage. This post provides an update through Week 4. See the earlier post for more background information.
- DeMarco Murray laughs at your silly little “running backs.”
- Matt Forte is playing over 90 percent of snaps. Montee Ball is next-closest at 80 percent. Obviously it’s good that Forte is so involved, but it would be nicer if he could be more productive. His raw production is fine – he’s RB5 – but his points/snap rate is just 58th. Still, look back at last week’s chart; Forte had a much more effective week.
- Montee Ball and Le’Veon Bell play nearly the same percentage of snaps. But Bell is averaging over 20 points/game while Ball is just under 11. On a per-snap basis, Ball is less than 60 percent as effective as Bell.
- Check out the cluster that’s over 50 fantasy points (Y axis) and over 50 percent of snaps (X axis): Rashad Jennings, Lamar Miller, Justin Forsett, Fred Jackson, Matt Asiata, Alfred Morris, and Knile Davis. Just the way we drew it up, right? RB is a fickle position; it pays to be flexible in your draft approach and in your in-season roster-churning.
- Now that I’ve pointed out Asiata, I should point out Jerick McKinnon, who’s just left of the 30 percent snap threshold, and just below the trend line. Obviously1 he’ll see more action going forward, but I think this puts into perspective why Asiata isn’t going away immediately. He’s been well above average in terms of per-snap productivity. Another way to think of this though, is that if Asiata can be that far above par…imagine how far above par McKinnon could be if/when he gets the workload.
- Good backfields: Washington has both of its runners above the trendline. So do Kansas City, Baltimore, Buffalo, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and the Jets. I’m not saying the success of the RBs on these teams is strictly a function of scheme or offensive line. But it’s reasonable to think that some portion of their collective success has to do with the team. So if I had to go chasing RBs, I’d look for opportunities on these teams.
- Bad backfields: Tennessee, St. Louis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Carolina have their two main runners below the line.2 See my comment above. The fact that these backs collectively stink may have something to do with the teams they play for. Consider Tennessee. Perhaps, if one back got a substantial workload, they could be productive. But all three of their backs are below par. I want a Bishop Sankey breakout as much as the next guy. But maybe the situation just isn’t conducive to a breakout. TL;DR: For now I’d prefer to fade these backfields.
- Shane Vereen is the new most average RB. He checks in right on the trend line, and right at 50 percent of snaps. He’s also been remarkably consistent on a per-game basis as well. Here are his points/snap rates through four games: 0.213, 0.211, 0.143, 0.243.
- Mark Ingram is way to the left of the chart, because he hasn’t played many snaps this season. But he’s well above the trend line. Look who’s right next to him: Antone Smith. I’m really interested in seeing what both can do if and when they get more snaps.
- Don’t look now, but Trent Richardson is an above-average back. Jamaal Charles, Asiata, and Miller also made big jumps since last week. LeSean McCoy, not so much. Hopefully Lane Johnson helps.