Fantasy Football 2014; WR vs RBs review

With another NFL season in the books, I wanted to apply one of my statistical breakdowns of running backs versus wide receivers in terms of their draft day value.  This was a helpful tool I ‘invented’ that would help locate any trends in terms of where a player is drafted and how their season played out.  Here is a link to the first post on the data I found for the 2011-2013 seasons.

some quick notes:

– I used average points per game in standard scoring and Fantasy Pros’ average draft position which collected ADPs from multiple sites.

– to compile my top 25 lists of pre-draft and season stats, I excluded any players who played less than 12 games (injury or suspension related).  If player “x” was drafted #1 overall and did not play in 12 or more games, my top 25 list would expand to the 26th player in ADP, and I would continue this process until I had 25 players at the position.

– a negative number means a player finished lower than his ADP, and a positive means he finished higher.

– I tried to eliminate outliers without compromising the data collected, so I took out the largest difference from ADP and performance from each +/- statistic.


My 2014 findings:

# of players to make up top 25

WR: 26

RB: 41

notes: What an odd year for injuries and suspensions for running backs.  Previous data did not show any trends in terms of one position being more prone to injury than the other.  This year, however, was littered with running back suspension and injuries, and wide receivers almost went clean ( Victor Cruz was the only player who needed replacement).

It’s important to note that players like Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, and Brandon Marshall were banged up throughout the year, but still managed to get 12+ games in.  Trying to put severity of playing through an injury is hard to put into simple statistics, so unfortunately my data does not take this into account.


Top 10 ADP +/-

WR: -12

RB: +10

notes: From 2011 to 2013, the safety of taking a top10 WR was trending upward compared to drafting a running back, but 2014 reverted back to the years of the running back.  12 running backs drafted in the top 15 finished in the top 20 in points per game, while the other three did not play in 12 or more games.  Only one wide receiver did not play in more than 11 games, yet only 9 of the players finished in the top 20.  Simply put, running backs drafted high returned their value more frequently than comparable wide receivers.


Top 11-25 ADP +/-

WR: -297

RB: -111

notes: Easily the worst value from either position belongs to the 2014 wide receivers drafted 11-25.  On average, these players finished almost 20 spots below where they were drafted, and that’s even after eliminating the largest difference in the sample.  Out of the 15 wide receivers, only 4 players improved on their draft position.  10 of the 15 players finished outside the top 35.

Running backs returned much better value, but it took 13 extra players to compile the top 11-25.  So to simply say running backs were the safer bet would be incorrect.


# of players drafted in top 10 who finished top 10

WR: 7

RB: 7

notes: history says this stat is pretty even for both positions, and there is nothing different to report for 2014.


# of players drafted outside top25 who finished top 25

WR: 10

RB: 8

notes: It was the year of rookie wide receivers, and it certainly effected the outcome of these stats.  Typically, the running backs will create higher numbers here, but this rookie wide receiver class produced players like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin who all paid off for the fantasy owners that can’t resist the rookies.  You can expect these guys to be in 2015’s top 25 ADP at the position, and my best guess is that running backs will continue to produce similar numbers.



Ryan Jackson

About Ryan Jackson

My name is Ryan Jackson and I love fantasy sports. I graduated from the University of Maine in 2014 with a degree in Journalism, and I am now a graduate student at Quinnipiac University working on a sports journalism degree.