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Drafting players who exceed their value in average draft position often separates the good teams from the truly great ones. So how do you give yourself the best chance of finding talent in the later rounds at the running back position? You have to find one that fits several categories. One guy with the potential is Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II. So what do we like about this second-year back out of USC? Steady producer in college When it comes to predicting success, there's no greater indicator than college film. Specifically consistent, strong production over several years at the Division-I level. Jones has this quality in spades. He burst onto the scene hard as a freshman at USC, averaging 6.5 yards per carry and 987 rush yards. He finished 2016 with 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns that year. He finished strong in 2017, rushing for 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns. And this was despite USC being a pass-heavy offense. I know it seems like an obvious strategy, but a lot of people end up reaching on an unproven back early because he has 'talent.' Sure, you're throwing some darts in the later rounds and not every player…
Todd Gurley has some issues, and people should be getting excited for rookie Darrel Henderson in 2019. ESPN's Lisa Thiry reported earlier that Todd Gurley will miss the entire preseason. While many weren't too concerned about Gurley's knee, it's definitely starting to look like there could be some issues now. If that's the case, it's important to adapt to the situation as a fantasy owner. That's why we look to the next guy up. Darrell Henderson. Why it matters for fantasy Gurley battled injury woes down the stretch last year, and he was the worst kind of fantasy player because of it. You didn't know what you were going to get with Gurley. But it was tough to bench him because he was such a stud. Also, we saw how good a backup running back can be behind the Rams potent offensive line. Running back C.J. Anderson had three games of 100+ yards in the playoffs last season, and was by the far the Rams best back in that stretch. With Anderson gone now, there's now more room in the offense for volume. Why you should be excited about Henderson's immediate fantasy potential Henderson is by far the most explosive…
The 2019 running back class didn't have a once-in-a-generation star. But many rookie running backs still have a chance to score massive amounts of fantasy points in 2019. As we know, landing spot matters a lot for running backs. And in the 2019 NFL Draft, many backs got drafted to teams in dire need of a running back. The most talented of the bunch was clearly Alabama prospect Josh Jacobs. But the question remains, is Josh Jacobs the best fantasy rookie running back to draft in 2019? The answer to that is undoubtedly yes. Don't say 'yeah but I think Miles Sanders blah blah blah or David Montgomery blah blah blah.' I know you (the reader) are saying that right now. But take off your contrarian hipster glasses, put down the Pabst Blue Ribbon, and keep on reading. Why Jacobs the better option Sure, there were plenty of other talented rookie running backs with promise. Miles Sanders went in the second round to Philadelphia, a team with a good offensive line and only an injury-riddled Jordan Howard to beat out. David Montgomery went to Chicago, which was a solid spot since there's no clear-cut starting RB on the roster. Both…
If there's one thing you must know about dominating your fantasy draft, it's this. You must extract value in the later rounds. Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice is the kind of player you might think about taking. But his ADP is way too high according to FFCalculator. Here's why you should avoid him in re-draft this season. Why is his ADP where it is? People's confidence in Guice likely stems from two variables. For one, he's young. At just 21 years of age, he best years are ahead of him. Plus, he's got talent. He was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. So Washington is invested in him and wants him on the field. Both of those are true enough. But if you look closer at Washington's offensive situation, you'll see Guice is drastically overvalued at that price. Here are the main reasons Guice should be avoided in re-draft this season. No opportunity in the passing game First, you don't want to draft a guy with zero receiving floor, and Guice is that guy this year. Chris Thompson is a dynamite screen receiver who's magic in the open field. Thompson will likely see the targets…
It's time to break down some receivers you should keep on your waiver wire radar in 2019. These types receivers are so crucial to fantasy success. They're not the big time No. 1 guys, but they produce plenty of fantasy stats at the WR2 and WR3 position. And all those points add up. Some of these players might not have huge roles to start. But as we all know, things change on a dime in the NFL. Starters go down with injury. Or they get benched because they're struggling to produce. Rookies developing all offseason get their shot next, and sometimes they flourish. So you better be there to catch them while they're hot. It's important to note that these players usually start crushing it AFTER the season gets underway a bit. So don't expect most of them to start producing during Week 1. One example of this in 2018 was Atlanta Falcons rookie Calvin Ridley. Ridley took over the spot vacated by Taylor Gabriel and had monster production in Weeks 3 and 4. Catching 7 of 8 targets for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns in Week 3. Followed by 4 catches on 6 targets for 54 yards and 2…
Saturday, 09 March 2019 00:00

The state of the running game in today's NFL

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Football has always been a young man's game. That notion has never been more true than at the running back position. Here, we'll show you one tip when drafting a running back to enhance your team's likelihood of success. This is a simple one. Today's NFL is all about preserving the running back. Coaches and general managers now have enough data to know a running back typically lasts 4-5 years on average before seeing a drop in production. The best backs can produce into their 30's. But these are rare cases. The constant wear and tear at the position causes RB's to get injured over time. This can hurt your fantasy team because you could draft them in one of these down years. So how do you use this to your advantage in fantasy? Simple. Go young and draft a lot of running backs in the later rounds. This will help ensure you get a fresh young back who's ready to produce. It will also give you replacement options in case your back struggles or gets injured. A quick telling stat from last season. Eight of the top 10 running backs in rushing attempts in 2018 were under 24 years…
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 00:00

Opportunity: Optimal running backs for Week 10

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Editor's note: This is a continuation of our weekly running back piece we've featured throughout this season. We've made some adjustments to this week's edition. As we now know who the good running backs are, we will focus on finding the lesser known gems with good matchups. This way, you can find running backs who have a good chance to outperform value. It's now Week 10, and the running back picture (and overall fantasy picture) is just about in clear focus. This is the time where you can start predicting value a bit more accurately, as nine games is a pretty large sample size to draw reasonable conclusions from. For example, we know Le'Veon Bell, Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard and LeSean McCoy are legit RB1s. We don't have to tell you that anymore. However, not as many people would consider Alvin Kamara an RB1, though he's second overall in running back scoring over the last three weeks. This is in standard leagues by the way, not just points per reception. Here's a look at some very good running back options for Week 10. Orleans Darkwa vs. San Francisco 49ers Why he's a decent option: The Giants veteran back…
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 00:00

Opportunity: Optimal running backs for Week 8

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Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player. This is Week 8 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 8. As we head into Week 8 and the 2017 NFL season, we've seen so many weird trends occurring throughout the year. For one, Chris Thompson is an RB1 in PPR leagues. Yes, that's right. With 109 points in PPR leagues, he ranks ahead of Jordan Howard, Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman. That's not something we ever could've predicted heading into this year. Not to be outdone, the rookie running backs have made a huge fantasy impression as well. Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette rank among the top 3 RB's in fantasy points with 135 and 114 respectively. Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara all rank within the Top 20 in standard leagues,…
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 00:00

Opportunity: Optimal running backs for Week 6

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Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player. This is Week 6 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 6. As we head into Week 6 and the 2017 NFL season, the fantasy running back picture becomes more and more clear. Backs like Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Devonta Freeman, Le'Veon Bell have all established themselves as clear RB1's. This is also the time of year when injuries crop up and younger backs get their chance. We saw that with Aaron Jones in Green Bay, Elijah McGuire in New York and Matt Breida in San Francisco. This is the time where managing your waiver wire is crucial, as the changing of the guard between starters and second-string running backs can often lead to a new fantasy front runner for the remainder of…
Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player. This is Week 5 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 5. Each of the top six running backs from Week 4 had at least four receptions. That should tell you all you need to know about the hybrid running back's potency in fantasy football. It was also a quiet week scoring wise, with only Le'Veon Bell rushing for more than one touchdown. With the exception of Green Bay and Dallas, we could be seeing low numbers once again in Week 5 as high-powered offenses such as Atlanta, New Orleans, and Washington are on a bye. Here's a look at every fantasy relevant running back for Week 5. Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants Total points expected: 44 (Giants favored by 4) Los Angeles…
Stop guessing and start winning. Numberfire.com. Use the promo code 'FFHelpers' and receive your first month subscription for $9.99. Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player. This is Week 4 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 4. Week 3 was weird. Several surefire players ended up tanking, including Jay Ajayi and Marshawn Lynch. But while the NFL may seem unpredictable right now, keep in mind these are the often the times when things swing back to reality. For example, Ajayi is still going to get a ton of volume and be a menace going forward. Marshawn Lynch might lack a high ceiling but he's just being preserved so Oakland can use him when they need to cement a playoff spot down the stretch. LeSean McCoy should still be fired up this…
Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player. This is Week 3 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 3. Week 2 has come and gone and while the overall picture is still cloudy, some small trends are starting to emerge in the fantasy football world. For one, Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt has been on a whole different level than any other running back. Hunt's 71 fantasy points through two weeks dwarfs the next highest running back, which is Ty Montgomery at 48.3. To put it in perspective, the highest fantasy scoring running back through two weeks in 2016 was DeAngelo Williams with 48. Todd Gurley continues to look more like the rookie who dominated for over 1,000 rush yards during his rookie season. Through two weeks, Gurley has finished as…
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 00:00

Opportunity: The most optimal running backs for Week 2

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Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player. This is Week 1 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 2. Week 1 saw a bunch of rushers see over 20+ carries, which is the first big indicator of consistency from week to week. We saw Ezekiel Elliott rush 24 times, and rookie Leonard Fournette was the top rusher with 26 total carries. Both backs finished with over 100 yards against good defenses in New York and Houston. We got our first glimpse of the identity these coaches might be establishing for their teams in Week 1. Fournette has a lot of potential as a rookie in Jacksonville, as the Jaugars look to favor a conservative, defense-first approach. Will that happen every week? Nobody knows. But it worked well in Week 1. The defense…
One of the more predictable ways to determine opportunity is to look at coaching habits. By looking at how a coach decides which plays to run, you develop an understanding of what players will be valuable in an offense. This is especially true if a coach has been on a team for a long period of time and large sample sizes exist. In this piece, we take a look at play calling and game script for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2016 season and how those numbers might translate to 2017. By looking at the overall number of plays ran and pass/run ratio, we should be able to come up with a reasonable projection for how players on the team might fare in the fantasy category this season. How the Chiefs started in 2016 Kansas City was a little shaky coming out of the gate, starting off 2-2 with bad losses to Houston and Pittsburgh. They also needed one of the largest comebacks ever to put away the San Diego Chargers in Week 1. During that four-game stretch, quarterback Alex Smith's arm served as the primary source of offense for KC. Smith passed on 69 percent of the team's…
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 00:00

Early Returns: Post-Draft Mock

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May brings about several things: flowers, Spring, and Post-Draft Mocks. Prior to the NFL Draft, all mocks and rankings are fluid due to the huge changes that can occur thanks to the NFL Draft. Every year players quickly ascend or steeply fall in the wake of the NFL Draft. This year has been no different. In this two-part series, I am going to go over a recent mock draft done by FantasyFootballHelpers.com and friends. Each round I will tell you who I think got the best value, who reached the most, and some overall thoughts on the round itself. Round 1 Value — It is pretty hard to get a ton of value in the first round but Antonio Brown going 1.06 to Josh Wyatt will likely be a great value. According to FantasyPros.com, Brown is ranked between 3 and 5 overall, making his fall to sixth, not unprecedented, but valuable nonetheless. Reach — I was the culprit of the biggest reach in round 1 when I took Mike Evans at 1.03. I’m a big proponent of the Matthew Berry adage, “You can’t win your league in round one but you can lose it.” Taking Evans before Brown, Beckham, and…
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We believe Fantasy Football success comes down to two things — opportunity and talent. You will have Fantasy Football mastered once you understand how good a player is and how good of an opportunity he has to gain yards and score touchdowns. The thing is, you'll never master Fantasy Football. But you can get pretty darn good at it when you have even a slightly better understanding of opportunity and talent than the average Joe. That's what Fantasy Football Helpers is dedicated to doing.

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