This is part two of this series. See the WR version here.

Fantasy drafts are in full swing, and we’ve written a lot recently about our draft strategies and targets at various positions. For this article, I’m taking a look at the running backs with the most variability in their rankings. These are guys the experts disagree on. Some love ‘em, some hate ‘em. But at some point on draft night, you’ll have to make a decision about these guys: take them at their current ADP, look for them if they drop, or skip them all together. Are these guys great targets for your team or not? Let’s find out.

To begin, I took Fantasy Pros PPR Projections and pasted them into a table. I focused on the top 50 ranked backs, minus rookies. Then I added some analysis, research, and commentary from Rotoviz. Hopefully this exercise helps distill your thinking about these backs. Here’s what the table tells us.

  • Rank – The Expert Consensus Rank.
  • Standard Deviation – The amount of variability in how the experts rank the player. For the top 50 ranked RBs, the average deviation was 5.34. All of these players have a higher deviation, meaning there’s less agreement among the experts. The higher the number, the less agreement.
  • ADP – The player’s current RB ADP.
  • Vs. ADP – The difference between the player’s ADP and their Expert Consensus Rank. Positive numbers are good (the player is expected to outperform their ADP), negative numbers are bad.
  • Volatility – I used the Volatility metric developed by Jonathan Bales to highlight the variability present in our WR App projections for the player. The formula is (High Projection – Low Projection) / Median Projection. Lower scores indicate a more stable projection.
  • Median Projection – The median PPR points/game projection from our WR App.
  • Research – Links to awe inspiring, jaw dropping RotoViz content about the player.
  • Target? – Would I target the player at their current ADP? Feel free to disagree!
RankPlayerStDevADPVs ADPVolatilityMedian ProjectionResearchCommentTarget?
23Ryan Mathews5.62410.5911Ryan Mathews? Ryan Mathews.15th-best median projection for all RBs. Very productive on per-snap basis. Was on RB18 pace last yearAll Day. Not as volatile as you might think, great projection.
24Shane Vereen5.82951.15.4An X’s & O’s Look at VereenOpportunity is important for RBs, & Vereen seems almost certain to have expanded role.Very volatile projection, inscrutable head coach. I’ll pass.
25Daryl Richardson5.93051.74.6It’s Time to Buy on Daryl RichardsonHas some really, really good comps. Pead not impressing.A Rob Deer pick: home run or strike out? Very volatile, high risk/reward. I’m out.
30Rashard Mendenhall5.33110.725.7Mild Post-Hype AppealBest bet in ARI backfield. Uh.Hard to get excited about a 5.7 p/g projection.
32Andre Brown5.33311.26.9Underrated, RB RankingsComplementary Backs are usually flex plays in Coughlin’s offense.I like him, but nah. I like the next 2 better.
33DeAngelo Williams8.136318.4Underrated, RB RankingsStewart looks iffy. More opportunity for D-Willy.Aging, volatile. I can relate. I’m in.
35Mark Ingram5.73500.748.9Can Ingram be a RB2 in 2013?Healthy & in best usage situation of career.Closest to consensus amongst experts, decent projection, great offense. But Pierre is cheaper. Not for me.
36Danny Woodhead8.24370.697.4A Fontaine FaveDon’t think he has upside if Mathews injured, like Ingram would if Sproles/Thomas injured. Also Brady > RiversNope.
37Pierre Thomas6.94580.67.3Shawn Siegele likes him.Less volatile projection, cheaper than Ingram.Sure.
38Fred Jackson6.84130.85.9Uh, we don’t have any.Possibly the worst set of comps, ever.Move along.
39Ronnie Hillman8.838-10.914.7Overrated, RB RankingsThree preseason fumbles.Nah.
40Jacquizz Rodgers7.34880.999.1How to Lose a Draft in 10 Picks.Volatile projection, little consensus.Why?
41Ben Tate7.237-415.4So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?Guys lower down make better handcuffs with higher projectionsNyet.
42Vick Ballard7.840-20.7110.9Vick Ballard, Fantasy SleeperOpportunity counts, and Bradshaw’s injury history might catch up. Served well last year, good projection.Yup.
44Jonathan Stewart8.54400.556.2Ain’t got none.Injured, questionable to start season.No way.
45Bernard Pierce5.839-60.938.4Second Year Sim ScoresWith losses elsewhere on offense, should see regular usage. Great upside if Rice goes down.Me likey.
46Isaiah Pead7.85150.894.6Rams Backfield, Isaiah PeadHasn’t done much to improve outlook this preseason. Low projection.Not a chance.
47Bryce Brown6.542-50.5710.8Second Year Sim ScoresLow volatility, solid projection, likely a run-based offense, upside if McCoy goes down.Yeah.
48Jonathan Dwyer12.35020.7810.2Saved by the Bell (Injury)Who gets the carries? When does Bell return?I’ll pass.
49Joique Bell10.563140.697Gold vs. Fool’s GoldHas well & truly passed Leshoure. Flex play with upside if Bush goes down.Man crush.
50Mikel Leshoure9.846-40.613.4ADP ArbitrageSee above.Nevah.

Subscribe for a constant stream of league-beating articles available only with a Premium Pass.