Using the yards-per-touch metric to find sleepers

Updated: November 17, 2009, 4:08 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
When a running back puts up big numbers in short spurts, with just a fraction of the touches of bigger-name players, it's not necessarily a given that that player will succeed with more opportunities. Sometimes he won't.

So I took a long look at scrimmage yards per touch, because that stat doesn't lie. Either you make big plays or you don't. I originally wanted to see where Reggie Bush would rank in that category among his running back peers, because I just don't buy his big game Sunday as a harbinger of things to come. You have to get more touches than that for continued success.

In Bush's case, I doubt more touches are coming, unless something happens not only to Pierre Thomas, but Mike Bell as well. Even then, Drew Brees would probably just throw 48 times per game. But I did find some other interesting names in the top 25 for scrimmage yards per touch (Bush ranks 18th). Anyone can look up how many yards someone has, but what does that really tell us? I wanted to see who might be about to emerge based on potential, someone producing at a nice level but being held back by a lack of attention. Here are some running backs to watch: