Are you worried about selecting a running back on a team that is
frequently behind on the scoreboard? Do you fear your running back
will be stuck standing on the sidelines if his team gets too far
behind while a receiving specialist takes his place?
Fear not, I have the information you need.
In the chart below are the total fantasy points earned for the
top-60 running backs when their team was behind on the scoreboard
last season. The far right column represents total fantasy points
earned in full one-point PPR leagues when their team was down
at least one point. (For non-PPR leagues, the column ďFPtsĒ
is for you).
Of course, some teams spent a lot more time playing from behind
which skews the numbers in their favor. There are also a number
of players who had extenuating circumstances which should have
you ignoring the chart.
For instance, Nick Chubb ranks ninth on the list, but for the
first half of the season, he didnít have to share time with
Kareem Hunt. Or that James Conner ranks 30th. He missed six full
games and additional time in others due to injury. Had Conner
played a complete 16-game schedule, at an average of 6.39 FPts/G
while behind, you could imagine he might have scored just over
102 points. Iím also ignoring Alvin Kamaraís No.34
rank because the 13-3 Saints werenít behind often and he
wasnít healthy for most of the season.
But letís check out some of the numbers anyway.
As you would expect, Christian
McCaffrey was the best. Of course, his team was behind a lot,
but nevertheless he produced far more than everyone else in the
NFL. No surprise there. Similarly, Saquon
Drake and Joe
Mixon can all score when their team is behind, which was often
last season, so no need to fear drafting them at their current
The opposite is true for Josh Jacobs. I found Jacobsí statistics
disappointing considering the Raiders were a -106 net points.
He obviously had plenty of opportunity to be productive when behind
but heís got to be more effective or his upside will continue
to be limited because I donít see this team winning this
season. Given Jacobsí 9.1 ADP and the likelihood that Las
Vegas will continue to struggle Iím shying away from Jacobs
as a first-rounder.
What was a surprise, at least to me, is how well Derrick Henry
performed. For a guy who doesnít catch many balls out of
the backfield (18 total receptions, 15 while behind), he maintained
his elite rank. So even if the Titans play poorly in 2020 and
they havenít been better than 9-7 since 2008 (77-99 combined
over the last 11-year span), as long as Henry is healthy the team
is going to call running plays and Henry should be a solid producer.
Despite his 7.4 ADP I wouldnít be afraid to pull the trigger
Melvin Gordon also impressed, ranking in the top-10 despite having
to share time with ďpass-catching extraordinaireĒ
Austin Exeler. Perhaps heíll be better in Denver where he
may see more third-down situations since Ekeler catching abilities
are certainly better than that of Phillip Lindsay.
Another back Iím not going to worry about is Chris Carson.
Iíll take him at his word that his hip is ď100 percentĒ
and heís set to be a workhorse. As his No.13 rank shows,
even when the Seahawks are behind, they arenít going away
from the ground game. He caught a career-best 37 balls last season
on 47 targets and half of those were when the team was behind,
so Iím not going to be concerned by Carlos Hyde, Rashaad
Penny or rookie DeeJay Dallas.
Speaking of Dallas, the Cowboys that is, considering they were
+113 net points, Ezekiel Elliottís total is excellent. I
donít expect Dallas to be behind a lot this season with
their offensive weapons, but ďZekeĒ is an elite running
back no matter whether the Cowboys are ahead or behind on the
Itís very interesting to note that two of the 2019 top-10
are currently unemployed. The just-waived Leonard Fournette simply
hasnít been effective since his rookie season, particularly
in getting into the end zone (just three rushing touchdowns).
While heís likely to land on his feet with another team,
he wonít be on my fantasy roster.
Meanwhile, Iím at a loss as to why Freeman isnít
on a roster. Freeman evidently is too, which is likely why he
has new agent representation. Freeman can help a team (are you
listening Eagles?) and if he gets a chance to start, even on a
losing team he can be a fantasy asset.
Yes, running backs can still be effective when their team is
behind and the statistics show that.