Advanced Fantasy Metrics: RB Opportunity Share

Written by Eric Moody
September 13, 2019

RB Opportunity Share

Are you familiar with FantasyData's Opportunity Share metric? It measures the percentage of the total team running back carries plus targets. The most dependable statistics for an RB from one season to the next are usage numbers. These include touches, rushing attempts, targets, and receptions. Total yardage also has a high probability to carry over from one season to the next. This is the first litmus test you should use when analyzing the RB position. Efficiency metrics such as yards per carry and yards per touch are useful to better understand a player's ceiling with the volume he's being given. They are best paired with a volume-based metric because alone they are a poor indicator of future efficiency. We will use the Fantasy Points Per Opportunity and Juke Rate metric. An opportunity in fantasy football is the combination of rushing attempts and targets. Juke Rate isolates a back's on-field elusiveness and tackle-breaking power by dividing the total number of evaded tackles by the total number of touches (carries plus receptions). This article will analyze the top-30 RBs in Opportunity Share while weaving in Fantasy Points Per Opportunity and Juke Rate. 

Player Name Rushing Attempts Targets Opportunity Share FPPO Juke Rate
Christian McCaffrey 19 11 96.8 1.43 44.8
Le'Veon Bell 17 9 92.9 0.82 30.4
David Johnson 18 7 92.6 1.03 8.3
Leonard Fournette 13 6 90.5 0.6 52.9
  • Christian McCaffrey has averaged nearly 11 rushing attempts, 7.5 targets, and 20 PPR fantasy points per game over his last 33 games with no signs of slowing down. He's essentially a third-down RB that plays on every down. 
  • Bell has picked up where he left off prior to holding out during the 2018 season. He's averaged nearly 20 rushing attempts, 6.4 targets, and 22.1 PPR fantasy points over his last 63 games. The 27-year old RB is a candidate for 10 or more touchdowns and above-average per-opportunity efficiency this season. 
  • It was very encouraging to see Fournette be used more as a receiver out of the backfield in Week 1. This will allow him to be involved offensively regardless of game flow. From 2017 to 2018 Fournette's averaged 19.1 rushing attempts and 3.5 targets in 21 career games. 
Player Name Rushing Attempts Targets Opportunity Share FPPO Juke Rate
Chris Carson 15 7 78.6 1.1 23.8
Nick Chubb 17 4 77.8 0.55 45
James Conner 10 4 77.8 0.75 35.7
Marlon Mack 25 0 75.8 0.94 16
Derrick Henry 19 2 75 1.38 50
Saquon Barkley 11 6 70.8 1.05 40
Alvin Kamara 13 8 70 1.14 65
  • Chris Carson is another RB whose usage in the passing game was very encouraging. That's exactly what the Seahawks' coaching staff was touting this offseason, and it's great news for his fantasy outlook moving forward. Carson out-touched Rashaad Penny 21 to six. 
  • The sudden retirement of Andrew Luck had many fantasy players wondering what effect it would have on Mack. His performance provided you with an answer. The Colts offensive line play was masterful in Week 1 against the Chargers. The unit finished 10th in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Line Yards. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett only attempted 27 passes. I'll be watching closely in Week 2 to see if Mack is used more in the passing game. 
  • Barkley's volume was concerning considering he averaged 16.3 rushing attempts and 7.6 targets per game last season. His opportunities will be up and down all season depending on whether the Giants or leading or trailing. You should be able to weather it considering Barkley high fantasy points per opportunity. 
Player Name Rushing Attempts Targets Opportunity Share FPPO Juke Rate
Dalvin Cook 21 2 67.6 1.13 13
Aaron Jones 13 1 66.7 0.35 28.6
Austin Ekeler 12 7 63.3 2.07 27.8
Devonta Freeman 8 4 63.2 0.34 18.2
  • Dalvin Cook finished with 111 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the Vikings' thrashing of the Falcons. This was his third career game with 100 rushing yards. Cook is the second Vikings player with 100 or more rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the team's season opener according to Pro Football Reference. Do you have any idea who was the first? The first to do it was Adrian Peterson back in 2009.  
  • The biggest takeaway you should have from the Packers Week 1 victory over the Bears and their stout front seven is that Jones out-touched Jamaal Williams. He finished with 14 touches while Williams had seven. Better days are ahead for Jones as the Packers take on the Vikings in Week 2. 
  • Ekeler out-touched teammate Justin Jackson 18-7 in the Chargers overtime win against the Colts. Melvin Gordon is projected to miss the next six to eight games due to his holdout. Ekeler is the RB to own in Los Angeles. 
  • The Falcons struggled offensively in Week 1 against the Vikings, but my biggest concern with Freeman was his number of offensive snaps played. The 27-year old RB played 27 snaps while Ito Smith played 25. This could be a sign of things to come. Freeman has averaged 15 rushing attempts, 4.6 targets, and 18 PPR fantasy points per game since 2015. 
Player Name Rushing Attempts Targets Opportunity Share FPPO Juke Rate
Damien Williams 13 6 59.4 0.97 47.4
Kerryon Johnson 16 2 58.1 0.46 27.8
Duke Johnson 9 5 56 0.93 7.7
Todd Gurley 14 1 55.6 0.74 46.7
Giovani Bernard 7 3 52.6 0.83 44.4
Ezekiel Elliott 13 2 51.7 0.89 28.6
Derrius Guice 10 3 50 0.52 15.4
  • Kerryon Johnson's Opportunity Share was lower than many projected. C.J. Anderson finished Week 1 with 11 rushing attempts and no target. It was also very surprising to J.D. McKissic see targets as well. Nothing is more frustrating than an RB by committee with three options. Johnson has a favorable matchup against a Chargers defense that was just gutted by Mack. It would be prudent to proceed with caution, but Johnson belongs in lineups. 
  • Todd Gurley was very efficient on his 15 touches leading the Rams with 103 total yards. Malcolm Brown finished with 11. It is concerning to see one of the highest-paid at the RB position not being used as a bell cow, but this is consistent with the offseason narrative surrounding Gurley. This provides us with an idea of what his weekly opportunities could look like.
  • Many anticipated that Elliott wouldn't see a large workload since he just returned to the Cowboys following a brief exodus. He totaled 63 yards on 11 touches. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the team will "be mindful of how little practice" Elliott had this summer. His opportunities will continue to increase with each and every week. 
  • Bernard had a chance to see additional touches with starting RB Joe Mixon dealing with an ankle injury. He didn't practice on Thursday. Bernard is a very capable backup and would be on the RB2 radar if Mixon is inactive on Sunday. He is very efficient with a career positive rushing and receiving fantasy points over expectation. 
Player Name Rushing Attempts Targets Opportunity Share FPPO Juke Rate
Frank Gore 11 0 47.8 0.18 9.1
Matt Breida 15 1 45.7 0.23 26.7
Ronald Jones 13 1 45.2 0.74 42.9
Carlos Hyde 10 1 44 0.86 54.5
Malcolm Brown 11 0 40.7 1.57 100
Royce Freeman 10 1 39.3 0.65 9.1
Peyton Barber 8 4 38.7 0.54 20
Rex Burkhead 8 8 37.2 0.84 46.2
  • Royce Freeman had an opportunity this offseason to showcase his skills with the Broncos new coaching regime as Phillip Lindsay recovered from a wrist injury. Freeman had 10 rushing attempts for 56 yards and one reception for five yards against the Raiders in Week 1. He had one less rushing attempt than Lindsay and had higher fantasy points per opportunity. The opportunities were split evenly between Freeman and Lindsay during the preseason. That trend is continuing into the regular season. 
  • Breida is the toughest RB on the 49ers roster. He battled shoulder, knee, and ankle injuries throughout last season and was very efficient. Breida ranked in the top-10 last season at his position in yards per touch, breakaway runs, and breakaway run rate. He is also very good as a receiver out of the backfield finishing with 31 targets, 27 receptions, and no drops. Tevin Coleman expected to miss multiple games with a high ankle sprain. Breida is the last man standing and can be viewed as a top-20 option in PPR while Coleman is out. 

Conclusion

FantasyData has a wealth of statistical information available to you at your fingertips. Do you ever wonder how to weave all of the information together in order to make informed decisions for your fantasy football team? That's the purpose behind the Advanced Metrics series that Jody Smith and I are writing this season. One way to approach any decision in fantasy football is to analyze two things. The first one revolves around the narrative. What are NFL Insiders, beat writers, and coaches saying. The second one revolves around the statistics, metrics, and other data. Take a moment to think of a piano. You can play music with one hand, but once you use both hands the music is even better. You should have the same mindset when it comes to managing your fantasy football team. 

Please read my Start 'Em Sit 'Em column to help get ready for Week 2. If you have additional questions you can also refer to my fantasy football rankings or better yet reach out to me on Twitter for an immediate response (@EricNMoody). Thanks for reading and please sign up for FantasyData Premium.

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Eric Moody

Eric Moody is a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). His writing has been featured at FantasyPros, Gridiron Experts, RotoViz, and TwoQBs. He has a lifelong passion for the game and even played at the collegiate level as an offensive lineman. Eric also participated in Dan Hatman's Scouting Academy in order to learn the process of player evaluation at an NFL level. When Eric provides advice, he uses game film, analytics, and statistics to help you understand his perspective. He enjoys time with his family, Netflix, music, bass guitar, and coffee