Fantasy Football: Do Any Colts Running Backs Have Value Other Than Frank Gore?

The Colts want to lighten Gore's workload in 2016. Do any backups stand out?

Trusting a 30-year-old running back is pretty rare in the NFL.

It's no real surprise, then -- after giving a 32-year-old Frank Gore 294 touches in 2015 -- that the Indianapolis Colts want to lighten his workload in 2016.

The only problem is that the Colts have a slew of unproven backs on the depth chart behind Gore, and they didn't do anything, really, to address this concern in the offseason.

Do any backs stand out? Or is Gore the only Colts back to monitor entering 2016?

Gore's Efficiency

This may seem an odd place to start, but it can't hurt to check out how Gore fared with Indy in 2015 to see if there really are reasons -- other than the organization's word of wanting to take some touches from him -- that the Colts should look elsewhere.

According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which factors in variables such as down-and-distance and score to indicate how well a player performs, Gore lost the Colts 28.68 points on his 260 carries.

Only Melvin Gordon and his -34.19 Rushing NEP lost more points on the ground.

Gore's -0.11 Rushing NEP per carry and 34.62% Rushing Success Rate (the percentage of carries that led to NEP gains) were among the worst marks in the NFL and fell far below the league average rates of -0.04 and 39.03%.

Good news for the backups, right?

Well, the kicker here is that all other Colts backs combined for a Rushing NEP per carry of -0.27 and a Success Rate south of 34%. Gore was one of the best backs compared to his own teammates in 2015. He struggled with the offense as a whole, but he outpaced his unproven teammates last year. We shouldn't overlook this, as the situation isn't much different this time around.

But if the Colts do try to mix in other backs, who might carve out a big role?

The Options

Here are how the other backs on the roster shape up in terms of age, size, NFL Draft position, and percentile ranks in certain athletic measures, according to Player Profiler.

Percentile RanksAgeDraftHeightWeightAdj. 40BurstAgilityBench
Robert Turbin264.115'10"22286683195
Josh Ferguson23UDFA5'9"1985146 57
Jordan Todman266.185'9"19877883885
Trey Williams23UDFA5'7"19541349031

Robert Turbin, the biggest back in the group, also offers the best size-adjusted 40-yard dash time of the four, as well as an above-average burst score (adjusted broad jump and vertical jump) and an elite bench press grade.

Jordan Todman and Josh Ferguson, identical in size, offer different levels of athleticism. Todman, now 26, grades out as a better athlete across the board than the undrafted free agent, Ferguson.

Trey Williams, the smallest of the four, has promising agility but little else to offer, so it's unlikely he will be stealing a large number of carries from Gore.

Turbin and Todman are the only backs with NFL track records if we ignore Williams' two NFL carries.

Turbin has a career Rushing NEP per carry of -0.08 on 281 totes, though his Success Rate of 43.42% suggests he can move the expected points chains with some consistency.

Todman's -0.05 Rushing NEP per carry is also underwhelming, and his 35.34% Success Rate puts him in the boom-or-bust range of backs. Based on his average Rushing NEP per carry (just below league average), the good isn't worth the bad.

This suggests Turbin, who is listed as the team's number-two back, is the man to keep an eye on. Part of that means making sure he doesn't get suspended for an offseason incident.

But if you want to buy into the hype and read the tea leaves, then Ferguson -- and his underwhelming athleticism -- could be a waiver-wire target during 2016. Although he went undrafted, the Colts considered drafting Ferguson in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Owner Jim Irsay thinks that Ferguson can be "special." He's also drawing praise for his performance in camp so far.


Even though there's talk that the Colts want to give Gore some breaks, there's no clear player to target in deep leagues. Handcuffing Gore with one of these players -- already a losing strategy -- is going to be a tough riddle to solve.

With Gore's average draft position at the end of the sixth round, per Fantasy Football Calculator, the Colts' backfield is already one to target for those willing to wait on running backs in the draft.

But if you're trying to target Gore's backup for fantasy football value, you might be grasping at straws unless someone emerges from the pack.