2012 Fantasy Football

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Goal Line Savvy and Not-So-Savvy Running Backs

posted by Chet

I was wondering about effectiveness of running backs near the goal line so I took a look-see at, well, effectiveness of running backs near the goal line. Seems to make sense. I think.

Here is a list of running back carries over the last three years inside the five yard line, the number of touchdowns they scored on said carries and then the number of attempts it took that player for each touchdown. So take a look and then I’ll take a look and show you what I looked at.

Michael Turner64250.39
Adrian Peterson59290.49
Rashard Mendenhall51230.45
Maurice Jones-Drew48140.29
Arian Foster41190.46
Marion Barber39130.33
Cedric Benson39120.31
Chris Johnson37130.35
Mike Tolbert36150.42
Michael Bush36150.42
Frank Gore36120.33
Brandon Jacobs36120.33
BenJarvus Green-Ellis35180.51
Ray Rice35120.34
Matt Forte3330.09
LeSean McCoy32130.41
Marshawn Lynch30130.43
Jonathan Stewart3080.27
Peyton Hillis2890.32
Steven Jackson2880.29
Willis McGahee27110.41
Knowshon Moreno26100.38
Chris Wells25130.52
Ahmad Bradshaw24150.63
Ronnie Brown24100.42
Joseph Addai2280.36
Tashard Choice2150.24
John Kuhn2080.40
Tim Hightower18100.56
Fred Jackson1880.44
Pierre Thomas1860.33
Jason Snelling1740.24
Ryan Grant1580.53
Justin Forsett1540.27
Donald Brown1540.27
Kevin Smith1370.54
Shonn Greene1340.31
DeAngelo Williams1330.23
Jamaal Charles1270.58
Darren Sproles1220.17
LeGarrette Blount1140.36
Felix Jones1120.18
Maurice Morris1060.60
Derrick Ward1040.40
Ryan Mathews1040.40
Darren McFadden970.78
Reggie Bush950.56
Jackie Battle930.33
Isaac Redman910.11
Javarris James850.63
Jahvid Best830.38
Anthony Dixon830.38
Ryan Torain820.25
Chris Ivory730.43
Ben Tate720.29
Daniel Thomas700.00
Steve Slaton630.50
LeRon McClain630.50
Roy Helu610.17
Bernard Scott520.40
Jacquizz Rodgers510.20
DeMarco Murray510.20
Stevan Ridley500.00
Toby Gerhart420.50
Danny Woodhead420.50
C.J. Spiller410.25
Delone Carter320.67
Lex Hilliard320.67
Rashad Jennings320.67
Mark Ingram310.33
Mike Goodson300.00
Montario Hardesty300.00
Marcel Reece210.50
Shane Vereen210.50
LaRod Stephens-Howling100.00
Mewelde Moore100.00
James Starks100.00

Matt Forte: He’s by far the worst goal line back in all of football. Yes, others have scored big fat zeroes (hide your head in shame Daniel Thomas, Stevan Ridley, Mike Goodson and Montario Hardesty) but those dudes didn’t have nearly the carries of Forte. Three for 33 is, well, not good. That’s a whopping 9% chance of scoring a touchdown from inside the five yard line.

So in steps Michael Bush. He is a much better 15 for 36 inside the five and there is little doubt that he’ll be the goal line back. But the good news is that Matt Forte was the sixth ranked fantasy running back before he was injured and he had a total of ZERO touchdowns from inside the five. So, if Michael Bush takes all the goal line carries from him, well, he’s taking away nothing. He actually rushed for negative two yards from inside the five, so, maybe he’ll help him out some.

Darren McFadden: You know that goal line vulture Michael Bush? Yeah, he’s gone and our man Run DMC has had no trouble walking this way to the end zone. His seven for nine touchdowns inside the 5 is pretty damn good.  With Bush gone, McFadden will have a prime opportunity to rack up good touchdown numbers.

Oh, and if you think Cedric Benson might come in and hurt his numbers, well, his 14 attempts inside the five last season resulted in three touchdowns. And I think his yards per carry was around negative two.

Tim Hightower: Hightower has little value as a running back, but he has had good luck near the goal line scoring 10 touchdowns in 18 tries. I only highlight this because of Roy Helu’s one touchdown in six tries. Of course that is not a very big sample size, but it does give some pause for Helu enthusiasts like myself.

Daniel Thomas: Mr. Thomas was not good near the goal line. Zero for seven is very much not good. And on the other hand, Reggie Bush scored three touchdowns in six tries while with the Dolphins. Will Thomas, who is built better for between the tackles running, turn things around this year? He has a chance, but I’m not going to bet my life on it.

Michael Turner: He has the most attempts inside the five yard line over the last three seasons. That’s pretty impressive, but what’s more impressive is that he only had 10 in 2009. So over the last 2 seasons he has a whopping 54. The guy has to be wearing down some, but if he can get even half the looks inside the five that he has been, he’s still in line for a decent fantasy season.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis: The Law Firm has had a good deal of success around the goal line in his career, getting into the end zone 50% of the time he runs inside the five. I’ve ripped him a few new ones whenever I’ve had the chance, but he does know how to sneak over the line. Can he do this in Cincinnati instead of New England? Good question. I don’t think he will be as successful, but if the Bengals offense can get him down near the goal, he could have some production.

Beanie Wells: Last season Wells put on a nice goal line show with eight touchdowns in 13 attempts. He played through pain unlike in previous seasons and is now the “veteran” running back. Coach Whiz likes himself some veterans and if Wells can stay on the field, he’ll get the main chunk of the playing time and most likely all goal line carries over the “rookie” Ryan Williams.

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Chet has written for the N.Y. Times: Fifth Down Blog, Rotoworld, Fanduel Insider and Razzball. He is extremely/obsessively active on Twitter and likes cottage cheese.
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1 Comment

  • Iin a lot of mocks I’ve been doing my choice’s come down to Mathews or CJ or DMC in the 1st, I think you have to go with Mathews because he’s on a better offense right? I’ve also been targeting Turner and Bradshaw over say S. Jack in the 3rd..

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