Goal Line Savvy and Not-So-Savvy Running Backs
June 22, 2012 | 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.
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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.