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Game Script Proof Running Backs



By Steve Schwarz | 8/10/23

Youíre on the clock. The running back you like is available, but heís on a losing team which frequently plays from behind. What do you do?

Check the chart below!

If heís near the top of the list, donít worry and choose him with confidence because heís a very good producer even when his team is behind on the scoreboard by a touchdown-or-more.

Austin Ekelerís Los Angeles Chargers are behind? Not a problem. Last season over 12 of his fantasy points in a game were produced when they were losing. But you knew that and I didnít research this chart to tell you Ekeler is a great pick. Or Christian McCaffrey.

This list gets much more interesting the further down the chart you go.

It is why - where Dalvin Cook lands could be a big factor. Also, Leonard Fournette. But what if Cook or Fournette sign with New England? How much would their pass-catching ability take away from Rhamondre Stevenson? Or Breece Hall if one signs with the Jets?

You wouldnít think Derrick Henry would be good when the Titans are behind by a touchdown, but judging by his production, Tennessee gives him the ball no matter what the score. And why not? Heís their best player and heís capable of taking it to the house from anywhere on the field. He produced better than Alvin Kamara, Travis Etienne and Najee Harris.

Now letís look at Harris. If you think Harris will ever produce as he did in his rookie yearÖ think again. Heís not going to see 381 touches ever again. Not because he canít, but because the team will limit his touches. Jaylen Warren was used more and more as the season progressed in 2022. He out-targeted Harris in four of the final eight games. He averaged a respectable 4.9 yards per carry and much of his production was when the Steelers were behind (5.43 FPts/G). Warrenís solid 2022 resume will limit Harrisí ceiling in 2023.

Miles Sandersí Eagles didnít play from behind much last seasonÖ as you would expect on a 13-4 team. But Sanders isnít in Philadelphia in 2023, heís in Carolina. The Panthers were 7-10 despite residing in the weak NFC South. They will be starting a rookie quarterback (Bryce Young). Their defense ranked 19th of 32 last season allowing 22 PPG. Sanders didnít catch a single pass when the Eagles were behind and he hasnít caught more than 28 balls since 2019. Over that span his drop percentage was an ugly 8.9%. Itís more than possible that heíll be pulled in passing situations and itís pretty hard to score points from the sidelines. Iím discounting Sanders.

Kenneth Walker

The Seahawksí Kenneth Walker is another starting running back with issues when his team is behind. Perhaps thatís why Seattle used a surprising second-round draft pick (No.21 overall) on UCLAís Zach Charbonnet. Walker caught just 12 passes when the Seahawks were playing catchup and itís not like Rachaad Penny was taking looks from him. Charbonnet saw 61 catches for over 500 yards in his last two college seasons and should be on the field a lot if the Seahawks are behind and thatís a good reason to reduce your Walker expectations.

Hereís another interesting tidbit. Do with it what you will.

Tony Pollard produced 39 receptions for 371 yards and three scores in 2022, so we know he can catch. But just eight of those catches were when his team was behind by a touchdown-or-more (for 56 yards). His quarterbacks, Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, preferred wide receivers and tight ends when behindÖ not ďcheck downs.Ē Dallasí passing distribution when down by a touchdown Ė wideouts 66.3%, tight ends 20.2% and running backs just 13.5%. In the off-season, the Cowboys improved their wide receiver room.

  RB fantasy production when down by a TD-or-more
Rk Player Tm Gm FPts Yds FPTs TD Rec FPTs Tot FPts FPts/G
1 Austin Ekeler LAC 9 43.9 30 35 108.9 12.10
2 Christian McCaffrey SF 8 45.7 24 25 94.7 11.84
3 Dalvin Cook FA 8 49.2 30 13 92.2 11.53
4 Leonard Fournette FA 9 39.2 12 34 85.2 9.47
5 R. Stevenson NEP 9 44.8 6 32 82.8 9.20
6 Jonathan Taylor IND 7 34.2 12 15 61.2 8.74
7 Breece Hall NYJ 4 17.9 6 11 34.9 8.72
8 Jerick McKinnon KC 6 21.7 18 12 51.7 8.61
9 Joe Mixon CIN 6 30.4 6 14 50.4 8.40
10 James Conner ARI 9 37.3 18 18 73.3 8.14
11 Dameon Pierce HOU 10 46.7 18 16 80.7 8.07
12 Darrell Henderson LAR 4 15.1 6 11 32.1 8.01
13 Josh Jacobs LVR 11 50.9 12 23 85.9 7.81
14 Saquon Barkley NYG 11 45.7 24 16 85.7 7.79
15 AJ Dillon GB 11 42.9 24 15 81.9 7.45
16 Aaron Jones GB 11 52.9 6 23 81.9 7.44
17 Derrick Henry TEN 7 24.6 18 9 51.6 7.37
18 David Montgomery DET 12 51.3 18 19 88.3 7.36
19 Najee Harris PIT 11 37.3 24 17 78.3 7.12
20 C. Patterson ATL 6 24.0 6 12 42.0 7.00
21 Nick Chubb CLE 9 40.7 12 10 62.7 6.97
22 Rachaad White TB 9 26.5 12 23 61.5 6.83
23 Latavius Murray BUF 8 29.2 18 7 54.2 6.78
24 Deon Jackson IND 6 22.7 6 12 40.7 6.78
25 Ezekiel Elliott FA 5 15.0 18 0 33.0 6.60
26 Alvin Kamara NO 8 31.2 0 21 52.2 6.53
27 Travis Etienne JAC 9 31.8 12 13 56.8 6.31
28 Tyler Allgeier ATL 8 37.6 12 0 49.6 6.20
29 Eno Benjamin NO 9 27.4 6 20 53.4 5.93
30 Jaylen Warren PIT 9 29.9 0 19 48.9 5.43
31 Michael Carter NYJ 9 22.7 6 19 47.7 5.30
32 Antonio Gibson WAS 11 21.3 24 11 56.3 5.12
33 Kenneth Walker SEA 9 32.4 0 12 44.4 4.93
34 Miles Sanders CAR 6 17.6 12 0 29.6 4.93
35 Jamaal Williams NO 7 16.4 18 0 34.4 4.91
36 D'Andre Swift PHI 9 20.9 18 5 43.9 4.88
37 Raheem Mostert MIA 10 29.4 6 12 47.4 4.74
38 Zack Moss IND 6 19.6 6 0 25.6 4.27
39 Alexander Mattison MIN 7 13.3 6 7 26.3 3.76
40 Tony Pollard DAL 6 14.1 0 8 22.1 3.68
41 Zonovan Knight NYJ 5 12.2 6 0 18.2 3.64
42 Khalil Herbert CHI 10 25.0 6 0 31.0 3.10
43 Cam Akers LAR 9 18.4 6 0 24.4 2.71
44 D'Onta Foreman CAR 7 12.8 6 0 18.8 2.69
45 Brian Robinson Jr. WAS 7 17.5 0 0 17.5 2.49

*Statistics courtesy of Sports Info Solutions





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