Fantasy Football: The TRUTH About RBs in 2017, Part 2

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Every year The Fantasy Footballers take a deep dive into the TRUTH behind fantasy football finishes from the previous year. Which players were actually consistent? Who provided week-winning performances and who killed fantasy football teams everywhere? All this and more revealed!

Get the full RB breakdown from Andy, Mike, and Jason on the podcast: Part 1 / Part 2

The TRUTH Scoring

Player finish, fantasy points, and consistency percentages are based on Half PPR scoring.

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)

Below are RBs 11 and on. Read about the top 10 RBs in Part 1.

11 Christian McCaffrey (188.60 points) – Consistency Rank #23

16 games — 117/435/2 — 80/651/5 on 113 targets
Great 6% | Good 50% | Bust 25%
Defenses: +3 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +4.6 at Home

Christian McCaffrey’s rookie season was characterized primarily by his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, reeling in 80 receptions on the year. His ability to catch the ball should provide him a nice floor, so it’s surprising that he busted a quarter of the time, making his consistency rank #23. When you look back on the season, McCaffrey probably felt like a lower ranked RB due to the fact that he split time with Jonathan Stewart and because of his inability to put up the big time performances.

12 Jordan Howard (188.20 points) – Consistency Rank #25

16 games — 276/1122/9 — 23/125/0 on 32 targets
Great 13% | Good 50% | Bust 38%
Defenses: +1.1 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.8 at Home

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Jordan Howard finished the season as the twelfth ranked running back but was very inconsistent, finishing as the 25th most consistent back on the year with a bust rate of 38%. This is largely attributable to his inability to catch the ball out of the backfield and to the fact that he plays for a bad team in Chicago. If Chicago can’t turn it around next year and be in the lead for more games, game script could get the best of Howard once again.

13 Devonta Freeman (182.20 points) – Consistency Rank #14

14 games — 196/865/7 — 36/317/1 on 46 targets
Great 14% | Good 57% | Bust 21%
Defenses: -7.6 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +.3 at Home

Overall, it was a down year for Devonta Freeman compared to his previous two seasons, especially considering the price it took to acquire Freeman during fantasy drafts. He was still a high-end RB2 despite missing two games, but his reception total and goal line usage was reduced this season with new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian. Hopefully, the Falcons find a way to get Freeman the ball more through the air in 2018, as this is a big part of what makes Freeman a high end option at the RB position.

14 Dion Lewis (181 points) – Consistency Rank #24

16 games — 180/896/6 — 32/214/3 on 36 targets
Great 13% | Good 44% | Bust 25%
Defenses: -3.5 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +2.0 at Home

Dion Lewis’ consistency rank of 24 is a bit misleading. For the first month and a half of the season, the Patriots were relying more heavily on James White, Rex Burkhead, and yes, even Mike Gillislee. Once the Pats committed to Lewis as their feature back, he was very consistent. During the first 8 weeks of the season Lewis averaged 6.2 fantasy points/game, but from Week 10 on, after the Pats started to lean heavily on Lewis, he averaged 16.3 fantasy points/game.

15 Duke Johnson (179.10 points) – Consistency Rank #15

16 games — 82/348/4 — 74/693/3 on 93 targets
Great 0% | Good 63% | Bust 25%
Defenses: -3.1 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +.6 at Home

Duke Johnson was a reliable option throughout the season, largely because of his involvement in the passing game. However, despite finishing as the RB15, he didn’t get the buzz that other top 15 backs got because of his lack of ability to put up big time weeks, finishing with zero “great” games.

16 Lamar Miller (175.50 points) – Consistency Rank #21

16 games — 238/888/3 — 36/327/3 on 45 targets
Great 6% | Good 50% | Bust 19%
Defenses: +4.8 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +2.6 at Home

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Lamar Miller’s production primarily came when Deshaun Watson was the starting QB for the Texans. He was supposed to be a high volume, reliable back, but as the season progressed, Miller began to get faded out of the offense as D’onta Foreman and Alfred Blue saw more and more touches. He lacked the ability to put up “great” games, making him a low ceiling play all year, especially after Watson went down with injury.

17 C.J. Anderson (161.10 points) – Consistency Rank #31

16 games — 245/1007/3 — 28/224/1 on 40 targets
Great 13% | Good 38% | Bust 44%
Defenses: +2.1 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +.9 at Home

C.J. Anderson very quietly eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark or the first time in his career, but this stat is quite misleading. Anderson was one of the most inconsistent backs on the season, finishing as #31 in this category. He disappeared for owners at times, and you could never trust him in your lineups due to this lack of consistency. Anderson was a “bust” at an alarming rate of 44%.

18 Alex Collins (159.50 points) – Consistency Rank #26

15 games — 212/973/6 — 23/187/0 on 36 targets
Great 13% | Good 40% | Bust 33%
Defenses: -5.3 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.7 at Home

A waiver wire wonder, Alex Collins was a fantastic pick up for his owners. His numbers on the season are somewhat misleading because of his lack of involvement in the offense during the first half of the season. From Weeks 1-7, Collins busted four times, but from Weeks 8-16, he busted just once. Once he was given the lead back duties in Baltimore, Collins was actually quite consistent, but he struggled against top rush defenses, averaging 5.3 points less per game.

19 Frank Gore (159.10 points) – Consistency Rank #22

16 games — 261/961/3 — 29/245/1 on 38 targets
Great 0% | Good 50% | Bust 25%
Defenses: +2.1 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -.2 at Home

Frank Gore had the type of season you’d expect Gore to have at this stage in his career. He didn’t have any “great” weeks, making him a low ceiling play all year. It was a lost season for Indianapolis without Andrew Luck, and the offense as a whole really struggled. Gore’s numbers reflect this lack of production in one of the league’s worst offenses.

20 Marshawn Lynch (154.20 points) – Consistency Rank #19

15 games — 207/891/7 — 20/151/0 on 31 targets
Great 0% | Good 53% | Bust 27%
Defenses: +2.0 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.2 at Home

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The return of Beast Mode was a tale of two seasons. During the first half of the year, Lynch averaged just 6.3 points per game. During the second half, he averaged 13.8 points per game. When Lynch wasn’t a high volume back, he was impossible to trust in your lineups, but when the Raiders committed to him in the second half of the year, he was a trustworthy RB2. Lynch’s best days are clearly behind him.

21 Tevin Coleman (154.20 points) – Consistency Rank #18

15 games — 156/628/5 — 27/299/3 on 39 targets
Great 0% | Good 60% | Bust 27%
Defenses: -3.4 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.9 at Home

Tevin ColeMAN ? once again played second fiddle to Devonta Freeman in Atlanta, and his numbers reflect this. Because he wasn’t the first option in Atlanta’s backfield, he didn’t give you any “great” games. However, he did give you “good” games 60% of the time while being in a timeshare. We’ve seen Coleman’s talent and ability when Freeman is out, but his upside will be limited again next year in Atlanta. His chance to be the lead back for a team will probably come in 2019 when he is a free agent.

22 Jerick McKinnon (152.60 points) – Consistency Rank #43

16 games — 150/570/3 — 51/421/2 on 68 targets
Great 19% | Good 31% | Bust 56%
Defenses: +2.9 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -3.0 at Home

Jerick McKinnon was irrelevant during the first four weeks of the season when Dalvin Cook was still healthy, which does skew his consistency rank and “bust” rate quite a bit. However, when Cook went down, McKinnon was still tough to trust, as he shared time with Latavius Murray and slowly lost control of early down work and goal line touches in the Minnesota backfield. McKinnon flashed at times this season, showing that he can be a nice complementary piece in an NFL backfield.

23 DeMarco Murray (152 points) – Consistency Rank #36

15 games — 184/659/6 — 39/266/1 on 47 targets
Great 7% | Good 33% | Bust 40%
Defenses: -7.0 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +6.9 at Home

DeMarco’s 2016 season seems like a very distant memory after his 2017 season in which he “busted” 40% of the time, averaging 7 points less per game against top defenses. At consistency rank #36, he was impossible to trust as the season progressed due to being limited throughout the year by various injuries. It seems as though Derrick Henry’s time in Tennessee has come.

24 Latavius Murray (150 points) – Consistency Rank #30

15 games — 216/842/8 — 15/103/0 on 17 targets
Only 14 total carries Weeks 1-4
Great 13% | Good 44% | Bust 50%
Defenses: -2.0 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +3.6 at Home

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Like his teammate, Jerick McKinnon, Latavius Murray was irrelevant when Dalvin Cook was healthy. It ended up being a nice season for Murray, who scored 8 TDs from Weeks 5-17, while being the primary early down and goal line back for Minnesota. Dalvin Cook will retain his workhorse role for Minnesota in 2018, but Minnesota does have a proven backup in Murray.

Extras:

27 Chris Thompson (131.90 points) – Consistency Rank #13

10 games — 64/294/2 — 39/510/4 on 54 targets
Great 20% | Good 60% | Bust 20%
Defenses: +2.7 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.2 at Home

Chris Thompson was having a breakout season prior to going down with injury in 2017. He won you the week 20% of the time with his “great” performances. He’s a difficult player to trust next season due to his laundry list of injuries and his lack of uncertainty with Washington. The talent is there, but what will Thompson’s role be in 2018?

31 Isaiah Crowell (129.50 points) – Consistency Rank #45

16 games — 206/853/2 — 28/182/0 on 42 targets
Great 0% | Good 25% | Bust 44%
Defenses: -.2 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.9 at Home

Owners who bought into the hype surrounding Isaiah Crowell entering the 2017 season were disappointed. Crowell never gave his owners a “great” game and “busted” 44% of the time, making him incredibly difficult to trust. His lack of production and inability to find the end zone was likely the result of playing for one of the worst offenses in the league. It’s difficult to trust a running back on a team that is usually playing from behind if he doesn’t catch the ball.

36 Jay Ajayi (123.10 points) – Consistency Rank #33

14 games (two bye weeks with team change) — 208/873/1 — 24/158/1 on 34 targets
Great 0% | Good 36% | Bust 43%
Defenses: +.6 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -.3 at Home

Unlike last year, Ajayi was unable to give you “great” games as he spent time with both the Dolphins and the Eagles. Once traded to Philly, the Eagles didn’t commit to Ajayi as their workhorse back, making him inconsistent and difficult to trust while sharing time with three other running backs. If Philadelphia commits to Ajayi in 2018, he could have a nice bounce-back year in one of the league’s best offenses.

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68 Dalvin Cook (59.90 points) – Consistency Rank #8

4 games — 74/354/2 — 11/90/0 on 16 targets
Great 25% | Good 75% | Bust 0%
Defenses: -7.40 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +10.10 at Home

Over the first four weeks of the season, Dalvin Cook was the 8th most consistent back in the league as he dominated touches for Minnesota’s backfield. A torn ACL ended Cook’s season early, but it appears as though Minnesota has found their next bell cow in Cook. He will take back control of this backfield in 2018 upon returning from injury.

 

52 Ty Montgomery (80.10 points) – Consistency Rank #34

8 games — 71/273/3 — 23/173/1 on 31 targets
Great 13% | Good 38% | Bust 50%
Defenses: -1.0 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -7.10 at Home

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Over the first five weeks of the season, Montgomery was a locked in top 10 option at the running back position. However, after injuries caused him to relinquish the job to rookies, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, his future with Green Bay is unclear. After Jones and Williams proved to be capable backs for this offense, its possible Montgomery moves back to the wide receiver position in 2018.

Editor’s Note: See Part 1, if you missed the TRUTH on the Top 10 RBs, and read up about the TRUTH on other positions