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Juggernaut RB Theory (1 Viewer)


I often try to monitor other ideas or theories myself, to see if they have merit, not only in hindsight, but foresight. This year and last year, someone presented me with THIS and THIS. In short known as the Juggernaut RunningBack.

I'm going to summarize the parameters set by the article and layout a path for measuring success that makes sense to me. Caveat being I only read through it once, I don't have all access to the stats they might, and everything is subject to my interpretation.

First, let's establish to everyone what we're chasing. In full PPR scoring, we are trying to identify the indicators that best predict a fantasy season that is equivalent to 372 total points, or 21.9 points per game.
Just for reference, since I already did the work, here is every RB1 of the past decade:

In 2022 Ekeler scored 378
In 2021 JT scored 377
In 2020 Kamara scored 377
In 2019 CMC scored 469
In 2018 Barkley scored 389
In 2017 Gurley scored 383
In 2016 D.Johnson scored 411
In 2015 Freeman scored 320
In 2014 Bell scored 370
In 2013 Jamaal scored 382

That's a pretty interesting trend for 7 of the last 10 years, it seems like 370-380 is the sweet spot, other than a few outliers

So the summary of the article is that there are 6 indicators of future success.
1: Age - <26 as of Dec 31st current season/year
2: ADP - Tier 1 = <19 Tier 2 <28
3: NFL ADP - Tier 1 = <74, Tier 2 <106
4: Speed Score - Tier 1 = 1 67+. Tier 2 = 53+
5: Target Share - Tier 1 = 11.5+, Tier 2 = 6.5+
6: Team Wins - Tier 1 = 7.5+, Tier 2 = 4+

Here is every RB of relevance 26 or younger. Relevance is up to my discretion, so take that with a grain of salt.
Obviously it's July 15th, ADPs will drastically change. I used Yahoo ADPs. I also converted win percentage to total games so they correlate to Vegas over/unders.

I've sorted the RBs by 'knocks' from least to most, as 0 'knocks' would be the optimal outcome.
Green = 0 knocks, yellow = 1 knock, and red = 2 knocks, all of which correlate to the tiers defined above.
Example of tiers: ADP, Tier 0 is ADP less than 19, Tier 1 is 19-27, and Tier 2 is an ADP 28 or higher.
Tier 0 = green = 0 knock. Tier 1 = yellow = 1 knock, Tier 2 = red = 2 knocks.
Interestingly enough, there isn't a single RB with 0 knocks.
I added a 'year' column, because I'm hoping BaoBou will help me identify the peak of a RBs career, either in NFL years, Starter years, or whatever. It is listed as what THIS year will be for them. Ergo, the 2023 season will be Barkley's 6th NFL year. (next Post)
I'm too lazy to check ages as of Dec31st, I just used current age.
NFL Draft is written as round.pick. Saquon 1.02, he was drafted in the 1st round, the 2nd pick overall. Pacheco was drafted in the 7th round, 251st pick overall.
Perhaps I'll update this as we get closer to real draft season, for the ADP column. Personally I would put less emphasis on the ADP column today, or even in general, because I have zero faith in the general population of fantasy players. Meaning, the only 'knocks' that Gibbs and Swift have, is that the community is drafting them low. It's up to you, or me, or us, to decide if the community is accurately drafting them. (aka whether Yahoo is accurately ranking them)
Here is the follow up on the 'age' column, in which full credit goes to @BaoBou for doing the work to support the theory I had:

So this is a subject I've already looked into from various angles, both regarding which age and which career year RBs have the highest performance. A couple things to note before we look at the data.

1) career year is sort of misleading as many of these RBs have already logged hundreds of carries in College, and some haven't - and nobody knows how to value those, so we conveniently ignore it.
2) there is massive variance in all the data and you have to do some averaging and aggregation or again, the data points will be misleading.
3) rushing yards and receiving yards are not the same. Rushing has a lower peak age, and it has a lot more damage to the body. I've tried to slice and dice that, and still the patterns were not always conclusive.
4) injuries further distort the picture. You can go for game averages, but that's also not entirely fair.

With all of that said, here's some data I collected in 2019. I have several similar sheets, with slightly different looking graphs, collected over the years; I can do the exercise again, but it's quite painful (there is no direct API so you have to run subsequent queries and copy/paste data into an excel), so look at what I did and try to formulate the question as precise as you can.

With that preamble I know you're the only one still reading (and possibly foaming at the mouth), so let's continue the 2 of us.

I took 500 RB data points between 2009-2018, 500 yd seasons and over, ordered by season "yards combined" (rush+rec), then using a pivot table grouped the seasons per RB and ordered them by the total over that period (top 3 were Shady, Forte and Chris Johnson).

If you throw that grouped data in a graph, Chris Johnson 2009 sticks out a lot (2509 yds) and seems to suggest that the 2nd career year is special somehow. If however you compare each year to the longer term average, suddenly Doug Martin is the most extreme point and seems to suggest rookie seasons are the most interesting. Clearly, neither of those are the full story. I think generally if we ignore the extreme outliers, year 2-5 are probably the peak of most top careers (lesser players peak and disappear earlier).

Here's the chart that supports your idea the most, but reader beware. And let's define a clear question I can search for a bit better.


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