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Why are RBs the most coveted fantasy performers?

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Why are RBs the most coveted fantasy performers?

Postby TheBigBakedBean » Fri May 14, 2004 2:10 pm

This is going to be really long, so please bear with me. All of the information posted here was researched by Bottled Aggression and first appeared in http://www.fantasyfootballcafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=60564

OK, so here are the top 25 fantasy performers from 2003:
Bottled Aggression wrote:Priest Holmes RB KAN 373
Ahman Green RB GNB 362
LaDainian Tomlinson RB SDG 355
Daunte Culpepper QB MIN 352
Peyton Manning QB IND 351
Matt Hasselbeck QB SEA 336
Jamal Lewis RB BAL 336
Trent Green QB KAN 329
Brett Favre QB GNB 322
Marc Bulger QB STL 319
Brad Johnson QB TAM 314
Steve McNair QB TEN 308
Jon Kitna QB CIN 303
Aaron Brooks QB NOR 303
Clinton Portis RB DEN 294
Tom Brady QB NWE 292
Randy Moss WR MIN 286
Jeff Garcia QB SFO 284
Deuce McAllister RB NOR 276
Shaun Alexander RB SEA 275
Donovan McNabb QB PHI 269
Torry Holt WR STL 266
Quincy Carter QB DAL 260
Tommy Maddox QB PIT 250
Jake Delhomme QB CAR 248


Ok, of the top 25 fantasy performers in the entire NFL for 2003, 7 were RBs, 16 were QBs, and 2 were WRs (no-brainer as to which 2 WRs made this list...). Here is how they averaged:
RB: 7 -> 2271 tp -> 324 avg.
QB: 16 -> 4840 tp -> 303 avg.
WR: 2 -> 552 tp -> 276 avg.

Of all of the top 60 fantasy performers, 19 were RBs, 26 were QBs, 11 were WRs, 4 were Defenses, and Jeff Wilkins was the lone kicker included. Here's how they stacked up:
RB: 19 -> 4660 tp -> 245 avg.
QB: 26 -> 6602 tp -> 254 avg.
WR: 11 -> 2200 tp -> 200 avg.
DEF: 4 -> 773 tp -> 193 avg.
K: 1 -> 175 tp -> 175 avg.

Now, my question is why RBs are regarded so much higher than Quarterbacks - and I can kind of get an idea in looking at those numbers, but it's still perplexing. If you look at the numbers at-a-glance, you'll notice that the Quarterbacks in the top 25 didn't average as many fantasy points as the Running Backs in the top 25, but the QBs in the top 60 averaged more points than the RBs in the top 60. I realize, however, that this is lopsided because there are more QBs than RBs in the pool of top performers.

So I suppose I can see why a stud RB is more valuable than a stud QB - since their are fewer stud RBs than there are stud QBs. But check this out - I averaged the performances for the top ten QBs, the top ten RBs, and the top ten WRs in the league, and the results aren't exactly what you expect.

The top ten QBs (based on fantasy performances) from 2003 were as follows:
Daunte Culpepper 352
Peyton Manning 351
Matt Hasselbeck 336
Trent Green 329
Brett Favre 322
Marc Bulger 319
Brad Johnson 314
Steve McNair 308
Jon Kitna 303
Aaron Brooks 303
and they scored a total of 3,237 fantasy points between them. That means for 2003, a top-10 QB would average you 324 fantasy points for the season.

The top ten RBs (based on fantasy performances) from 2003 were as follows:
Priest Holmes 373
Ahman Green 362
LaDainian Tomlinson 355
Jamal Lewis 336
Clinton Portis 294
Deuce McAllister 276
Shaun Alexander 275
Fred Taylor 246
Ricky Williams 240
Edgerrin James 225
and they scored a total of 2,982 fantasy points between them. That means for 2003, a top-10 RB would average you 298 fantasy points for the season.

The top ten WRs (based on fantasy performances) from 2003 were as follows:
Randy Moss 286
Torry Holt 266
Chad Johnson 202
Marvin Harrison 198
Anquan Boldin 196
Santana Moss 180
Hines Ward 179
Derrick Mason 177
Keenan McCardell 176
Terrell Owens 170
and they scored a total of 2,030 fantasy points between them. That means for 2003, a top-10 WR would average you 203 fantasy points for the season.

Why, then, if a top-10 QB will yield you around 324 points in a season and a top-10 RB will yield you around 298 points in a season, would you take RBs with your first two picks and wait until the third round to get a QB? Is it a cold-war type scenario where everyone knows the RBs go first so they try to get them before someone else will? Or is it because there are fewer stud RBs than there are stud QBs?

Also - and this might be a little stretch here, but it's my best-guess - I have noticed that LT2 is basically the consensus #1 pick. Is he really seen as the most likely to repeat his fantasy performance by that many people? I don't see how he is any more likely to repeat his year than Priest Holmes, Jamal Lewis, or Ahman Green are to repeat their performances from last year. I understand that age is a big factor in keeper leagues, and I'd use the #1 pick on him too in that instance, but that's not always the case.

I just want to know what exactly makes RBs (and especially WRs!!!) more valuable that QBs in FF. Please comment.
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Postby ironman » Fri May 14, 2004 2:18 pm

I think LT2 is regarded the number one guy for the fact that he racks up a boatload of points on the receiving end of things as well. I had him in a league last year that counted receptions and he was clearly my MVP.
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Postby smackthefirst » Fri May 14, 2004 2:19 pm

The simplest answer is running backs hit the point of attrition faster. In part to your theory of everyone seeing them going. but usually leagues start 1qb and 2rbs.

There are only 32 qbs so even in a 10 team league, there will be more than enough qbs to go around and you can "wait" on one.

RBs however dont have that ratio. There are actually less than 32 starting rbs because of RBBC. So in a 10 team league, 20 rbs will start every week. When you consider there are always RBBC teams, 20 picks is almost all the starters.

So as an owner, when drafting, you take a calcualted risk. You might miss out on the QB you want by taking a RB in the second round, but if you take the QB, lord knows what youll get at RB.
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Postby TheBigBakedBean » Fri May 14, 2004 2:28 pm

So it'd be fair to say that some players have a low draft value but will score tons of points in relation to their draft order and other players have high draft values but won't score tons of points in relation to their draft order (take Edge and Joey Harrington for example - Edge is an annual 1st rounder and his season-total for last year is 225, whereas Joey Harrington is a 3rd-to-6th round selection and he produced 218 points last season).

Now, I know that Joey's FF value has been bumped up a little by the acquisitions of Roy Williams and Kevin Jones, but you can see what I'm going for here...
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Postby Mercer Boy » Fri May 14, 2004 2:31 pm

smackthefirst wrote:The simplest answer is running backs hit the point of attrition faster. In part to your theory of everyone seeing them going. but usually leagues start 1qb and 2rbs.

There are only 32 qbs so even in a 10 team league, there will be more than enough qbs to go around and you can "wait" on one.

RBs however dont have that ratio. There are actually less than 32 starting rbs because of RBBC. So in a 10 team league, 20 rbs will start every week. When you consider there are always RBBC teams, 20 picks is almost all the starters.

So as an owner, when drafting, you take a calcualted risk. You might miss out on the QB you want by taking a RB in the second round, but if you take the QB, lord knows what youll get at RB.


You smacked it out of the park smack! It's all about having 2 stud RB's when there are only a certain amount to have depending on league size. You can still get a very serviceable QB in a later round, but the best RB's need to be taken first so you don't have a committee back situation or your team. Your overall score will suffer for it! :*)
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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Fri May 14, 2004 2:32 pm

BBB - what you are getting at here is POSITION SCARCITY.

RBs go first because there are fewer of them to go around.
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Postby Buckychudd » Fri May 14, 2004 2:34 pm

TheBigBakedBean wrote:So it'd be fair to say that some players have a low draft value but will score tons of points in relation to their draft order and other players have high draft values but won't score tons of points in relation to their draft order (take Edge and Joey Harrington for example - Edge is an annual 1st rounder and his season-total for last year is 225, whereas Joey Harrington is a 3rd-to-6th round selection and he produced 218 points last season).

Now, I know that Joey's FF value has been bumped up a little by the acquisitions of Roy Williams and Kevin Jones, but you can see what I'm going for here...

Yes, it's all about position scarcity and degree of magnitude in which a player outperforms other players at his position.

Do a google search on Value Based Drafting.......it's a nice primer on how to rank players across all positions.
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Postby KingGhidra » Fri May 14, 2004 3:02 pm

Repeating what most of you said, but using some numbers to help explain.

Assuming your standard espn.com league. 12 teams qb, rb, rb, wr, wr, te, k, def/st

QBs.

99% of teams will carry a backup QB. There are always some teams that carry a 3rd QB. We'll say 4 of them do. That means there are 28 QBs taken.

#01 QB Culpepper - 294
#28 QB Stewart - 127

Point spread of 167.

RBs.

99.99999999999999% of teams have 3 RBs on their roster at any given time. Probably 90% have 4+ RBs on their team. For the sake of argument, we'll say 50 RBs are gone from the RB pools (and looking at their names, it sounds just about right).

#01 RB Holmes - 361
#50 RB Crockett - 54

That's a point drop off of 307. So if you wait til the bottom of the barrel to get your RBs, you lose 140 more points as opposed if you wait til the bottom of the barrel to get a QB.

Using the numbers you posted (top 10), there is a measly 50 point (3.125 PPG) dropoff from QB#1 - QB#10. For RBs it is nearly 3x as much with a 148 point (9.25 PPG) drop off from RB#1 - #10. It makes more sense to draft the #1 RB and #10 QB (676 points) than the #1 QB and #10 RB (577 points).

So that's why RBs are the most valued.

Disclaimer: My post is in no way to be associated with support for the 2-stud RB aka you have to draft 2 RBs in the first 3 rounds theory.
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Postby Free Bagel » Fri May 14, 2004 3:30 pm

Man, as I was reading this post I had all kinds of great ideas coming to mind on how exactly I was gonna formulate a response and all the stats and stuff I was gonna use to back it up.


Then, I scrolled down and all you punks had already covered all the bases. Arg, arg I say!


Btw KG, it's nice to see that you're finally coming over to the darkside and now support the 2 rb's in the first 3 rounds approach! ;)
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Postby KingGhidra » Fri May 14, 2004 3:44 pm

Free Bagel wrote:Man, as I was reading this post I had all kinds of great ideas coming to mind on how exactly I was gonna formulate a response and all the stats and stuff I was gonna use to back it up.


Then, I scrolled down and all you punks had already covered all the bases. Arg, arg I say!


Btw KG, it's nice to see that you're finally coming over to the darkside and now support the 2 rb's in the first 3 rounds approach! ;)


BOOOOO! Have you even seen the three mock drafts I've done? RB in the 4th round baby! I'm starting to take a reactionary approach to the two RBs position. People get so dead set on drafting those two RBs that the position is diluted by the end of the second round. No one left is worth taking before round four. Rather collect on WRs/TEs that slip through the cracks in the zealotry of the two RB camp. I can't wait to see how our draft pans out. :-b
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