Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Next Gen Stats Season Review: Running Backs

Time's up! The 2019 fantasy season is done and gone for good. Whether you play in a redraft league or are part of a dynasty format, the days of sitting at the edge of your couch and biting your nails are over. We have a tough eight-month desert to walk through ahead of us, but hey, the real NFL players are this close to kick-off and we will still enjoy football for another month and change, so you better get to it while it lasts! With the numbers in place and the games finished, it's time to wrap up the series and take a final look at who was who during this 2019 season.

To gain the biggest edge in your fantasy football league, it's necessary to understand how to apply the advanced statistics being used in sports nowadays. Back in the day, it was all about wins and losses, passing yards, and touchdowns scored. It's not that those stats are now worthless, they just don't offer enough information to savvy analysts. While football is still in its infancy compared to baseball in terms of analytics, the evolution the sport has seen lately in those terms is notable.

Each week, I'll be tackling NFL's Next Gen Stats, bringing you data from the just-completed week's games with notable takeaways you should consider when assessing fantasy players for the upcoming week. In case you're new to the series, or Next Gen Stats altogether, I recommend you read our preseason primer. Now, let's get to the data!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


2019 Best and Worst Rushers - NextGenStats

The season, at least for us fantasy nuts, is finally over. That is nothing good for our enjoyment of the fantasy game, but it is a time of calm and peace to enjoy the real NFL playoffs that we're also invested in. With all of the regular season numbers now in place, it is time to wrap up the NextGenStats series position by position.

Today I will go through the running back position and will provide a final update on how the league's rushers have done in the different metrics we've already tackled during the season. I will only show a small number of names for each category, present the correlation with the fantasy points averaged by the player, skip the gory details, and instead provide a new "combined" leaderboard at the end of the column.

Keep in mind also that I will only focus on fantasy production as pure rushers, eliminating the pass-catching element from their game. This will concentrate entirely on their total rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns in terms of the fantasy points per game numbers shown (labeled ruFP/G). I will also include an extra column this time, "ruFP/15At", which is accounts for the fantasy points a rusher is getting per 15 rushing attempts, which would be considered an RB1 workload on average and allows us to know how different players in different roles would be doing if given the same opportunities.

Note: The cutoff is set at 85 rushing attempts.



Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: negative-28%

Leaders and Trailers:

Percentage of Stacked Boxes Faced

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: negative-2%

Leaders and Trailers:

Average Time Behind The Line Of Scrimmage

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: 4%

Leaders and Trailers:

ATT & YDS & Y/A & TD

Correlation with Rushing Fantasy Points: 81% / 87% / 34% / 88%

Leaders and Trailers:

Combined NextGenStats Leaderboard

To build this leaderboard I used every metric that is part of the NGS site and put everything together in a combined score I labeled "NGS" in the following table. The calculation of each player's NGS score is simple. I calculated where each player ranked for each metric, and then multiplied that rank for the correlation between that metric and my ruFP/G metric. Players ranked higher (closer to one) in each category will have lower scores for those categories. At the end, I added up each player's scores from all of the categories getting a single NGS score.

The lower the NGS, the better the player for fantasy as each category was already weighted given its correlation with the ruFP/G metric. Here are the results:

NGS Leaderboard Notes:

  • All hail Derrick Henry, the true rushing champion of the 2019 season! When it comes to producing on the ground, there has been no one like Henry in all fantasy football. That's correct, not even Christian McCaffrey will finish the year even close to him, and Henry scored an NGS more than two times lower than CMC... and virtually seven times lower than sixth-best Josh Jacobs!
  • Although the race was close, Henry got the edge over the field mostly in usage (No. 1 in attempts; 303), total yardage on the ground (No. 1 in rushing yards; 1,540), and touchdowns (No. 1 tied with Aaron Jones; 16). The only metric in which he wasn't inside of the top-five was TLOS (21st). CMC made the top-five in four of the seven categories.
  • Dalvin Cook finished the year averaging the third-most ruFP/G with 13.7 but he dropped to eight in the NGS leaderboard. He only finished inside the top-five in TDs and inside the top-10 in ATT and YDS, but fell to 16th or worse in every other category, hurting his score.
  • With rushing attempts, yardage, and touchdowns being very important and direct influencers of fantasy scorers, it makes sense to find some top-tier names at the bottom of the NGS leaderboard. Kerryon Johnson, James Conner, and even Damien Williams are all good rushers but they've seen little opportunities due to one reason or another, and their touchdown tallies have not surpassed the five scores in the best of cases.
  • Raheem Mostert's NGS score is quite high considering his low number of rushing attempts, something he was able to make up for with very efficient rushing (772 YDS and a league-leading 5.6 Y/A). Mostert would have been the best rusher in the NFL had every running back averaged 15 attempts per game.
  • Le'Veon Bell, on the other hand, is the rusher with the lowest NGS score to have the greatest number of attempts (245). He and Moster posted virtually the same yardage but Bell needed more than an extra 100 carries, which finished with him averaging 3.2 Y/A (second-worst in the NFL only over Peyton Barber's 3.1).
  • It's been a year to forget for David Johnson. He fell out of the Cardinals' rotation, could only rush the ball 94 times, his efficiency numbers were all horrid, and he ranked bottom-five in three of the seven NGS categories. Only Bo Scarbrough ranked worse in more categories (four of seven) although he was much more efficient when on the field and his ruFP/G (7.3) more than double Johnson's (3.6).
  • The five players with the most attempts were also the five players with the highest yardage. Only three of those, though, finished top-five in touchdowns. That proves the volatility of scoring: The six 10-plus TD scorers this season (order from more to fewer TDs) have ranked first, 15th, fourth, eighth, second, and 17th in attempts.
  • Only eight rushers have finished the season averaging 5.0 Y/A or more. Of those, only Henry and Mostert ranked in the top half of the NGS leaderboard. Henry alone was the only rusher of that group to average more than 8.0 ruFP/G (16.7).

More Fantasy Football Analysis

Today’s Most Viewed Players

More Recent Articles


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Aaron Civale

With Mike Clevinger sidelined to start the year and Corey Kluber off to Texas, the Indians will rely on the emergence of Aaron Civale to bolster their typically-formidable rotation. Civale impressed in his rookie season with 10 starts, 57.2 innings pitched (IP), a 3-4 win-loss record, 2.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 46 Ks. Due to the... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Didi Gregorius

The Philadelphia Phillies finished 2019 with a record of 81-81, which was only good enough for a fourth-place finish in the NL East. They have since added the likes of Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius to improve their chances of a division title in 2020. They have also brought in highly-touted manager Joe Girardi to... Read More

2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Shortstop

If you're keeping up with the Keeper Value Rankings, you know we've already covered First Base, Second Base, and Third Base. Today, we will address Shortstop. These rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based... Read More

ADP Showdown: Anthony Rendon vs. Rafael Devers

The first two rounds in your fantasy draft can be challenging because each available player is tremendously skilled with significant upside. Every pick looks desirable, so it’s important to try to determine which player has a greater likelihood of producing superior fantasy production. This can be accomplished by examining overall production and team context.  This... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More

MLB Closers and Saves: Fantasy Baseball Depth Charts

Saves are an important component for many fantasy baseball leagues. Closers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball, and one of the highest turnover positions in MLB. Each year, closers drop like flies and many MLB teams make in-season changes due to injuries or poor performance. Stay on top of all closer depth... Read More

Industry Expert Mock: ADP Surprises

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut break down the recent RotoBaller Friends & Family industry mock draft to see how the experts fared and look at some of the most surprising picks, for better or worse. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and... Read More

Fantasy Insider Angles - Thor, Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis and More

Success in baseball isn’t always just about pure numbers. For those who play the game and are inside the clubhouse, it’s also about creating the right chemistry and environment. As the New York Mets opened spring training this season, there was a fresh air of optimism around the team. It also seemed to extend to... Read More

Points League Ranker Tool - NFBC

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. Brought to you by RotoBaller's Nicklaus Gaut (@Nt_BurtReynolds), this Points Rankings tool uses RotoBaller's 2020 MLB projections to build out custom rankings for NFBC Points Leagues. The tool uses the default NFBC scoring settings. All fantasy baseball platforms have different scoring settings for their points leagues.... Read More

Points League Ranker Tool - CBS

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. Brought to you by RotoBaller's Nicklaus Gaut (@Nt_BurtReynolds), this Points Rankings tool uses RotoBaller's 2020 MLB projections to build out custom rankings for CBS Points Leagues. The tool uses the default CBS scoring settings. All fantasy baseball platforms have different scoring settings for their points leagues.... Read More

Points League Ranker Tool - Fantrax

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. Brought to you by RotoBaller's Nicklaus Gaut (@Nt_BurtReynolds), this Points Rankings tool uses RotoBaller's 2020 MLB projections to build out custom rankings for Fantrax Points Leagues. The tool uses the default Fantrax scoring settings. All fantasy baseball platforms have different scoring settings for their points leagues.... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Expected Stats

Statcast is a valuable tool for fantasy analysis, and it can be easy to look at a stat called "Expected Batting Average" and blindly use it as your projection moving forward. Of course, proper use of these metrics is a little bit more nuanced than that. First, a disclaimer: This article is about the "Expected... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis – Kris Bryant vs Josh Donaldson

Spring training is officially underway, which means baseball season is finally upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position decisions. Third base is a fairly deep position... Read More

Platoon Watch: Part-Time Infielders Worth Rostering

It seems that platooning in major league baseball has become increasingly popular every year. This strategy benefits teams by protecting aging veterans from injury and by getting the most advantageous lineup versus a specifically-handed pitcher. While platooning is smart for major league clubs, it gives us fantasy managers headaches when our player rides the pine... Read More

Bases Loaded Podcast: Happy TGFBI Day! - TGFBI Strategy & Day 1 ADP Data

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) isjoined by Sp Streamer and Zach Braff and they discuss all things happening in their TGFBI drafts. Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be... Read More