By Annie Ross
Is there one be-all, end-all statistic that you must know about while considering your NFL fantasy draft?
While topping 400 carries is generally thought of as the death knell, 360 offensive touches is a rarity in today’s NFL. Only eight running backs have topped that mark in the past three seasons.
Maurice Jones-Drew (365 touches; 26 years old): 6 games, 500 total yards, 2 TDs in 2012
Ray Rice (367 touches; 25 years old): 16 games, 448 fewer yards, 5 fewer TDs in 2012
Arian Foster (391 touches; 26 years old): 8 games, 725 total yards, 2 TDs in 2013
Adrian Peterson (388 touches; 27 years old): 14 games, 877 fewer yards, 1 fewer TD in 2013
Doug Martin (368 touches; 23 years old): 6 games, 522 total yards, 1 TD in 2013
Three unmitigated disasters and two substantial letdowns — all of them were consensus top-five fantasy picks.
In 2013, only two running backs hit that mark: The Chicago Bears’ Matt Forte logged 363 touches (289 rushes, 74 receptions), and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy touched the ball 366 times (314 rushes, 52 receptions).
Both running backs are immensely talented two-way threats and have battled injuries at times in their careers. McCoy has been banged up twice already in the preseason; Forte turns 29 years old this season.
Red flags? Probably more like a yellow cautions … receiving backs take less of a pounding, because they aren’t slamming into the big bodies as much.
But unlike in fantasy baseball, small sample sizes are good in fantasy football.
Did any stat predict Nick Foles‘ breakout last season? I can’t find one. But once Foles established himself as the Eagles starting quarterback in Week 9, the offense became one of the NFL’s best. Foles led the NFL in yards per passing attempt (9.12), wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a career year (82 catches, 1,332 yards, 9 TD) and LeSean McCoy ended up with 2,146 total yards and 11 touchdowns.