Daily Fantasy Football: Can Rookie Running Backs Be Trusted?
Each winter, I get the itch to go back and watch the movie Miracle at least once. It's a dope story about the 1980 Olympic hockey team, Kurt Russell does a killer Minnesota accent (unlike that non-sense in Fargo), and it has a bunch of ever-quotable lines. What's not to love?
One of these lines that gets repeated time after time is, "The legs feed the wolf, boys." I've tried for a long time to figure out what in the world this actually means, but it was said while the team was conditioning. I'd assume that just means that if you don't have fresh legs late in a game, you will be eaten by wolves.
I was never good at reading comprehension in school.
Learning this information was -- understandably -- quite jarring. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of having the players I select in daily fantasy football being consumed by a vicious canine. That would seem to be a -EV situation.
As such, I began wondering if this prophetic insight from Russell's character translated over to the NFL. It would be a grim prospect for the older players with a lot of tread off the tires, but the rookies? They would likely to be in the best spot to thrive.
To investigate this, I went back through the 387 games from 2011 to 2015 in which a rookie running back had at least 10 carries. By comparing this to what veterans did in a similar workload, we might be able to tell whether or not this threat of demise was enough to give the young pups an edge. Let's look into what the numbers said.
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