Week 8 is upon us, officially marking the midway point in your fantasy football season. We have seen some surprises within the running back community, and many disappointments.
There are many ways to look at running back production, the simplest being total fantasy points. Another way to examine the running back position is by looking at a statistic called "fantasy points per touch" (FPT).
Fantasy points per touch is simply how many points, on average, a running back accumulates each time he carries or catches the football.
To see how revealing such a statistic can be, let's take a look at two preseason top-five running backs that have struggled in terms of fantasy production in 2010: Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice.
Jones-Drew is averaging .55 fantasy points per touch, which falls far below his 2009 average of .75 FPT when Jones-Drew finished as the third-best running back in point per reception (PPR) formats. Should Jones-Drew continue on this pace, the ending will not be pretty. More on that in just a moment.
As for Ray Rice, the news is even worse. Rice is averaging only .50 FPT in 2010. In 2009, Rice displayed a solid .77 FPT average, allowing him to finish as the fourth-best running back in PPR formats.
Running backs finishing in the top 15 of 2009 averaged .74 FPT, with the worst being Steven Jackson's .53 FPT. So hope springs eternal for Jones-Drew, though it is starting to quickly fade. Rice, however, needs to increase is FPT average, as not a single running back that finished in the top 20 in scoring averaged less than .53 FPT.
Of course, circumstances could always change. Either Jones-Drew or Rice could suddenly go on a five-game tear and save their seasons, but we are at the halfway point, and things tend to be what they are.
So after that sobering bit of news, on to the rankings!
|1.||Arian Foster||@ IND||IND giving up fifth most points to RBs, and Foster went off Week 1 for 231/three.|
|2.||Adrian Peterson||@ NE||MIN will ground and pound even with Favre, and NE giving up 15 points to RBs.|
|3.||Frank Gore||v. DEN||DEN was ripped by RB McFadden in Week 7, and giving up third-most points to RBs.|
|4.||Steven Jackson||v. CAR||CAR giving up 3.9 ypc and 19 fantasy points to RBs every week.|
|5.||Chris Johnson||@ SD||Johnson plays much better on the road, but SD defense is no joke|
|6.||Rashard Mendenhall||@ NO||Disappointing in Week 7, but should bounce back as NO not great against the run.|
|7.||Darren McFadden||v. SEA||Not a great matchup, but showed last week that he has special skills.|
|8.||Ryan Torain||@ DET||WAS giving up 406 yards from scrimmage, so has a shot at a big day.|
|9.||LaDainian Tomlinson||@ GB||GB allowing 124 yards on the ground every week, but only three total rushing TDs.|
|10.||Jahvid Best||v. WAS||WAS allowing 406 yards from scrimmage each week, and Best should be healthy.|
|11.||Jamaal Charles||v. BUF||A tossup if Charles finds the end zone, but averaging 16 carries since Week 4 bye.|
|12.||Knowshon Moreno||@ SF||Didn't get a ton of carries in blowout loss to OAK, but did catch two TDs.|
|13.||Thomas Jones||v. BUF||Bills allowing 21 fantasy points per game, and getting a majority of the work.|
|14.||Maurice Jones-Drew||@ DAL||Did manage to score in Week 7, but DAL has allowed only five TDs to RBs.|
|15.||DeAngelo Williams||@ STL||STL allowing 15 points to RBs, and new found passing game should help.|
|16.||Cedric Benson||v. MIA||CIN going aerial lately, and Benson has never topped 100 yards on less than 20 carries.|
|17.||Marshawn Lynch||@ OAK||OAK allowing second-most points to RBs, and Lynch getting most of the carries.|
|18.||Donald Brown||v. HOU||Assuming Addai is out, Brown should get majority of touches, and HOU weak against the run.|
|19.||Felix Jones||v. JAX||Jones is the lead guy, and JAX surrendering 20 points per game to RBs.|
|20.||Ryan Mathews||v. TEN||TEN has only allowed one rushing TD all year, but Mathews slowly increasing load.|
|21.||Ronnie Brown||@ CIN||CIN allowing decent points to RBs, but simply not getting enough touches.|
|22.||Beanie Wells||v. TB||Producing on limited touches, but has only found the end zone once.|
|23.||Justin Forsett||@ OAK||Forsett is finding ways to produce on limited touches, and OAK gave up two receiving TDs in Week 6.|
|24.||LeGarrette Blount||@ ARI||May take starting role in Week 8, and ARI giving up sixth-most points to RBs.|
|25.||Brandon Jackson||v. NYJ||NYJ not giving up much to RBs, but GB passing attack should open up some space.|
|26.||Jonathan Stewart||@ STL||Gets a big bump if Williams can't play.|
|27.||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||v. MIN||Found the end zone in Week 7, and MIN not as tough as in the past.|
|28.||Danny Woodhead||v. MIN||Will get fair amount of touches, so production a possibility.|
|29.||Marion Barber||v. JAX||Not getting many touches, so vulturing a TD is your best hope.|
|30.||Tim Hightower||v. TB||Might be in the doghouse, but putting up solid production on limited touches.|
That wraps up the Week 8 running back rankings. Feel free to post any sit/start questions in the comments, and we will work through them.
If you need a quick review Week 7, with an interesting twist, you can check out my Week 7 Rewind column.
Best of luck!
For an all you can eat buffet of fantasy football information, you can follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanWaddell.