Inside the Toolbox: Running Backs Age 29 and Over (PREMIUM PREVIEW)
Editor's intro: At FFToolbox.com, we offer many tools which provide our users with interesting and unique points of analysis. In this multiple part series, we want to take a closer look at why these tools are useful and what kind of information each tool offered over the years. Through this exercise, we will re-examine the past to find hidden truths today. To check out the RUNNING BACKS AGE 29 AND OVER tool over at FFToolbox, click here.
The statistics on running back productivity for those over 29 years of age are not encouraging. Think about how the normal person feels when they turn 30. Our cardiovascular endurance seems to disappear overnight, muscle tone is twice as hard to maintain and energy levels are zapped. Basically, we have to work twice as hard to achieve the benefits that used to come fairly easy with a moderate amount of work. Now imagine that you are an NFL caliber running back over the age of 29. These guys are still elite athletes, but age is catching up with them as well. The average running back in the league is 25.3 years of age and likely spent a few years learning the ropes both in college and a year or two on the NFL sidelines before taking on full workhorse duties, if ever given that chance.
From a fantasy perspective, younger running backs have greater value in keeper and dynasty formats and in general are less likely to suffer career-ending injuries like their older counterparts. The one bright spot in the league these days is the use of committees. Backs that are featured in committee schemes appear to weather the wear and tear better than the old-school "bell cow" running backs of the past, but the speed and brutality of the game takes its toll. There are generational exceptions to the rule, but not every back can do it like LaDainian Tomlinson or Curtis Martin.
This article examines some historical data with respect to running backs aged 29 and beyond over the years and introduces the 2014 class of backs that have reached this point in their careers.
Vikings RB Peterson looks like his age isn't yet an issue
Peterson's 2013 campaign was a noticeable decline compared to his huge 2012 season. He is still the workhorse back and will be the total workhorse he's always been this season, but there is the possibility that he could miss more games or further break down and be on your dynasty trade list moving in the 2015 season.
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