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Daily Fantasy Football: Using the Spread to Predict Running Back Production

Running back usage is highly dependent on the score. Using Vegas lines can give us a guideline of what to expect.

Any time we've discussed running back selection here on numberFire, the overwhelming chorus has always been to look at the Vegas spread. This has been discussed fairly in depth both in our introduction to using Vegas lines and our look at how game flow affects running backs. This isn't a topic that has simply been glossed over.

It's still not enough.

When selecting a running back, there isn't one single thing I look to more often than Vegas spreads. If that point has not been clear yet, I offer my sincerest apologies. This stuff is important.

In case this is your first time hearing of this concept, the anecdotal reasoning is pretty evident. If a team is trailing late in a game, they're unlikely to lean upon their running game to try to make up the deficit. The exception would be if that team's coach is Jeff Fisher, but he hates points, so we can just mark him as an anomaly.

The reverse of that is also true. When a team is trying to lock down a win while holding a lead, running the ball can help milk the clock, leading to an increase in volume for that team's rushing game. The benefits of doing this are not difficult to grasp, yet some people still decide to overlook the spread when selecting their running backs.

Let's try to end that right now. I wanted to quantify the value of the spread when it comes to fantasy output by looking at how running games have performed in various situations. Hopefully -- by doing this -- we can fully grasp how important a study of Vegas's lines is when it comes to running backs in daily fantasy football.

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