Narrative Street: Fantasy running backs in their contract years

After examining receivers a week ago, Tyler Loechner investigates whether running backs perform better in their contract years.

| 3 weeks ago
(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Narrative Street: Fantasy running backs in their contract years

Last week, Narrative Street examined whether wide receivers really play better in their contract years.

This week, we’ll explore whether that’s true for running backs.

The narrative: Players perform better during contract years because they are extra motivated.

As noted before: “The thought process is simple: The player is set for a big payday the following offseason, so they will play better during their contract year in order to maximize their worth on the open market.”

So is it true for running backs?

The research

As I did with wideouts, I took all relevant running backs who played during a contract year every season since 2010. This gave me a list of 39 seasons to study.

I examined each player’s performance before, during, and after their contract seasons is four key efficiency categories: Points Per Snap (PPS), Points Per Opportunity (PPO), Yards Per Carry (YPT), and Fantasy Points Per Game (PPG). (See full list below.)

PPS, PPO, and YPC give us the most importance efficiency metrics for running backs, while PPG gives us a look at raw output.

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Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

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