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Top 20 fantasy RB seasons of the PFF era, Nos. 1-10

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 04: Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals runs for a first down as Su'a Cravens #36 of the Washington Redskins attempts to make a tackle during the second quarter of a game at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 31-23. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

What separates a really good fantasy season from an all-time one? That’s the task at hand here as we revisit the top fantasy seasons of the PFF era (i.e. since 2007).

We tackled wide receivers last week, and earlier this week we kicked off the best fantasy running back seasons of the PFF era with Nos. 11-20. Today, we’ll wrap up the running back position with the top-10. Next week, we’ll conclude the series with the top quarterback and tight end fantasy seasons.

In putting together this series, there were a few positional trends and takeaways that I was not expecting to uncover. I’ll compile those in a final conclusions piece in the days ahead, but for today we are focusing on the individuals that make up the top-10 RBs.

PFF Glossary

PPR: total fantasy points per reception
AVG: average PPR points per game
PPO: average fantasy points per opportunity
Elusive rating: breaks down a runner’s success beyond help from blockers
YAC: yards after contact per attempt
MT Rate: touches / missed tackles forced (the lower the better)
Snap %: percentage of offensive snaps played
Inside 10 Att: carries inside the opponent’s 10-yard line

Spoiler alert: Alvin Kamara didn’t make the cut, nor did Devonta Freeman’s 2015 season or Le’Veon Bell’s 2016 campaign. Now that we have an idea of just how exclusive a list this is, let’s dive in.

10. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (2014)

392 rush, 1,845 yds (4.7 YPC), 13 TDs; 57 rec, 416 yds, 0 TDs

G GS PPR AVG. PPO ELUSIVE RATING YAC MT RATE SNAP % INSIDE 10 ATT
16 16 356 22.3 0.54 48.1 2.5 5.3 74.1 29

It was always bubbling under the surface. Murray averaged 4.9 YPC over the first three years of his career, and then exploded in 2014 when given his chance to take over the Cowboys’ backfield. Murray led the league in rushing yards (115.3/game), touchdowns (13), and yards from scrimmage (2,261). He also averaged the most PPO of any of the top-20 RBs that year, including two on this list in Le’Veon Bell and Matt Forte. Along with the 392 carries, the short-yardage role put his fantasy production over the top, as 10 of his 13 TDs were from goal-to-go distance. Now 30 years old, Murray finds himself searching for a new team.

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