Fantasy Footballers Podcast Recap: The TRUTH about Top Tier Fantasy RBs in 2019

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As the 2019 TRUTH series rolls along, we find ourselves looking into the most valuable commodity in fantasy football: RBs. The Fantasy Footballers dove into the Top Tier Fantasy RBs on a recent episode comparing their fantasy finishes and their proprietory consistency metric. Make sure you check it out on YouTube to get the full effect!

If you want more great WR info, make sure you read Jeff Greenwood’s article, 25 RB stats from 2019.

Quick Explanation

The Fantasy Footballers base all scores on 0.5 PPR scoring. They consider Great games to be those that average out to a weekly top-5 score, a Good game means they fell within the top-24 on average, and a Bust game means it would miss the top-50 on average. A Great game could win you a week while a Bust game could’ve lost you a week.

They use this data to develop a Consistency Score. Consistency means less risk. You want consistent players.

Great Games are more than 22 points (top 5 on average)
Good Games are more than 10 points (top 24 on average)
Bust Games are fewer than 7 points (outside top 50 on average)
*Missed Games don’t count against consistency score

1. Christian McCaffrey (413.2 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #1

16 games — 287/1387/15 — 116/1005/4 on 141 targets
Great 69% | Good 94% | Bust 6%
Defenses: -1.53 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +2.62 at Home

Listen, if you had CMC, it was beyond cheating in 2019. He essentially was two players in one. There have only been 18 other seasons by a wide receiver with 116 receptions as 44% of his total fantasy production was via the air. Far and away the fantasy MVP, McCaffrey was in a league of his own outpacing the RB2 by 113 points. To put his insanity in perspective, if we ONLY counted his HOME games (8), he was the RB11. The discussion about the 1.01 for next season is signed, sealed, and delivered. There’s basically no argument that he’s the guy regardless of the coaching changes and perhaps a new QB in Charlotte.

2. Aaron Jones (290.3 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #18

16 games — 236/1084/16 — 49/474/3 on 68 targets — 2 fumbles lost
Great 38% | Good 69% | Bust 31%
Defenses: -8.26 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +0.59 at Home

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Jones’ fantasy season was mind-boggling as he set the Packers franchise record 23 TDs in 18 games (includes playoffs) but also killed fantasy owners on multiple occasions. He had the highest bust rate of any RB in the top-24 with five games of less than seven points. But when he was awesome, he essentially won you your week with the 5th highest percentage of ‘Great’ games. The increase in usage in the passing game is definitely encouraging compared to how he was used in previous years before Matt LaFleur came to town. The Ballers discussed what type of touchdown regression could be coming in 2020 and how that might affect him in drafts. 

3. Derrick Henry (285.6 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #5

15 games — 303/1540/16 — 18/206/2 on 24 targets — 3 fumbles lost
Great 47% | Good 80% | Bust 13%
Defenses: -6.23 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: 2.44 at Home

Oh boy! Henry was an absolute animal at the end of the year almost bringing the Titans to the brink of the Super Bowl. Not only did he have week winning performances, but Henry was fairly steady despite being an almost zero in the passing game. He averaged a league-leading 102.7 yards per game and led RBs in Yards After Contact. He will be an interesting off-season debate as many ask if he’s due for some regression after the Titans scored way too many TDs in the red zone and had the fewest FGs in the league with only eight. If the Titans resign him, it’s clear he’s their offense and Henry should be worthy of a late first-round draft pick.

Getty Images / Wesley Hitt

4. Ezekiel Elliott (284.7 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #3

16 games — 301/1357/12 — 54/420/2 on 71 targets — 2 fumbles lost
Great 31% | Good 94% | Bust 0%
Defenses: -1.48 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +0.77 at Home

If you drafted Zeke, you likely walked away from this season wanting more despite his consistency and fantasy finish. He was the only RB without a BUST game on the year. He also rebounded in the TD department leading the NFL in Red-Zone Rushing Attempts at 3.8 per game. However, the big plays were few and far between as his longest rush was only 33 yards. There is variance in every single fantasy season but Elliott will once again be in consideration for a top-3 pick. He’s as safe as they come at the position.

5. Dalvin Cook (265.9 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #2

14 games — 250/1135/13 — 53/ 519/0 on 63 targets  — 2 fumbles lost
Great 50% | Good 93% | Bust 7%
Defenses: +1.24 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -0.65 at Home

Dalvin Cook was awesome for most of the year as the RB2 in fantasy points from Weeks 1-14. He was a bell-cow for the Vikings with 3rd most goal-line carries and 4th most evaded tackles despite missing two games. The only concern is injuries as Cook has yet to finish a full-16 games in his three seasons in the NFL. While he is entering a contract year, Cook likely will not hold out as Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone are capable backups available on the roster. Jason made the comment that Cook is definitely in consideration for one of the first RBs off the board after Christian McCaffrey in drafts.

6. Austin Ekeler (263 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #4

16 games — 132/557/3 — 92/993/8 on 108 targets — 2 fumbles lost
Great 25% | Good 81% | Bust 6%
Defenses: +0.19 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -3.98 at Home

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Awesome Ekeler paid off for fantasy owners that took the chance on some early season playing time due to Melvin Gordon‘s holdout. He was lined up all over the field as the Chargers utilized him often as a slot receiver. 94 of his 108 targets were deemed “catchable” and Ekeler caught 92 of them. Based on receiving production alone he was the equivalent to the WR14. His fantasy outlook for 2020 is dependent on Philip Rivers and Gordon leaving town. He’s a talented back that has a safe floor in PPR leagues.

7. Nick Chubb (237.2 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #7

16 games — 298/1494/8 — 36/278/0 on 49 targets — 3 fumbles
Great 25% | Good 75% | Bust 13%
Defenses: +0.02 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -1.31 at Home

Chubb, on a consistency percentage basis,  finished exactly where his fantasy total claimed. He led the league with seven games of at least 100 rushing yards and the number of 15+ Yard Runs. Big plays were waiting to happen including a monster #1 overall finish in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens. He also had the MOST forced missed tackles according to PFF. However, he definitely dropped off after Week 10 when Kareem Hunt jumped into the mix. From Weeks 10-17, he averaged just two targets per game and had a couple of duds in the fantasy playoffs. Andy would still draft him as a top-12 pick in 2020 and the addition of new head coach Kevin Stefanski certainly should help.

8. Mark Ingram (229.5 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #15

15 games — 202/1018/10 — 26/247/5 on 29 targets — 2 fumbles lost
Great 33% | Good 60% | Bust 7%
Defenses: +5.57 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -2.94 at Home

Ingram was where the guys ended the episode as his 8th overall finish was a bit fluky when you considered his week-to-week output. His 15 TDs are astronomical but he also played on arguably the best offense in the league. If you take away fantasy points from TDs for all RBs, Ingram would have finished as the RB18.  He’s the ONLY RB1 outside the top-13 in this metric. His receiving TDs also are hard to wrap your head around. He was 43rd in Routes Run among RBs yet he was tied for 2nd MOST RB Rec TDs. Mike commented that Ingram will likely go undervalued again in fantasy drafts but there is some regression due based on his touch count.

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