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dougmartin

Last week I introduced you to Wide Receiver Upside Ratios, a metric that uses both ADP and similarity score ceiling projections to determine a player’s relative upside. The next logical step would be to follow up with the ratios for other positions, like running back.

Now if we are going to apply upside ratios to running backs there’s a few things we should keep in mind. The similarity score app has a slight bias towards young, pass-catching backs, but I don’t think that is necessarily a critique of the app. Also, production from the running back position is particularly usage reliant and year-to-year usage in the NFL is becoming harder to predict due to committee backfields. The app is blind to situational changes so guys like David Wilson and Lamar Miller have very low ceiling projections – it’s best to ignore their upside ratios.

With those caveats, there is still much to be gained from exploring running back upside ratios and that’s where we will focus our attention.

Notable Early-Round Talent

Player

“Ceiling” Projection

ADP

Upside Score

Doug Martin

307.2

3

79.2

Trent Richardson

262.4

10

62.9

DeMarco Murray

248

27

59.3

Ray Rice

249.6

9

57.9

Alfred Morris

246.4

11

56.9

C.J. Spiller

240

6

53.9

Arian Foster

235.2

2

51.6

Marshawn Lynch

232

5

50.7

LeSean McCoy

230.4

8

50.5

Adrian Peterson

230.4

1

49.7

Stevan Ridley

222.4

17

48.4

Matt Forte

211.2

14

43.8

Jamaal Charles

211.2

4

42.7

Things start to get sketchy…

Frank Gore

169.6

24

29.1

Reggie Bush

169.6

23

29.0

Chris Johnson

171.2

16

28.8

Steven Jackson

169.6

12

27.7

Maurice Jones-Drew

147.2

20

20.1

Quick Thoughts:

Late-Round Upside

-

“Ceiling” Projection

ADP

Upside Score

Knowshon Moreno

211.2

164

60.6

Shonn Greene

201.6

155

55.9

Mikel Leshoure

204.8

118

53.0

Bryce Brown

193.6

97

46.4

Bernard Pierce

190.4

105

46.1

More Quick Thoughts:

  • Knowshon Moreno has found his way onto more and more of my mock draft rosters. The football community has largely just handed Montee Ball the lead back duties because he’s an unknown commodity, while Moreno’s career has been somewhat underwhelming. But throw in Ronnie Hillman, and the Denver backfield becomes increasingly murky. Generally, in a successful offense where the beneficiaries aren’t clear, I’ll take the cheapest player and in this case that’s Moreno.
  • Does Shonn Greene have some 2008 LenDale White potential? He may not find pay dirt 15 times, but the Greene Machine has actually plodded his way to back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, including touchdown totals of six and eight. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I am saying there’s a chance.
  • Mikel Leshoure is in a very similar situation to Shonn Greene. He’s by no stretch of the imagination going to lead the league (or even his team) in rushing, but if Calvin Johnson decides to get tackled at the one-yard line five more times this year, Leshoure will be there to poach Megatron’s touchdowns all the same.
  • Bryce Brown and Bernard Pierce are the two trendiest handcuffs in fantasy football. Many believe Brown will be the beneficiary of a run-heavy, spread the ball around Chip Kelly offense and that Pierce can seriously push Ray Rice for carries. Both Brown and Pierce have solid ceiling projections and sit one torn ACL away from a full-time gig.

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