Ten fantasy running backs who have RB1 potential

The top fantasy running backs share some common traits, and Tyler Loechner looks for other guys at the position who also have those attributes.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

(AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Ten fantasy running backs who have RB1 potential

We recently took a look at what exactly goes into making a fantasy WR1, and we used that modeling to find eight wideouts who have the potential to step up and perform as WR1s as early as 2016.

Now it’s time to apply a similar process to running backs to uncover which players you should be targeting on draft day. “Zero-RB” might be picking up steam across the industry, but it’s a failure of a strategy if you don’t pick the right running backs later in the draft.

Just like we did with wide receivers, we combed through our unique stats from the past nine NFL seasons to quantify what constitutes an RB1 from a statistical standpoint. We examined all season-long RB1s — defined as running backs who finished the season among the top 12 scorers at the position — in nine key categories, including attempts per game, tackles avoided per attempt (TA/Att), average yards after contact (YAC), yards per carry (YPC), points per snap (PPS), points per opportunity (PPO), receiving yards per route run (YPRR), targets, and total touchdown percentage (TD%). The chart below also includes rush touchdowns per game, though the percentage is more important and was what actually factored into the below results.

2007-2015 averages for RB1s
Carries Rush TDs TA/Att YAC YPC PPS PPO YPRR Targets TD%
17.3 0.6 0.17 2.6 4.6 0.35 0.42 8.2 3.4 3.4%
2016 projection for RB1s
15.9 0.5 0.20 2.4 4.5 0.33 0.38 8.6 3.6 3.1%

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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.

  • Darius Washington

    Thank you for this. I’m seriously debating on using the Zero-RB strategy, and this goes a long way at helping who to target later on

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    • Tyler Loechner

      Thanks for reading! We’re happy to help!