Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller and the Comprehensive RotoViz Running Back Workshop

RotoViz sports a complete suite of RB prediction tools to help you dominate your draft. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been using all of them to develop my own draft board. This final article brings those pieces together in a comprehensive set of rankings. First, let’s briefly look at what each tool is designed to do.

The RB Sim Score App

The original app is designed to provide you with a set of comparable players, an N+1 projection, and a Year Over Year Change Plot that gives a visual representation of how those players performed the following year. The biggest factors tend to be size, age, efficiency, touches, and receptions. Size, age, and receptions play a bigger role than most realize.

In looking at the Sim Scores, I came to the conclusion that Alfred Morris was an underrated stealth star, DeMarco Murray is sitting on post-hype volcano the size of Yellowstone, and Adrian Peterson, god forbid, is overvalued.

The RB Sim Score Lab

This may be my favorite RotoViz app because it allows you to create your own hypothetical runners. You can punch in numbers for Robo Richardson or Cheat Code Charles. One of the best applications of this tool is to help the Sim Scores answer questions they don’t know to ask. What would S-Jax look like in Atlanta? What if Lamar Miller had received starter carries?

I used this App to look at the non-rookie runners with ADPs in the 1-20 range and came to a startling conclusion. Trent Richardson ranked as the No. 1 back. (Please just add, “. . . if he stays healthy,” to every statement about every player; and for the supposedly injury-prone guys, give it a mental italics.)

Then I performed the same analysis on the guys in the 21-50 range. (Perhaps it’s because David Wilson is the most important player on earth, but he somehow ended up on both lists. That’s just one of the reasons I call him the World Turtle.) This is probably the most actionable article I’ve written all summer.

The RB Custom Cheat Sheet

The Cheat Sheet allows you to generate a quick set of rankings and export it to Excel. Like so many of the RotoViz tools, it’s highly flexible and you can spend as much or as little time with it as you want. It allows you to adjust for number of carries and by week of the season. It also allows you to change the ‘games played’ adjustment, which is one of my favorite buttons to fiddle with and see the morphing of results.

Earlier this week, I followed the same method I used in generating a complete set of WR rankings – Brandon Marshall was No. 1 in a mild, but not ridiculous, upset – and published my full set of rankings. After writing that article, I became even more convinced that Ray Rice is the most underrated RB1 this season.

My Final RotoViz Board

These rankings use the three sets of projections. Because they most closely represent my own beliefs and because they may make a few important adjustments for context, I’ve weighted the RB Sim Lab results at 60% and the other two at 20% each. The numbers and rankings are for PPR leagues, but all of the apps can also give you standard and half-ppr numbers. As always, I encourage you to interact with the apps yourself.

The links in the “Notes” section provide an index to the main feature articles we’ve done on these players this summer.

Rk Player RB Lab Custom Cheat Sheet Sim Score Final Projection Notes
1 Doug Martin 17.7 19.2 19.2 18.3 Clear No. 1
2 Trent Richardson 19.1 14.0 14 17.1 Most upside, a lot of risk
3 C.J. Spiller 17 17.2 15.9 16.8 Yards from scrimmage record falling?
4 Ray Rice 16.5 17.2 17.2 16.8 Outscored AP 19.7 to 19.6 over last 4 years
5 Jamaal Charles 17.9 14.9 12.1 16.1 Best reality back in great offense
6 Arian Foster 16.7 12.6 15.1 15.6 Heavy prior usage may not matter
7 Adrian Peterson 16.7 13.1 14.2 15.5 Just not in a good system for fantasy
8 Alfred Morris 15.3 15.3 15.3 15.3 Terrell Davis 2.0
9 LeSean McCoy 15.4 15.0 15 15.2 Might get 400 touches
10 Matt Forte 14.8 12.0 12 13.7 A better Charlie Garner
11 Reggie Bush 14.8 11.9 12 13.7 Fantasy MVP candidate is primed for best year
12 Chris Johnson 14.4 9.8 12.5 13.1 Nobody likes the end of Lost or my CJ post
13 Stevan Ridley 13.8 10.9 12.4 12.9 Lacks the Top 5 upside without receptions
14 Marshawn Lynch 12.1 13.0 15.1 12.9 Skittles is even more overvalued than you think
15 DeMarco Murray 12.1 13.7 13.7 12.7 Zone scheme could give another boost
16 Steven Jackson 14 9.8 9.8 12.3 An MVP candidate or is lateral movement gone?
17 Frank Gore 11.8 10.9 10.9 11.4 Will lose more touches to Hunter, James than expected
18 Darren McFadden 11.7 11.0 11 11.4 Injury prone back in terrible offense
19 Ahmad Bradshaw 10.6 12.5 12.5 11.4 An arbitrage play for MJD fans?
20 Maurice Jones-Drew 13.4 8.2 8.2 11.3 Revlis football is still on board
21 Ryan Mathews 10.7 10.8 11.3 10.8 As ADP plummets his prospects start to intrigue
22 Lamar Miller 13.7 6.9 6.1 10.8 Get on board the hype train
23 Bryce Brown 11 9.4 10.9 10.7 An easy RB2 if he fends off Chris Polk
24 David Wilson 12.3 7.7 5.9 10.1 Wildly undervalued or overvalued?
25 Mark Ingram 10.9 7.5 9.3 9.9 A cheaper version of Ridley?
26 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 9.8 7.8 11.3 9.7 Valuable if Bengals’ offense becomes elite
27 Bernard Pierce 9.4 8.9 10.3 9.5 Receives boost from return of Leach
28 Andre Brown 9.6 12.8 4.4 9.2 Goal line back and potential finisher with upside
29 Darren Sproles 9.4 9.0 8.7 9.2 He’ll finish as a RB1/2 but still be overvalued by ADP
30 Shane Vereen 10.7 7.4 5.7 9.0 Not a Sproles-level talent but ready to emerge
31 Rashard Mendenhall 9.9 10.0 5.4 9.0 Would be a target if not for OL and schedule
32 Chris Ivory 11.4 5.3 3.1 8.5 Should be higher but injuries, offense are concerns
33 Daryl Richardson 9.4 7.1 7 8.5 It’s probably time to buy
34 Vick Ballard 7.1 9.4 11.4 8.4 A sleeper behind an oft-injured starter
35 Danny Woodhead 8.7 7.4 7.4 8.2 Fontaine’s PPR sleeper
36 Mikel Leshoure 5.5 10.4 13.4 8.1 App loves size/age but now 3rd string
37 Pierre Thomas 7.9 7.6 6.6 7.6 Should be part of the Ultimate Power Lineup
38 Ronnie Hillman 8.3 6.7 6 7.5 A breakout candidate even with Ball hovering
39 Isaiah Pead 9.2 4.5 4.5 7.3 The next Tatum Bell?
40 DeAngelo Williams 6.5 7.6 9 7.2 Sneaky value in revamped offense
41 Kendall Hunter 8.2 5.5 5.5 7.1 Reports on Achilles are very positive
42 Jacquizz Rodgers 6.6 7.3 8.2 7.1 Don’t bother selling, just release
43 Shonn Greene 5 9.3 10.9 7.0 No stand alone value
44 LaMichael James 8.3 4.8 4.1 6.8 Nobody is giving him his due
45 Jonathan Stewart 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.6 Shooting for Week 1 but may be finished
46 Fred Jackson 6.6 4.1 6.9 6.2 Generating no media buzz but still sports surprising ADP
47 Joique Bell 4.6 8.0 7.6 5.9 Must handcuff for Bush owners
48 Knowshon Moreno 4.5 4.0 11.7 5.8 Still has a chance to factor in
49 Ben Tate 4.2 5.3 5.3 4.6 A breakout would be better late than never
50 Michael Bush 5.1 4.7 2.05 4.4 ….

Those looking for my Comprehensive QB Workshop – targets, strategy, and exploded myths – start with Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and the QB Safety Rankings.

Shawn Siegele is the creator of the contrarian sports website Money in the Banana Stand and Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy.

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  1. dontyouhatepants
    August 18, 2013 at 4:48 am —

    You probably should mention your rankings don’t include rookies.  Sorry I always nitpick, I’m just a contrarian by nature.  So, obviously I love your stuff, but search for ways to disagree.

    • Shawn Siegele
      August 18, 2013 at 8:01 am —

      Yeah, no rookies in this one. I’ll probably have a piece coming out in a couple of days updating those guys. I love taking risks on unproven players, but it looks like all of the rookies are probably overvalued at this point. 
      We did a lot of work on the rookies before and around the NFL Draft. If anybody is searching for that stuff in the meantime, there are links to those pieces at the end of the end of the “Lamar Miller and Complete Ranks of Running Back 21-50” article.

  2. Shawn Siegele
    August 20, 2013 at 7:09 am —

    Richardson could be the guy we’re saying, “the clear cut No. 1 in all formats” about next year at this time.

  3. jmkeets
    August 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm —

    Is there a similar article w/ rankings like this for other position groups?

    • TheRotoViz
      August 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm —

      jmkeets I’m working on a QB version right now. Shawn has previously ranked WRs here:

      • jmkeets
        August 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm —

        Thank you!  I’ve really enjoyed the site.  Extremely insightful — not only from a fantasy perspective, but also from a fans perspective.

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