As we prepare for the 2018 fantasy football season, it is important to reflect on the season that just ended. In this article we are going to take a look over the top names for the running back position in regards to receiving.
I am also going to look at each team in regards to how often they targeted backs within their offense, so we can identify the teams who targeted running backs more than the average.Finally we will take a look into 2018 projected targets for running backs.
Let’s get started by first looking over the team data and see which teams have the most active RB’s in the passing game.
Looking at the league as a whole, we are looking for pass heavy offenses who target backs more often than their peers. After calculating the average and top 75% marks, each offense was then give a color coordination of green if it fell into the top quarter of the league, and yellow if it was above the average yet less that the 75%.
The Saints utilize running backs by far the most in the league, involving backs into their passing game 12%+ more than the average team and nearly doubling the second place Bears who beat the average by 6.9%.
I think it is also important to observe the “Total RB Targets” column in addition to the “+/- Avg” & “RB Target %” columns. This is important since an offense can be targeting RB’s at a higher percentage but if the volume in the passing game is lower you may be better off drafting from another team.
The Bills fell victim to this rule, as their RB target percentage was ~5% more than the average team, however their lack of volume in passing resulted in only 124 passing attempts to tail backs. Their 124 attempts to backs is only above the Raiders for those teams in the top half of the league.
The reverse is true with the Giants, they are below the 75% threshold in RB target % at 22.9% however their passing volume got them above the 75% threshold with 139 attempts to RB’s. The color rankings helps to identify these types of trends.
For PPR leagues I would avoid any running backs from the teams colored in red not named Ezekiel Elliott. They are severely lacking and will hurt your chances to pile some more points from catches on a weekly basis.
Now that we have established the teams who involve backs the most, let’s take a peek at the top targeted players. While performing this analysis it was remarkable to see how often certain backs were hogging so many targets. These players are must haves for points per reception leagues.
Although the Pittsburgh Steelers only threw to tails on 19% of plays, Le’Veon Bell accounted for 93.8% of targets (106 of the teams 113 throws to RB’s). Christian McCaffrey was targeted an astonishing 113 times, leading the league in this category (83.7% of throws to backs in Carolina). Alvin Kamara was behind McCaffrey with 101 targets (56.1% share), accompanied by Mark Ingram 71 targets (39.4%). Ingram will miss the first 4 regular season games due to suspension which may lead to an uptick in Kamara’s usage.
Check out the table below which contains the top 3 RB’s for all teams and is sorted by target % for the top RB. Feel free to change the sort by clicking on the column title you would to have it sorted by.
- Ttl Rb – Total RB Targets for Team
- Rb1 % – % of targets to RB1
- Rb2 % – % of targets to RB2
- Rb3% – % of targets to RB3
Lineup Allstar - 2017 RB Targets
|Tm||Rb1||Rb2||Rb3||Ttl Rb||Rb1 %||Rb2 %||Rb2 %||Rb3 %|
|wdt_ID||Tm||Rb1||Rb2||Rb3||Ttl Rb||Rb1 %||Rb2 %||Rb2 %||Rb3 %|
|1||CAR||Christian McCaffrey||Jonathan Stewart||Fozzy Whittaker||135||26.90||11.10||4.40|
|2||PIT||Le'Veon Bell||Roosevelt Nix||Fitzgerald Toussaint||113||19.20||2.70||2.70|
|3||NO||Alvin Kamara||Mark Ingram||Zach Line||180||33.60||39.40||2.80|
|4||CLE||Duke Johnson||Isaiah Crowell||Matthew Dayes||146||25.40||28.80||3.40|
|5||SF||Carlos Hyde||Kyle Juszczyk||Matt Breida||166||27.30||25.30||21.70|
|6||LAR||Todd Gurley||Malcolm Brown||Lance Dunbar||101||19.50||10.90||3.00|
|7||LAC||Melvin Gordon||Austin Ekeler||Branden Oliver||132||22.60||26.50||8.30|
|8||BUF||LeSean McCoy||Mike Tolbert||Travaris Cadet||124||26.10||13.70||12.90|
|9||NE||James White||Rex Burkhead||Dion Lewis||158||26.90||22.80||22.20|
|10||DET||Theo Riddick||Ameer Abdullah||Dwayne Washington||111||19.50||31.50||1.80|
Looking forward to 2018, let’s first take a quick look at the projected 2018 targets per team: