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Fantasy football: How often do offenses produce multiple big-time performers at the same position?

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (left) and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (center) and wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) celebrate a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

A wild rule exists in the NFL: Only one football is allowed on the field during any given play. Due to this shocking revelation, fantasy football production can greatly swing based on the volume available in any given offense.

While offenses certainly seem capable of keeping their best player at each position involved, things get a bit more tricky when considering groups that have multiple big-time options at a single spot – especially running back and wide receiver. No team has divided quarterback reps evenly enough to enable multiple consistent fantasy producers in recent memory; however, two-TE offenses are also awfully rare — albeit Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as well as Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert did manage to each post-top-12 production in the same season since 2010.

The table below denotes the average and highest number of teammate running backs and wide receivers to meet each high-performing fantasy threshold per season over the past decade. Note that the rankings refer to points per game (minimum eight games) as opposed to overall finish in an effort to reward the true top performers as opposed to those who more so just benefited from staying healthy.

2012-2021 Top-12 Avg Top-12 High Top-24 Avg Top-24 High
RB 0.1 1 1.8 3
WR 1.7 2 4.4 6

Running Back

The only running back duo to each work as a top-12 fantasy option on a per-game basis: Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram for the 2017 New Orleans Saints. Not exactly an easily replicable occurrence, but an average of 1.8 teammates to each finish inside the position’s top-24 producers leaves some room for optimism.

Underdog Fantasy‘s average draft position (ADP) currently has three pairs of running backs with at least one inside the top-24 and another inside the top-36. These are the duos that the public is seemingly giving at least a chance to each be highly productive:

Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb (RB13) and Kareem Hunt (RB32)

PFF’s best overall backfield has accomplished this feat in consecutive seasons. It’s been particularly impressive that Chubb has managed to produce so much with his relatively underwhelming workload, as he was just the RB21 in expected PPR points per game in 2021 and ranked 27th in 2020.

A similar sentiment is true for Hunt, who has turned in RB23 and RB22 finishes over the past two seasons while working as the RB25 and RB31 in expected PPR points per game. His disparity isn’t quite as wide as Chubb’s due to the enhanced target share at hand, but both players have clearly been operating at a high enough level to overshadow their less-than-ideal workloads.

Hunt is my preferred pick at cost in full-PPR formats, as his pass-catching prowess arguably gives him a higher ceiling if Chubb misses time as opposed to Chubb if Hunt misses time. Look for him to (again) supply low-end RB2 value if Chubb stays healthy while his handcuff upside is as high as any back in the league.

Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB17) and Tony Pollard (RB27)

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