• Andrew Woodruff

Fournette Should've Been An UDFA

Andrew Woodruff / @ff_awwoodruff33

Which one is better when boiling down all the stats? That is the question I wanted to dive into and find out involving two particular players. Just recently I saw the claim going for these two guys on twitter and I felt there was more to the story. This study took some time to compile it all, but covers their stats with the first ten games played. I am going to go through some different breakdowns of some stats side-by-side and let you decide who would you prefer in the end.

Let’s start with a simple one:

As of now I feel like these stats make it very obvious. We all should prefer players who are on the field more. Also seeing a team stay on the field longer is always good for a player’s chances to produce. Let us continue with the next one!

This is still fairly simple when comparing the two players. Having 10 more rushes and 92 additional rushing yards is beneficial for any fantasy football player. The yards per carry was within hundredths of each other so not really a difference. Having a few more rushing first downs with ten less carries is a little beneficial for once with Player B. The difference again though would be by 0.025 points per carry so nothing really ground-shattering.

This is a pretty even split as Player B was much better before contact. Almost a full half yard better in fact compared to Player A. However after contact, Player A swaps roles as he finishes almost a half yard better than Player B. That explosiveness was reflected with more big rushes and broken tackles. Both players over the same number of games had only one fumble. Obviously by now we are seeing the comparison of two running backs. This next one is a little larger sample component to examine.

As we would want any running back to be, both these guys do carry roles in the receiving game as well. Player A did have more targets, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving first downs which is obviously useful with many people preferring some type of points per reception format and possibly points for first down bonuses. Player B however was better per catch and able to do that with a pass that average behind the line of scrimmage as compared to Player A catching right about the line of scrimmage. The yards after catch per reception also shows a little bit of more difference between the guys. The other two categories are really not much different at all.

At this point people are starting to form theories and may know what two players I am comparing. Stick with me through this last one as it shows a difference.

This is the first comparison where we see the stats finally in Player B’s favor. He produced more touchdowns on less touches and has seen that increase his PPR score to be higher. The other big note was me reintroducing the number of snaps each played and how much each produced per snap played. This also is happening while the team has been losing and behind in more games. Now also including the fact that the team is running less than Player A’s situation. Looking at injuries, I only have been able to see a major injury happening in 2020 to the starting center of Player B’s team. Player A’s team avoided losing time with any of his major starting linemen.

The final comparison for any dynasty player is the cost to draft someone and how much that helps or hurts their situation. To make it easiest I compare the cost of both players during August and September right before the season starts. Player A came at a cost of RB12 or roughly around the turn of the second and third round. Player B came at rough estimate of player 166.8 or roughly pick 15.12 in August and saw his value shoot up to right at the start of the sixth round for anyone waiting until right before the season.

Player A ended up being Leonard Fournette who finished as RB7 before being a burden on the coaching regime and financially more expensive than desired after the 2019 season. Fournette’s stats are of course from 2019 through their first ten games. That is not bad for an investment of roughly RB13. Player B is of course James Robinson who is currently a top 5 RB and probably ended up being a dynasty waiver wire pickup. If we can assume the team getting some upward regression based on team records/ offensive play-calling then James Robinson should hopefully see more snaps and touches. If he can continue to prove similar levels of efficiency then that would beat what Fournette was ever able to accomplish. This is also with no normal offseason to prep and missing the starting center for three different weeks. Nothing against Fournette in 2019 as many people I saw over the offseason predicting him to do better this season than last before getting cut and joining the Buccaneers. However James Robinson is a cheap option the team is going to employ and produce possibly even better than Fournette as he gets more chances going forward. So while obviously everyone is loving Robinson with recency bias occurring, he is deserving of his praise and should see more upside in the future.