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RB Historical Distribution Scores: Perine Surprises, Cohen Disappoints, and Johnson Dominates

Last week, I introduced the concept of Historical Distribution Scores (HDS). The score is a simple and efficient way to describe a player’s range of outcomes based on his historical projections.

In this post, we’ll first visual historical distributions for the top-50 RBs, based on MFL10 ADP, and then review calculated HDS scores.


As a reminder, the historical projections used to create the visualizations plot the number of comparable players that produced the included points per game (PPG) totals in year n+1. As a result, the y-axis counts the number of comparable players that produced the PPG that span the x-axis.1 I used 2016 data when creating the projections for David JohnsonSpencer Ware, and other players who missed substantial time in 2017.

1 – Todd Gurley

T Gurley

2 – Le’Veon Bell

L Bell

3 -David Johnson

D Johnson

4 – Ezekiell Elliott

E Elliott

5 – Alvin Kamara

A Kamara

6 – Kareem Hunt

K Hunt

7 – Melvin Gordon

M Gordon

8 – Leonard Fournette

L Fournette

9 – Dalvin Cook

D Cook

10 – Christian McCaffrey

C McCaffrey

11 – Devonta Freeman

D Freeman

12 – Joe Mixon

J Mixon

13 – Jerick McKinnon

J McKinnon

14 – Jordan Howard

J Howard

15 – LeSean McCoyL McCoy

16 – Kenyan Drake

K Drake

17 – Derrick Henry

D Henry

18 – Mark Ingram

M Ingram

19 – Alex Collins

A Collins

20 – Jay Ajayi

J Ajayi

21 – Dion LewisD Lewis

22 – Lamar Miller

L Miller

23 – Tevin Coleman

T Coleman

24 – Rex Burkhead

R Burkhead

25 – Tarik Cohen

T Cohen

26 – Carlos Hyde

C Hyde

27 – Chris Thompson

C Thompson

28 – Duke Johnson

Duke Johnson

30 – Marshawn Lynch

M Lynch

31 – Jamaal Williams

J Williams

32 – Isaiah Crowell

I Crowell

33 – Marlon Mack

M Mack

34 – Aaron Jones

A Jones

35 – C.J. Anderson

C Anderson

36 – Giovani Bernard

G Bernard

37 – Ty Montgomery

T Montgomery

38 – Chris Carson

Chris Carsonb

39 – James White

K White

40 – Theo Riddick

T Riddick

41 – Devontae Booker

D Booker

42 – D’Onta Foreman

D Foreman

43 – Corey Clement

C Clement

44 – Matt Breida

M Breida

45 – Bilal Powell

B Powell

46 – Latavius Murray

L Murray

47 – LeGarrette Blount

L Blount

48 – Peyton Barber

P Barber

49 – Doug Martin

D Martin

50 – Austin Ekeler

A Ekeler


Receptions, yards, and touchdowns are based upon the average year n+1 stat lines generated by comparable players. The low, median, and high historical projections assume 16 games. HDS percentage is calculated by dividing the max score, Johnson’s 180, by each player’s HDS.

PlayerruYardsruTDRecsreYardsreTDLowMedHighHDSHDS RankHDS %
David Johnson1210960482322928433718011
Todd Gurley1229960466225027332117720.98
Le'Veon Bell1228858448223525830717230.96
Dalvin Cook12711047372122525330717040.94
Leonard Fournette1282944357119924730413850.77
Ezekiel Elliott1325948364120223731013760.76
Kareem Hunt1152946364118124630813760.76
Melvin Gordon1143848372117621730212480.69
Alvin Kamara786661485217824429812390.68
Mark Ingram979746371118222526292100.51
LeSean McCoy997645353116119828586110.48
Devonta Freeman903641338216619825863120.35
Carlos Hyde880538323115318320047130.26
Samaje Perine71662923715916921240140.22
Christian McCaffrey529354421213917423937150.21
Spencer Ware91063629519914820934160.19
Peyton Barber70052922716214820931170.17
Ameer Abdullah67253326318814120024180.13
Lamar Miller72453427419915722323190.13
Chris Carson65152923318015320923190.13
Chris Thompson390353435210714720522210.12
Aaron Jones76142722418314120419220.11
Alex Collins870530229111516122418230.1
Frank Gore85862518719615520718230.1
DeMarco Murray58753122517213818417250.09
Ty Montgomery55543729519511719616260.09
Jay Ajayi853529231111515421414270.08
Doug Martin73942520017512919412280.07
Rex Burkhead45724434617413818411290.06
CJ Anderson858528195110915119710300.06
Adrian Peterson77652519007915219610300.06
Alfred Morris6715221751651071629320.05
Jordan Howard91971913511131581948330.04
Latavius Murray6815211581701181777340.04
Isaiah Crowell5414251941491081827340.04
Kenneth Dixon500332243133771256360.03
James White37825445121091462075370.03
Kapri Bibbs39234939521101451845370.03
Marshawn Lynch7455252080901231925370.03
Joe Mixon6374302251941152015370.03
Deandre Washington3933353001591221644410.02
Duke Johnson36425241221141451772420.01
Jalen Richard4123352921671311622420.01
Stevan Ridley7155181290541401772420.01
Mike Davis6253353001731021431450.01
Wayne Gallman5674322641951171770460
Marcus Murphy6573251961751011620460
LeGarrette Blount693715114189146157-148-0.01
Theo Riddick342242362265115203-148-0.01
Jacquizz Rodgers34732519814369163-148-0.01
Dion Lewis541433239189117188-251-0.01
Devante Mays711151111213550-251-0.01
Andre Ellington315151417291114187-353-0.02
Terrance West644427196174113165-353-0.02
Austin Ekeler36223630923380132-353-0.02
Taiwan Jones370191391293550-353-0.02
Orleans Darkwa6424272251100135171-557-0.03
Jonathan Stewart662420155067148163-557-0.03
Tion Green56951511205185130-557-0.03
Corey Clement45632620915270102-557-0.03
CJ Ham520161071253353-557-0.03
Roosevelt Nix42115821243444-557-0.03
Derrick Henry658620160077136175-663-0.03
De'Angelo Henderson46632723316281192-663-0.03
James Develin211221592243459-663-0.03
Tarik Cohen3532534552111140162-866-0.04
Darren Sproles323248406274140162-866-0.04
D'Onta Foreman555519151065104152-968-0.05
Brian Hill48532419306178153-968-0.05
Malcolm Brown601422155172102155-1170-0.06
Kerwynn Williams45432519105477165-1170-0.06
Jeremy Hill48851613204585126-1170-0.06
Paul Perkins31622320313767139-1170-0.06
Terron Ward54242319516388164-1274-0.07
James Conner39031915603681113-1274-0.07
Bilal Powell603328237190126165-1376-0.07
Alfred Blue631516130070111144-1376-0.07
Jerick McKinnon5223413241111133171-1478-0.08
Brandon Bolden42632115314378124-1478-0.08
Fitzgerald Toussaint2252222031416092-1478-0.08
Marlon Mack39732822016096143-1581-0.08
Devontae Booker35132723214977148-1581-0.08
Mack Brown40422116013387128-1581-0.08
Dwayne Washington37122318303981111-1581-0.08
Tevin Coleman498332247194111142-1685-0.09
Jamaal Williams450327214167102138-1685-0.09
Wendell Smallwood33033023815984140-1685-0.09
Matt Forte483335275195117145-1788-0.09
Eddie Lacy57042216107493140-1788-0.09
Kenyan Drake484230227181109139-1788-0.09
Charcandrick West30623125715490132-1788-0.09
Kenjon Barner2121241991315792-1788-0.09
CJ Spiller2011201591325783-1788-0.09
Giovani Bernard390245360193118178-1894-0.1
Javorius Allen443328216172103146-1894-0.1
Branden Oliver31422320814469113-1894-0.1
Andre Williams34131914103965117-1894-0.1
Thomas Rawls45432317105880136-1998-0.11
Cameron Artis-Payne38131812104176101-1998-0.11
CJ Prosise17312519715257107-1998-0.11
Rod Smith44823123916594148-20101-0.11
Elijhaa Penny46842015816884135-20101-0.11
Zach Zenner1521211550264477-20101-0.11
Josh Ferguson21912522314163108-21104-0.12
Mike Gillislee665421147198137157-22105-0.12
Tyler Ervin30623125315699125-22105-0.12
Elijah McGuire39922820816181141-23107-0.13
Shane Vereen27722822915387123-23107-0.13
Lance Dunbar30522016715264111-23107-0.13
Matt Jones2412181350365887-23107-0.13
Danny Woodhead255139317162108140-24111-0.13
Bronson Hill29222521614775106-24111-0.13
Damien Williams33933225416493138-25113-0.14
Charles Sims22813224215771127-25113-0.14
Robert Turbin33322417615573121-25113-0.14
Senorise Perry47931915705298120-26116-0.14
Raheem Mostert33222217704477111-26116-0.14
Rob Kelley560415121063104135-27118-0.15
Jamaal Charles34132822216290143-27118-0.15
DJ Foster17213226815480125-27118-0.15
Corey Grant3913181380547489-27118-0.15
TJ Yeldon383233280174107141-28122-0.16
Matt Breida34822720515787123-28122-0.16
Jonathan Williams27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Donnel Pumphrey27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Jeremy McNichols27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Benjamin Cunningham27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Kenneth Farrow27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Khalfani Muhammad27612119014773106-28122-0.16
TJ Logan27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Daniel Lasco27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Tra Carson27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Cedric Peerman27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Darius Jackson27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Mike James27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Jordan Todman27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Christine Michael27612119014773106-28122-0.16
George Winn27612119014773106-28122-0.16
I'Tavius Mathers27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Russell Hansbrough27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Joe Williams27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Keith Marshall27612119014773106-28122-0.16
Matt Dayes20812321613971103-29143-0.16
Chris Ivory40132317816583127-32144-0.18
Travaris Cadet24422821215480105-32144-0.18
Fozzy Whittaker18712622813973101-32144-0.18
Akeem Hunt2041221981447181-33147-0.18
  • Unlike at wide receiver, where Antonio Brown outscored the rest of the position by a tremendous amount, there is a clearly defined group of four backs separating themselves from the competition.
    • In the case of Johnson, I believe that it’s fine to use his 2016 season as the basis for the projection. Dalvin Cook, on the other hand, played too few games in 2017 for me to rely heavily on his HDS.
  • Kareem Hunt owns a favorable distribution that forecasts him with another terrific season. Leonard Fournette possesses a strong range of outcomes as well and Alvin Kamara should be successful as a sophomore.
  • Christian McCaffrey owns the 15th highest HDS but scores 55 percentage points behind the aforementioned backs.
  • Samaje Perine is the biggest surprise of all players ranking in the top-20. Due to an ankle injury, he’ll start the season behind Rob Kelley. However, if he can win the job back he has the potential to be a shocker.
  • Spencer Ware’s HDS loses context as his 2016 numbers are likely much stronger than those he would have posted sharing the field with Hunt.
  • Peyton Barber and Chris Carson looked poised to edge out their younger competition. At their current ADP, they represent some of the best values at the position.
  • RotoViz is firmly behind Tarik Cohen but his HDS of negative eight, ranking in at 66, is a major disappointment. This forecasts, roughly, a less than 20 percent chance of the second year back outpacing 10 points per game.
  • For a player that will be the RB2 on many fantasy teams, Jordan Howard projects with weak distribution. Still, he scores considerably better than Kenyan Drake who the model doubts can repeat his 2017 performance.
  • Aaron Jones, who significantly outperformed his competition in Green Bay, owns the strongest HDS of the three backs vying for the team’s rushing work this season.
  • If DeMarco Murray was still a Titan, he’d own a stronger HDS than Dion Lewis or Derrick Henry. Perhaps this signals that there’s optimism for the team’s backfield.
  • Marshawn Lynch owns a wide distribution, but it’s clear that he still has the potential to finish an RB2 or better.

  1. 20 comparable players were included for each projection.  (back)

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