Fantasy Football: 2022 Post Combine Rookie Running Back Model | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Screenings

Last week I took a first shot at projecting the 2022 wide receiver and return classes in the NFL. These pre-NFL combo numbers are already obsolete, because drawing boards move wildly on the winners and losers of the various measures and exercises.

While my research shows this NFL Scouting Combine Results have a significantly greater impact on the draft position than actual NFL value and production, you can’t afford to wipe out the crowd that gathers around their favorite prospects. Despite tremendous progress in our ability to collect data on college prospects, the most significant variable in determining NFL success is draft position.

In this analysis of 2022 NFL Draft prospects at running back, I’ll detail the quantitative process behind the results, including the importance of different traits and how the assumed draft position (via GrindingTheMocks and a number of post-combined fictional drafts), age, athletic traits, and production markers all coalesce into a single prediction. In this case, the prediction will be centered on fantasy football results, particularly the percentile of the best 12 fantastic weeks projected at the position during the prospect’s first two NFL seasons. We could extend the window further to cover a player’s entire career, but the goal of the real NFL Draft and fantasy rookies is to see a return on investment sooner rather than later.

This analysis will cover all Class of 2022 running backs currently selected in fictional drafts, using their combined results and actual production numbers to predict fantasy success.

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Guide project & Great Council | Draft Simulator
Dynasty Rankings & Screenings | Free Agent Rankings | Annual QB 2022
Player ratings


METHODOLOGY

This analysis uses what is called an ensemble model, or a mixture of results from different models that are then blended to form a single, and hopefully more accurate, final prediction. One of the models is arborescent, the other linear. Historical data from previous running back classes from 2006 to 2019 was used to train the models, including the number of actual weekly top-12s. fancy finishes for previously drafted running backs. Historic fantasy finishes are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.

The characteristics of each running back in the models are as follows, ranked by relative importance and statistical significance. The stats come from the prospect’s best statistical season in which they played at least five games and recorded at least 25 runs:

  • draft station
  • Total Teamyards Market Share
  • Ruling yards per game
  • 40 yard dash
  • Total touchdown market share by team
  • Receptions per game
  • draft age
  • Weight
  • 10 yard split

Draft position is the most important characteristic for predicting fantasy success for running backs, followed by production and athletic metrics.

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