Running Back Targets can be affected by game flow and personnel, or in-season personnel turnover.
The use of running backs in the passing game can be dictated by scheme, and/or strengths and weaknesses of a team's running back as a receiver and/or pass blocker. Regardless of scheme, a team whose lead back is Chris Ivory is probably not going to throw to its running back as much as a team whose lead back is Le'Veon Bell. Running back targets are also impacted by how many plays a team runs overall, and how often the team throws the ball. Last year's running back targets are not necessarily a reliable projection for 2015.
[MAIOCCO: NFC West rival: Gore was 49ers' biggest loss]
But I did want to take a look at last year's results and see which teams targeted their running backs most. Keep in mind the running back target count for a team like last year's Bears could be more applicable to this year's Ravens because Marc Trestman moved on to Baltimore. Last year's running back targets in Atlanta could be more relevant for this year's Buccaneers after Dirk Koetter was hired as the new playcaller in Tampa Bay.
If we are able to get a somewhat accurate read on how many targets teams will allocate to their running backs, we could gain an edge in our PPR leagues.
1. New Orleans Saints -- 166. C.J. Spiller, welcome back into our good graces.
2. Detroit Lions -- 165. Offense run by ex-Saints assistant. Hello, Ameer Abdullah.
3. Oakland Raiders -- 160. Pretty heavily skewed by FB Marcel Reece's 59 targets.
4. Buffalo Bills -- 154. New OC Greg Roman's 2014 49ers ranked 31st in RB targets.
5. Chicago Bears -- 137. Marc Trestman gone. Adam Gase's Broncos ranked 23rd.
6. Kansas City Chiefs -- 136. Alex Smith + Andy Reid + Jamaal Charles = RB targets.
7. Atlanta Falcons -- 133. May be more useful for TB. Koetter throws to his backs.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers -- 132. Le'Veon Bell had 6+ targets in 12 games last year.
9. Cincinnati Bengals -- 121. Both Jeremy Hill & Giovani Bernard can catch.
10. Minnesota Vikings -- 118. A good omen for Adrian Peterson's catch total.
11. St. Louis Rams -- 116. There was a lot of Benny Cunningham (52 targets).
12. Indianapolis Colts -- 114. Frank Gore's 2014 49ers ranked 31st in RB targets.
13. Arizona Cardinals -- 111. Both Andre Ellington and David Johnson can catch.
14. San Diego Chargers -- 110. Keep in mind this was without Danny Woodhead.
15. Baltimore Ravens -- 108. May be more applicable to this year's Broncos.
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