The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Can RBs Succeed with a Rushing QB?

16 games still doesn’t seem so long ago. But entering it’s third year, the 17-game NFL schedule is now old news. With the new norm, come new expectations of what we should expect from our year-long tallies. Still, it seems the rise of the rushing QB is tapering off some off the record-breaking highs we might have expected.

Sure, Patrick Mahomes is squeezing the juice out of the extra game to reach new heights after his best season yet. And Justin Jefferson’s chase for 2,000 yards didn’t go unnoticed. But we’re seeing the yardage pie get divvied up further with QBs feasting on the ground.

A free trip to the NLF game of your choice for your entire fantasy football league? Sound too good to be true? It’s not. All you have to do is play fantasy football on Fantrax! See how you and your league can share the experience of a lifetime!

Rushing QBs Are Eating RB Rush Attempts

With Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell, and potentially Anthony Richardson all set to join the ranks for full seasons as starters, it becomes important to understand what the impact of more and more rushing QBs is. Knowing which positions suffer or benefit the most from the presence of these game-changing QBs can put you ahead of the curve.

Taking a look at 2022 leaderboards, we can see six teams last year eclipsed 100 rushing attempts from their QBs:

  • Jalen Hurts / Gardner Minshew, PHL – 172 attempts /
  • Justin Fields, CHI – 160 attempts
  • Lamar Jackson / Tyler Huntley, BAL – 155 attempts
  • Josh Allen / Case Keenum, BUF – 129 attempts
  • Jameis Winston / Andy Dalton / Taysom Hill, NO, 131 attempts
  • Daniel Jones, NYG – 120 attempts
  • Marcus Mariota / Desmond Ridder, ATL – 99 attempts

I included Atlanta as they came in right under the mark. The next closest team is Cleveland with Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson’s 85 attempts.

Indeed, these teams are among the league leaders in rushing attempts, with Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia leading the league respectively.

However, when these figures are adjusted to only include attempts from RBs, these numbers change. Without QB rushing attempts, ATL falls to 3rd, CHI to 12th, and PHL to 19th.

Falling further down is BAL from 7th to 20th, NO from 14th to 30th, and BUF from 20th to dead last.

While the rush-oriented attacks would lead you to believe they are ripe situations for RB opportunities, the demonstrated reality, outside of the Falcons and Giants, is much different.

Targets Shares Drop for RBs with Mobile QBs

Your leaders last year in targets to RBs? That would be Justin Herbert with 178 targets (Austin Ekeler of course being the main beneficiary) followed by Tom Brady (147), Joe Burrow (133), the Jets QBs (126), and Colts QBs (124).

For the most part, these are teams that had their QB playing time dominated by statues. While Burrow and Herbert certainly had their fair share of scrambles, they’re mostly focused on moving the chains. Burrow had a 3.4 yards per carry mark that just barely put him in the top 30 among QBs last year. Herbert sits with a 2.7 yards per carry, below the likes of Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, and the elder Aaron Rodgers.

Why don’t rushing QBs throw to RBs?

One would think that scrambling QBs look to their outlet when plays break down. You would imagine more emergency dump-offs would provide RBs with the targets they need for PPR leagues.

The problem is that when a rushing QB breaks the pocket, they’ll have to roll out one way or the other. That means that, half the time, they’ll be moving away from a RB running a flat route to the other side of the field. While throwing across your body is generally a bad idea, it’s still possible to hit someone downfield running a crossing route.

It is not, however, advisable to throw across the field behind the line of scrimmage. Unless of course, you like seeing DBs run back pick sixes.

Of course, even if the QB and RB leak out the same way, it still might not mean a target. After all, the rushing QB has another option in that scenario – to rush himself.

To wit, that’s why at the bottom of the league for RB targets you can find our usual suspects. In descending order, these are the Falcons (66), Ravens (63), Rams (63), Bears (62), and Eagles (61).

Do Not Draft These Running Backs

Bijan Robinson is a do-it-all threat. Robinson in the slot is likely to be a common sight. Still, no one should expect Ridder to elevate Robinson to Ekeler territory.

There are however a high number of attempts available in ATL and NYG for RBs. Both Robinson and Saquon Barkley should be okay in this regard, even if their ceilings take a hit. Though there are other reasons you may want to sell high on Barkley.

For the Eagles, Ravens, and Bears, however, their RBs will remain firmly on my Do Not Draft list.

D’Andre Swift goes from one of the most rush-friendly and RB target-friendly places to a dead zone. If he wasn’t successful in Detroit, I’m just not seeing it for him in Philadelphia.

J.K. Dobbins has yet to deliver on his draft promise. With Lamar Jackson signed long-term, expect that to continue.

And as much as I love Khalil Herbert, it’s a huge mess in Chicago’s backfield anyway. The same goes for Buffalo as an RB room most were already going to avoid. Though, if the hate goes too far, it is worth noting Herbert is viewed more as a ground-only threat anyway. For the right price, that could present value.

Rushing QBs Alter the Fantasy Landscape

Ultimately, it’s not just halfbacks taking the hit. The new model of running QBs rips away production from all positions. It further puts the focus of the game on its most important position.

Personally, I love it but these are trends worth monitoring as we get more adjusted into the era. WRs won’t have as much production. TEs will proportionally have more. RBs with pocket quarterbacks will be en vogue.

And those rushing QBs? They may end up being more fragile in the long run so you may want to stock up on a couple.

For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!

Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites over the last few years, and we’re not stopping now. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.