One of the joys of writing this column is that I get the opportunity to explore all facets of fantasy football. On the one hand, I get to spend some quality time with Mighty Max, Sports Grumblings supercomputer, to come up with various statistical insights that help my readers get that critical edge in the their leagues; on the other hand, I get a chance to flesh out draft theories that allow my readers to out-strategize their opponents on Draft Day.
Then there’s the times when I get to put the boots to somebody else’s theory… a rare chance for me to scrutinize the competition. Three guesses as to which type of column this will be…
Several industry veterans sound the alarm about taking runners who had logged 370+ carries the previous season too high: “Beware the curse of 370” they warn. “Anytime a runner crosses that magical threshold of carries, he collapses the following season”.
Many years ago, I decided to put this emerging fantasy football maxim to the test. I decided to pull data from the past five paired seasons (to account for recent league trends) and measure the fantasy performance of any RB that posted 370+ carries, both in the year of his 370+ carries and the following season. Mighty Max quickly returned the results:
Not too many examples to choose from, but let’s go ahead and see how Turner fared the following season:
So, the “Curse of 370” may have some legs to it: runners who carry the ball 370+ times in a season can expect a decrease in production the following season.
But the sample size is simply too small over the relevant period of time that we are examining to establish the “Curse of 370” as a truism. In an effort to increase the sample size, I decided to look at runners who had over 370 combined carries and receptions (“wear & tear”); my thinking here is that touches are touches, and the receptions that an RB is likely to make (short, near the line of scrimmage) also result in the runner taking hard hits.
When the definition of the “Curse of 370” is expanded, the results come back as:
Last season, I practically begged my readers to take Maurice Jones-Drew off their draft lists, suggesting that he might not even make it through the full season…and once again, Mighty Max has been proven correct.
With the exception of Adrian Peterson in 2009 and Ray Rice in 2010, my theory of “The Curse of 370” far outperformed that of the other “fantasy football experts”. This season, I am agin putting my faith in Mighty Max—in two experts’ drafts thus far where I’ve had the #1 pick overall, I drafted Jamaal Charles in one league and traded down to #4 in the other (where I grabbed LeSean McCoy). I am staying away from Adrian Peterson (unless he falls to a RB2 level—not happening!) and Arian Foster.