Shawn Siegele looks at the RB Prospect Lab rankings for the top-10 backs from the first edition of the Dynasty Command Center 2020 Rookie Guide.
Long-time readers know the RB Prospect Lab has always been one of my favorite tools. The updated tool from Mike Beers was re-released this week with a ton of new features.
First, you can build your own model and test its accuracy. You can do this with three different target variables: total points, points per game (min. 16 games), or best season. In each case, the Lab is focusing on a player's first three seasons in the NFL to show whether or not the prospect is paying off for dynasty owners.
To cut down on your work, the Lab allows you to pull in raw and advanced stats for 2020 prospects. You can look at career stats, final stats, or a combination of the two. You can then enter player attributes like age, weight, forty time, three-cone, and draft position.
This is one of the most fun parts of the Lab. Since we don't know how players will test at the combine, you can test various scenarios. How much difference does it make if an RB runs a 4.6 instead of a 4.4? We also don't yet know where these runners will be drafted. The Lab allows you to explore the damage of a draft-day plunge.
The Pre-Combine Model
Perhaps the best part of RB Prospect Lab is that it allows you to build models that are appropriate to either pre- or post-combine timeframes. For hardcore drafters competing in dynasty startups that include rookies, you want insight into the 2020 draft class. You can build a model that hypothesizes about combine performance and doesn't include draft position.
That's what we'll do today.
Our model includes age, weight, forty, and whether or not the RB competed in a Power 5 conference. For our production metrics, we're using career all-purpose yards and TDs, as well as final-season rushing attempts and yards, and final-season receiving market share.
I'm looking to project a player's total points over his first three seasons. This gives us a much larger sample since it doesn't pre-select backs who have managed to play 16 games at the NFL level. Who are the recent headliners from this model?
Recent RB Prospect Lab Stars
LaMichael James is a miss, although you can understand why the model would be fooled by his three consecutive seasons with 1,700-plus yards -- not to mention 57 total touchdowns -- in the Chip Kelly juggernaut. Otherwise it's a murderer's row of superstars. Ezekiel Elliott (91) and Dalvin Cook (90) also rank in the top 10. And this model doesn't even know how early the backs on this list were drafted.
In our look at the 2020 class, we won't start with the entire group at once. Today we focus on the top-10 backs from the first edition of our Dynasty Command Center Rookie Guide.