Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Offseason Extra: The year after 400-plus touches

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

As Fantasy owners, we all want our running backs to get touches. Work, work and more work is our mantra, and we hate when our running back comes off the field -- especially when they lose touchdowns to a vulture.

But sometimes too much work can be a problem, and Marshawn Lynch is coming dangerously close to a number no running back wants to hit. Barring an injury early in Super Bowl XLVIII -- or a complete shocker of a game plan by the Seahawks against the Broncos -- Lynch is going to reach 400 total touches for the season, and that's a bad thing.

He comes into this game with 388 touches through 16 games in the regular season and two in the playoffs (351 carries and 37 catches), so Lynch has seen his share of work this year, which was great. But next season, based on our research, he could be headed for a significant downturn in production.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time all offseason as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe via iTunes

We went back and looked at the past 10 years for running backs who had 400 touches in a season, including the playoffs, and found 27 occasions where it happened for 17 different running backs. Of those 27 times, only five -- Edgerrin James (2004), LaDainian Tomlinson (2005), James again (2005), Adrian Peterson (2009) and Ray Rice (2011) -- produced an increase in Fantasy points the following season, and you can see all the data in our chart below.

The 22 other examples where a running back hit 400 touches over that span showed varying results -- all negative. Two running backs -- Tiki Barber and Ricky Williams -- retired following consecutive seasons with 400 touches. And nine times a running back suffered an injury -- Arian Foster (2013), Peterson (2013), Michael Turner (2009), Steven Jackson (2007), Larry Johnson (2007), Shaun Alexander (2006), Clinton Portis (2006), Curtis Martin (2005) and Jamal Lewis (2004) -- that caused him to miss games following a 400-touch campaign. Some of those injuries could be attributed to the heavy workload the year before.

Statistically, the Fantasy point decline was staggering. Of the 20 times a running back played the year after getting 400 touches and saw a decline in production, 15 had their Fantasy points drop by at least 30 percent and 10 by at least 40 percent. The worst was Johnson, who went from 329 Fantasy points in 2006 over 17 games on a staggering 475 touches -- the highest total during the past 10 years -- to 95 Fantasy points in 2007 on 188 touches in just eight games due to a foot injury.

If you want recent history, there were three running backs from the past two years who had 400 touches in Foster, Peterson and Rice, who all hit that mark in 2012 and faltered in 2013. Foster had 460 touches over 18 games in 2012 for 247 Fantasy points and then finished with 86 points this past season on 143 touches in just eight games due to a back injury. Peterson went from 293 Fantasy points on 411 touches over 17 games to 203 points on 308 touches over 14 games, missing two because of a groin injury.

And Rice, despite playing 15 games this season -- including dealing with a hip problem -- had just 120 Fantasy points on 272 touches after scoring 206 points the year before on 410 touches through 20 games, as he helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl. Rice actually had three seasons in a row with 400 touches (414 in 2011 over 18 games for 284 Fantasy points and 411 in 2010 over 18 games for 197 points). He went up in production after his first 400-touch campaign but declined the following season, and all the work from that three-year stretch is likely catching up with him now.

Foster and Peterson are fair comparisons to make with Lynch based on their age. Foster was 26 during his 400-touch season, and Peterson was 27 when he did it in 2012. Lynch is 27 now, and he likely will finish close to the 411 touches Peterson had last season if the Super Bowl goes as planned. On the positive side for Peterson, despite his 90-point decline in Fantasy points in 2013, he still finished as the No. 8 running back, which isn't horrible -- it's just not exceptional. You just hope Lynch has that kind of season and not like Foster or Rice. Both fell off dramatically in their production and didn't finish in the Top 25 at running back in 2013.

On the other hand, Lynch could end up like James, who was 27 in 2003 when he had 431 touches over 16 games and finished with 214 Fantasy points. He then came back at 28 in 2004 and had 426 touches over 18 games for 254 points. One thing of note for the running backs who improved after 400 touches: they all had standout quarterback play during that season with James and Peyton Manning, Peterson and Brett Favre and Tomlinson and Philip Rivers. Maybe that could happen with Lynch if Russell Wilson continues to progress, but Wilson likely isn't of that caliber of the previous three just yet.

The problem is it's just hard for running backs to recover after doing so much heavy lifting, and Lynch actually has 1,079 touches (987 carries and 92 catches) over the past three seasons heading into the Super Bowl. Lynch, known as "Beast Mode" for his physical style of running and absorbing contact, could definitely be in for a letdown in 2014, which is frustrating given his potential.

But the stats tell us that running backs with 400 touches don't fare well the following season, which means you'll want to watch the battle between Christine Michael and Robert Turbin closely this offseason. The No. 2 running back in Seattle could be a sleeper next year.

As for Lynch, he's likely still worth the gamble toward the end of the first round on Draft Day depending on what happens in the Super Bowl. When he's on the field, he should produce at a high level, but there could be some missed time if the workload catches up to him.

Just know that if you draft Lynch, handcuff him to Michael or Turbin -- or hope he surprises us and somehow improves following the dreaded 400-touch season. It's happened before, maybe it will happen again.

The history of RBs after 400-plus touches
Here is a look at the running backs who have reached 400 total touches over the past 10 years. Only four times has a running back seen an increase in Fantasy points the following year, so Marshawn Lynch could be in trouble in 2014. The Fantasy points listed are for regular season only.
Year Age GP Touches Fantasy Pts. Year GP Touches Fantasy Pts. Differential
Arian Foster 2012 26 18* 460 247 2013 8** 143 86 -161
Adrian Peterson 2012 27 17* 411 293 2013 14** 308 203 -90
Ray Rice 2012 25 20* 410 206 2013 15** 272 120 -86
Ray Rice 2011 24 18* 414 284 2012 20* 410 206 -78
Ray Rice 2010 23 18* 411 197 2011 18* 414 284 +87
Rashard Mendenhall 2010 23 19* 412 202 2011 15 246 144 -58
Chris Johnson 2009 24 16* 408 328 2010 16 360 214 -114
Adrian Peterson 2009 24 18* 412 262 2010 15 319 226 -36
Adrian Peterson 2008 23 17* 424 224 2009 18* 412 262 +38
Michael Turner 2008 26 17* 401 261 2009 11** 183 136 -125
LaDainian Tomlinson 2007 28 19* 410 308 2008 17* 349 209 -99
Tiki Barber 2006 31 17* 413 236 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Steven Jackson 2006 23 16 436 324 2007 12** 275 165 -159
Larry Johnson 2006 27 17* 475 329 2007 8** 188 95 -234
LaDainian Tomlinson 2006 27 17* 429 427 2007 19* 410 308 -119
Shaun Alexander 2005 28 19* 448 361 2006 12** 315 129 -232
Tiki Barber 2005 30 17* 427 303 2006 17* 413 236 -67
Edgerrin James 2005 29 16* 422 265 2006 16 365 166 -99
Clinton Portis 2005 24 18* 418 242 2006 8** 145 111 -131
Edgerrin James 2004 28 18* 426 254 2005 16* 422 265 +11
Curtis Martin 2004 31 18* 457 273 2005 12** 244 140 -133
LaDainian Tomlinson 2004 25 16* 444 282 2005 16 390 320 +38
Ahman Green 2003 26 18* 461 334 2004 16* 321 189 -145
Edgerrin James 2003 27 16* 431 214 2004 18* 426 254 +40
Jamal Lewis 2003 24 17* 429 296 2004 12** 245 153 -143
LaDainian Tomlinson*** 2003 24 16* 414 344 2004 16* 444 282 -62
Ricky Williams*** 2003 26 16 442 222 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
* - includes playoff games
** - missed games due to injury
*** - indicates player also had 400 touches in 2002 (Tomlinson had 451 touches for 300 Fantasy points ... Williams had 430 touches for 309 Fantasy points)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
49ers shopping LaMichael James
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) The 49ers are looking to trade running back LaMichael James in advance of next month's NFL Draft, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Meanwhile, James is aware of the trade rumors, apparently for a while now, since he tweeted Wednesday "when old news becomes new news" following the report.

James, a second-round pick in 2012, finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at running back this season. James served as the team's primary returner last year, but he wants a bigger role since he carried the ball just 12 times in 2013.


Joe Reitz stays with the Colts
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) Offensive lineman Joe Reitz signed his restricted free agent tender offer on Thursday, giving him another year with the Colts. He started three games last season. 

Chris Johnson says arthritis reports 'not accurate'
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) On a conference call with New York media, new Jets running back Chris Johnson said the report that he had arthritis in his knee was "not accurate," adding that he was "pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the physical" if he did have it. 

Earlier Thursday ESPN reported the Jets had "some concerns" about his knee

Johnson is expected to serve as part of a one-two punch at running back with Chris Ivory for the Jets. 


Vikings sign Kurt Coleman
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) The Vikings signed safety Kurt Coleman on Thursday. He spent the past four seasons with the Eagles and has seven career interceptions.

Coleman will try to make the final roster in Minnesota as a reserve defensive back and play on special teams.


Dwayne Bowe pleads guilty to amended charges
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty to amended charges relating to his Nov. 10 arrest for marijuana possession, the Kansas City Star reports. He paid $610 in fines and didn't get probation. It remains to be seen if he'll be subject to the NFL's substance abuse program. 

Report: Giants should consider dealing Ryan Nassib
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) Now that the Giants have signed Josh Freeman to a contract, does it mean that second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib will be off the roster soon? 

The Newark Star-Ledger believes the Giants should assess Nassib's value going into the draft considering the lack of great quarterback talent available. A team looking for a quarterback-of-the-future could make an offer. 

Nassib had 19 pass attempts during the preseason last August and wasn't active for a single regular-season game. 


Robert Griffin III looking like old self
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) A couple of members of the Redskins organization have started raving about how good quarterback Robert Griffin III looks this offseason, reports the Washington Post.

Receiver Santana Moss said via an ESPN podcast that Griffin "looks more comfortable because he don't have to worry about that brace. I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind because he couldn't do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we're out there in conditioning and stuff, he's running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin."

And former tight end Chris Cooley, currently one of the team's radio broadcasters, said "he's another person right now. I was like, 'you're running unbelievably well.' It was silly to watch. ... When you watch him run, you're like, 'You're a freak. You're seriously a freak.'"


Report: Jets have concerns over Chris Johnson's knees
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) Less than 24 hours after signing Chris Johnson to a two-year deal that might be worth as much as $9 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Jets have some concerns over the condition of his knee. Johnson apparently has some arthritis in it stemming from his torn meniscus in 2013 (which he played through). 

Johnson hasn't missed a game in five straight seasons. He's expected to form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory in the Jets' backfield this year. 


Brian Cushing says he's 100 percent
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) Posting a picture of himself with his son from a beach, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said via Twitter that he's been cleared for football. Cushing missed the last nine games of last season with a knee injury. 

"Quick Trip to Pensacola with my lead blocker, better believe I'm 100% #beachday #cleared #fivesixback," he wrote. 


Could Peyton Manning throw less in 2014?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/17/2014) Peyton Manning might be asked to throw less so "the offense can be more," ESPN speculated on Thursday. Manning threw 659 passes last season, completing 450 of them (68.3 pct.) for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The yardage and touchdowns are NFL records. 

The thought process behind Manning being asked to throw less is that it would accentuate the run game and give the offense (read: Manning) more of an opportunity to build confidence in the running backs, namely Montee Ball.

No one on the Broncos has come out and suggested Manning will throw less. He still passed 583 times in 2012, seventh-most that year. Expect Manning to still throw plenty in 2014.


 
 
 
Rankings