Evolution of the Fantasy Football RB

Sooooo I know this isn’t specifically Dallas Cowboys related but it has been something on my mind for a few weeks. With fantasy football here, the leagues I drafted in all had different strategies. One theme that was consistent was the value of players in each draft. As time has progressed, the importance of a strong running game in Fantasy Football is minimal these days. I’m going to take a brief look at the evolution of the position from the early to mid 2000’s until now.

2001-2005

For as long as I can remember, general theory used to state, draft RB’s they are the core of your team. The heart and soul of success started with RB’s and you could fill out other positions later. Evidence below shows the changing trend.

2001

  • 15 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 7 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2002

  • 17 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 11 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2003

  • 17 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 10 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2004

  • 18 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 10 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2005

  • 16 running backs had 10 or more TDs
  • 9 running backs had 10 or more TDs

Avg RBs w/1,000 yds = 16.6

Avg RBs TDs = 9.4

From this 5 year period its safe to say that half the leagues teams had a 1,000 yard back. During this time, drafting 2 stud RBs wasn’t an issue at all. I believe the trend changes here, but I could be wrong. Let’s take a look.

2006

  • 23 running backs had 10 or more TDs
  • 9 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2007

  • 17 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 6 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2008

  • 16 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 12 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2009

  • 15 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 12 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2010

  • 17 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 8 running backs had 10 or more TDs

Avg RBs w/1,000 yds = 17.6

Avg RBs TDs = 9.4

So contrary to what I thought, RBs still held as much value up to this point as they did the first half of the decade. Let’s see if thousand yard backs taper off to start the 2010’s.

2011

  • 14 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 9 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2012

  • 16 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 8 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2013

  • 13 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 5 running backs had 10 or more TDs

2014

  • 13 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards.
  • 2 running backs had 10 or more TDs

Avg RBs w/1,000 yds = 14

Avg RBs TDs = 6

This decade is where we see the drop off. Now keep in mind I haven’t taken into consideration how many backs are getting receptions, receiving yards, and tds. What you can clearly see is the shift from the last decade to this one in regards to single back offenses.

When I did my drafting this year, I took personal opinion into consideration and I did draft 1 back in the first two rounds. What was different from years past is that I tried to get a stud WR or QB in the first two rounds as well because of the usage at those positions. I’m not sure if I will be able to get to usage any time soon, but its safe to say, the future of Fantasy Football is in WRs and QBs.