Recently Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stated that running back Christian Mccaffrey seeing 25-30 touches per game would be ideal. Hmmm? If that seems high to you for any one running back in today’s NFL. Its because it is! With the 5 lbs of added muscle, a dedicated effort to feed him the rock, experience gained during his rookie season and a healthier improved offense. Any one running back netting 25 to 30 touches per game is a serious and rare workload. Lets look at the last 4 NFL/Fantasy Football Seasons in regards to this topic.
2017 Top 8 Running Backs (Touches Per Game)
–Ezekiel Elliott had 268 touches in 10 games which accounts for 26.8 touches per game (242 carries, 26 receptions). One of the main reasons I have him ranked #2 overall in all scoring formats behind Todd Gurley (https://ffphilosophy.com/2018/07/25/running-back-rankings-full-ppr/). Elliott also has 25 touchdowns in 25 career regular season games (22 rushing, 3 receiving).
1) Le’Veon Bell had 406 total touches in 15 games which accounts for 27.1 touches per game (321 carries, 85 receptions).
2) Leonard Fournette had 304 Total touches in 13 games which accounts for 23.4 touches per game (268 carries, 36 receptions). Also have him higher than most experts for full ppr rankings.
3) Todd Gurley had 343 total touches in 15 games which accounts for 22.9 touches per game (279 carries, 64 receptions).
4) LeSean McCoy had 346 total touches in 16 games which accounts for 21.6 touches per game (287 carries, 59 receptions).
5) Melvin Gordon had 342 total touches in 16 games which accounts for 21.4 touches per game (284 carries, 58 receptions).
6) Kareem Hunt had 325 total touches in 16 games which accounts for 20.3 touches per game (272 carries, 53 receptions).
7) Alex Collins went on a tear the last 7 games of the 2017 season. Producing 6 rushing touchdowns on 119 carries, 20 receptions and a 19.9 touch rate per game during that span.
8) Jordan Howard had 299 total touches in 16 games which accounts for 18.7 touches per game (276 carries, 23 receptions).
In 2016 Le’Veon Bell had 28 touches per game in only 12 games, Ezekiel Elliott had 23. 6 touches per game (15 games), David Johnson had 23.3 touches per game, Todd Gurley had 20.1 touches per game under Jeff Fisher and recently retired DeMarco Murray had 21.6 touches per game.
The 2015 season gave us 22.5 touches per game for Devonta Freeman over 15 games, Adrian Peterson 22.3 touches per game, Matt Forte with 20.2 touches and Doug Martin with 20.1 touches per game.
2014 gave us Demarco Murray with 28.1 touches per games, Le’Veon Bell with 23.3 touches per game, Matt Forte with 23 touches per game, LeSean McCoy with 21.3 touches per game and Marshawn Lynch with 19.8 touches per game.
What does all this mean? It means that over the past 4 seasons we have seen a high of 6 running backs at 20+ touches per game and a low of 4. Average out the past four seasons and we get 5 running backs per season at 20+ touches per game.
The Dallas Cowboys produced a 20+ touch per game running back in 3 of the last 4 seasons. As did the Pittsburgh Steelers with Le’Veon Bell. In 2015, Bell was injured in his 6th game. Through 5 games Bell averaged 25 touches per game.
The Carolina Panthers averaged approximately 31.6 rush attempts per game in 2015, 28.3 rush attempts per game in 2016 and approximately 30.5 rush attempts in 2017. In 2015, Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart averaged approximately 19.8 touches per game over 13 games. Which was the best for any one back in Carolina since then.
This would mean that for Christian Mccaffrey to average 25 touches per game in 2018. He would need to see 18 carries and 7 receptions per game. A hefty workload that would give him 288 rush attempts and 80 receptions. For myself, an ideal number of touches would be 23 touches per game.
In order for Mccaffrey to get 23 touches per game. The Panthers could give him 16 carries and 7 receptions per game. Thats 256 rush attempts and 80 receptions. Realistically, this is a ceiling for Mccaffrey but in real life football. This would mean the Panthers are in playoff contention.
A more realistic number for the excited Rivera and Mccaffrey is an average per game of 18.7 touches. Thats a 12.5 rush attempts per game with 6.2 receptions per game. For a statline of 200 rushing attempts and 99 receptions in 2018.
They run heavier and Mccaffrey sees 232 rushing attempts and 74 receptions. For a statline of 19.1 touches per game in 2018.
(Teams Going Off + Thoughts Flexed In) = Combination Lineups
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