The fantasy risks and ceilings of timeshare running backs
The NFL today is a different place for running backs than it was even 10 years ago. I mean, who knows what would’ve happened to LaDanian Tomlinson’s career if he would have landed on a John Fox team? Would he have been involved in a timeshare with someone like Jonathan Stewart, or even worse, someone like Mike Tolbert?
The effect that a timeshare has on a player in fantasy football cannot be understated. Taking a player who was slotted to have 300 touches and strip him of even 125 of those, and his value goes out the window.
Think about someone like T.J. Yeldon, who was primed to enter the 2016 season as a workhorse running back who should see no fewer than 300 touches. Then the Jaguars went out and signed Chris Ivory, a player who saw 277 of his own touches in 2015. The impact on Yeldon could be massive.
The question has been presented to me multiple times – how much upside does a timeshare running back really have? These guys might have reasonable floors, but as far as upside, it’s slim.
Not looking at any one team, but rather the NFL landscape as a whole, the average amount of plays for any team to run in a given season is roughly 1,031. That includes every pass attempt, sack, quarterback scramble and rush attempt. The art of projections is dividing that number up, splitting it among all the positions, and then taking skill into effect in your individual projections.
Then you have to take a look at what each team did in the previous year, and for our purposes today, rushing attempts and receptions among running backs. The total amount of touches for each team’s running backs last year ranged from 345 (Panthers) to 538 (Eagles), which would represent 21.6 to 33.6 touches per game. That is a large gap, so it’s important to know which offense you are projecting.