Which 2019 RB Prospects Have the Best Odds to Succeed?
I’ve been doing a lot of modeling on the wide receiver side of things so far, but very little with running backs. There are some new modeling techniques I’ve been eager to try, with one of them being a logistic regression to find success probability for various prospects. This article is my explanation and exploration of the RB Success Model for fantasy football.
I won’t bore you with the math behind it, but after throwing a bunch of different variables into a model and pruning off those which were not significant, I was left with the following four inputs, listed in order of significance:
- Log of NFL Draft Scout Rank
- Yards Per Scrimmage Play
- Breakout Age
The only one of these statistics that was not covered in my RB glossary of stats is yards per scrimmage play, which is something new I recently started working with. It is calculated by dividing a RB’s total yards from scrimmage by the sum of team pass and rush attempts.
RB Success Model Results
Now that we have a model, let’s get to the part you are most interested in: the results. Here is the 2019 RB success model. Players with an asterisk next to their names did not run a 40-yard dash at the Combine, and have been given the NFL Draft Scout projected 40.
|Name||College||DS Rank||Speedscore||ypscrimplay||Bage||Prob of Success|
|Trayveon Williams||Texas A&M||2||99.6||2.08||21.2||0.44|
|Benny Snell Jr.||Kentucky||4||95.0||1.88||20.8||0.30|
|Justice Hill||Oklahoma State||10||105.7||1.30||21.1||0.23|
|Mike Weber||Ohio State||5||105.7||1.03||21.3||0.22|
|David Montgomery||Iowa State||8||96.6||1.80||21.5||0.21|
|Travis Homer||Miami (FL)||19||99.8||1.40||20.3||0.20|
|Miles Sanders||Penn State||25||103.8||1.57||21.6||0.18|
|Devin Singletary||Florida Atlantic||7||86.1||1.62||20.3||0.17|
|Dexter Williams||Notre Dame||13||97.2||1.70||21.9||0.16|
|Alex Barnes||Kansas State||35||101.8||1.94||22.2||0.16|
|Alexander Mattison||Boise State||30||92.9||1.62||20.5||0.14|
|Jalin Moore*||Appalachian State||16||99.8||1.56||23.1||0.10|
|LJ Scott*||Michigan State||20||99.7||0.99||22.3||0.08|
|Jacques Patrick*||Florida State||27||105.4||0.57||21.9||0.07|
|Darwin Thompson*||Utah State||37||91.7||1.48||21.8||0.07|
|Mike Warren*||Iowa State||29||107.7||0.19||22.0||0.05|
|Kerrith Whyte Jr.*||Florida Atlantic||33||92.5||1.20||22.2||0.05|
|James Williams||Washington State||32||89.5||1.23||22.6||0.04|
|Nick Brossette||Louisiana State||22||84.2||1.18||22.8||0.03|
Darrell Henderson is the most accomplished RB in this class. Despite being ranked just sixth by NFL Draft Scout, his top-end numbers in yards per scrimmage play and breakout age get him to the top. He is the only prospect given a greater than 50 percent chance of success.
Trayveon Williams disappointed in the 40-yard dash, but fantastic elsewhere. Scouts love him too. He and Henderson are the clear top backs in this class from a fantasy perspective.
The next tier of players contains two RBs who did not run at the Combine. Josh Jacobs is a film darling with little experience at Alabama, but his projected Speedscore and age do wonders for him. Hopefull,y he runs at his Pro Day and we can get a more accurate projection. Still, if he goes in the first two rounds it is likely he produces.
Bryce Love is coming off of an ACL tear, and likely will not run prior to the Draft. He was an elite athlete prior to the injury, and that athleticism is factored in here. Benny Snell is the remaining player in this tier, and ran extremely slow on Friday. That said, he is young and was a productive workhorse at Kentucky.
Justice Hill and Ryquel Armstead are two #fun players to watch this draft season. Hill is small, but functioned as a workhorse in his first two seasons at Oklahoma State. He saw a reduced workload in 2018, but still manages to crack the 20 percent mark. Armstead likewise grades out well despite being a relative unknown.
The big Combine losers were Devin Singletary and Damien Harris. Singletary ran a disastrous 4.66 at just 203 pounds, while Harris ran a 4.57 with mediocre production. Both players are given less than 20 percent chance to succeed at the NFL level.