Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game
You might be sick of hearing me say this so often but look at how many analysts still score a player’s success or failure based on their year end total and you can see my work is hardly done.
All season I will dig into the weekly statistics to see what sort of trends a team is hinting at that might help your fantasy football team. I will also grade players with the Best 10 Rating and Consistency Rating tools too. This week let’s sort the weekly statistics for week one for running backs and see what we learned.
Not All Trends are Trends
When you are dissecting the numbers pay close attention to game flow and what happened in a game to see if a statistical spread shown in week one is indicative of what will happen all year.
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In NFL week one I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the Bears/Packers, Vikings/Falcons, Patriots/Steelers and Ravens/Dolphins. The only team whose trends might be valid from these games are the Dolphins but if you are counting on their players on your fantasy football team you have bigger problems!
Running Backs by the Numbers
Volume is what is needed to be an outstanding fantasy football running back. You can’t get volume unless you are on the field. Only 10 running backs saw 50 or more snaps in week one.
Sixty-five different running backs saw 20 or more snaps during their games. While snaps don’t equal volume on a one to one basis it is important to see which players were on the field more to see if their volume of touches will be significant this season.
The 70% Solution
In today’s NFL running backs on the field for 70% or more of their teams snaps are this era’s version of a “Bell Cow” back. One of the running backs in the field for 70% or more of his team’s snaps was Todd Gurley.
While Malcolm Brown was the waiver wire darling this week due to scoring 17 points in PPR format, Brown was only on the field for 27% of the snaps. Gurley’s production will be just fine as long as that knee holds up and getting 70% of the snaps shows he is as healthy as he will be all season.
CMC, Saquon, Kamara, Josh Jacobs and Chris Carson were all members of the 70% plus club this week and that will allow them all to be favorites for RB1 level production all season if this one week breakdown continues.
Fantasy Killing Splits
The Philadelphia Eagles have the type of offense I love to invest in for my fantasy football teams but the running back position could be trouble this year on a weekly basis. Sanders is the leader with 36 snaps to 23 for Sproles and 17 to Howard.
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Not getting 50% of his teams snaps will limit his upside in his rookie season but if he performs I expect that percentage to rise. Other members of the 50% or less club in viable games were the Broncos, 49ers, and Buccaneers.
Belichick Hates Fantasy Football Players
Not even Miss Cleo could figure out who will be the feature running back for the New England Patriots on any given week. White saw 33 snaps, Burkhead 32 snaps, and Michel 23 snaps. The touch count was led by Michel with 15 to Burkhead at 13 and White at 9 touches.
Since this was a blowout game I am not going to make any conclusions based on this game but Sony Michel’s lack of production with 15 touches has to be a concern. Even though this game was a blowout and Michel struggled the over hyped rookie Damien Harris never saw the field!
Never let one week sway your opinion of what the entire season will hold for your favorite fantasy football players. Game scripts, minor injuries and adjustments during the game can skew a player’s volume in any given week.
A great example of this is the use of running backs by the Chicago Bears. Before the game turned into a pass only situation for the Bears the split among running backs was fairly even between Davis and Montgomery with the hybrid Cohen also getting his time on the field. In a normal game I would expect Montgomery to get more snaps with Cohen split out wide as a hybrid. Monty is no better than a FLEX option right now until we see where this split will go.
Each week I will take a look at a different aspect of the weekly data trends to help your fantasy football team be a winner.