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First-Year Workhorse Scores And The 2018 RB Class

Last week I published findings regarding first-year Workhorse (WH) Scores for college running backs and how they relate to future fantasy production. Because I tend to look at things from a devy perspective, I focused solely on the 2019 and 2020 RB classes in an effort to gain historical perspective.

Today, I’d like to do the same type of study for the 2018 RB class. Hopefully this information can be applied in the run-up to rookie drafts to give you a leg up on your league-mates.


To quickly review, WH Scores show a player’s single-season rushing market share excluding QB rushing production. For this study I compiled first-year WH scores for the 2018 RB class to compare to all first- and second-round RBs since 2012 as well as top-12 PPR RBs since 2012.

Okay. Here’s the data.

Jarvion Franklin100.9319.1
Royce Freeman80.7618.9
Justin Jackson110.6918.7
Saquon Barkley100.6118.9
Jaylen Samuels60.5719.4
Nick Chubb90.4819
Mark Walton100.4318.9
Ronald Jones110.4118.4
Josh Adams100.3519.2
Kalen Ballage80.2319
Derrius Guice90.1418.5
Kerryon Johnson120.1218.5
Nyheim Hines100.1119.1
Roc Thomas70.10NA
Sony Michel50.1019.9
John Kelly10.0319.2
Bo Scarbrough10.0321.3
Akrum Wadley30.0119.8
Rashaad Penny90.0118.9
Kamryn Pettway2019

If you recall from my previous article, 57 percent of all RBs drafted in the first two rounds since 2012 posted a first-year WH Score of 0.25 or better. 78 percent of all PPR RB1s since 2012 reached the same threshold. A few takeaways:

  • It’s somewhat surprising to see so many highly-regarded prospects fail to meet the 0.25 threshold including Derrius Guice, Kerryon Johnson, Sony Michel and Rashaad Penny.
  • Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin posted the 10th best WH Score among 1,819 players with 10 or more qualifying games, regardless of age. He did so at age 19.
  • Justin Jackson might be relatively undersized and an average athlete but he’s a proven pass-catcher who dominated at a very young age and could be worth a look as a later-round rookie draft option.
  • And in case you needed any more reason to like Royce Freeman, Saquon Barkley, or Nick Chubb, you’re welcome.

Below you’ll find the data for the 2018 class combined with first-year WH Scores for every top-12 PPR RB since 2012. Again, this is just one part of the evaluation process, but it can be used to draw similarities between the current group of rookies and historical outcomes for the most viable fantasy RBs.

Jarvion Franklin0.9319.1
Royce Freeman0.7618.9
David Johnson0.7320
LeSean McCoy0.7319.5
Justin Jackson0.6918.7
Todd Gurley0.6718.4
Giovani Bernard0.6520.1
Saquon Barkley0.6118.9
Jaylen Samuels0.5719.4
Leonard Fournette0.5519.9
Jeremy Hill0.5520.2
Duke Johnson0.5519.3
Devonta Freeman0.5219.8
Isaiah Crowell0.4819
Latavius Murray0.4819
Nick Chubb0.4819
Mark Walton0.4318.9
C.J. Spiller0.4219.4
Ronald Jones0.4118.4
Lamar Miller0.3719.7
Jordan Howard0.3619.2
Josh Adams0.3519.2
C.J. Anderson0.3120.9
Alvin Kamara0.2920.4
DeMarco Murray0.2819.9
Jay Ajayi0.2619.5
Kareem Hunt0.2618.4
Stevan Ridley0.2619.9
Trent Richardson0.2619.5
Le'Veon Bell0.2518.9
Kalen Ballage0.2319
Derrius Guice0.1418.5
Kerryon Johnson0.1218.5
Nyheim Hines0.1119.1
Christian McCaffrey0.118.6
Roc Thomas0.1NA
Sony Michel0.119.9
Melvin Gordon0.0919.7
Eddie Lacy0.0820
John Kelly0.0319.2
Bo Scarbrough0.0321.3
Doug Martin0.0220
Alfred Morris0.0120
Akrum Wadley0.0119.8
Rashaad Penny0.0118.9
Ezekiel Elliott018.4
Kamryn Pettway019

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