100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 5: The Myth of Overworked Running Backs
I researched the production of all running backs with 350 or more carries in a season, and the results are below.
You can see that when running backs record 350-plus carries in Year Y, they generally see a decline in yards-per-carry in Year Y+1. Of the 37 running backs to generate 350 carries since 1990, 24 (64.9 percent) produced a lower YPC number in the following season. The average decline in YPC was 0.26 for all backs, 0.38 for the top 20 backs (in terms of workload), and an incredible 0.51 for the top 10 backs.
A decrease of 0.51 YPC from one season to the next is a pretty hefty number. At first glance, it really appears as though a high volume of carries can have adverse effects on a running back’s subsequent season.
Check out the rest of the book to see why this isn’t evidence against targeting running backs coming off of seasons with a high volume of touches. You can buy What the Experts Don’t Want You to Know on Kindle, as a PDF, or in paperback.