Exactly How Valuable Were Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara in Fantasy Football This Past Season?

When looking at Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara's 2017 seasons versus expectation, how historically good were their performances?

When we look back on the 2017 fantasy football season, we may remember all the quarterback injuries. Maybe we'll think about the lack of wide receiver production.

Or perhaps we'll keep things simple and just call it The Year of Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara.

Both Gurley and Kamara brought unique value to fantasy teams this past season. Gurley, for one, had ridiculous performances during Weeks 15 and 16, leading tons of fantasy football squads to championship wins. He had timely performances piled onto a crazy-good season.

Kamara didn't post the same type of numbers Gurley did, but he was far cheaper to obtain during fantasy drafts. Given the combination of points scored and draft equity used in getting Kamara, he was an ultra-valuable asset this past season.

But exactly how valuable were these guys? How fortunate were fantasy owners to have them?

Well, one way to figure this out is to look at average draft position versus points scored across a historical sample.

The scatterplot above is depicting every running back that's been selected in PPR leagues over the last seven seasons. The x-axis represents the player's average pick according to's average draft position data, while the y-axis is the number of points that player scored.

As you can see, Gurley and Kamara are both far above the trendline, meaning they outperformed expectation by quite a bit in 2017.

And based off that trendline, they were both top-five running backs in exceeding expected fantasy points scored since 2011.

Player Avg Pick Year PPR Points Expected Points Difference
David Johnson 7.84 2016 407.80 194.75 213.05
Alvin Kamara 140.76 2017 314.40 101.45 212.95
Knowshon Moreno 160.95 2013 296.60 87.28 209.32
Todd Gurley 19.88 2017 383.30 186.30 197.00
Devonta Freeman 113.43 2015 316.40 120.63 195.77

This was also the case when looking at things from a fantasy points scored per game perspective.

Again, the x-axis is showing the average pick for a running back, but this time, the y-axis is telling us the number of PPR points per game that running back scored. Here's where the two backs rank among the sample in fantasy points scored versus expectation.

Player Avg Pick Year PPR PPG Expected PPG Difference
Le'Veon Bell 13.20 2016 26.45 14.27 12.18
Devonta Freeman 113.43 2015 21.09 9.06 12.03
Alvin Kamara 140.76 2017 19.65 7.64 12.01
Knowshon Moreno 160.95 2013 18.54 6.59 11.95
Todd Gurley 19.88 2017 25.55 13.92 11.63

If you were able to snag either Kamara or Gurley in a draft last August, consider yourself lucky. And you probably shouldn't expect to be able to do that year over year.