Nov 29

Week 13 RB Projections: What does fantasy point per touch data tell us?

Earlier this month, we introduced the notion of Fantasy Points per Touch (take the jump for the full rationale) which is a new tool to use when assessing the relative value of RBs. It’s not a projection based tool so much as something to consider, particularly when determining the value of players with generally known workloads taking on tough opponents. For example, if San Diego gives up more than .6 points every time an opposing back touches the ball and I’m confident that Giovani Bernard will draw 14-16 touches this week then I can assess his value in line with his projected workload. Coupling that with an assessment of, say, Donald Brown, who may have a lighter matchup in terms of Fantasy Points per Game allowed (the Titans are ranked 5th, the Chargers 20th) but is projected for 10-12 touches at most against a team giving up just .568 points every time an opponent touches the ball. Taking workload into consideration, and FPPT as opposed to just saying ‘Brown has the better matchup’ allows us to make a more logical assessment.

Here are a few matchups/workloads worth keeping an eye on in terms of fantasy points per touch, specifically, we’ll highlight where the per touch data is significantly higher or lower than the per game points allowed in an effort to weigh RB value for Week 13:

Week 13 RB Projections Using Fantasy Points Per Touch

  • Let’s start with San Diego, as discussed above. They give up the third most fantasy points per touch in the league (buoyed by Jamaal Charles‘ 2 TD performance on 18 touches) but just the 20th most points from a per game perspective. The story here is that we shouldn’t be frightened by a ‘bad’ matchup for Giovani Bernard. In fact, as a player in a timeshare we should view this as a positive… Bernard’s 15 or so touches are worth considerably more this week against San Diego than they would be against Houston, for example, who give up .071 fewer points per touch despite ranking as a better FPPG matchup.
Given his unique position as a team's feature back in a game that should stay competitive Marshawn Lynch is better positioned than most to succeed against New Orleans (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Given his unique position as a team’s feature back in a game that should stay competitive Marshawn Lynch is better positioned than most to succeed against New Orleans (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

  • New Orleans ranks 10th in fantasy points per touch allowed but 17th in fantasy points per game. They don’t face a great deal of rush attempts in a typical week, being run on the 5th fewest times league-wide. It stands to reason, typically the Saints are able to build a lead and force teams into passing late in games. In reality, if teams are able to run against the Saints it is far from daunting – they give up 4.8 yards per carry. That’s why Marshawn Lynch comes in at RB4 for me this week despite a bottom 50% matchup – Seattle is better positioned than most teams to run for four quarters and keep Lynch above the 20 touch threshold, particularly at home.
  • We mentioned Donald Brown in the intro as well, and Tennessee represents a nice matchup for RBs. However, I’d value a full-workload RB more against them. Brown remains worth a look as a FLEX play but with he and Trent Richardson projecting for a rough ceiling of 14 touches apiece they may not be fully able to exploit it – Tennessee ranks as a more challenging 14th on a FPPT basis. Again, to make the point… if Matt Forte and the Bears faced Tennessee this week I’d be more intrigued by the matchup number, knowing that he should see up to 20 touches (virtually all of Chicago RB work) and thus a greater percentage of the average points the Titans yield.
  • Don’t look now, but, the Jacksonville Jaguars are becoming a legitimate opponent. I’m expecting them to give the Cleveland Browns a test this weekend, as they’ve been doing so against better opponents of late. Yes, Jacksonville gives up the 8th most fantasy points per game to opponents but that is because teams have spent most of the season killing the clock against Jacksonville. That won’t be the case this week, and while they will see a fair number of rushes against them Cleveland is going to spread them fairly equally among Chris Ogbonnaya, Fozzy Whittaker and Willis McGahee. I’m inclined to rank none of them as FLEX worthy against a Jaguars team ranked 20th on a per touch basis (as opposed to 8th in general).
  • On the flip side of that game, Maurice Jones-Drew has a tough per touch matchup with the Browns giving up less than .5 points per opportunity. He’s coming off his best game of the season, but, is also facing some workload questions with reports this week that Jordan Todman may see more work down the stretch. I still like MJD to see decent volume and would use him as an RB2 play but a look at the FPPT data cost him a few ranking pegs.
    • I’m excited about none of the Carolina RBs but with Mike Tolbert missing some practice time we could see more work to split between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The matchup looks intimidating against a Tampa Bay team that ranks 23rd in the league on a per game average basis, while ranking in the top 10 as a per touch matchup. Again, their limited touches are worth more than those of the Cleveland backs despite the big gap in total fantasy points allowed by the opposing RB defenses.

Fantasy Points Per Touch to Date

TeamOpp Fan Pt Per TouchPPG RankOpp Ru AttRu YdTD RuOpp CatchRe YdTD ReFpointsTouches

Week 12 Results Fantasy Points Per Touch

I’ve taken a look at the top 25 backs from an overall fantasy point perspective in Week 12 (as we did in Week 11) and have plotted that against their opponents fantasy points per touch projection heading into last weekend’s games. The data is shared in a table below.

To determine the projected ranking, for FPPT we simply multiplied a player’s touches by the opponents FPPT allowed. For FPPG rankings, it was a sort and numbering within the top 25.

With that said, we saw slight support in the data for using FPPT as opposed to FPPG (though, truthfully I’m advocating for their use in concert). For the top 24 backs (I’m sorry Rhett Ellison, but, your 8 fantasy points simply don’t count. Who are you again?) opponent FPPT missed their final ranking within the top 24 by 172 places, while FPPG was off by 202 – considerably higher. Admittedly, our method of analysis doesn’t account for disparity in touches (i.e. if I knew that Joique Bell was going to receive 10 touches against Dallas I wouldn’t rank him as RB1 based on the matchup despite their #1 FPPG ranking), but it does show a difference in ability to predict outcomes.

I then looked at backs with 9-13 touches, a range chosen because it fits the billing for those who receive weekly FLEX start consideration and the ranks here also support FPPT over FPPG.

Top 25 RBs for Week 12
PlayerVs.RkFPPT Proj RkFPPT DiffFPPG Proj RkFPPG DiffTouchesInd FPPTOPP FPPTFan Pts
Knowshon MorenoNE11013-12380.7630.54629
Jamaal CharlesSD212-1020-18181.5390.5827.7
Eddie LacyMIN33030310.7030.58521.8
Maurice Jones-DrewHOU411-715-11201.020.5320.4
Danny WoodheadKC522-1722-17101.90.57619
Adrian PetersonGB64216-10330.570.53418.8
Benny CunninghamCHI719-1261131.30.57116.9
Andre BrownDAL82617260.6080.70615.8
Zac StacyCHI920-1172131.2080.57115.7
Steven JacksonNO109114-4190.7320.57813.9
Rashard Mendenhall IND1121-1023-12140.9860.47913.8
Pierre ThomasATL1215-393150.8670.56813
Brandon BoldenDEN1318-5112130.9920.57912.9
DeMarco MurrayNYG1416-224-10170.7410.47512.6
Ryan MathewsKC1514121-6160.7810.57612.5
Rashad JenningsTEN16106412200.610.54312.2
Marcel ReeceTEN1723-651291.3110.54311.8
Reggie BushTB1881019-1190.5260.59510
Le'Veon BellCLE19613127250.3920.5139.8
Matt ForteSTL20515218230.4220.6339.7
Toby GerhartGB2124-317491.0670.5349.6
Shane VereenDEN221391012180.5060.5799.1
Dennis JohnsonJAX23176815150.580.5388.7
Chris JohnsonOAK24717186230.3520.5218.1
RBs with 9-13 Touches Week 12
PlayerVs.RkFPPT Proj RkFPPT DiffFPPG Proj RkFPPG DiffTouchesInd FPPTOPP FPPTFan Pts
Ben TateJAX16610610120.2250.5282.7
Mark IngramATL141227790.3560.5733.2
Brandon JacobsDAL78-11690.8330.6987.5
DeAngelo WilliamsMIA104655120.3920.5734.7
Jordan TodmanHOU1257111120.30.5383.6
Trent RichardsonARI1716116190.2890.4332.6
Zac StacyCHI33021131.2080.57115.7
Montee BallNE11110101100.370.5563.7
Marcel ReeceTEN513-84191.3110.54311.8
Benny CunninghamCHI2203-1131.30.57116.9
Chris IvoryBAL1315-215-290.3890.4843.5
Bernard PierceNYJ1517-217-2110.2730.283
Toby GerhartGB614-89-391.0670.5349.6
Brandon BoldenDEN4138-4130.9920.57912.9
Andre EllingtonIND99013-4120.5250.4856.3
Bilal PowellBAL87114-6130.50.4846.5
Danny WoodheadKC110-912-11101.90.57619

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