June 28, 2007, 3:23 PM
Fantasy leagues obviously account for lost fumbles -- they are turnovers, after all -- but the bigger fantasy impact is not necessarily in the absolute point deductions for losing a fumble, but, for those backs fighting to be the feature back, the repercussions of the subsequent coaching decisions. Fumble problems often can be used as a means for confirming a preconceived notion of lack of toughness about a player. Tatum Bell is one of the best examples of this, as even though his stats -- a career 4.9 yard per carry average -- were impressive, and pundits expected him to break out, he has had fumbling problems throughout his career. Perception is reality, and the perception of fumbles -- "Look, he can't handle being a feature back, and the fumbles are proof!" -- is one all running backs must overcome. After all, a large reason why Barber's job was in question throughout his career was due to his fumbles; when he got them under control, the touches resulted as well.
With this in mind, I tallied how often a running back fumbled last season; how many carries, on average, did it take before he coughed one up? The threshold to make the list was 80 carries; the total number of carries a back had is listed as well. Total fumbles were used, and not fumbles lost; though obviously you would like your team to recover a fumble, there is little-to-no year-to-year correlation of recovering fumbles. Since it is attributed to luck, there is no need to penalize (or reward) a back who had bad (or good) luck.
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