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Better Than Average (BTA) Rankings: Running Backs
David Dorey
June 26, 2012
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More BTA Rankings:  Quarterback  |  Running Back  |  Wide Receiver  |  Tight End

Better Than Average (BTA) was developed to show how players truly rank between themselves by looking at every game from last season and for each defense and determining three things:

"8" - Which players scored in the top 8 game performances for fantasy points allowed by a defense. Basically, which players had an above average performance (top 8 in a 16 game season) that a defense gave up.

"4" - Which players scored in the top 4 game performances for fantasy points allowed by a defense.

"1" - Who had the most fantasy points scored in a game against each defense last season. There could only by 32 such events per position since each defense can only allow one "best game".

BTA - Simply adding up the 1, 4 and 8 values to arrive at a numerical expression of how effective a quarterback truly was last year against all other players in his position. The ease or strength of schedule doesn't matter. Only what a player did against all other players in that position against that defense.

Multiple "Best Games"
Ray Rice   5  
LeSean McCoy 3
Arian Foster 2
Fred Jackson 2
Darren McFadden 2

Given the large amount of running backs that every defense faces, having more than one "best game" against a team is an achievement. After that it was much less clear as to which backs were truly better compared to each other. The reliance on committee backfields by so many teams makes it nearly impossible to rack up many "best" or "top 4" performances against defenses and the top BTA backs are also all single backs who rarely share.

As a sign of how few great backs there are now, consider that both Jackson and McFadden did not remain healthy all year and the 31-year old Jackson is not going to return to the same role this year. And McFadden has yet to remain healthy. Rice, McCoy and Foster are among the first names called in most every draft for a very good reason.

NAME BTA   1     4     8   NAME BTA   1     4     8   NAME BTA   1     4     8  
Ray Rice 30 5 10 15 Roy Helu 8 1 3 4 Felix Jones 3 0 0 3
LeSean McCoy 26 3 11 12 Beanie Wells 7 1 2 4 Kahlil Bell 3 0 1 2
Arian Foster 22 2 9 11 C.J. Spiller 7 1 2 4 LaDainian Tomlinson 3 0 1 2
Fred Jackson 17 2 6 9 Darren McFadden 7 2 2 3 Marion Barber 3 1 1 1
Marshawn Lynch 16 1 5 10 Shonn Greene 7 1 2 4 Daniel Thomas 2 0 0 2
Darren Sproles 14 1 5 8 Toby Gerhart 7 0 3 4 Donald Brown 2 0 1 1
Maurice Jones-Drew 13 1 4 8 Kevin Smith 6 1 2 3 Evan Royster 2 0 0 2
Michael Bush 13 1 4 8 LeGarrette Blount 6 0 1 5 James Casey 2 0 1 1
Ryan Mathews 13 1 5 7 Willis McGahee 6 1 1 4 Joseph Addai 2 0 1 1
Adrian Peterson 10 1 4 5 DeAngelo Williams 5 0 0 5 Maurice Morris 2 0 1 1
Ahmad Bradshaw 10 0 3 7 Dexter McCluster 5 0 1 4 Tim Hightower 2 0 0 2
Frank Gore 10 1 2 7 Jonathan Stewart 5 0 0 5 Cadillac Williams 1 0 0 1
Matt Forte 10 0 3 7 Michael Tolbert 5 1 2 2 Danny Ware 1 0 0 1
Michael Turner 10 0 3 7 Peyton Hillis 5 0 2 3 Earnest Graham 1 0 0 1
Steven Jackson 10 1 2 7 Ben Tate 4 0 2 2 Isaac Redman 1 0 0 1
DeMarco Murray 9 1 3 5 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 4 0 1 3 Jackie Battle 1 0 0 1
Reggie Bush 9 0 3 6 Brandon Jacobs 4 0 2 2 Javon Ringer 1 0 0 1
Chris Johnson 8 0 2 6 Cedric Benson 4 0 2 2 Joe McKnight 1 0 0 1
Jahvid Best 8 1 3 4 Ryan Grant 4 0 1 3 Knowshon Moreno 1 0 0 1
Rashard Mendenhall 8 0 2 6 Chris Ogbonnaya 3 0 1 2 Kregg Lumpkin 1 0 0 1


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