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While acknowledging that projections aren’t a substitute for rankings, I’ve translated PFF's projections into positional rankings for comparison with PFF's consensus ranking in this piece. Projections aren’t a better way to rank players, but they aren’t as influenced by market sentiment and can be a more independent view of player value.
THE TOP-12 RUNNING BACKS
The running backs below are listed in order of positional consensus ranking — the blue points represent consensus rankings and the red points mark the positional rank by PFF projections. When two or more of the measures fall on the same positional rank, the point's color will represent a mix. The lines between points illustrate the magnitude of the difference between each player's maximum and minimum ranking.
The projections tend to favor players who project for strong volume with the assumption that their efficiency metrics will regress across the board. Derrick Henry and Najee Harris ranked first and second in PFF's projections for the highest combination of rushing attempts and targets, pushing them into the top-five projections.
PFF's projections never discounted Alvin Kamara’s workload for a possible suspension, which is now looking unlikely. Leonard Fournette is another player who can’t be projected for anything less than an elite workload, unless you assume he won’t be the starter.
SECOND-TIER RUNNING BACKS