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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby dgan » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:57 am

I wish they would change those workload studies from "carries" to "touches". Turner is not used as an every down back. He was spelled often by Norwood - he only had a handful of receptions. Not only does this reduce how often he is tackled compared to an "every down back", but also how many times he has to stand in the way of a blitzing LB or try to cut an unblocked DE. In fact, Forte had a similar workload if you include his 63 receptions, and I don't think anyone is worried about him.

At Turner's age and low career carry number, I'm not concerned with him being at a higher risk of breaking down. Clinton Portis, for example, has a lot more mileage. He only carried the ball 342 times last year, but also had 28 receptions. Math wasn't my best subject, but I think that adds up to 370. I'd be much more concerned about a breakdown with Portis than with Turner.

AP is kind of a violent runner like Marion Barber, so I think his running style more than his workload puts him at an additional risk for injury.

It is interesting, however, to look at what most people consider the top 5 RBs and their workload vs. the 5 other potential 1st round RBs and their workload. Peterson, Turner, Forte, Jackson, and Jones-Drew totaled about 1700 touches (MJD the least with 259). D. Williams, Slaton, Gore, C. Johnson, and Jacobs totaled a little over 1415 touches (only Slaton went over 300).

So if you do buy into this theory, there is something to chew on.

(Incidentally, that article doesn't really debunk the theory - it just points out that 370 carries is well above the league average and is not often duplicated by the same player for any number of reasons. But the point still remains that there is a good chance those top 5 RBs will suffer a statistical regression this season, meaning any or all of them could be overvalued and "bust" to one degree or another.)
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby joejlitz » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:15 pm

The Sporting News' FF mag has a similar article whereby it cautions against RBs who carry the ball 345 times or more. It has stats back to 2000 and provides stats to show that of the 22 RBs to carry 345 times or more, only 4 played the next year without:
1) serious injury
2) drastic decrease in production

Of the 18 RBs who sucked the next year, 14 of them were 25 or older.
Of the 4 times a RB played well the next year, 3 of them were 25 or older.
Of the 4 times a RB played well the next year, LT did it twice

(not much use in considering age there when deciding who to draft)

Here's their list:
LJ, 2006, 416, down
SJAX, 2006, 346, down
LT, 2006, 348, stats down but still elite +
Tiki, 2005, 357, down
Edge, 2005, 360, down
Shaun Alexander, 2005, 370, down
Portis, 2005, 352, down
Martin, 2004, 371, down
Dillon, 2004, 345, down
Alexander, 2004, 353, up
Rudi Johnson, 2004, 361, up

Ricky Williams, 2003, 392, retired
McAllister, 2003, 351, down
Lewis, 2003, 387, down
Green, 2003, 355, down
Fred Taylor, 2003, 345, down
Ricky Williams, 2002, 383, down
LT, 2002, 372, up
Stephen Davis, 2001, 356, down
George, 2000, 403, down
Edge, 2000, 387, down
Bettis, 2000, 355

As for receptions: of the 18 RBs who sucked the next year, 12 had at least 40 receptions. That means AD and Turner have only a 6 in 18 chance (or 33%) to suck the next year (if this was a hard and fast rule - which it is not).
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby smackthefirst » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:14 pm

dgan wrote:(Incidentally, that article doesn't really debunk the theory - it just points out that 370 carries is well above the league average and is not often duplicated by the same player for any number of reasons. But the point still remains that there is a good chance those top 5 RBs will suffer a statistical regression this season, meaning any or all of them could be overvalued and "bust" to one degree or another.)


I agree completely that it doesn't debunk the theory. I was more posting it because I hate it when people seem to think there is some curse tied to 370 carries. That's why I was posting the article. I don't know why this issue bothers me so much, but every year I get more and more aggravated at people who say "you shouldn't draft player x because he had over 370 carries last year and he is doomed" because that just isn't the case.

From a logical standpoint, yes the player may be more likely to get injured but that's simply due to the fact that any RB who goes over 370 carries without an injury is an anomaly regardless of whether or not those carries came over one season or three. The bottom line to me is that if you crunched all the data you would find that RBs as a group are likely to get injured every 'X' number of carries and those that make it throw an entire season unscathed are already beating the odds and the odds say that they are likely to get injured next season. The same logic follows through to their production. A player may have a career year with 370 carries but we all agree that's a lot of carries for any one player in any one season and if the player reduces to say 320 carries the following season with the exact same level of production per carry (IE 4.0 YPC and 1TD every 20 carries or something) then it should be obvious that their overall production from a fantasy point of view will decrease as well. It is a rare case to see a RB carry the ball 370 times with a certain per carry average increase that per carry average drastically enough to offset to reduction in carries the following season and out produce the 370 carry season on a points basis.

I think a lot of us here feel the same way and realize what is likely for a high carry RB the following season but I don't think that the majority of us buy into any type of curse or wall being right there at the 370 carry mark. Not to mention that this curse or wall doesn't take into account the RBs who have higher numbers of catches which is almost as important as the number or carries they have because at the end of the day, they are still putting their body through a pounding whether they run the ball out of the backfield or catch it out of the backfield. A hit by an NFL defender is a hit no matter how you got the ball prior to being hit.
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby mattb47 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:08 pm

Some have touched on this but while I do think that Turner will fall off fantasy wise from last year to this year, I don't know that it will necessarily be due to the fact that he had 370+ carries last season. One thing that kills him as I was doing my projections and things is that he doesn't catch any passes at all...considering that in 5 seasons in this league (albeit 4 in a limited role) he has had a grand total of 17 receptions, it severely limits his value as a fantasy back. This means that he is completely reliant on the Falcons running the ball a lot again, with him getting a lot of carries and punching in a bunch of TDs to be considered a top 5 back where he is being drafted alot.

If he fails to reach 15+ TDs, he will really struggle to be a top 5 RB because his rushing yards is essentially is total yards and that's a BIG gap to make up for. The "bust" probability becomes much higher in a case like this. Look at someone like LT as an example of the opposite...in a terrible year for him where he only managed to rush for just over 1100 yards, he still managed to be top 5-6 in most every format because he adds those 400+ extra yards of receiving (over 6 TDs worth) and an extra receiving TD. Turner doesn't have that "cushion" where there can be some room for error...he HAS to be very good with his carries, he HAS to get a lot of carries, and he has to score TDs. If he doesn't do all 3 of those, he's no longer in the top 5 and might even be borderline top 10. If he gets less carries next year...say even 325 which is still a lot and his ypc drops even to a solid 4.3 or 4.4, he loses around 300 rushing yards off that total and probably a TD or 2 and if you drop him 36 fantasy points, he's fighting to be top 10.
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby smackthefirst » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:59 am

mattb47 wrote:Some have touched on this but while I do think that Turner will fall off fantasy wise from last year to this year, I don't know that it will necessarily be due to the fact that he had 370+ carries last season. One thing that kills him as I was doing my projections and things is that he doesn't catch any passes at all...considering that in 5 seasons in this league (albeit 4 in a limited role) he has had a grand total of 17 receptions, it severely limits his value as a fantasy back. This means that he is completely reliant on the Falcons running the ball a lot again, with him getting a lot of carries and punching in a bunch of TDs to be considered a top 5 back where he is being drafted alot.

If he fails to reach 15+ TDs, he will really struggle to be a top 5 RB because his rushing yards is essentially is total yards and that's a BIG gap to make up for. The "bust" probability becomes much higher in a case like this. Look at someone like LT as an example of the opposite...in a terrible year for him where he only managed to rush for just over 1100 yards, he still managed to be top 5-6 in most every format because he adds those 400+ extra yards of receiving (over 6 TDs worth) and an extra receiving TD. Turner doesn't have that "cushion" where there can be some room for error...he HAS to be very good with his carries, he HAS to get a lot of carries, and he has to score TDs. If he doesn't do all 3 of those, he's no longer in the top 5 and might even be borderline top 10. If he gets less carries next year...say even 325 which is still a lot and his ypc drops even to a solid 4.3 or 4.4, he loses around 300 rushing yards off that total and probably a TD or 2 and if you drop him 36 fantasy points, he's fighting to be top 10.


Agreed completely. And in a PPR league it's even worse. In my PPR rankings, I have Turner as the 10th ranked RB and even with that ranking I'm hoping that I don't have to decide on picking him or not this year at the turn. Hopefully someone takes him before my pick in the 1st because if I did have to take him at 12, I'd still be worried.
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby dgan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:23 pm

Not to mention the Madden and SI curses are much easier to calculate and are probably more reliable. :-b
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby Kensat30 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:36 pm

What is the likelihood of a 370 carry season in the first place. It's become rare in today's NFL to get even 300 carries in a season. It makes sense that injury or a sizeable reduction in productivity would follow a 370 carry season... Anyone with 370 carries probably just had themselves a career year, it makes sense that on average their production should go down. Half of all RBs bust regardless of what they did last year and damn near 80-90% miss time due to injuries every season.

If you want to know who has a better chance of getting injured throughout the season, look for the guys who get injured in training camp and are slow to heal IMO.
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby Free Bagel » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:53 am

Kensat30 wrote:What is the likelihood of a 370 carry season in the first place. It's become rare in today's NFL to get even 300 carries in a season. It makes sense that injury or a sizeable reduction in productivity would follow a 370 carry season... Anyone with 370 carries probably just had themselves a career year, it makes sense that on average their production should go down. Half of all RBs bust regardless of what they did last year and damn near 80-90% miss time due to injuries every season.

If you want to know who has a better chance of getting injured throughout the season, look for the guys who get injured in training camp and are slow to heal IMO.


Well, to be fair the study focuses on guys that had MAJOR dropoffs the next year. If a guy went from 370 carries for 1700 yards and the next year had 330 carries for 1400 yards that wouldn't count as one of the datapoints.

Guys like Larry Johnson. It's not only that he got injured the year following his 416 carry year, it's that in the year he had 416 carries he was averaging 137 yards per game at 4.3ypc and 10.0 yards per catch, and the following year was averaging 85 yards per game at 3.5ypc and 6.2 yards per catch prior to getting hurt.

I don't think the issue with the theory is just as simple as natural regression to the mean. With most of these datapoints we're talking guys that have played 6 or 7 seasons and had by far the worst season of their entire career the year following their heavy carry season.

The issue is that the theory proves the complete opposite at 368-369 carries as it does at 370-380 carries (virtually no difference) with just as many datapoints.
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby Kensat30 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:45 pm

Free Bagel wrote:
Kensat30 wrote:What is the likelihood of a 370 carry season in the first place. It's become rare in today's NFL to get even 300 carries in a season. It makes sense that injury or a sizeable reduction in productivity would follow a 370 carry season... Anyone with 370 carries probably just had themselves a career year, it makes sense that on average their production should go down. Half of all RBs bust regardless of what they did last year and damn near 80-90% miss time due to injuries every season.

If you want to know who has a better chance of getting injured throughout the season, look for the guys who get injured in training camp and are slow to heal IMO.


Well, to be fair the study focuses on guys that had MAJOR dropoffs the next year. If a guy went from 370 carries for 1700 yards and the next year had 330 carries for 1400 yards that wouldn't count as one of the datapoints.

Guys like Larry Johnson. It's not only that he got injured the year following his 416 carry year, it's that in the year he had 416 carries he was averaging 137 yards per game at 4.3ypc and 10.0 yards per catch, and the following year was averaging 85 yards per game at 3.5ypc and 6.2 yards per catch prior to getting hurt.

I don't think the issue with the theory is just as simple as natural regression to the mean. With most of these datapoints we're talking guys that have played 6 or 7 seasons and had by far the worst season of their entire career the year following their heavy carry season.

The issue is that the theory proves the complete opposite at 368-369 carries as it does at 370-380 carries (virtually no difference) with just as many datapoints.


If you flip a coin 25 times and it lands heads 20 times, doesn't mean that a head is more likely to come up on try #26? How many 370 carries seasons have there been in NFL history? How many players with 370 carries? We're looking at an extremely small sample size and that sample is likely to include some of the best rushing seasons the NFL has ever seen. Fact of the matter is, if you are getting 370 carries in a season that season was most likely the most productive season of your career before and after the fact. Guys coming off career years are likely to decline significantly the following year. For 370 carries, you not only have to be healthy for all 16 games, you also have to handle an insane amount of carries in individual weeks, you have to be in the right situation to see that many carries, and the offense around you has to be productive enough to account for that many carries. So many things have to go right for that to happen for someone, that if only one small segment breaks down, the season quickly goes down the toilet.

LJ lost his o-line when he declined. Jamal Lewis got injured the following year, but played well when healthy. Shaun Alexander finally saw the wheels come off after breaking his foot in game 1 (Madden Curse anyone?) after a virtuall 100% injury free career. Curtis Martin was 32 freaking years old after his 370 carry season. Tomlinson turned in another monster season after this 370. Ricky Williams turned in another solid yet significantly weaker performance. In his follow up season, the guy had another 370+ carries and then he retired. Is that another part of the 370 curse? Every single guy on this 370 carry list has been a multi-year fantasy superstar and a household name! If you exclude Curtis Martin from both lists, the "analysis" 365 vs. 370 carry argument is significantly weakened. You lose probably 50% of the sample size of the 365-369 carry group without Martin (all with successful followup seasons).

What will Peterson look like in the future? As long as the guy stays right below 370 carries, fell safe to draft him, but over 370 strike him off your draft lists? You have to make that decision for Turner this year. Both of these guys are possibly coming off a career type years or there could be more to come. Who knows with these guys? Ahman Green was never the same after his big year. Tiki Barber had another big year after his big year and then retired just like Ricky Williams. Marshall Faulk got injured in every single year after his big year, and but he was never even close to 370 carries, and PPG he remained a stud. Should we do a 255 carry study based around Marshall Faulk to tell us how Maurice Jones Drew's career is going to develop? Every player is different regardless of how many carries they've seen. I saw a Turner play an entire season last year taking carry after carry and I don't remember seeing the guy on the injury report a single time. The guy handled those carries extremely well, similar to how Tomlinson has handled his carries well. That doesn't mean that the guy is immune to an ACL or a high ankle sprain, but why should we hold a carry total against a guy when that carry total has proven to us that this guy has what it takes to get through an entire season unscathed. Chris Brown could only dream of a 370 carry season. The guy could easily be the next Ahman Green or he could be Curtis Martin. We won't know until it happens. If you bypassed Tomlinson after 370 you would have missed out on 2400 yards and 17 TDs. If you bypass Turner you might miss another big year (although I agree that he is overrated due to lack of receptions.)
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Re: Michael Turner and 370 carries

Postby Timbathia » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:56 pm

I also think Turner is a bit over-rated where his current ADP is, but also agree though that he is no more an injury risk than most other RBs.

However, I dont think the lack of receptions is that big a deal as long as the Falcons win minimum 8 games (which they should). Backs that dont get many receptions (like Jamal Lewis and Rudi Johnson) can still put up very successful years as long as their teams have winning seasons. I am not about to go data searching to show this, but it is logical that as long as the team is winning, protecting leads, staying close in games, then there will be carries, yards and TDs around for the work-horse back. The cushion guys like LT get from having good reception totals are more important when they are on losing teams, as they keep getting yards even when behind on the score board (though admittedly receptions are nice on winning teams too). Turner may not get 17 TDs again this year, but if you think that the Falcons will win 10 games this season then his floor has to be about 12 and 1300 yards (which Rudi got three years running on a winning Bengals team). These numbers put Turner in the top 10 running backs last year, so assuming that holds this season then using your first pick on a guy who if healthy will have a floor in the top ten is not a terrible idea.
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