Tuesday, I looked at two-year composite fantasy football scoring and found that looking at point-scoring over a two-year span goes a long way toward eliminating the career year blip in our analysis. Correcting for players who don’t play both seasons, points per game over two years matches up with our expectations for the coming year to an impressive degree.
But that’s fantasy points. That’s examining the process by the outcome. So today, I’m looking at some of our PFF signature stats over the last two years to try to weed out the blips and discover the guys who have performed well over a longer range of time.
(I’m ignoring quarterbacks today, because while two years is a significant sample in the short careers of the skill players, and going longer than that will de facto incorporate aging and skill change, starting quarterback careers have a longer shelf life and warrant a look of longer than a couple years. We’ll get to quarterbacks down the road.)
|RB rushing yards|
|1||Ezekiel Elliott||1631||Kareem Hunt||1327||Ezekiel Elliott||2614|
|2||Jordan Howard||1313||Todd Gurley||1305||Le'Veon Bell||2559|
|3||DeMarco Murray||1287||Le'Veon Bell||1291||Jordan Howard||2435|
|4||Jay Ajayi||1272||LeSean McCoy||1138||LeSean McCoy||2415|
|5||Le'Veon Bell||1268||Mark Ingram||1124||Todd Gurley||2190|
- To be as successful as Elliott has been while only totaling 70 targets over two seasons, you basically have to be running like crazy. That’s reflected in the fact that he has a 55-yard lead over second-place Bell despite missing six games to suspension in 2017 and sitting out the final game of 2016.
- Bell, Howard, and McCoy are three of the only four backs (Mark Ingram is the other) to top 1,000 rushing yards each of the last two seasons.
|1||Jalen Richard||90.7||Alvin Kamara||108.5||Kenyan Drake||83.6|
|2||Kenneth Dixon||87.3||Kenyan Drake||96.3||Jay Ajayi||68.7|
|3||Jay Ajayi||76.0||Dion Lewis||73.2||Duke Johnson||68.6|
|4||Rob Kelley||61.5||Kareem Hunt||73.1||Theo Riddick||62.3|
|5||Jonathan Stewart||59.6||LeGarrette Blount||72.8||Dion Lewis||61.4|
(*min. 100 total carries, at least 1 each season)
- Drake — who had the majority of a full-time workload in 2017 after a handful of carries in 2016 — does well here, but it feels like cheating, with him carried by his impressive 2017. Unfortunately, there’s no real threshold that would exclude him that wouldn’t also weed out other good candidates. Still, Drake has looked good in what work he has gotten, even if the team appears determined to keep his overall workload limited.
- Lewis is the owner of the best career elusive rating since 2006 — it’s actually almost 20 points higher than his 2016-2017 numbers.
|1||Isaiah Crowell||47.5||Tarik Cohen||50.3||Kenyan Drake||45.0|
|2||LeSean McCoy||44.5||Kenyan Drake||47.7||LeSean McCoy||40.6|
|3||Mike Gillislee||43.3||Marlon Mack||45.8||Tevin Coleman||40.1|
|4||Jalen Richard||40.9||Bilal Powell||45.1||Isaiah Crowell||38.2|
|5||Tevin Coleman||40.5||Alvin Kamara||41.5||Jalen Richard||37.5|
(*min. 100 total carries, at least 1 each season)
- Hey, there’s Drake again. If his 2017 is a sign of what’s to come, he could be impressive to watch.
- A high breakaway percentage is a mixed bag — it can be a sign that a player is explosive, but it can also indicate a guy whose work is too dependent on a single play or two. You can determine which side Crowell is on and which side Richard is on, but I have my guess.
|WR receiving yards|
|1||T.Y. Hilton||1448||Antonio Brown||1533||Julio Jones||2853|
|2||Julio Jones||1409||Julio Jones||1444||Antonio Brown||2817|
|3||Odell Beckham Jr.||1367||Keenan Allen||1393||T.Y. Hilton||2414|
|4||Mike Evans||1321||DeAndre Hopkins||1378||Michael Thomas||2382|
|5||Antonio Brown||1284||Adam Thielen||1276||DeAndre Hopkins||2332|
- Jones and Brown are both a solid third of a season ahead of the field here. If you subscribe to the “touchdowns are largely luck” belief, these two are pretty clearly the class of the league.
- With Andrew Luck apparently throwing the ball again, Hilton’s stock is on the rise.
|Yards per route run — WR|
|1||Julio Jones||3.12||Julio Jones||3.08||Julio Jones||3.10|
|2||A.J. Green||2.86||Antonio Brown||2.87||Keenan Allen||2.59|
|3||Taylor Gabriel||2.45||Keenan Allen||2.55||Antonio Brown||2.56|
|4||T.Y. Hilton||2.35||DeAndre Hopkins||2.39||A.J. Green||2.39|
|5||Tyreek Hill||2.30||Michael Thomas||2.39||Tyreek Hill||2.33|
(*min. 100 total targets, at least 1 each season)
- Next time somebody tells me Jones isn’t that good I’m just going to poke them.
- Like Drake at running back, Allen is kind of cheating here, as the vast majority of his production came in 2017, with the addition of about half a game in 2016. Unlike Drake, we have more of an overall track record for Allen to believe that, while he might not be “second-best in the league” good, this is far more real than not.
- Here’s where efficiency stats help. I picked on him a little in my Tuesday piece as well, but I’ll circle back on Tyrell Williams. He has 1,787 receiving yards the last two years. Hill has 1,776. Williams needed 1,088 routes to get his yardage; Hill 764.
|TE receiving yards|
|1||Travis Kelce||1125||Rob Gronkowski||1084||Travis Kelce||2163|
|2||Greg Olsen||1073||Travis Kelce||1038||Rob Gronkowski||1624|
|3||Jimmy Graham||923||Zach Ertz||824||Delanie Walker||1607|
|4||Kyle Rudolph||840||Delanie Walker||807||Jimmy Graham||1443|
|5||Zach Ertz||816||Evan Engram||722||Kyle Rudolph||1372|
- Yes, Kelce has the benefit of not having missed the time Gronkowski missed in 2016, but health is a skill. Either way, only 13 tight ends even had as many yards as the lead Kelce has over second place.
- If you want some optimism that Graham still has more than touchdown upside, it’s in the fact that he was No. 3 in tight end yardage only a year ago, and it was only 2017 where he was an end-zone weapon.
|Yards per route run — TE|
|1||Rob Gronkowski||3.18||Rob Gronkowski||2.43||Rob Gronkowski||2.63|
|2||Ladarius Green||3.01||Hunter Henry||2.05||Travis Kelce||2.13|
|3||Travis Kelce||2.23||Travis Kelce||2.03||Hunter Henry||2.02|
|4||Greg Olsen||2.08||Zach Ertz||2.00||Delanie Walker||1.85|
|5||Vernon Davis||2.05||O.J. Howard||1.85||Greg Olsen||1.83|
(*min. 75 targets, at least 1 each season)
- When he’s 100 percent, the level to which Gronkowski is ahead of the field at tight end is still remarkable.
- Henry seemed so primed for a true breakout season that we’re all going to mourn that ACL tear for a while (and I’m betting he’s already cemented a spot on my year-end what-if column).
- Olsen’s YPRR of 2.08 in 2016 fell to 1.09 in 2017, though in limited time. His bounceback candidacy rests heavily on how much of that inefficiency was because of injury.