25 Statistics: RBs in 2016

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We are continuing our “25 Statistics” series as we look into each position and grab 25 of the most meaningful and fantasy relevant statistics that ultimately reveal a bigger narrative of a player’s season. These are in no particular order or rank; simply stats for stats sake my friends. If you missed our 25 Statistics QB article, check it out! Stay tuned as we reveal WRs and TEs in the coming weeks.

If you want to learn more about RBs from 2016, make sure you listen to “The Truth About RBs” podcast episode this week. Stay tuned for player profile articles, season report card recaps as well as pre-season RB Rankings from Andy, Mike, and Jason on the podcast and the Ultimate Draft Kit.

25 Statistics: RBs in 2016

1) Tevin Coleman, on 31 catches, averaged 13.6 yards per reception, a total higher than Odell Beckham Jr. That is the highest yards per catch for a RB in the last 36 years (minimum 30 receptions). Spencer Ware was only slightly behind him with 13.5 ypc on 33 receptions.

2)  Despite missing the first 3 games of the season, Le’Veon Bell saw as many targets (7.83) per game as Odell Beckham Jr. He also averaged 21.8 carries per game, which was more than the league leader in total attempts, Ezekiel Elliott. In other words, on a per game basis Bell was seeing almost 30 looks per game!

3) Bell and teammate DeAngelo Williams teamed up for 14 RB1 weeks in PPR scoring. Weeks 3 and 9 were the only times a Steelers starting RB failed to make it into the top 12 with Bell barely missing out as RB14 in Week 9.

4) Despite finishing as the RB10 in standard scoring, Mark Ingram had 6 weeks scoring 7 points or fewer which totally killed his owners. In 2015, he was a steady hand never scoring less than 7.4 in any given week.

5) Although the Raiders did not sport a RB finishing 2016 in the top 12 in PPR formats, the Raiders RB collectively scored the 5th most fantasy points among NFL teams. They were the only team with 4 different RBs (Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard, Jamele Olawale, and DeAndre Washington) to post a top 12 week in PPR scoring.

6) Jordan Howard was an absolute animal as a rookie finishing with 1,313 yards on the ground, the 2nd most behind fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott. He topped the 100-yard mark 7 times, or only one less than Zeke.

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7) Speaking of….Ezekiel Elliott led the league as a rookie with 1,631 yards rushing, the 3rd highest total ever by a rookie RB. He also was the ONLY running back in 2016 to surpass 10 standard fantasy points in every game this season.

8) You already must be singing the praises of David Johnson after his unbelievable season as most significant force in fantasy. To put this in perspective, imagine the excitement at draft time if you would’ve known that beyond being the RB1, DJ had more targets than Brandin Cooks, more receptions than Emmanuel Sanders, and average almost as many yards per reception as Golden Tate? 

9) What a difference a year makes! DeMarco Murray topped 85 yards on the ground only once in 2015 but surpassed that mark 9 times in 2016. He was as consistent as they get starting the year scoring at least 12.5 standard fantasy points in his first 11 games. Not even David Johnson could match that streak in standard leagues.

10) You know all about Jay Ajayi‘s 3 monster games in which he went over 200 yards and most likely won someone’s fantasy week. Those 3 games accounted for 49% of his total yardage on the ground for the season! He averaged only 54 yards per game in his other 12 starts.

11) For the first 6 weeks of the season, Christine Michael aka “The Woke One” averaged 14.4 standard fantasy points per game as the RB7. From Week 7 on, he plummeted to 4.3 per game or better known as 0.2 less than his Green Bay teammate, Aaron Ripkowski.

12) In 2015, we saw 14 different RBs take the top weekly spot in PPR scoring highlighted by Devonta Freeman claiming the top spot 3 times in a span of 4 weeks. In 2016, we saw only 9 different RBs as David Johnson repeated 6 times and Freeman was the RB1 another 3 times. 6 times as the RB1 is insane people!

13) Despite seeing 214 less carries than Le’Veon Bell, Colts RB Robert Turbin scored as many rushing TDs (7) as the all-world RB.

14) Matt Forte was the RB6 in standard scoring for the first 10 weeks of the season but RB59 from Weeks 11 to 17. His teammate, Bilal Powell, was the RB9 in standard from Week 10 on and finished the year at 5.5 yards per carry, 2nd best in the league among qualifiers.

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15) LeGarrette Blount led the league with 25 carries inside the 5 yard line converting those carries into 12 TDs. His 18 rushing TDs are the most since 2009 when Adrian Peterson also had 18 on the ground.

16) The Rams RBs scored the fewest fantasy points among all teams with only 6 TDs on the ground and none through the air. This was despite the fact that Todd Gurley had the highest percentage (76.7%) on any total team’s red zone carries in the league.

17) Here’s how bad Gurley’s season was… despite seeing the 5th most rushing attempts (278) in the league, seeing as many targets (58) as LeSean McCoy and Melvin Gordon and playing in all 16 games without major injury, Danny Woodhead ended with more (1) top 7 PPR performances than Gurley (0) despite only playing a game and a half.

18) Through the first 6 weeks of the season, Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk saw as many targets (24) as LeSean McCoy and more than Melvin Gordon and Devonta Freeman.

19) We all know that Frank Gore is eternally stuck as RB12. He squeaked out another RB1 season despite averaging a paltry 64.1 yards per game on the ground. Gore has now 9 1,000-yard seasons for his career behind only Emmitt Smith‘s record 11 seasons.

20) With 52 catches on 71 targets, Darren Sproles finished up yet another PPR-stalwart season for the RB position. He now has caught 40 or more passes in 8 straight seasons which still puts him 2nd behind the great Larry Centers, who did it for 11 straight years.

21) Chiefs RBs Spencer Ware (Week 1) and Charcandrick West (Week 17) bookended the season nicely for the AFC West champs as they both finished 2nd in PPR scoring on those respective weeks.

22) In PPR formats, Kenneth Dixon was the RB14 over the final 6 weeks despite splitting the workload with Terrance West, who was RB18 in that span. Dixon averaged 12.9 fantasy points per game then and could look to build on that in 2017.

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23) Theo Riddick led all RBs with 5 receiving TDs despite missing 6 games due to injury. He saw at least 5 targets in 9 of his 10 games played and his 6.7 targets per game was 3rd most among RBs behind only David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell.

24) The Browns, for all their “winning” or lack thereof, had 5 RB1 and 9 RB2 finishes in PPR scoring this season thanks in large part to Isaiah Crowell and the pass catching fiend Duke Johnson. To put those totals in perspective, the Broncos had only 3 top 12 weeks and 7 top 24 weeks.

25) The Vikings were anemic on the ground all year averaging 67 yards on the ground, 31st in the league. Before Jerick McKinnon finished Week 17 out with a bang, the Vikings went 12 weeks without a top 12 performer in PPR formats. That’s the longest RB1-less streak of the season for any team besides the Rams who waited until Week 13 for Todd Gurley to finally crack the top 12.


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