When RB Scoring Doesn’t Meet Expectation (Fantasy Football)

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How many of us have waited for something big only to be disappointed?

Was it the PS5 shortage? Maybe the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ show? Perhaps it’s Russell Wilson in Denver…

On Thursday’s Never Not Working segment, Mike discusses RB scoring through three weeks and gives context for the position.

Some of the biggest complaints/disappointments in fantasy are the early RBs drafted. The common complaint: “I invested a 1st round pick, I’m not getting 1st round production… they must stink” and we end up devaluing them.

The Context of RB Scoring

There are a couple of problems with evaluating the RBs this early worth highlighting. With a small sample size, 3 games doesn’t tell us much. Last year Jonathan Taylor was the RB29 at this point. Imagine giving up & trading him away before 11 straight RB1 weeks…

It’s easy to miss out on the overall context of the position. We mentioned this recently from Matt DiSorbo’s article: the top-12 running backs have scored the fewest combined points of the last seven years and the third lowest since 1999.

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Just to give you context of a real league: the Fantasy Footballers’ illustrious League of Record. It’s almost 20 years running. We consider it a pretty savvy league. We tracked every RB start through the first three weeks.

  • 64% of the RB1 starts have failed to meet the RB1 expected fantasy points, which is only 14.7 fantasy points, much lower than what an RB1 averaged in 2021.
  • RB2s? Same number… 64% failed to hit the RB2 expected fantasy points of 11.

Everybody is feeling it. We assume if our RBs are lagging, we need to fix the problem. We know the rising boats lift all tides metaphor… the opposite can be true: if the water level decreases, every boat is aground. A real Suez Canal situation. 

What Is the Cause?

What could be causing this decrease in RB production across the board?

  • Committee Approach– Through three weeks, we have only 17 instances of an RB seeing 20+ carries. That’s the second lowest mark of the last 20 years.
  • Zone Defense– NFL teams are employing this at the highest rate ever. More than 70% of the time! Teams are abandoning man coverage leaving fewer one-on-one opportunities for RBs in the run & passing game.
  • Variance is  Fickle Friend/Foe in Fantasy

Buy-Low Opportunities

  • Joe Mixon– Ranks #1 in expected fantasy ppg among RBs. Currently the RB20… Scoring over nine fantasy points per game BELOW expectation
  • Javonte Williams– Ranks #4 in expected fantasy ppg among RBs; Currently the RB21
  • James Conner– Ranks 8th in expected fantasy ppg; Currently the RB25.

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