Thursday - Feb 21, 2019

Home / Auction / Fantasy Forecast: The Real Curse of 370

Fantasy Forecast: The Real Curse of 370

One of the joys of writing this column is that I get the opportunity to explore all facets of fantasy football. On the one hand, I get to spend some quality time with
Mighty Max, Sports Grumblings supercomputer, to come up with various statistical insights that help my readers get that critical edge in the their leagues. On the other hand, I get a chance to flesh out draft theories that allow my readers to out-strategize their opponents on draft day.

Then there’s the times when I get to put the boots to somebody else’s theory, a rare chance for me to scrutinize the competition. Three guesses as to which type of column this will be …

Several industry veterans sound the alarm about selecting runners who had logged 370-plus carries the previous season too high. “Beware the curse of 370,” they warn. “Anytime a runner crosses that magical threshold of carries, he collapses the following season.”

Many years ago, I decided to put this emerging fantasy football maxim to the test. I decided to pull data from the past five paired seasons (to account for recent league trends) and measure the fantasy performance of any running back that posted 370-plus carries, both in the year of his 370-plus carries and the following season. Mighty Max quickly returned the results:

Player

Team

Year

Games

Games Started

Rush Attempts

Rush Yards

Rush TD

Receptions

Receiving Yards

Receiving TD

WCOFF

Michael Turner

Atlanta

2008

16

16

376

1,699

17

6

41

0

282


Not too many examples to choose from, but let’s go ahead and see how Turner fared the following season:

Player

Team

Year

Games

Games Started

Rush Attempts

Rush Yards

Rush TD

Receptions

Receiving Yards

Receiving TD

WCOFF

Michael Turner

Atlanta

2009

11

11

178

871

10

5

35

0

155.6

So, the “Curse of 370”
seems to have some legs to it: Runners who carry the ball 370-plus times in a season can expect a decrease in production the following season.

But the sample size is simply
too small over the relevant period of time that we are examining to establish the “Curse of 370” as a truism. In an effort to increase the sample size, I decided to look at runners who had over 370 combined carries
and receptions (“wear & tear”); my thinking here is that touches are touches, and the receptions that a running back is likely to make (short, near the line of scrimmage) also result in the runner taking hard hits.

When the definition of the “Curse of 370” is expanded, the results come back as:

Player

Team

Year

Wear &

Rush Attempts

Rush Yards

Rush TD

Receptions

Receiving Yards

Receiving TD

WCOFF

“WCOFF +1”

Percent Change

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota

2008

384

363

1,760

10

21

125

0

269.5

332.9

23.53%

Michael Turner

Atlanta

2008

382

376

1,699

17

6

41

0

282

155.6

-44.82%

Matt Forte

Chicago

2008

379

316

1,238

8

63

477

4

306.5

221

-27.9%

Clinton Portis

Washington

2008

370

342

1,487

9

28

218

0

252.5

76.1

-69.86%

Chris Johnson

Tennessee

2009

408

358

2,006

14

50

503

2

396.9

276.9

-30.23%

Steven Jackson

St. Louis

2009

375

324

1,416

4

51

322

0

248.8

244.4

-1.77%

Arian Foster

Houston

2010

393

327

1,616

16

66

604

2

396

309.1

-21.94%

Steven Jackson

St. Louis

2010

376

330

1,241

6

46

383

0

244.4

225.8

-7.61%

Ray Rice

Baltimore

2010

370

307

1,220

5

63

556

1

276.6

372.8

34.78%

Maurice Jones-Drew

Jacksonville

2011

386

343

1,606

8

43

374

3

307

76

-75.24%

Arian Foster

Houston

2012

391

351

1,424

15

40

217

2

306.1

???

???

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota

2012

388

348

2,097

12

40

217

1

349.4

???

???

Average performance the season
after 370-plus touches

-23.14%

Percentage of running backs whose performance
declined the season after 370-plus touches

80%


 

Last season, I practically
begged my readers to take

Maurice Jones-Drew
off their draft lists, suggesting that he might not even make it through the full season … and once again,
Mighty Max was proven correct.



With the exception of
Adrian Peterson in 2009 and

Ray Rice
in 2010, my theory of “The Curse of 370” far outperformed that of the other “fantasy football experts.” This season, I am again putting my faith in Mighty Max — in two experts’ drafts thus far where I’ve had the No. 1 pick overall, I drafted

Jamaal Charles
in one league and traded down to No. 4 in the other (where I grabbed

LeSean McCoy
). I am staying away from

Adrian Peterson
(unless he falls to a RB2 level — not happening!) and

Arian Foster
.

John T. Georgopoulos is an 18-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism and our latest addition to the Fantasy Sharks family. John’s
Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on eight occasions.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.