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Josh Jacobs
AP
Going Deep

Touch Shares While Leading and Trailing

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: July 3, 2020, 3:43 am ET

Fantasy football is a weekly game. Matchups matter. Projected score matters. The point spread and projected game script also matter. Some roles, like the third-down running back for example, are dependent on the scoreboard. If the Patriots are leading at halftime, James White is not going to receive as many checkdowns compared to when his team is chasing points. The opposite can be said for a bulldozing running back like Carlos Hyde.

To put an exact number on how game script each player was in 2019, I dug into the @nflfastR database and found each player’s touch share (carries and targets divided by team plays) based on if his team was tied, leading, or trailing in the game. Please note that the touch shares are actually higher for players who missed games because I divided it by total team plays, and not just the team plays of the games the player appeared in. I set the minimum of 13 games to help offset the differences. Here are the results:

 

Positive Game Script Dependent Players

These players have higher touch shares when their team is leading.

Player

Team

Leading

Trailing

Diff

D.Montgomery

CHI

39%

24%

15%

T.Pollard

DAL

20%

5%

15%

C.Carson

SEA

42%

28%

14%

J.Jacobs

LV

35%

22%

13%

F.Gore

BUF

27%

15%

12%

C.Hyde

HOU

36%

25%

11%

S.Michel

NE

27%

17%

10%

T.Coleman

SF

22%

12%

10%

J.Mixon

CIN

39%

30%

9%

B.Powell

NYJ

13%

5%

9%

D.Henry

TEN

43%

35%

8%

T.Gurley

LA

31%

23%

8%

L.Murray

NO

22%

14%

8%

P.Barber

TB

23%

15%

8%

M.Breida

SF

18%

10%

8%

A.Mattison

MIN

17%

9%

8%

C.McCaffrey

CAR

48%

41%

7%

P.Lindsay

DEN

35%

28%

7%

A.Ekeler

LAC

29%

23%

6%

D.Lewis

TEN

15%

9%

6%

M.Brown

LA

10%

5%

6%

D.Cook

MIN

36%

30%

5%

 

David Montgomery (+15% touch share while leading)

Montgomery’s potential breakout is tied to the Bears improving as a team. He’s very run-dependent (242 carries to 25 receptions), and head coach Matt Nagy opted for a pass play 69% of the time while trailing last season, which was an above average rate compared to the rest of the league. Nick Foles or a healthy Mitchell Trubisky will have to play above expectations for Montgomery to be a strong RB2 on a weekly basis, but he may be an underrated DFS play whenever the Bears are home favorites. Chicago, however, only has three games on the 2020 schedule where they are at home and face a team with a below-average win total, per SharpFootballStats.com.

 

Seattle RBs

Both Chris Carson (+14% touch share while leading) and newly-signed Carlos Hyde (+11%) are run-first running backs. If healthy following his hip surgery, Carson is the better player, and the Seahawks reportedly “still intend on Chris Carson being their primary running back in 2020”, but it would be problematic if Hyde steals some of Carson’s work whenever the team has a lead. With that said, I expect Carson to be slightly more active in the passing game this season with Rashaad Penny somewhat likely to open the season on the PUP list.

 

Josh Jacobs (+13% touch share while leading)

The entire Rotoworld staff wants Jacobs to be featured more on third downs. He’s already a borderline top-five runner, and I think there’s enough to work with to utilize him as a checkdown receiver in passing situations. I’m less convinced the Raiders feel the same way as we do, however. They re-signed checkdown machine Jalen Richard this offseason and drafted Lynn Bowden Jr. (a receiver-converted running back) in the third round this draft. It will be difficult for Jacobs to break into the weekly top-8 running back conversation without more production whenever the Raiders are trailing.

 

Joe Mixon (+9% touch share while leading)

This stat is propaganda for those who believe in Mixon as a late first-round fantasy selection this season. The Bengals only played 149 snaps on offense with a lead last season (second-worst behind the Washington at 119 snaps, lol), a number that surely will positively regress with better injury luck and Joe Burrow being plugged in at quarterback. Not only should Mixon be more involved if the Bengals play better in 2020, but Mixon should also score more touchdowns. Last season, he only scored five rushing touchdowns. My rushing TD model expected him to score 9.3.

 

Derrick Henry (+8% touch share while leading)

Henry is a fragile first-round fantasy selection. Unless he takes on more third down work in 2020, Henry's performance is closely tied to how well Ryan Tannehill plays in 2020 because the Titans’ play calling is quite extreme. When their in-game winning percentage was over 75% last season, Tennessee only passed the ball 31% of the time. That pass rate climbed to 61% when their in-game winning percentage was below 25%. With negative regression coming for Tannehill (both expected touchdowns and expected YPA), I’m a tad worried that Henry’s carry totals drop from 303 to the 260-280 range. That would make Henry more of a borderline RB1/2 than the top-six RB that he’s being drafted as.

 

Negative Game Script Dependent Players

These players have higher touch shares when their team is trailing.

Player

Team

Leading

Trailing

Diff

C.Kirk

ARI

7%

17%

-10%

M.Gordon

LAC

17%

27%

-9%

M.Thomas

NO

17%

26%

-9%

J.White

NE

13%

22%

-9%

A.Miller

CHI

5%

13%

-9%

L.Bell

NYJ

32%

41%

-8%

D.Freeman

ATL

19%

26%

-7%

J.Washington

PIT

6%

12%

-7%

G.Everett

LA

3%

10%

-7%

T.Cohen

CHI

14%

20%

-6%

C.Kupp

LA

10%

16%

-6%

T.Boyd

CIN

11%

17%

-6%

C.Beasley

BUF

8%

14%

-6%

J.Smith-Schuster

PIT

4%

10%

-6%

M.Gallup

DAL

8%

15%

-6%

D.Robinson

KC

4%

10%

-6%

M.Williams

LAC

7%

13%

-6%

A.Robinson

CHI

14%

19%

-5%

A.Cooper

DAL

9%

14%

-5%

D.Waller

LV

11%

16%

-5%

DK.Metcalf

SEA

8%

13%

-5%

Z.Ertz

PHI

11%

16%

-5%

J.Akins

HOU

3%

7%

-5%

D.Hamilton

DEN

4%

9%

-5%

D.Ogunbowale

TB

4%

8%

-5%

 

Michael Thomas (+9% touch share while trailing)

You thought Thomas was targeted a lot last year? Imagine what those target totals would be if the Saints somehow find themselves trailing more this season.

 

James White (+9% touch share while trailing)

White is an affordable (ADP: RB38) target for those implementing a “zero RB” or “modified Zero RB” strategy this season in PPR leagues. If the Patriots are trailing more often with Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer under center, then White will benefit greatly, especially with New England lacking proven pass-catching weapons right now. It’s possible that White sneaks into weekly flex consideration in PPR leagues and he’s being drafted after that.

 

Bears WRs

Both Allen Robinson (+5% touch share while trailing) and Anthony Miller (+9%) benefit greatly in negative game scripts. That’s because the Bears only pass the ball 46% of the time when their in-game winning percentage is above 75%. Being tied to game script can be sketchy, but I’d argue it’s a good thing in this scenario. The Bears with Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky are likely to be either bad or average this season (their win total is set at 8 by Vegas), so we should see these two players targeted often in 2020. I like Robinson (ADP: WR13) and Miller (ADP: WR52) at their price tags.

 

Cowboys WRs

Amari Cooper (+5% touch share while trailing) and Michael Gallup (+6%) were more involved whenever Dallas was chasing points last season. If we assume the Cowboys are better in 2020 like many analysts are projecting, it’s likely that these two are going to be extra boom-bust on a week-by-week basis. I think they will be highly efficient and productive in general, but their target totals could be all over the place, especially with first-round WR CeeDee Lamb in the building. I want pieces of this offense. I’m just mentally preparing for the lows that will be sprinkled into their highs.

 

Rams WRs and TEs

Head coach Sean McVay called one of the most extreme offenses in the NFL last season. When the Rams had an in-game winning percentage of at least 75%, they used heavy 21-personnel (two tight ends) and passed the ball only 46% of the time. When the game script flipped and they were chasing points, the offense completely changed. The Rams passed the ball a league-leading 84% of the time and had the league’s fastest-paced offense (2.89 plays per minute) when the in-game winning percentage was 25% or lower. For these reasons, I’m in on most of the Rams passing game in fantasy football. Their floors are just so high. If they are playing well, the Rams’ pass-catchers are scoring touchdowns. If they are playing poorly, the Rams’ pass-catchers are seeing extra volume.

 

 

Touch Shares By Leading and Trailing

Player

Team

Tied

Leading

Trailing

C.McCaffrey

CAR

54%

48%

41%

L.Fournette

JAX

47%

41%

40%

J.Mixon

CIN

46%

39%

30%

E.Elliott

DAL

45%

36%

36%

A.Jones

GB

45%

33%

30%

S.Barkley

NYG

45%

28%

29%

D.Henry

TEN

44%

43%

35%

C.Carson

SEA

42%

42%

28%

D.Cook

MIN

41%

36%

30%

A.Peterson

WAS

40%

27%

27%

L.Bell

NYJ

39%

32%

41%

S.Michel

NE

38%

27%

17%

D.Freeman

ATL

35%

19%

26%

N.Chubb

CLE

34%

41%

40%

J.Jacobs

LV

34%

35%

22%

P.Lindsay

DEN

34%

35%

28%

A.Kamara

NO

32%

28%

27%

A.Ekeler

LAC

30%

29%

23%

M.Ingram

BAL

29%

23%

21%

D.Montgomery

CHI

28%

39%

24%

C.Hyde

HOU

28%

36%

25%

T.Gurley

LA

27%

31%

23%

M.Mack

IND

27%

30%

28%

M.Sanders

PHI

26%

25%

22%

J.Landry

CLE

23%

12%

16%

R.Jones

TB

22%

23%

21%

L.Murray

NO

21%

22%

14%

M.Gordon

LAC

21%

17%

27%

T.Cohen

CHI

21%

14%

20%

F.Gore

BUF

20%

27%

15%

M.Thomas

NO

20%

17%

26%

D.Johnson

ARI

20%

13%

16%

D.Singletary

BUF

19%

24%

20%

K.Allen

LAC

19%

15%

16%

L.Jackson

BAL

19%

13%

10%

P.Barber

TB

18%

23%

15%

R.Freeman

DEN

18%

23%

21%

D.Hopkins

HOU

17%

16%

18%

T.Hill

KC

17%

11%

8%

T.Coleman

SF

16%

22%

12%

M.Breida

SF

16%

18%

10%

D.Johnson

HOU

16%

16%

17%

D.Washington

LV

16%

16%

16%

R.Mostert

SF

16%

16%

19%

T.Kelce

KC

16%

16%

14%

J.Crowder

NYJ

16%

14%

14%

R.Woods

LA

16%

14%

18%

C.Sutton

DEN

16%

13%

15%

C.Kupp

LA

16%

10%

16%

G.Kittle

SF

16%

10%

13%

J.Jones

ATL

15%

19%

15%

A.Robinson

CHI

15%

14%

19%

C.Godwin

TB

15%

12%

12%

D.Westbrook

JAX

15%

10%

12%

A.Cooper

DAL

15%

9%

14%

D.Moore

CAR

14%

14%

15%

D.Parker

MIA

14%

13%

14%

J.Samuels

PIT

14%

13%

15%

M.Evans

TB

14%

12%

11%

J.Brown

BUF

14%

11%

14%

T.Boyd

CIN

14%

11%

17%

C.Ridley

ATL

14%

6%

10%

O.Beckham

CLE

13%

16%

16%

J.Edelman

NE

13%

15%

17%

D.Adams

GB

13%

13%

15%

J.White

NE

13%

13%

22%

S.Diggs

MIN

13%

12%

9%

C.Beasley

BUF

13%

8%

14%

G.Edwards

BAL

12%

16%

12%

L.McCoy

KC

12%

15%

18%

T.McLaurin

WAS

12%

11%

12%

N.Hines

IND

12%

10%

13%

L.Fitzgerald

ARI

12%

9%

14%

M.Andrews

BAL

12%

9%

12%

M.Jones

DET

12%

9%

10%

C.Kirk

ARI

12%

7%

17%

J.Smith-Schuster

PIT

12%

4%

10%

C.Samuel

CAR

11%

14%

13%

D.Chark Jr.

JAX

11%

14%

14%

D.Waller

LV

11%

11%

16%

K.Golladay

DET

11%

11%

14%

DK.Metcalf

SEA

11%

8%

13%

G.Olsen

CAR

11%

7%

8%

J.Witten

DAL

11%

6%

9%

D.Amendola

DET

10%

10%

11%

Ro.Anderson

NYJ

10%

10%

13%

T.Johnson

DET

10%

10%

11%

T.Lockett

SEA

10%

10%

15%

B.Cooks

LA

10%

6%

9%

C.Davis

TEN

10%

6%

8%

M.Valdes-Scantling

GB

10%

6%

6%

D.Johnson

PIT

9%

12%

12%

M.Gesicki

MIA

9%

11%

9%

Z.Ertz

PHI

9%

11%

16%

A.Brown

TEN

9%

9%

12%

S.Watkins

KC

9%

9%

13%

H.Renfrow

LV

9%

8%

7%

A.Wilson

MIA

9%

7%

7%

J.Doyle

IND

9%

7%

8%

S.Sims

WAS

9%

6%

9%

A.Erickson

CIN

9%

5%

9%

K.Stills

HOU

9%

5%

6%

J.Williams

GB

8%

19%

16%

D.Goedert

PHI

8%

9%

8%

G.Bernard

CIN

8%

9%

11%

R.Cobb

DAL

8%

9%

9%

Z.Pascal

IND

8%

9%

7%

A.Hooper

ATL

8%

8%

11%

J.Wilkins

IND

8%

8%

5%

K.Murray

ARI

8%

8%

6%

M.Gallup

DAL

8%

8%

15%

T.Higbee

LA

8%

8%

11%

H.Henry

LAC

8%

6%

9%

D.Knox

BUF

8%

5%

6%

J.Cook

NO

8%

5%

9%

J.Akins

HOU

8%

3%

7%

A.Mattison

MIN

7%

17%

9%

B.Powell

NYJ

7%

13%

5%

C.Conley

JAX

7%

8%

11%

J.Allen

BUF

7%

8%

5%

J.Richard

LV

7%

8%

11%

R.Gage

ATL

7%

8%

8%

B.Perriman

TB

7%

6%

8%

J.Washington

PIT

7%

6%

12%

J.Wright

CAR

7%

6%

6%

V.McDonald

PIT

7%

6%

7%

A.Tate

CIN

7%

5%

9%

G.Everett

LA

7%

3%

10%

D.Lewis

TEN

6%

15%

9%

R.Burkhead

NE

6%

12%

9%

D.Samuel

SF

6%

11%

11%

M.Brown

LA

6%

10%

5%

D.Slayton

NYG

6%

8%

10%

T.Williams

LV

6%

8%

7%

M.Brown

BAL

6%

7%

11%

O.Howard

TB

6%

6%

5%

T.Ginn

NO

6%

6%

6%

D.Robinson

KC

6%

4%

10%

T.Pollard

DAL

5%

20%

5%

K.Ballage

MIA

5%

12%

12%

N.Fant

DEN

5%

9%

8%

R.Armstead

JAX

5%

9%

6%

T.Hockenson

DET

5%

8%

6%

M.Williams

LAC

5%

7%

13%

G.Allison

GB

5%

6%

6%

J.Graham

GB

5%

6%

8%

A.Miller

CHI

5%

5%

13%

T.Eifert

CIN

5%

5%

7%

J.McKissic

DET

4%

9%

11%

C.Brate

TB

4%

4%

8%

D.Hamilton

DEN

3%

4%

9%

J.Hill

BAL

2%

9%

7%

D.Ogunbowale

TB

2%

4%

8%

 

 

My Fantasy Football Content

1. 2019 Yards Per Carry Plus/Minus Rankings

2. 2019 Rushing Efficiency Rankings

3. 2019 Receiving Efficiency Rankings

4. 2019 Expected Passing TD Rankings

5. 2019 Expected Rushing TD Rankings

6. 2019 Expected Receiving TD Rankings

7. 2019 Big-Play Rushing Rankings

8. 2019 Expected Yards After The Catch Rankings

9. 2019 Deep Target Efficiency Rankings

10. 2019 Expected YPA Rankings

11. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WR)

12. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TE)

13. Reviewing Late-Season Production - QBs & TEs

14. Reviewing Late-Season Production - RBs & WRs

15. NFL Depth Charts - QB, RB, WR, TE

16. Free Agency Winners and Losers

17. Rookie RB Pass-Blocking Report

18. How Predictive Is Late-Season Production?

19. Insights After Analyzing Historical ADPs

20. Projecting NFL Pass/Run Splits in 2020

21. Projecting Plays Per Game and Offensive Pace

22. Win Rates: When Should We Draft WRs in Fantasy?

23. Touch Shares While Leading and Trailing

 

 

My Real Football Content

1. Stop Running It Up The Middle

2. Run From Shotgun, Not Under Center

3. Throw Beyond The First Down Marker

4. How Often Do Running Backs Block?

5. Should the NFL Run More in the End Zone?