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Tiers of Confidence- RB Edition

Jaguars Leonard Fournette

Tiers of Confidence- RB Edition

The best Fantasy Analysts always show you their list of players in tiers. Sometimes the difference between 2nd and 4th place is minuscule and other times its as wide as the Grand Canyon. The other great tool when it comes to Fantasy drafts is the Average Draft Position (ADP) of a player. Your super stud running back might project to be the fourth best in the draft, but if his ADP says he won’t go until the 5th round it doesn’t make any sense to pick him with the 4th pick in the draft! Accumulating the most talent is the key to Fantasy Football success. But since Fantasy Football is a weekly game, why does anyone care about year end point differences anyway? Today, I present a different way to look at draft value which I call tiers of confidence with the running backs in the Point per Reception (PPR) format. Let’s take a look at the best running back choices by round.

Early First Round

There are no guarantees in life or Fantasy Football, there is a select list of players who are as close to sure bets at the running back position. Of course, this ignores the possible injury factor. They are guaranteed to be consistent weekly producers for your team.

Alvin Kamara (96.4%)- While volume is always important in Fantasy Football, he shows that not all touches are equal. You always have to worry about the bruiser back in the tandem vulturing some touchdowns, but his Best 10 rating of 330 is tied for 3rd best. Also, his Consistency Rating of 96% leads the way. Over 80 receptions and double digit touchdowns in back to back seasons is more proof he belongs in the top 3 picks in the draft.

Saquan Barkley (93.8%)- Yes, I know the New York Football Giants offense is in disarray but it was a mess last year and Barkley still was a beast. His Best 10 rating is 3rd best at 330, which is a tier only shared by six other running backs. His Consistency Rating of 94% ranks him 2nd best. The lack of outstanding healthy wide receivers will only boost his value in PPR making him a sure top 3 pick.

Christian McCaffrey (87.1%)- At this time last year I wasn’t sure whether a higher volume CMC could hold up to the punishment. His touches increased from 197 in his rookie season to 326 in his second year and he looked strong at the end of the season. His Best 10 rating of 308 is only 7th best and his Consistency rating is 87% based on the last 2 seasons. Triple digit catches are likely again in 2019.

Late First Round

Le’Veon Bell (93.3%)- OK, so Bell hasn’t played a down of football in over 600 days and has a new coach with an uncertain offense. But his upside potential is amazing with his Best 10 score of 337 second best at the position. The rust on his body might be worth the 8th pick in the draft at RB6. The fact the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS will succeed or fail with Bell toting and catching the ball adds value.

James Conner (92.3%)- Conner is a terrific talent, but also shows how sometimes the “Next Man Up” in an offense that rides one horse from their backfield can be almost as good as the guy he replaced. There has been talk of more of a time share with the Steelers this year. But for one thing, I don’t believe it, and not all touches are equal.

Second Round

Todd Gurley (93.1%)- When a 25-year old player has a well documented case of arthritis in his knee that is cause for concern. But his Best 10 score of 370 has him in a tier of one, with that ranking over 3 points per game better than 2nd place. To be honest, I hate uncertainty in the first couple of rounds. Pick 15 as RB9 might be a bargain for a guy who on any given week can lead your team to victory.

Nick Chubb (90%)- The fact that Chubb and Baker Mayfield didn’t start the season as starters in 2018, was the best indictment of the coach, Hue Jackson on week one last year. Once Chubb took over, his consistency and his big week ability were fantastic. Kareem Hunt has been added but will not be eligible until you get at least 8-10 weeks into the season.

Kerryon Johnson (88.9%)- It might be a small sample size due to injury, but Kerryon can carry the Lions this year. His Best 10 rating was lower than most because of his lack of really big games. That could be blamed on a woeful Lions offense last season which has to get better, right?

Third Round

Leonard Fournette (71.4%)- We have been promised a more mature and well behaved Fournette for this season. Frankly, he has no where to go but up. Despite often not having his head in the game, he posted impressive consistency in his first two years as a pro when healthy. Eight of his twenty-one full games played ended with 20 or more points in PPR.

David Montgomery (Rookie)- How can I rate a rookie on consistency? That is a great question! His offense is being rated, and not the player himself. The Bears offense will consistently produce from the running back position. Fact: Jordan Howard who was not the type of back they needed for a Matt Nagy offense. Fact: Howard scored 10+ points nine times last year. Monty should be even better.

Fourth Round

Mark Ingram (74.1%)- Yes, it is very possible that the Baltimore Ravens have their version of an Alvin Kamara type back. That player could emerge in rookie Justice Hill. But Ingram was able to post a Consistency Rating almost 7% over league average. All the while, he was sharing the backfield with Kamara. Do you really think Justice Hill is better than Alvin Kamara by week one?

Fifth Round

James White (70.4%)- Fantasy Football analysts always tell you not to trust PPR-value running backs like White. Why? Because they are unreliable from one year to the next. White has only failed to score 10+ points in PPR format 4 times in each of the last 2 seasons. His upside was out of this world last year with 12 touchdowns. He had 14 combined in his previous 4 seasons. His consistency will be solid if closer to last year’s stats.

Tevin Coleman (71.4%)- The backfield for the 49ers this season could be crowded, but they didn’t bring Tevin Coleman into the mix to be a backup. While sharing the backfield in Atlanta, he did manage to post some consistent numbers even when Devonta Freeman also played. His low Best 10 score limits his upside, but in the 5th round if you can get a consistent back do it.

Sixth Round

Lamar Miller (67.9%)- You might get some ribbing for drafting Lamar Miller, because each year someone appears on the roster to challenge him. Conversely, each year Miller keeps the starting job. The Houston offense might be better this season too. His low Best 10 score shows the limit to the upside Miller has. But remember, you are grabbing him in the 6th round or later. As your third or fourth RB, you could do worse.

Later Rounds

Devin Singletary (Rookie)- Another rookie hits the board here because of his team’s consistency. Over the last 2 seasons, LeSean McCoy has posted a Consistency Rating of 71.4% and a solid Best 10 score of 243. This surprisingly Shady ranks 15th best. It is only a matter of time until Singletary takes over the top spot. It should be a productive backfield, and he is a bargain late in the 10th round.

Conclusion

If you load up your roster with consistent running backs, you are not going to have many bad weeks. This strategy might not load with guys that win your game single handed each week. But, consistency at the running back and flex position makes you more likely to win. While some running backs have those big double digit touchdown years they won’t be able to repeat, they are better able to repeat their Consistency Rating from year to year. This makes them wise picks at or after their ADP.

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