At What Age Should You Fade A Running Back in Fantasy?

 

The previous intro worked so well for the wide receiver age analysis article we decided to use it again. 

Whether it is dynasty or redraft understanding when the cliff typically comes for a fantasy asset is key to staying ahead of the game. What we did was review the last 10 seasons of running back production by age to see when the drop off comes for the position. A couple key nuggets that you need to know before we get started.

  1. The years sampled were 2011-2020 for the running back position only
  2. The analysis benchmark we will be discussing today is 100 touches. Every running back ages 21-37 had to have at least 100 touches to qualify
  3. The points and points per game (PPG) are in half point (.5) points per reception (PPR)
  4. When conducting the analysis, it was important to have a baseline for touches as many players who don’t make it typically only play 3-4 years in their early 20s. That means if you don’t have a touch baseline in the analysis then you’re including a lot of young running backs who don’t pan out. This would prevent us from getting a better idea of how age becomes a factor since we want to identify the running backs who were able to sustain some level of relevance throughout the years

Like we always promise we will give you the high-level data first and you can take it for what it is worth. The first chart will include the running backs (RB) age, the average total fantasy points those running backs had at that age and the average points per game (PPG) those running backs had at that age.  If you want a deeper dive, we have included more information later.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Learn more about our 2020 Fantasy Football Subscriptions!

The best blend of accurate and bold weekly projections for QB/RB/WR/TE + PK + Defensive Teams and IDP as well as a kick-ass DFS lineup optimizer and projections for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo!.

I don't have enough spam, give me the Razzball email newsletter!

When Is It Time To Officially Fade A Wide Receiver In Fantasy?

Whether it is dynasty or redraft understanding when the cliff typically comes for a fantasy asset is key to staying ahead of the game. What we did was review the last 10 seasons of wide receiver production by age to see when the drop off comes for wide receivers. A couple key nuggets that you need to know before we get started.

  1. The years sampled were 2011-2020 for the wide receiver position only.
  2. The analysis benchmark we will be discussing today is 100 targets. Every wide receiver ages 21-37 had to have at least 100 targets to qualify
  3. When conducting the analysis it was important to have a baseline for targets as many wide receivers who don’t make it typically only play 3-4 years in their early 20s. That means if you don’t have a target baseline in the analysis then you’re including a lot of young wide receivers who don’t pan out. This would prevent us from getting a better idea of how age becomes a factor since we want to identify the wide receivers who were able to sustain some level of relevance throughout the years

Like we always promise we will give you the high-level data first and you can take it for what it is worth. The first chart will include the wide receivers (WR) age, the average total fantasy points those wide receivers had at that age and the average points per game those wide receivers (PPG) had at that age.  If you want a deeper dive, we have included more information later in the article.

Reviewing Points and Points Per Game (PPG)

WR Age Points PPG
21 177.7 11.3
22 182.9 12
23 183.5 12
24 174.5 11.3
25 191.3 12.2
26 205.5 13.3
27 185.3 12
28 191 12.6
29 194.1 12.6
30 177.6 11.5
31 182.5 11.6
32 171.4 11.6
33 179.4 11.5
34 183.2 11.6
35 154.4 10.1
36 131.9 8.5
37 144.9 10.4

 

As you can see for the wide receiver position there is no major drop off. What we end up seeing is a lot of stability over the years. Wide receivers age 25-29 peak at age 26 but they remain stable up until their age 30 campaign. Meanwhile once they hit 30 instead of a steep decline, we find a slight drop in fantasy production, but it quickly stabilizes similarly to wide receivers in their late 20s. When you breakdown the production 25-29 vs. 30-34 wide receivers age 30-34 still produce at just over 92% in points and PPG vs. their late 20 counterparts.

Overall, only a few wide receivers make it to age 35 let alone reach 100 targets at that age. However, when they do, we can still see some level of production as they produce at roughly 75% vs. age 25-29.

Finally, the drop off isn’t as steep as we might have thought. This slight dip in production followed by a stability period does show that wide receivers in their early 30s who are still producing at a high level probably have a few more years left in the tank. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s the easiest thing you can do to increase the odds of success for your fantasy football roster, no matter the type of roster you draft? Grab yourself a fine tight end. No, not that kind of grabbing; I don’t want you in jail. In most formats, fine tight ends are about as scarce as a workhorse receiving running back. Meet me after the jump and we’ll talk about some tight end options that you can target in your early drafts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What is up everybody!? How are you people doing in the back? Good? There’s no back to the internet? OK! Now, huddle up: you’re going into fantasy football mode and there’s a secret you need to know that will win you the most leagues with the least effort and I’m going to tell you all about it. Right after this word from our sponsor! Donkey Teeth, take it away! 

[camera cuts to DT eating ice cream out of the container with his hands] 

Aw crap, we really suck at this advertising thing. Maybe that’s why we here at Razzball just give you the facts without the gimmick. We’re here to be in a community with you, help you win your leagues, and have a bunch of fun while we do it. So, meet me after the jump and we’ll talk about the best way you can set up your teams for fantasy victory. And if you want the TL;DR, here it is: just draft and have fun. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The third and final feature of this draft capital trilogy is the tight ends. If you missed the running back article, click here and if you missed the wide receiver article, click here! What we did was look back over the last 10 years (2011-2020) to see how many consistent fantasy contributors came out of each round of the NFL draft. We aren’t going to be talking about one hit wonders. Instead, we are highlighting the players who were able to sustain some level of fantasy success over their careers.

In this article we are reviewing the tight end position. The benchmark used was 6.5 points per game (PPG) in half point per reception (PPR) for their career. Even with the extremely low point total of 6.5 you will see very few tight ends ever become consistent fantasy contributors. Another key factor why the benchmark is a lot lower for tight ends is how poorly they perform as rookies. For example, notable tight ends George Kittle (5.7) and Mark Andrews (5.6) and T.J. Hockenson (5.4) all failed to hit 6 PPG in their rookie seasons.

Below you will find a chart breaking out draft capital by round for tight end. The chart is broken out into four columns:

  1. Round Drafted – Identifies the round in the NFL draft that the tight end were drafted
  2. Total tight end drafted – This is the total number of tight end drafted in that round over the past 10 years
  3. Career 6.5 PPG in .5 PPR – This column represents how many tight end drafted in that round hit the benchmark of 6.5 PPG for their careers in .5 PPR
  4. % Hit Rate – The final column shows what percentage of the tight end drafted in that round hit that benchmark

Feel free to just review the chart only and take what you want from it. If you want some additional insight on how we feel about 2021 prospects based on this data, it will be included later in the article!

Round
Drafted
Total Tight Ends
Drafted
Career
6.5 PPG in .5 PPR
% Hit Rate
1 8 6 75%
2 18 5 28%
3 24 4 17%
4 24 1 4%
5 19 1 5%
6 21 1 5%
7 25 0 0%
Total 139 18 13%
Total after Rd 3 89 3 3.40%

 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now that we took the journey for running backs let’s move to wide receiver. If you missed the running back article, click here! What we did was look back over the last 10 years (2011-2020) to see how many consistent fantasy contributors came out of each round of the NFL draft. We aren’t going to be talking about one hit wonders. Instead, we are highlighting the players who were able to sustain some level of fantasy success over their careers.

In this article we are reviewing the wide receiver position. The benchmark used was nine points per game in half point per reception (PPR) for their career. AND Before anyone moans and groans about the lower point total here is a list of wide receivers who average between 9-10 PPG in .5 PPR for their career.

 

Player PPG
Randall Cobb 9.8
Tyler Lockett 9.8
Sammy Watkins 9.7
Courtland Sutton 9.3
Tyler Boyd 9.3
Martavis Bryant 9.3
Marquise Brown 9.2
Laviska Shenault Jr. 9.2
Christian Kirk 9.1
Jamison Crowder 9
Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does Draft Capital Matter For Future Fantasy Success?

Now we know we are not the first to journey down this path, but we are here to simplify the search. What we did was look back over the last 10 years (2011-2020) to see how many consistent fantasy contributors came out of each round of the NFL draft. We aren’t going to be talking about one hit wonders. Instead, we are highlighting the players who were able to sustain some level of fantasy success over their careers.

In this article we are reviewing the running back position. The benchmark used was 10 points per game in half point per reception (PPR) for their career. Before anyone loses their minds, this article isn’t saying that 10 points per game is a top 24 running back each year. However, the lower points per game helps take into account flex spots to start a 3rd running back and/or a down year from an otherwise consistent starting tailback.

Below you will find a chart breaking out draft capital by round for running backs. The chart is broken out into four columns:

  1. Round Drafted – Identifies the round in the NFL draft that the running backs were drafted
  2. Total running backs drafted – This is the total number of running backs drafted in that round over the past 10 years
  3. Career 10 PPG in .5 PPR – This column represents how many running backs drafted in that round hit the benchmark of 10 PPG for their careers in .5 PPR
  4. % Hit Rate – The final column shows what percentage of the running backs drafted in that round hit that benchmark

Feel free to just review the chart only and take what you want from it. If you want some additional insight on how we feel about 2021 prospects based on this data it will be included later in the article!

Round Drafted Total
Running Backs Drafted
Career
10 PPG in .5 PPR
% Hit Rate
1 14 11 79%
2 29 13 45%
3 30 7 23%
4 45 3 7%
5 31 3 10%
6 34 0 0%
7 40 2 5%
Total 223 39 17%
Totals after Round 3 150 8 5.30%
Please, blog, may I have some more?

Meet Pat. Pat’s first offensive coordinator gig came back in 2009. That year Pat aka Pat Shurmur gave a little-known back named Steven Jackson back-to-back seasons of 300 plus carries (324 and 330 carries to be exact).

Shurmur turned this RBBC commitment into a head coaching job. His first season as a Head Coach Pat gave former madden cover great Peyton Hillis 16.1 carriers per game. Realizing Hillis has allowed his madden cover experience to go to his head, the Browns decided to draft dynamo Trent Richardson 3rd overall. In Trent’s first season Shurmur gave him a very modest 17.8 carriers per game.

Unfortunately, drafting Richardson didn’t lead to a 3rd season (go figure), but Shurmur landed on his feet alongside a college football offensive innovator named Chip Kelly. In the first two seasons as Kelly’s offensive coordinator, Shurmur gave a slippery running back named LeSean McCoy 314 and 313 carries per year. However, due to some unforeseen differences McCoy left and they replaced him with former workhorse DeMarco Murray.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Current NFC players with the most to gain in the upcoming NFL draft!

In this article we are going to discuss which current NFC players have the most to gain in the upcoming NFL draft. What this means is if a team passes on a skill position player or quarterback in the first few round which players currently on those rosters today will have the most to gain.

Each section we will highlight the team, how many picks each team has overall, how many picks they have rounds 1-3 and the players who have the most to gain. This article isn’t a mock or predicting any picks. Most likely at least half of these players we talk about today will be impacted by draft picks, but just in case they aren’t here is why we think they can improve in 2021.

Arizona Cardinals

Total picks: 6

Round 1: No. 16 overall

Round 2: No. 49

Round 3: N/A

Impacted Player: Chase Edmonds

Edmonds has 9 career games where he received 10 touches. In those games he averaged 13.4 PPG with a .89 fantasy points per touch. Edmonds only saw 10 touches in a game 6 times in 2020 so if he can be the 1A in 2021, he should improve on his RB28 finish from last season.

Impacted Player: Christian Kirk

The signing of A.J. Green offers provides an opportunity for Christian Kirk to kick inside. This is a much better suited position for Kirk who has a .18 higher YPRR when playing inside including a career high 1.9 YPRR in 2018. If Fitzgerald isn’t re-signed, he is vacating 62 slot targets that could go Kirk’s way in 2021.

 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Team: Atlanta Falcons

New Play-Caller: Arthur Smith

Scheme: West Coast

 

Historical Overview

The change from former Falcons Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter’s pass first Air Coryell attack to Arthur Smith’s run first play action pass offense is going to be drastic. However, Matt Ryan has a lot of familiarity with this offense Smith is bringing over. Back in 2015 and 2016 former Titans Offensive Coordinator Matt Lafleur was the Quarterbacks coach in Atlanta for two seasons.  In those seasons the Falcons ran a similar scheme to what Arthur Smith ran in Tennessee after taking over for Matt Lafleur in 2019. Matt Ryan enjoyed his lone MVP season in 2016 running this system amassing 4,944 pass yards and 38 TDs. That season the Falcons produced a Top 3 quarterback, Top 6 running back and a Top 6 wide receiver.

In this article we will breakdown by position the impact of this coaching change, and how we believe the fantasy relevant players will perform in the new offense.

Please, blog, may I have some more?