In a couple of discussions recently -- with rookies like Javonte Williams and Najee Harris, but I think one or two other times -- there's been a debate in the comments over how well they'll do if they're stuck in a lesser, losing situation. In the past we've done studies indicating the best running backs (yards, touchdowns) tend to come from winning teams.

But PPR scoring has become more prevalent in recent years -- it's currently our default, and that's true of most major fantasy sites -- and that maybe changes things. In non-PPR scoring, running backs needed to be averaging 80-90 yards and getting in the end zone to give you a 15-point week. Now a guy catches 5 balls for 50 yards and he's getting you double-digit points without running for any yards at all or scoring. Those kind of numbers are possible on terrible teams (more possible than a guy rushing for 1,200 yards and a dozen touchdowns), increasing the odds of getting a very good back from a very bad team.

James Robinson (pictured) is 2020's best example, playing on the worst team in the league, the 1-15 Jaguars. He averaged just 7.6 fantasy points per game as a runner, but an additional 7.2 as a receiver by catching 49 passes for 344 yards and 3 TDs. He was last year's 7th-ranked PPR back. An extreme example, but I wonder how common it is these days for a top-10 back to come from a bad team. So I ran the numbers.

I pulled out the top 10 running backs from each of the last 10 years -- 1oo total backs. And then I looked at the win-loss records of each of those teams. (Yet another table that's going to be a little trickier once teams are playing 17 games, but at least we've got winning percentage to work with.) Here are the results.

Turns out....your odds of landing a top-10 fantasy back are indeed better with good teams than bad. Depending how you want to look at it, a lot better.

Nearly half (48) of the 100 top-10 running backs from the last 10 years came from teams that won 10 games. Eighteen more won 8-9 games. Collectively, that's two-thirds (66) of the 100 players from teams that finished .500 or better. That's a pretty good argument for favoring running backs from teams you think will be good.

If you're wondering how many James Robinson-types there were, well, he was unique -- the only top-10 back from a 1-15 team. That's not really fair (there are only 2 other teams in the last decade that have won 1 or fewer games), so let's look at the 2-14 and 3-13 teams. There have been 5 top-10 fantasy backs from teams that won 3 or fewer games (easy math, it happens 5% of the time). Most impressive in that group is Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 1,509 yards for a 2-14 Kansas City team back in 2012. But Charles was an awfully impressive back.

A total of 23 top-10 running backs in the last 10 years came from teams that finished 6-10 or worse. Roughly speaking, about a 1 in 4 chance of pulling a top-10 fantasy back from a team that loses double-digit games. Not great. So if you're not expecting the Steelers or Broncos to win more than 6 games this year (I personally am), probably best to steer clear of those running backs.

2019Mark Ingram, Balt.10182624715246.51014-2
2016LeGarrette Blount, N.E.116173818234.9914-2
2020Aaron Jones, G.B.11044735511258.9513-3
2019Aaron Jones, G.B.10844947419318.8213-3
2019Alvin Kamara, N.O.797815336250.7913-3
2018Todd Gurley, LAR12515958021374.1313-3
2018Alvin Kamara, N.O.8838170918354.2413-3
2017LeVeon Bell, Pitt.12918565511345.6213-3
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.16313236316327.4213-3
2015David Johnson, Ariz.5813645713217.8713-3
2013Knowshon Moreno, Den.10386054813296.6413-3
2013Marshawn Lynch, Sea.12573631614277.3513-3
2011Darren Sproles, N.O.6038671010277.3513-3
2020Alvin Kamara, N.O.9328375621377.8112-4
2018Melvin Gordon, LAC8855049014275.5812-4
2014DeMarco Murray, Dall.18455741613361.1212-4
2014Marshawn Lynch, Sea.13063736717306.3412-4
2014Eddie Lacy, G.B.11394242713276.6612-4
2012Arian Foster, Hou.14244021717306.1312-4
2011Ray Rice, Balt.13647670415376.9112-4
2012Frank Gore, S.F.12142823410232.81011-4-1
2020Derrick Henry, Ten.20271911417337.1311-5
2020Jonathan Taylor, Ind.11693629912254.8611-5
2020Kareem Hunt, Cle.8413830411218.51011-5
2018James White, N.E.4258775112276.6711-5
2017Todd Gurley, LAR13056478819387.3111-5
2017Alvin Kamara, N.O.7288182614322.4311-5
2017Mark Ingram, N.O.11245841612284.0611-5
2017Christian McCaffrey, Car.435806517230.6911-5
2016LeVeon Bell, Pitt.1268756169319.4311-5
2016Devonta Freeman, Atl.10795446213286.1611-5
2015Adrian Peterson, Min.14853022211266.7211-5
2014LeVeon Bell, Pitt.13618385411370.5111-5
2013Jamaal Charles, K.C.12877069319382.0111-5
2012Marshawn Lynch, Sea.15902319612273.6511-5
2014Jeremy Hill, Cin.1124272159214.91010-5-1
2019Dalvin Cook, Min.11355351913296.4610-6
2018Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.1434775679331.1510-6
2017Kareem Hunt, K.C.13275345511297.2410-6
2017Leonard Fournette, Jac.10403630210230.21010-6
2015DeAngelo Williams, Pitt.9074036711235.4510-6
2014Justin Forsett, Balt.1266442638246.9810-6
2013LeSean McCoy, Phil.16075253911332.6310-6
2012Adrian Peterson, Min.20974021713351.4110-6
2012Ray Rice, Balt.11436147810283.1410-6
2012Alfred Morris, Was.1613117713258.0710-6
2011Arian Foster, Hou.12245361712309.1310-6
2011Michael Turner, Atl.13401716811233.8810-6
2018James Conner, Pitt.9735549713284.069-6-1
2019Derrick Henry, Ten.15401820618300.659-7
2017Melvin Gordon, LAC11055847612288.159-7
2017LeSean McCoy, Buff.1138594488265.679-7
2016DeMarco Murray, Ten.12875337712295.959-7
2014Arian Foster, Hou.12463832713277.659-7
2014Jamaal Charles, K.C.10334029114256.479-7
2011Chris Johnson, Ten.1047574184227.599-7
2013Eddie Lacy, G.B.11783525711244.588-7-1
2020David Montgomery, Chi.10705443810266.848-8
2020Josh Jacobs, L.V.10653323812235.388-8
2019Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.13575442014315.738-8
2015Devonta Freeman, Atl.10567357814320.418-8
2014Lamar Miller, Mia.1099382759229.498-8
2013Matt Forte, Chi.13397459412341.328-8
2013DeMarco Murray, Dall.11215335010260.168-8
2011LeSean McCoy, Phil.13094831520330.428-8
2011Ryan Mathews, S.D.1091504556240.678-8
2016David Johnson, Ariz.12398087920413.817-8-1
2020Dalvin Cook, Min.15574436117343.827-9
2018Christian McCaffrey, Car.109810786713388.017-9
2016LeSean McCoy, Buff.12675035614298.347-9
2016Mark Ingram, N.O.10434631910246.287-9
2015Todd Gurley, St.L.11062118810210.497-9
2015Latavius Murray, Oak.1066412326206.8107-9
2013Reggie Bush, Det.1006545067247.277-9
2013Chris Johnson, Ten.10774234510244.297-9
2012Doug Martin, T.B.14544947212313.627-9
2011Marshawn Lynch, Sea.12042821213247.667-9
2020Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.979523388233.796-10
2019Leonard Fournette, Jac.1152765223261.476-10
2019Nick Chubb, Cle.1494362788261.286-10
2018Joe Mixon, Cin.1168432969243.4106-10
2017Carlos Hyde, S.F.938593508235.886-10
2015Doug Martin, T.B.1402332717242.346-10
2015Lamar Miller, Mia.8724739710233.966-10
2015Matt Forte, Chi.898443897216.786-10
2012C.J. Spiller, Buff.1244434598261.366-10
2013Adrian Peterson, Min.12662917111238.7105-10-1
2019Christian McCaffrey, Car.1387116100519471.215-11
2019Austin Ekeler, LAC5579299311313.045-11
2018Saquon Barkley, NYG13079172115385.825-11
2016Melvin Gordon, S.D.9974141912254.675-11
2014Matt Forte, Chi.103810280810350.635-11
2012Trent Richardson, Cle.9505136712254.785-11
2011Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac.16064337411307.045-11
2015Danny Woodhead, S.D.336807559243.134-12
2018David Johnson, Ariz.9405044610250.693-13
2016Jordan Howard, Chi.1313292987232.1103-13
2012Jamaal Charles, K.C.1509352366245.592-14
2011Steven Jackson, St.L.1145423336225.8102-14
2020James Robinson, Jac.10704934410252.471-15

So it's not impossible to pull a top-10 back out of a bad team, but the more wins the better, and as the wins get fewer, so do the number of successful backs. When in doubt, favor the lead guy from a team you expect to win double-digit games. Much better odds of that guy hitting it big.