YPC - Yards Per Carry

Definition of TPC

"YPC" is an abbreviation for "Yards Per Carry", which is a statistic that tracks a running back's average yards gained per rushing attempt. In fantasy football, this stat is usually used to predict a player's potential in the future. Like many FF stats, opinion is divided about the effectiveness of the YPC stat. Some players subscribe to YPC like a religion, drafting and setting up their running backs based on this stat alone. Still other fantasy managers ignore YPC altogether. What's the controversy over such a simple statistic?

Let's make up a scenario. Joe Runningback rushes 19 times in a game and earns one yard each time. On his 20th and final rushing attempt, he breaks away for a 70 yard gain. On 20 attempts, Joe earned a total of 89 yards, making his YPC a respectable 4.45. Without looking at the game in detail, you may think that Joe Runningback is a consistent back -- when in reality he consistently earned very little yardage and found a little luck at game's end.

Using any single stat (like YPC) in your fantasy football strategy is a slippery slope. When you start a running back, you're not only hoping he'll earn a ton of yards -- what you're really hoping for is that his coach will give him a ton of touches on the ball. There is no surefire way of predicting which running backs are apt to receive more or less work as the season moves forward. Might there be a way to determine if a coach is going to give your running back the ball?

Let's take another look at Joe Runningback's virtuoso performance. Even though his yards per carry ends up at 4.45, his coach is likely to look at that long string on one yard gains and decide to make some changes to the offense. We fantasy football managers don't care one bit how Joe got his yards, because we earn points for the running yards as a total. Let's face it, those short gains will likely lead to that player seeing quite a few less touches in the next few games, at least until he gets his head on straight.

When evaluating running backs, there are safer plays than judging exclusively with YPC. Make sure your starting back is going to get his hand on the ball enough times to make a difference. Read up on a player's history -- though you may not be able to predict an injury, you can at least know what you're buying before the contract is signed.

And finally, go with your gut. That's right, I said it. If you've been reading up on your fantasy strategy, sometimes going with your first instinct is the best course of action.

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