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3 fantasy RBs who might not repeat their top-20 seasons

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 22: DeMarco Murray #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field on November 22, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Fresh on the heels of our look at the repeat rate of top-20 fantasy receivers, we look at the success rate for top-20 fantasy running backs. Fantasy ranking is a simple, yet meaningful, metric when making your draft decisions, packaging things like receptions, rushing yards, touchdowns and more into the one stat that matters.

I was surprised how high the repeat percentage was for receivers making the top-20 (55 percent) because I was sure that a receiver's lack of control over the game plan would lead to a wider variance. For running backs my initial thought was the number of repeat top-20 fantasy running backs would be lower than receivers, thanks to the zero-RB theory being discussed ad nauseam. However, just like receivers, about half of top fantasy running backs repeat their performance year-over-year.

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 Average
% of new RBs to top 20 45% 55% 40% 60% 55% 51%

The fact that top fantasy running backs have proven to be just as consistent as top wide receivers indicates that it might not always a good strategy to punt at the position. But while statistically, half of those should repeat their top fantasy performance, that means that half won’t. Below are a few candidates that may join the non-repeating half in 2016.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans (2015 positional ranking: 18th)

Murray won a lot of fantasy leagues during the 2014 season, rushing for 1,845 yards (the 17th-most all-time) plus 13 touchdowns. He also added more than 400 yards in the receiving game, giving him more than 300 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues (by comparison, last year’s top running back, Devonta Freeman totaled just 246). Of course, running the ball nearly 400 times will lend itself to increased fantasy stats.

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