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I am a mixed bag of emotions because of the end of the 2017 season. I am excited for the NFL playoffs and a chance for the my hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to win their third Super Bowl in my lifetime. I am sad because the regular season is at an end and with it goes the 2017 fantasy football season. I am happy for those of you out there who brought home the fantasy championship in your leagues, but also mad because Mike Evans cost me one of mine. I am hopeful for the 2018 offseason and all the joys that come with free agency, draft season, training camp, and the weeks before the 2018 season.

However, since the 2017 season has come to a close, we now have a full season's worth of fantasy data to compile, analyze, and interpret to get ready for next year. To start, we have the final consistency numbers for each player at each position. To breakdown these numbers fully, I will be devoting a single article to each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) to analyze the final consistency numbers from 2017.

The players are sorted by COR and filtered by playing at least six games and having at least one top-12 performance. This gives us a large enough tally of players at each position to get a clear grasp on how well our studs performed and how bad the busts failed to deliver. Be sure to catch up on the previous article on quarterbacks as we now dive into the running back position.

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Running Backs - 2017 Consistency Report

 

Studs

Le'Veon Bell - I am not sure I need to go into much detail to explain why Bell was a stud in 2017. After a slower start to the season, Bell finished the year with nine games over 20 fantasy points, six of which were over 27 points. Sure his standard deviation of 8.21 is slightly high among running backs, but with the elite numbers Bell puts up over the course of a season, owners will take a couple 16 point games. His consistency and ceiling put him at the top of the list in COR among running backs. On top of that, Bell finished with a floor of 14.56, higher than any other running back in fantasy. The RB2 overall on the year, this is the type of production Bell owners have come to expect from the best running back in the NFL.

Todd Gurley - My personal vote for fantasy MVP in 2017, Gurley was this year's version of David Johnson; he was cheap(er) on draft day, never skipped a beat all season, scored nearly 100 points in Weeks 15 and 16 alone, and finished the year as the RB1 overall. Even his only flaw on the year was positive: his 11.69 standard deviation was highest among running backs, but this was due to his four games over 34 points! His 37.25 ceiling is the highest among RBs and puts him second in COR behind only Le'Veon Bell. Like I said about Jared Goff in the QB article, the Jeff Fisher effect is real. Gurley has made a strong case to be 1.01 in 2018 drafts.

Ezekiel Elliott - Zeke finished as an RB1 this season (and probably would have finished in the top-3), despite playing only ten games. In that short time frame, however, Zeke managed to post three games over 25 fantasy points, including one game over 40. Like Bell, Zeke was slightly inconsistent with a 9.22 standard deviation, but his ceiling and floor more than made up for any sporadic point totals over the first half of the season. Elliott still finished third among RBs in COR and is a surefire top-5 pick in 2018 drafts.

 

Duds

Doug Martin - I think people forgot that Martin needs two years in between 1,400 yard seasons and that this was his second year. With that being said, Doug Martin 2018 stud muffin. Jokes aside, Martin had a disastrous 2017 campaign, finishing the year as the RB64 in PPR leagues. Despite scoring 30 points in his first two games coming back from suspension, Martin failed to score more than 11 fantasy points in any week the rest of the season. Even though his 5.35 standard deviation was one of the best among running backs, his 6.91 average was one of the worst. He was completely unreliable for fantasy owners, especially owners who paid a modest price on draft day for him, and he probably sat on waivers for most of the season. His days in Tampa may be over, but I am not sure if I can trust Martin to be on my team in 2018, let alone a start-able asset.

Ameer Abdullah - Abdullah made me very sad this year. Coming into the season, I saw Abdullah as a sleeper candidate at the running back position and was a favorite zero-RB target of mine in drafts. I believed in Abdullah's talent and potential workload in Detroit and saw him as a top-20 PPR back in 2017. Well, he finished as the RB40 and was a massive disappointment all season long. He broke double digits in only five games, one of which was over 13 fantasy points. His 8.89 average was one of the worst among running backs, but he was very consistent around that average. Despite having a modest floor, his ceiling made him an unwanted piece on any fantasy roster. The Lions may look to drafting another running back in the loaded 2018 class, making Abdullah an afterthought in fantasy.

Isaiah Crowell - Of all the busts in 2017, Crowell hit me the hardest. I may have been the highest on him coming into 2017 and drafted him in about every league I was in. Unfortunately for me, Crowell did not pan out the way I had anticipated. Like Abdullah, Crowell finished with one of the worst averages among running backs (8.97), but was very consistent around that average (5.15 standard deviation). Every preseason knock on Crowell came to fruition in 2017: questionable commitment to the run, negative game-scripts, high dependency on big plays, etc. It also did not help that Duke Johnson had the best season of his career. Like Abdullah, the Browns may be in the market for a rookie running back in April. However, Crowell is a free agent this season, so he may find a new home on a better team to boost his fantasy value. Time will tell.

 

Honorable Mentions

Alvin Kamara - Wow. Just wow. If it was not for Gurley's insane year, Alvin Kamara might have been this year's fantasy MVP, especially since he was probably on waivers for the first couple weeks of the season. Super Kamario finished the year as the RB3 overall, only 20 points behind Le'Veon Bell. What Kamara was able to do between Weeks 9-13 was absolutely unbelievable. He AVERAGED 29.6 points per game during that span and may have been solely responsible for fantasy teams making the playoffs. Kamara's 2017 season cannot be overstated and he will be a first round pick in 2018, especially in PPR leagues.

Kareem Hunt - Another rookie who took the fantasy world by storm the first three weeks of the season. Hunt scored no less than 14 points in any week though Week 7, including one 45-point performance. After a weird spurt of underwhelming games, Hunt returned to form in the fantasy playoffs, never scoring less than 20 points from Weeks 14-16. Despite finishing with the second highest standard deviation among running backs, Hunt is another elite asset to own in 2018 after an outstanding rookie campaign.

Christian McCaffrey - What a world we live in where four rookie running backs finish the season as RB1s. Though his name may not be as sexy as Kamara, Hunt or Leonard Fournette, Run CMC had quite the 2017 season himself. He finished the year with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, seven touchdowns and 80 receptions. In PPR leagues, McCaffrey was a stud all season. He only scored less than eight fantasy points once and his 5.61 standard deviation was one of the best among RBs. Though he was fairly touchdown dependent to really get an elite game from him, McCaffrey was as reliable as they come on a weekly basis. All doubts about his volume have been answered and the possibility of taking over the Panthers rushing attack completely is very real in 2018. In PPR leagues, McCaffrey is a high-end RB2 likely to go in the second round of drafts.

Leonard Fournette - Might as well complete the rookie RB1s with maybe the most intriguing of them all. Fournette finished as the RB9 in 2017, but it may not have felt like it to Fournette owners. After constantly being a question mark about whether or not he would play, Fournette quietly had a solid end to the 2017 season, never scoring less than 16 fantasy points from Week 13 on. Perhaps his hype got a little out of control after three straight 20+ point weeks at the beginning of the season, but his rookie campaign was very much as expected. He did miss a couple games due to injury, but Fournette finished the season with 1,300 total yards, 10 touchdowns and even 36 receptions. Going into 2018, there are no questions about his talent, role, or volume, but whether or not he can play a full 16 game slate is the question. If he can, he is a surefire RB1 moving forward.

 

That's all for the running backs! Make sure to watch for tomorrow's Consistency Report on the wide receiver position and be sure to read yesterday's article on the quarterback position!

 

More 2017 Consistency Reports