What we learned from the 2016 DFS season ¬– the running back position

With the trend of more passing in the league you can argue that the running back position is of less importance today. In reality the opposite is true. Productive running backs are a rare commodity and for that reason more important than ever.

The knowledge of the depth chart is very important because of all the injuries. If you can find one of the RB gems that explode in production every year you’re half way home already.

RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals, was ranked 4th overall after three wide receivers. He was the best fantasy producer by some distances with 408 points in PPR. After him came three QB’s with RB Ezekiel Elliot at 5th. The first WR Antonio Brown came 8th with 307 points, more than 100 points less than David Johnson. There are no clouds on the horizon and he should be, and will be, the consensus ranked number one fantasy player in 2017.

RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, was ranked 2nd of all running backs. He was old, had an injury history and came with a lot of mileage. The ones who picked him got 13 points in total fantasy production in 2016 because of injuries. They deserved it.

RB, Todd Gurley, L.A. Rams, was ranked 3rd. He was spectacular in his rookie season 2015, but the cat was out of the bag, the O-line was non-excisting and the rookie QB Jared Goff looked like a black hole in preseason. The opponents stacked the box in every game against Gurley the whole season. The meager production of 198 fantasy points should’ve not come as a surprise to anyone.

RB Lamar Miller, Houston Texans, is also a good running back. He was supposed to be very productive given what Arian Foster had done the previous years and that Texans wants to run with the ball. The problem was that QB Brock Osweiler was absolutely dreadful. The opponents stacked the box and the fantasy production disappeared in a cloud of dust.

There where a lot more RB’s that failed to produce, but that was mostly due to injuries.

On the other side of the coin, there where a lot of RB’s that greatly outperformed their average draft position (ADP), but lets focus on those who performed well without others misfortune.

RB DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans, was the fantasy superstar in 2014 playing for Dallas Cowboys that pounded the rock like crazy. He was headhunted to Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 where he as a disappointment. But he was clearly misused there and I couldn´t see why he shouldn’t be a great fantasy commodity. He rewarded me handsomely.

RB Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers looked great in a couple of games in 2015 before he got injured. He was a super talent from collage that was completely forgotten 2016. Raving reviews came from South California during the summer and he looked great in the preseason. He was on every team of mine.

RB Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears, was selected 150th overall in the 2016 draft. Nobody expected much from him. Jeremy Langford was supposed to be the star and Howard was not even second on the depth chart. But he got the chance, he took it and then he blossomed. Perhaps he won you the fantasy title as well?


RB                                          Fantasy points       ADP                Place vs ADP


Jordan Howard                  230                            59                   +49

David Johnson                   408                            1                     =

DeMarco Murray              294                            22                   +17

Melvin Gordon                   251                            23                   +16


WR                                         Fantasy points       ADP                Place vs ADP


Lamar Miller                       191                            4                     -15

Todd Gurley                       198                            3                     -12