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According to the Data: Do Older Running Backs Start Faster?

Jonathan Bales

Jonathan Bales

Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. In addition to RotoWire, Jonathan also provides content to the New York Times, Dallas Morning News,, and NBC.

Do Older Running Backs Start the Season Better Than Young Ones?

In your typical fantasy draft, most owners seem to be pretty bullish on older players. They like to see past production and generally think it will repeat itself. And sometimes it does.

Expert owners tend to favor younger players, on the other hand, trying to find value before players break out. It's not that they don't care about past production, but rather, since they know others are paying for it, they can maximize value by accurately predicting it from players who have yet to produce at a high level.

I think both sides have it right. I really believe the extent to which we value past production should depend on the position we're analyzing. Namely, it's okay to jump on unproven running backs because running back is such a dependent, binary position. Running backs are either seeing the touches necessary to produce or they aren't, and their play is very much the product of their o

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