|Past PPR Finishes||2016||2015||2014|
Freeman and Murray stick out here as they each have 2 top 6 finishes at the position in the last three years, but this category isn’t quite as fair to Howard, Gordon, and Ajayi who haven’t yet finished 3 seasons.
Melvin Gordon averaged 20.9 touches per game if you exclude week 13 when he suffered his injury.
Jordan Howard averaged 20.2 touches per game beginning week 4 when he became the starter.
Jay Ajayi averaged 21.9 touches per game over the Dolphins final 12 games.
McCoy’s 5.4 YPC from 2016 is pretty incredible when you consider it’s .7 higher than his now career average (which was raised by that phenomenal season) and he did it at age 28.
|Career Touches (Including Playoffs)|
McCoy’s workload is slightly concerning considering he’s now a 29 year old back with over 2,300 career touches. He’s dealt with nagging injuries the past two years and it’s reasonable to think he could begin to break down. However, due to the amount of touches that McCoy and Murray have, we have an extremely large sample size to judge them from. We know that these guys will produce if on the field. When we’re looking at guys with around 500 or less career touches in Gordon, Howard, and Ajayi, there’s slightly more uncertainty about their ability.
|RZ Rushing Attempts||Inside 10||Inside 5|
It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that some of the most coveted backs in fantasy were also the most active in the red zone. Freeman and Gordon tied for the 3rd most attempts inside the 10 yard line, with Murray and McCoy right behind them. Gordon’s numbers are easily the most impressive and encouraging of the group considering he really only played 12 games last season. With about the same games played as Ajayi and Howard he had significantly more work close to the endzone.
|PFF Offensive Line Rankings|
The Chargers have already lost projected starter Forrest Lamp for the season which isn’t exactly encouraging for their already 21st ranked line. Maybe the big surprise to some would be the Bears line coming in 5th which is a big part of Jordan Howard’s success last season. Their interior line is monstrous and gave Howard the opportunity to succeed even in a bad offense. The Dolphins rank is interesting as they were arguably one of the better units in the league when they had their 5 starters together, but they’ve now lost Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey’s health remains a constant question mark. Pouncey hasn’t played 16 games since 2012. In games where Mike Pouncey played, Ajayi stat lines were… 10-42-1, 25-204-2, 28-214-1, 24-111-1, 19-79. When Pouncey played, Ajayi was elite.
|Vegas Win Totals|
Courtesy of Ray Summerlin of Rotoworld (http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/73635/446/good-backs-on-bad-teams?ls=roto:nfl:gnav) - "Teams with running backs who finished in the top-12 at the position have averaged a little fewer than nine wins per season over the last five years. Of those 60 performances, only 13 played on teams with fewer than seven wins, and only seven came from teams with five wins or fewer.“ This is extremely concerning for Jordan Howard, and even LeSean McCoy to an extent. It’s hard to say that either will bust because of their teams because of what we saw from both last season, but that stat puts it pretty plainly that RBs on teams that fail to reach 7 wins are rarely fantasy RB1s.
It’s surprising to me how late some of these RBs are lasting on average on ESPN as every one of them have their lowest ADP on that site.
I’ve tried to keep this mostly free of my potentially biased opinions and presented just as facts/rankings among these 6 to keep in mind when deciding between them. I’m curious to know what you guys find valuable among this information and if all of it being laid out at once like this changes anything for you. What makes you prefer one of these guys over the others?