Touchdowns have a huge impact on running back fantasy scoring but can be largely random and out of the control of players. A way to identify potentially touchdown-dependent or non-touchdown-dependent players is through non-touchdown scoring. This is the PPR scoring of players without their touchdowns. Highly touchdown-dependent players are potential candidates for regression, while players who finished highly in 2020 without touchdown dependence are stronger floor players with the potential to progress in 2021. The running backs below are those who had a significant difference in scoring without touchdowns, with the change from touchdown to non-touchdown scoring listed in the parenthesis next to their name.
Backs Who Drop in Non-TD Scoring
Nick Chubb (10 Spot Drop in Non-Touchdown Scoring)
Nick Chubb posted an RB11 finish in only 12 games in 2020. With a touchdown per game and a limited receiving game (16 receptions), Chubb plummeted 10 spots to RB21 in non-touchdown scoring. With Kareem Hunt sharing the backfield in a passing game role, Chubb has a small receiving role, making his profile touchdown dependent and risky.
Kenyan Drake (8 Spot Drop)
Brought to the Raiders to be a threat in the passing game, Drake’s profile was precisely the opposite in Arizona in 2021. With 10 rushing touchdowns in 15 games, while averaging 63.7 rushing yards and 1.7 receptions per game, Drake dropped from RB15 to RB23 in non-touchdown scoring. If Josh Jacobs is the running back in the red zone, Drake is more roadblock than building block in the offense and will need a heavy receiving presence he did not see in 2020 for fantasy viability.
D'Andre Swift (8 Spot Drop)
D'Andre Swift finished as RB16 in 2020 but only RB24 in non-touchdown scoring. Swift saw 10 touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie, but of the players on the list, he is perhaps the most insulated from a drop in touchdown rates given his over three receptions per game. With an offense projected to take a step back, Swift’s touchdown scoring may regress. However, in an offense without a true WR1, Swift and T.J. Hockenson are potentially the best receiving threats in the offense, which should protect his Swift’s scoring floor.
David Johnson (6 Spot Drop)
David Johnson, like D'Andre Swift, could see a notable decrease in his team’s offensive quality in 2021, with the status of Deshaun Watson a completely unknown for the Houston offense. Johnson had 8 touchdowns in 12 games, a rate that may struggle to repeat itself. Johnson, like Swift, could benefit from a big receiving role (33 receptions in 12 games) as arguably the second-best receiving threat on the offense. However, if Watson is not the quarterback, the offense has a troubling floor.
Backs Who Improve in Non-TD Scoring
Austin Ekeler (12 Spot improvement)
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