Punch Drunk Wonderland

Most Reliable and Least Reliable Running Backs from 2014

With the 2015 NFL and fantasy football season looming it’s a good time to start looking into reliable options at each position. Reliability means a high fantasy floor. Our friends at numberFire.com have taken a look at 10 of the most reliable and 10 of the least reliable running backs from the 2014 season. Great analysis from @LateRoundQB.

Most Reliable Running Back from 2014

As most of you know, we use a metric at numberFire called Net Expected Points (NEP), which shows how many points a player performs above or below expectation. There’s a difference between a 10-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 versus a 10-yard pickup on 3rd-and-15, after all. One picks up a first down and extends a drive, while the other more than likely results in a punt. Net Expected Points factors all of that into the equation.

Each play on the football field can also be thought about in more of a binary fashion. Success Rate measures this — if a player has a positive play in terms of NEP, it’s deemed a success. If not, it’s a failure. The percentage of successful plays a player has, then, gives us a Success Rate.

Because rushing is far less efficient than passing, Success Rates are generally lower at the running back position. Logically, this makes sense — it’s much easier for a receiver to pick up big chunks of yards or make an impactful play through the air than it is a running back doing the same thing on the ground.

Success Rate sort of shows us reliability and dependability. If a player is always putting together positive gains, you would naturally call that player reliable. But note the difference between Success Rate and regular Net Expected Points, or Net Expected Points per play — Success Rate doesn’t tell us the extremes. For instance, a player may pick up a first down on 3rd-and-1 — a positive play — but if he runs for only one yard, that’s not as huge as an 87-yard scamper.

Make sense? Good. Now let’s take a look at the 10 running backs with 150 or more carries last year who ranked highest in the Success Rate department.

Player Rushing NEP per Rush Success Rate
Jeremy Hill 0.09 48.65%
Marshawn Lynch 0.10 48.57%
Jamaal Charles 0.11 48.29%
Lamar Miller 0.06 47.44%
Le’Veon Bell 0.06 47.24%
C.J. Anderson 0.10 46.93%
DeMarco Murray 0.03 46.68%
Matt Forte 0.01 46.62%
Mark Ingram 0.04 45.58%
Rashad Jennings 0.00 45.51%

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

Least Reliable Running Backs from 2014

Each play on the football field can also be thought about in more of a binary fashion. Success Rate measures this — if a player has a positive play in terms of NEP, it’s deemed a success. If not, it’s a failure. The percentage of “successful” runs, then, gives us a Success Rate.

Because rushing is far less efficient than passing, Success Rates are generally low. Logically, this makes sense — it’s much easier for a receiver to pick up big chunks of yards or make a hugely impactful play through the air than it is a running back doing the same thing on the ground.

Success Rate sort of shows us reliability and dependability. If a player is consistently picking up positive gains, you would naturally call that player reliable. The difference between Success Rate and regular Net Expected Points, or Net Expected Points per play, however, is that it doesn’t tell us the extremes. For instance, a player may pick up a first down on 3rd-and-1 — a positive play — but if he runs for only one yard, that’s much less impactful than if he were to run for 87 of them.

Make sense? Good. Now let’s take a look at the 10 running backs with 150 or more carries last year who ranked lowest in the Success Rate department.

Player Rushing NEP per Rush Success Rate
Terrance West -0.05 38.01%
Trent Richardson -0.09 36.88%
Bishop Sankey -0.10 36.60%
Andre Williams -0.08 36.57%
Giovani Bernard -0.04 36.31%
Tre Mason -0.08 35.20%
Darren McFadden -0.15 35.06%
Branden Oliver -0.12 35.00%
Alfred Blue -0.12 34.71%
Andre Ellington -0.14 33.83%

What’s interesting here is that we have a pair of running backs who saw their teammates make the other, better list from earlier in the day. Andre Williams not only had one of the lowest Rushing NEP per rush averages last season, but his Success Rate — especially for a larger back — was depressingly low. Meanwhile, Rashad Jennings, as noted earlier, was the 10th most reliable running back a season ago.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

 

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...

css.php