SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all PFR content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing PFR blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Pro-Football-Reference.com ยป Sports Reference

For more from Chase and Jason, check out their work at Football Perspective and The Big Lead.

Ahman Green and Deuce McAllister

Posted by Doug on June 30, 2006

The topic of Ahman Green and Deuce McAllister came up in the comments to this post on running back deterioration. I am going to set aside the particulars of their team situations (e.g. the Reggie Bush factor) and just take a quick look at what the historical data says about running backs coming back from significant injuries. Specifically, I found all running backs since 1970 who:


  • Finished in the fantasy top 20 for two straight years, and then. . .

  • Missed at least half the games in the following season. . .

  • at age 26 through 29 (Green was 28 last year and McAllister was 27)

Then I checked to see what the rest of their careers looked like. YR is the year of the injury-plagued season, age is the player's age for the next season, and the numbers shown are the player's fantasy rank among all running backs during the given year. To get your bearings, check out the Terrell Davis line. He was the #2 ranked running back, then he was the #1 running back, then he got hurt and ranked #77. The following two years he ranked 58th and 46th.


Player YR age N-2 N-1 N N+1 N+2 N+3 N+4 N+5 N+6
===============================+=====================================
Ahman Green 2005 29 | 2 13 69
Deuce McAllister 2005 28 | 7 17 54
Terrell Davis 1999 28 | 2 1 77 58 46
Jamal Anderson 1999 28 | 10 2 119 22 65
Raymont Harris 1998 29 | 20 15 71 121
Dorsey Levens 1998 29 | 19 3 51 6 49 71 50 70 42
Greg Bell 1990 29 | 4 7 96
Dalton Hilliard 1990 27 | 16 1 68 48 18 55
Marcus Allen 1989 30 | 10 15 60 13 59 46 5 19 24
Billy Sims 1984 30 | 10 15 25
Wilbert Montgomery 1983 30 | 6 6 102 19 83
Sherman Smith 1980 27 | 17 7 118 43 51 107
Greg Pruitt 1979 29 | 8 20 88 51 38 97 94 135
Lawrence McCutcheon 1978 29 | 5 4 72 101 75 119
Marv Hubbard 1975 30 | 16 17 73 108
Essex Johnson 1974 29 | 16 8 108 74 75
Mercury Morris 1974 28 | 7 10 80 25 83

On one hand, there is very little historical precedent for someone in a situation like the one Green and McAllister find themselves in to return all the way to their peak production. But that's probably true of anyone in that age group who was once a top-10 back and then had a large dropoff for any reason.

On the other hand, they don't have to return to their peak production, or even anywhere close to it, in order to be worth the price you'll pay for them in a fantasy league. Footballguys.com currently has McAllister and Green ranked 24th and 32nd, respectively, for redraft leagues and 22nd and 33rd for keeper leagues. Of the players on the list above who actually played the next year, nearly half of them were able to turn in seasons at or above that level.

I'm guessing that the fantasy football market, as usual, is pricing these guys pretty accurately right now.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 4:39 am and is filed under Fantasy, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.