Friday, December 11, 2009

Running Back Review Part 2

Ryan Grant
Conventional Ranking
: 4th to 5th round, after a disappointing 08. To be fair, some had him going in the third. What I said:He was a steal if you got him in the early 4th. I ranked him 13th among rbs, and thought he was worth a look in the late second. He was the only back on a good team. What happened: Currently 15th among backs, Grant was worth that third rounder. Even without a lot of tds, Grant has stacked up yards while the Pack milked leads. Future prospects: If the situation stays the same, very good. I don't think he is actually that good, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Packers acquire a back. If they don't Grant is a second rounder again.

Pierre Thomas
Conventional Ranking: 4th to 5th round. Matthew Berry ranked him 18th overall. What I said: My opinion was similar to Berry's. I had the Saints as the best team, and the lead back for the Saints was obviously high. What happened: A whole lot. Thomas was injured before the season started. Mike Bell stepped in and showed how valuable that starting spot was to fantasy owners. Thomas came back Bell stepped out and Thomas lit it up. Then Bell came back and Payton inexplicably played both. Even with all that, PT is the 16th ranked back. Those, who drafted him and Bell, and played Bell the first two weeks and Thomas every week after that essentially got the 10th best back. Not bad for a third round pick. Future prospects: High, the Frenchman is a punishing back and he has to be the Saints long term answer at running back. He should continue to divert a portion of his carries to Bush, but will likely be out of the picture. Edit: This week's game shows that Payton is going to split carries no matter what. He obviously didn't think much of Hamilton before this week but he is getting Bell's carries. I'ts pretty clear that if I were the Saints third string running back, Payton would give me a third of the carries. This worries me.

Joseph Addai
Conventional Ranking: A 6th rounder. He was injured in 08 and everyone had fantasies of Donald Brown. What I said: To quote myself, "ridiculously underdrafted." Addai was still the starting back for the most consistent offense of the decade. He would see more red zone opportunities than anyone. I ranked him 15th among backs. Even if he missed a few games he would end with a high total. What happened: Addai did indeed see more red zone shots than anyone else, and his touch down totals and fantasy points reflect that. In addition, he wasn't injured and Donald Brown was. The result is a current 4th place standing. Future prospects: Good for a few more years. Even if Brown plays a bigger part next year, which I suspect will happen, there are enough points in that Colts offense to go around. The only problem is, he won't be a bargain next year.

Ray Rice
Conventional Ranking: Late 20s- low 30s among backs. The highest of the Raven 3. What I said: Essentially the mainstream, I had him 27th. He was a risk, with potential for high numbers, but scary because we didn't know how it would play out among the 2 rbs. I did say that I would rather wait and take a risky guy like him than some of the low risk third round options. What happened: He obviously came in at the high end of the risk spectrum. Established himself as a top 5 option while garnering the majority of Raven carries. Noone really predicted it, but I think everyone knew there was a chance this happened, and that his chances were better than McGahee and McClain. Future prospects: Love him. The talent, the situation, its all there. Who wouldn't want to run behind Mike Oher the next 4 years? Though the Raven defense is decline, Rice is a definite top 10 pick next year.

Marion Barber
Conventional Ranking: Second or third rounder, 12th to 16th among backs. What I said: In agreement with the majority. I ranked him 16th. Scared of Felix Jones and Choice, but thinking it might work out as well as the same situation did for Jacobs the year before. What happened: Disappointed us all, he is 29th right now. due more to the Cowboys woes than serious production from Felix Jones. Future prospects: Seems like the Cowboys think Jones is the long term guy. While Barber shouldn't be drafted high. He is a another potential bargain.

Cedric Benson
Conventional Ranking: 9th to 10th round. What I said: I've been riding the Benson bandwagon since February. I identified him as the biggest bargain in the draft, ranking him 19th among backs and making him a big target. An AFC West schedule and improving defense and oline would lead the way to big numbers for Benson. What happened: Surpassed even my expectations. 11th in points even after a late season injury, Benson has taken advantage of the AFC west and more, running hard against every opponent before the injury. The defense improved the oline improved and Benson himself has had the most remarkable transformation. Future prospects: Sky high. No reason to think the Bengals fortunes won't continue amidst a division that is otherwise in decline. Brief stints from backups will do everything to keep Benson's job.

Darren McFadden
Conventional Ranking: 23-25th among backs. What I said: He was more of a risk, and worth taking ahead of players like Kevin Smith, in that he could be huge, and was picked late enough that you are not looking for surefire mediocrities. I ranked him 18th. What happened: He was ineffective, he missed time and he shared carries. He didn't fulfill any expectations. Future prospects:Unclear, the waters are murky.

Ronnie Brown
Conventional Ranking: Around 16th. a 4th to 5th rounders.
What I said: I was pessimistic about Brown(22), factoring in his time split and his high propensity to become injured. What happened:Well, it depends on how you think about it. On the one hand, even with his injury time, Brown is 16th, so the mainstream opinion was right on. On the other, he is unavailable for fantasy playoffs, so he was in effect worthless to fantasy owners. Future prospects: It depends on what happens. If they enter the season as a duo again, I'l be skittish of Brown. As a solo act, I'd be psyched about Brown putting up a few huge games and watching that waiver wire for a replacement when he goes down.

Thomas Jones
Conventional Ranking: 4th to 7th round, 18-20 among backs. Some had him much higher I believe. What I said:A top 5 guy from a year ago should be picked higher than that. However he would clearly drop from the top 5 and I didn't want him. What happened: He is somehow 5th in points with 1,000 yards. I'm actually stumped on this because every time I saw him he looked like crap and had 2 yards/carry. Jets didn't have a good passing attack either. Maybe they knew when I was watching and turned it on when I wasn't looking. Future prospects:I'm calling it. Shonn Green takes over at some point next year.

Kevin Smith
Conventional Ranking: 16th to 18th, 4th to 6th round What I said:A fairly safe pick to finish 15 to 20, useful as a second rb in deep leagues, not helpful in shallow leageues. What happened: Finished a fairly safe 18th, pretty consistent in mediocrity all season. Future prospects: About the same next year until the team improves. Not a Stephen Jackson type that will produce on his own, he would put up solid numbers on a good offense.

Ricky Williams
Conventional Ranking: Late round flier. What I said: Didn't address him, not my type of late rounder.What happened: He blew up, put up numbers even before Brown went down. Finished in the top 7. Future prospects: Not as high as this year would indicate. He is old and I believe could be on another team next year. Probably gets drafted too high.

Rashard Mendenhall

Conventional Ranking: Late round flier What I said: My type of late round pick. Backup to a guy I had no confidence in, I thought he would be starting by the end of the season, and it was a matter of how late you could pick him up. .What happened: Was starting and excelling by he end of the year, working his way into the top 15 after sitting the first few games. Future prospects: I like him, but not as much as I's like to, given that I've championed him for two years. The Steelers may be on the way down, and Mendenhall isn't so good that he would be great on a bad team.

Quick(er) hits

Willis McGahee, Jonathon Stewart and Knowshon Moreno
Conventional Ranking: midrounds What I said:Agreed. What happened: Ended up where we all thought, in the twenties among rbs. Future prospects: Low for Stew and McGahee, who are now clearly behind a young, talented back on the depth chart. Moreno is establishing himself as the main guy on a Denver team that could be improving. He has a chance to make a leap next year.

Reggie Bush, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Lendale White
Conventional Ranking: Midrounds, around Addai and Thomas Jones. What I said: Are you nuts? LJ is washed up, Bush and White are backups, SWP won't last.What happened: I hit all these on the mark. Future prospects: None.

Marshawn Lynch and Derrick Ward
Conventional Ranking: Midrounds What I said: Agreed. Safe starters on bad teams are useful second rbs in deep leagues. What happened:We were wrong, Ward was never the starter, despit his big contract and Lynch returned to a timesplit. Future prospects: Lynch is on the way out, Ward would be tough to draft next year.

Justin Forsett, Jaamal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Lawrence Maroney
Conventional Ranking: late rounds-undrafted What I said: Agreed. What happened:For one reason or another, they took over the starting job. Future prospects: Not high on Forsett and Charles, on their respective teams, the feature back wouldn't be in the top 20. I like McCoy a lot, I think he is a major player in 2010. Fred Jackson is a gamble, and I don't love his situation, but I think he might have the talent. It's tough to make a preiction about a Patriot rb in advance, but I'll keep an eye on it.

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