RBs

The Big Board: RBs (PPR)

QB | RB | RB (PPR) | WRWR (PPR) | TE | TE (PPR) | K | DT

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

Assumes 6 pt per TD, 1 pt per 10 yards rush/rec, 1 pt per rec
Updated 9/5/11

The Big Board: RBs

QB | RB | RB (PPR) | WRWR (PPR) | TE | TE (PPR) | K | DT

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

Assumes 6 pt per TD, 1 pt per 10 yards rush/rec
Updated 9/5/11

Owners give up fight for ‘right of first refusal’

As the lockout nears its end, one of the sticking points is how free agency is going to work this summer. The owners wanted to be able to designate three free agents whose contracts they could match, but have since given up on that request. As the agreement tentatively stands, teams will have 72 hours to sign their own players and then…well…all hell breaks loose. Most players will find it in their best interests to test the free agency market, so this year’s free agency period promises to be fast and furious.

How does this affect fantasy owners? A great example is DeAngelo Williams — for a time it looked like the 2011 season may be played under 2010 rules, and he’d have to wait another year for unrestricted free agency (UFA). But it appears that he’s headed for free agency this summer, which means it’s likely that he’ll land elsewhere in 2011, assuming the Panthers aren’t willing to pay him. Carolina could re-sign Williams, but it seems more likely that they’ll move forward with Jonathan Stewart as their feature back. This means that instead of a two-headed RBBC monster in Carolina, we may have two more bona fide bell cow backs to draft in the first three or four rounds.

Below is a list of the top free agents at each position. I’m mainly going to list players who are likely to have a fantasy impact if they land with new teams. An asterisk indicates that the player has been slapped with a franchise tag, and it appears the new CBA will honor those tags. That means the player will be under control of their current team for at least one more season.

QB: Peyton Manning*, Michael Vick*, Matt Hasselbeck, Alex Smith, Marc Bulger and Rex Grossman

Manning and Vick will almost certainly re-sign, but Hasselbeck is likely to be on the move. The 49ers look like they’re planning to hold onto Smith, while the Redskins may re-sign Grossman.

RB: Arian Foster, DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, Cedric Benson, Joseph Addai, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mike Tolbert, Michael Bush, Darren Sproles, Jason Snelling, Ricky Williams, Brandon Jackson, Tim Hightower, Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams, Le’Ron McClain and Leon Washington

The Texans will likely lock up Foster before the 72-hour period is up, but Williams, Bradshaw, Benson and Addai could be on the move. Of those four, Williams seems most likely to change teams.

WR: Vincent Jackson*, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice, Santana Moss, Braylon Edwards, Steve Smith (NYG), Malcom Floyd, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, James Jones, Steve Breaston, Mike Sims-Walker, Lance Moore, Ben Obomanu, Danny Amendola

Plan on V-Jax sticking with the Chargers for one more year, which makes him an interesting pick in the third round. If rumors of the Redskins’ interest are true, Holmes could be a hot commodity, though the Jets will have a chance to lock him up early in FA. Keep an eye on Steve Smith 2.0 — if he leaves New York, Mario Manningham will be in for a big year.

TE: Zach Miller, Marcedes Lewis*, Kevin Boss

Lewis was slapped with a franchise tag, so he’ll be in Jacksonville next season. That makes Miller the one and only impact TE available in FA, so the Raiders would be wise to lock him up early. He’s a sleeper again this season, especially with the way Jason Campbell came on late in 2010.

Once the CBA is finalized, I’ll be writing a comprehensive FA preview for 4for4.com.

Fantasy Football Chain Reaction #21 – Joseph Addai to Colts

Wondering what this series is all about? Click here.

Before we get to Joseph Addai, here’s a look at the first 20 links in the Chain Reaction chain:

1   – DeAngelo Williams to Broncos – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
2   – Kevin Kolb to Seahawks – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
3   – Matt Hasselbeck to Titans – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
4   – Donovan McNabb to Vikings – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
5   – Kyle Orton to Cardinals – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
6   – Darren Sproles to Dolphins – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
7   – Braylon Edwards to Bears – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
8   – Sidney Rice to Redskins – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
9   – Plaxico Burress to Jets – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
10 – Santonio Holmes to Jets – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
11 – Ronnie Brown to Rams – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball.com
12 – Steve Slaton to Eagles – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
13 – Ahmad Bradshaw to Giants – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
14 – Santana Moss to Vikings – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
15 – Cedric Benson to Cincinnati – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
16 – James Jones to Tennessee – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball.com
17 – Chad Ochocinco to Patriots – Rob Warner,  FFSpin.com
18 – Jason Snelling to Bucs – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
19 – Marc Bulger to Miami – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball
20 – Vince Young to Raiders – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com

*Rick’s posts can be found in the same thread as Jim’s

While most of my colleagues have been writing about players changing teams, my last three writeups have predicted that players will stay put. BO-RING. Oh well. Looking at the teams in question — the Jets, Bengals and Colts — I don’t think any of them are prepared for life after Holmes, Benson or Addai, respectively.

The Colts know best what Addai is capable of, and he’s worth more to Indy than to any other team, so I suspect he’ll re-up for a short deal. The market isn’t big for injury-prone, 28-year-old running backs, and the Colts are Addai’s best bet for both money and playing time. He knows the system, which gives him about three legs up on rookie Delone Carter, who seems to be slated to become Addai’s replacement. I just don’t see the Colts going with Donald Brown and a rookie heading into 2011.

Fantasy Spin: If Addai returns to Indy, I like him as a RB3 or even as a RB2 on a team that is stacked at WR and TE (and is looking to draft a RB3 relatively soon). From a points per game standpoint, he’s produces in the RB15-RB20 range (in PPR leagues), but fantasy owners have to be prepared for him to miss some time as the season wears on. After missing just one game in his first two seasons, he missed four games in 2008 and eight games in 2010. The nice thing is that Carter should be available late in drafts, so he’s a cheap handcuff with upside.

To see the entire FF Chain Reaction series, click here.

Fantasy Football Chain Reaction #15: Cedric Benson re-signs with Bengals

Wondering what this series is all about? Click here.

Before we discuss Cedric Benson, here’s a look at the first 14 links in the Chain Reaction chain:

1   – DeAngelo Williams to Broncos – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
2   – Kevin Kolb to Seahawks - Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
3   – Matt Hasselbeck to Titans – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
4   – Donovan McNabb to Vikings – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
5   – Kyle Orton to Cardinals – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
6   – Darren Sproles to Dolphins – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
7   – Braylon Edwards to Bears – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
8   – Sidney Rice to Redskins – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
9   – Plaxico Burress to Jets – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
10 – Santonio Holmes to Jets – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
11 – Ronnie Brown to Rams – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball.com
12 – Steve Slaton to Eagles – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
13 – Ahmad Bradshaw to Giants – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
14 – Santana Moss to Vikings – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com

*Rick’s posts can be found in the same thread as Jim’s

Cedric Benson says he wants a big payday, but there isn’t a huge market for 28-year-old running backs with back-to-back 300+ carry seasons and a 3.7 career yard-per-carry average. He needs the Bengals, and the Bengals need him. Sort of like Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. Wait, the opposite of that.

I digress. Benson isn’t going to finish in the top 10, but he’s a workhorse and he’s going to have a chance to catch more passes this season if he can prove to his new OC that he has the hands. If Andy Dalton is under center, the Bengals are going to struggle to score, so Benson may even regress from the 7.0 TDs he has averaged the last two seasons. Still, 300+ carry RBs aren’t easy to find in the NFL, so despite Cincy’s scoring struggles, Benson is still a valuable fantasy RB.

Fantasy Spin: Benson was RB17 last year in PPR formats, and is currently the 25th RB off the board in fantasy drafts. If he re-signs with Cincy, expect his ADP to rise from 6.02 into the 4th or 5th round. He’d make a rock-solid, low-upside RB2 for owners who decided to snag a pair of WRs or a QB/TE in the first four rounds.

To see the entire FF Chain Reaction series, click here.

2011 Strength of Schedule: RBs (Rush)

Pass | Receiving | Rush

Of all the year-to-year defensive data, rush defense is the most consistent and therefore the most trustworthy in the preseason. Below you’ll find the SOS for RBs. The first two columns summarize the 2010 and 2011 SOS — the 2011 numbers are generated by assigning points (from +2 to -2) for very good (++), good (+), bad (-) and very bad (- -) matchups. The higher the score in the first two columns, the better the overall schedules for that particular season. The next four columns (in orange) show the number of 2011 matchups that fall into each category.

For an explanation of my methodology, check out the QB SOS as well as the post that examined the dependability of preseason SOS.

Remember, in PPR leagues, 40% of total fantasy points scored by RBs come from receptions and the passing game, so this rush SOS is just one part of the picture, especially for pass-catching RBs.

Tm20102011VGGBVB1234567891011121314151617
ARI3-40533+?+?------+?-+--+?+
ATL442512??+++--+++?+---?+?+++
BAL1-31433---+--??++--+?-+?-+?
BUF-9-62153+++--????---------++--
CAR-124132++--??+-?---++?++-?+++
CHI165423-+--+++--++?++-++++++----
CIN-623423+++-++??+-----+--?+++--
CLE-4-32233??--+++-?+??----++----
DAL-144222---?++--+?+++?-++?++??
DEN-3-34144++?-----+++++-----?--+++
DET-5-13343+++---?--++?+--+--++---
GB-264422++?++-+-----++++?+++?++
HOU-502332?-+--++---?+++?-?+?-
IND-2-31433?+--+++?+--?+-----??
JAX-2-51343---++?----??+?-++--?
KC6-35035++++---?++--++----?----++++
MIA-324223--?+---++?+?++-++?++----
MIN-196322-+++++++?--+--++-+++++??
NE-7-33143--++++-----?--+???++-++
NO413232--???+++?+++-?++----+
NYG-1-22333?+?+++++----?+---?---
NYJ-204133-?++------++--++++?+??-
OAK-214324++++----?++++---?---+++-
PHI-6-32252+-?-++?-?++?--+----?
PIT-2-21423--+??-?++----?+?+-++
SD615215----+-++--+--++?++?++--++++
SEA6-31342---++-?+?---+??+?-++
SF974412+-??+++++??++--+++--++
STL1002423??--?---+++++++-+?---
TB3-21442++---?-+?+?---+?-+-
TEN-243312?--+++--???+-+++++???
WAS-3-32343?++-+?+++---+----?--?

The curious case of Peyton Hillis

As I’ve been participating in the Draftmaster series of mock/real drafts, it has been strange to see last year’s #2 RB (in PPR formats) slip all the way to the 3rd round. His current ADP is 3.02, but I have been able to snag him in the middle of the third in three straight drafts.

In fact, I took him at 3.06 in a Fantasy Football Experts Mock Draft and it generated quite the email chain as it appears that people are very split on whether or not Hillis will be a bona fide RB1 in 2011. I drafted him as my RB2 (behind LeSean McCoy) after taking Mike Wallace at 2.07. I think he’ll make a terrific second RB for those owners lucky enough to have a pick in the top 5, who take him late in the 2nd or early in the 3rd.

The main knock on Hillis seems to be workload-related, given the return of Montario Hardesty, whom the Browns selected in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Hardesty amassed 1,647 total yards and scored 14 TDs in his senior year at Tennessee after gaining just 1,131 total yards in his previous three seasons. He tore the ACL in his left knee in the preseason and missed the entire 2010 season. He also missed 27 days of training camp with a bone bruise in his right knee, which is the same knee that he injured (torn ACL) in college in 2005.

So barring the addition of a legit free agent (Ronnie Brown, DeAngelo Williams, Ricky Williams, etc.) the biggest threat to Hillis’ touches is a guy who has torn ACLs in both of his knees in the last five years.

Another issue affecting Hillis is the change at the head coach, where Pat Shurmur takes over for Eric Mangini. Shurmur was the offensive coordinator for the Rams for the last two seasons and will likely calling the plays for the Browns in 2011.

Will Shurmur give Hillis the same number of touches this season? Or will the workload be more spread out? Some of this will have to do with the personnel available at the RB position, but by looking at Shurmur’s history as an OC, we can get a feel for how he typically divvies up the work.

The table below shows the workload of the lead back for the 2010 Browns (Hills) and the 2009 and 2010 Rams (Steven Jackson).

YearPlayerGRushYdsTDsRecYdsTDs% RB Touches% RB Yds% Tot Touches% Tot Yards
2010Peyton Hillis1627011771161477279%85%47%34%
2010Steven Jackson163301241646383083%85%48%32%
2009Steven Jackson153241416451322082%82%52%37%
The general consensus is that Hillis’ workload was too heavy last year, yet the numbers show that it was right in line with the way Shurmur used Steven Jackson the last two seasons.

Still, Hardesty’s talent (and the draft pick that the Browns used to get him) will demand that he get more touches than Kenneth Darby did as Jackson’s backup in St. Louis. But how much will Hardesty eat into Hillis’ workload? That’s the real question, and we won’t know for sure until training camp starts and the coaches start defining each player’s role.

There is reason to believe that Hillis will remain the Browns’ feature back. Amongst RBs, he ranked #9 in Football Outsiders’ DYAR (which measures total value) and #13 in DVOA (which measures value on a per play basis). Both rankings indicate that Hillis is above average amongst starting RBs and it’s doubtful that Hardesty will be able to outplay him, at least initially. He also averaged 4.4 yards per carry, which ranked #10 amongst RBs with 200+ carries.

And let’s not forget how good he is as a receiver out of the backfield. According to Pro Football Focus, he had just one drop out of 62 catchable balls in 2010, and finished the season with 61 catches for 477 yards and two TDs. While he wasn’t particularly dynamic after making the catch (his 7.82 yards per catch ranked #16 out of 27 RBs who caught 30+ passes), he was definitely solid. If the Browns add a third down back like Darren Sproles or Brian Westbrook, Hillis’ reception total would no doubt drop. Hardesty could also be a factor in the passing game — he caught 25 passes as a senior at Tennessee.

So what does this all mean? Well, I can’t say for sure, but Hillis’ workload is likely to decrease. That’s why last year’s #2 RB is slipping into the third round. The question is whether or not Hillis is going to get enough work to justify being the #14 RB taken off the board.

Below you’ll find a table adjusting Hillis’ 2010 workload by three different percentages (90%, 80%, 70%) along with Mike Clay’s projections (from Pro Football Focus) which look like they’re close to the 80% assumption. To the right, you’ll see where each level of production would have ranked in both 2009 and 2010.

Year/%RushYdsTDsRecYdsTDsFP2010 Rk2009 Rk
2010270117711614772304.425
90%2431059.39.954.9429.31.8274.086
80%216941.68.848.8381.61.6243.5139
70%189823.97.742.7333.91.4213.11615
PFF2088968514062241.2139

As the #14 RB off the board, Hillis wouldn’t be a big disappointment even if he produces at 70% of his 2010 levels. Hillis is just 25, so a 30% drop in production doesn’t seem likely, especially since Shumur has shown the ability to make an offense more productive. Keep in mind that he took over a Rams team that posted just 709 total rushes and receptions in 2008. That number improved to 723 in 2009 and 783 in 2010. The Browns posted just 709 rushes and receptions in 2010, so there is plenty of room for improvement. There’s also the matter of his strength of schedule, which projects to be 3.5% better in 2011. His fantasy playoff schedule — PIT in W14, BAL in W16 — isn’t pretty, but on the whole, his schedule should be easier.

So yes, Hardesty will eat into Hillis’ touches, but some of that may very well be offset by the overall improvement of the Cleveland offense and an easier projected schedule. I would expect Hillis to finish somewhere in the 80%-90% range as compared to his 2010 production, which means he should finish the season in the #6 to #13 range, making him a good pick in the late second round and a great pick in the early third.

The Big Board: RBs (PPR)

QB | RB | RB (PPR) | WR | WR (PPR) | TE | TE (PPR)

Tier#NameTmSOS20102-yr AvgComments
11Arian FosterHOU0 (+3)24.817.5he should keep it rolling
12Adrian PetersonMIN3 (+6)18.519.7QB play working against him, better schedule
23Chris JohnsonTEN2 (+3)17.321.1QB issues; losing goal line touches?
24LeSean McCoyPHI-1 (-1)19.914.9underrated stud
25Jamaal CharlesKC-5 (-9)17.916.6supreme talent; schedule is much tougher
26Ray RiceBAL0 (0)17.319.0dependable, may get a few more goal line touches
37Maurice Jones-DrewJAX-1 (-3)17.218.7schedule is tougher, knee is a concern
38Darren McFaddenOAK-1 (-1)21.014.1if he stays healthy he's a top 5 RB
39Frank GoreSF6 (+2)18.819.5always an injury concern
310Matt ForteCHI2 (+4)16.715.2favorable schedule, solid workload
311Rashard MendenhallPIT2 (+5)15.314.2workhorse back, doesn't catch many passes
312Steven JacksonSTL1 (-7)15.315.9concerns about new offense-too pass happy?
313Peyton HillisCLE0 (+4)19.010.1concerns about workload, but should be solid RB2
314Michael TurnerATL3 (+3)14.414.2fringe RB1 available in 2nd round
415Ahmad BradshawNYG-2 (-5)15.613.2solid RB2 if he returns to NYG
416Jahvid BestDET-3 (+2)12.412.4should be featured, but Leshoure a worry
417Ryan MathewsSD-1 (-8)12.212.2splitting time with Tolbert, injury concerns
418DeAngelo Williams--9.912.9where will he land?
419Knowshon MorenoDEN-4 (-2)15.413.9could be a RB1 if DEN doesn't bring in RB
420Cedric BensonCIN3 (+9)12.813.7asking price too much for Cincy?
521Joseph AddaiIND2 (0)13.114.7should return to Indy
522LeGarrette BlountTB0 (-3)11.011.0not involved in passing game
523Felix JonesDAL3 (+4)11.610.0Murray draft pick a concern
524Shonn GreeneNYJ-1 (+0)7.86.2finally taking over Jets' RB1 role?
625Mark IngramNO3 (-2)--workload-should be Saints' RB1
626Marshawn LynchSEA-1 (-4)9.18.5just 25 years old, feature back
627Fred JacksonBUF-5 (+2)11.712.5still the BUF RB1
628Jonathan StewartCAR4 (+4)8.110.6jumps up a dozen spots if RB1 in CAR
629BenJarvus Green-EllisNE-6 (+4)12.56.8better than given credit for in 2010
630Danny WoodheadNE-6 (+4)10.810.8very productive in change-of-pace role
731Mike TolbertSD-1 (-8)12.48.5underrated backup, goal line back
732Ryan GrantGB2 (+3)4.59.6will battle with Starks for carries
733Daniel ThomasMIA0 (+3)--RB1 in MIA, for now
734Ryan WilliamsARI-2 (-6)--part of three-headed monster?
735Roy HeluWAS-3 (-2)--could overtake Torain for WAS RB1
836Ryan TorainWAS-3 (-2)14.114.1part of Shanahan's RBBC
837James StarksGB2 (+3)4.54.5will battle with Grant for carries, better receiver
838Brandon JacobsNYG-2 (-5)9.39.9still the NYG goal line back
839Ronnie Brown--10.012.6uncertain future, but talented
840Ricky Williams--7.411.6uncertain future, getting older, still can run
841LaDainian TomlinsonNYJ-1 (+0)14.413.6relegated to third-down back duties
842Reggie BushNO3 (-2)9.510.7still has value in PPR leagues
943C.J. SpillerBUF-5 (+2)5.35.3can he emerge in his 2nd season?
944Pierre ThomasNO3 (-2)14.714.4talented, yet injury-prone, battling with Ingram
945Thomas JonesKC-5 (-9)9.512.2reduced role?
946Michael BushOAK-1 (-1)10.88.7good runner behind fragile starter
947DeMarco MurrayDAL3 (+4)--can he push Felix for touches?
948Delone CarterIND2 (0)--could emerge if Addai leaves/gets hurt
949Rashad JenningsJAX-1 (-3)9.16.3will produce if given chance
950Chris WellsARI-2 (-6)4.97.1Williams draft pick beginning of the end?

Updated 6/19/11

SOS: 2011 projected strength of schedule (change from 2010)…so 4 (-3) would indicate a generally favorable schedule, but one that is tougher than the previous year. QBs and WR/TE (std) use pass SOS, WR/TE (PPR) use receiving SOS and RB (std/ppr) use a combination of rush, pass and receiving SOS. Std uses 75/25 rush/pass while PPR uses 60/40 rush/receiving. This is due to receiving SOS including one point per reception.

2010: Per game fantasy points in 2010

2-yr Avg: Straight two-year per game average

The Big Board: RBs

QB | RB | RB (PPR) | WR | WR (PPR) | TE | TE (PPR)

Tier#NameTmSOS20102-yr AvgComments
11Arian FosterHOU0 (+3)20.614.7he should keep it rolling
12Adrian PetersonMIN7 (+9)16.117.1QB play working against him, better schedule
23Chris JohnsonTEN3 (+3)14.618.1QB issues; losing goal line touches?
24Jamaal CharlesKC-4 (-10)15.113.9supreme talent; schedule is much tougher
25LeSean McCoyPHI-2 (+1)14.711.1underrated stud
26Ray RiceBAL-1 (-1)13.414.6dependable, may get a few more goal line touches
27Rashard MendenhallPIT0 (+3)13.912.7workhorse back, doesn't catch many passes
38Maurice Jones-DrewJAX-4 (-4)14.715.9schedule is tougher, knee is a concern
39Darren McFaddenOAK2 (+2)17.411.5if he stays healthy he's a top 5 RB
310Frank GoreSF7 (+0)14.615.5always an injury concern
311Matt ForteCHI5 (+4)13.511.9favorable schedule, solid workload
312Michael TurnerATL3 (+2)13.613.6fringe RB1 available in 2nd round
313Steven JacksonSTL0 (-9)12.412.8concerns about new offense-too pass happy?
314Peyton HillisCLE-2 (+3)15.28.1concerns about workload, but should be solid RB2
415Ahmad BradshawNYG-2 (-2)12.711.0solid RB2 if he returns to NYG
416LeGarrette BlountTB-2 (-3)10.610.6not involved in passing game
417Ryan MathewsSD1 (-6)10.410.4splitting time with Tolbert, injury concerns
418Jahvid BestDET-2 (+4)8.88.8should be featured, but Leshoure a worry
419DeAngelo Williams--8.010.9where will he land?
420Knowshon MorenoDEN-3 (-1)12.511.6could be a RB1 if DEN doesn't bring in RB
421Cedric BensonCIN3 (+10)11.112.2asking price too much for Cincy?
422Shonn GreeneNYJ0 (+2)6.75.7finally taking over Jets' RB1 role?
523Joseph AddaiIND0 (-1)10.711.8should return to Indy
524Mark IngramNO2 (-1)--workload-should be Saints' RB1
525Felix JonesDAL4 (+5)8.67.8Murray draft pick a concern
526Jonathan StewartCAR3 (+5)7.59.8jumps up a dozen spots if RB1 in CAR
527Marshawn LynchSEA-2 (-7)7.86.8just 25 years old, feature back
528Fred JacksonBUF-5 (+3)9.810.1still the BUF RB1
629BenJarvus Green-EllisNE-4 (+4)11.76.4better than given credit for in 2010
630Mike TolbertSD1 (-6)10.77.2underrated backup, goal line back
631Ryan GrantGB4 (+6)4.58.8will battle with Starks for carries
632Daniel ThomasMIA2 (+5)--RB1 in MIA, for now
633Danny WoodheadNE-4 (+4)8.68.6very productive in change-of-pace role
634Ryan WilliamsARI-3 (-7)--part of three-headed monster?
635Roy HeluWAS-3 (-1)--could overtake Torain for WAS RB1
736Ryan TorainWAS-3 (-1)12.312.3part of Shanahan's RBBC
737James StarksGB4 (+6)3.93.9will battle with Grant for carries, better receiver
738Brandon JacobsNYG-2 (-2)8.99.0still the NYG goal line back
739Ronnie Brown--8.010.8uncertain future, but talented
740Ricky Williams--6.29.9uncertain future, getting older, still can run
741Thomas JonesKC-4 (-10)8.611.5reduced role?
842Michael BushOAK2 (+2)9.57.5good runner behind fragile starter
843C.J. SpillerBUF-5 (+3)3.63.6can he emerge in his 2nd season?
844LaDainian TomlinsonNYJ0 (+2)10.911.2relegated to third-down back duties
845DeMarco MurrayDAL4 (+5)--can he push Felix for touches?
846Pierre ThomasNO2 (-1)9.810.5talented, yet injury-prone, battling with Ingram
847Delone CarterIND0 (-1)--could emerge if Addai leaves/gets hurt
848Rashad JenningsJAX-4 (-4)7.14.8will produce if given chance
849Chris WellsARI-3 (-7)4.56.5Williams draft pick beginning of the end?
850Montario HardestyCLE-2 (+3)--will spell Hillis

Updated 6/19/11

SOS: 2011 projected strength of schedule (change from 2010)…so 4 (-3) would indicate a generally favorable schedule, but one that is tougher than the previous year. QBs and WR/TE (std) use pass SOS, WR/TE (PPR) use receiving SOS and RB (std/ppr) use a combination of rush, pass and receiving SOS. Std uses 75/25 rush/pass while PPR uses 60/40 rush/receiving. This is due to receiving SOS including one point per reception.

2010: Per game fantasy points in 2010

2-yr Avg: Straight two-year per game average

Combine Comparisons: RBs

I thought it would be interesting to take this year’s combine results and compare them to the results of the past six seasons to see if we can make some kind of athletic comparison for each individual player. So I built an Excel spreadsheet that has all of the results and automatically compares them when I input a player’s name. There are eight potential categories that could be used to compare prospects: height, weight, 40 speed, 3-cone, shuttle, vertical jump, broad jump and bench press.

Below is a look at five of the first six running backs taken in the draft, along with their closest athletic comparisons. (Daniel Thomas only participated in the 40-yard-dash, so I skipped him.) Keep in mind that the Similarity Score on the far right is how close of a match the two players are — the lower the score, the better the match.

This is by no means meant to be an absolute comparison. There are a number of factors that may lead a player to post subpar (or better) numbers at the combine than they do on the football field. Some players are beasts at the combine and can’t cut it on the field, while others look dreadful in shorts, but once the pads go on, they’re productive. Still, it’s interesting to see how different prospects compare to current NFL players.

Mark Ingram, Saints


Ingram is not the type of back that is going to impress people at the combine. His 40-yard dash is only average, and none of his other numbers stand out. He was drafted in the first round because he’s a strong, natural runner who has great vision.

Ryan Williams, Cardinals

Again, Williams’ speed is not that impressive, though his three-cone, vertical and broad jump numbers are all above average. Side note: It’s hard to believe that Marion Barber once had sub-4.50 speed.

Shane Vereen, Patriots


Vereen’s measurables say that he’s more of a scatback, but in reality, he’s only an inch shorter and five pounds lighter than Green-Ellis. His presence certainly muddies the waters in the New England backfield, as he’s a player who could threaten both BGE and Danny Woodhead.

Mikel LeShoure, Lions


Leshoure showed average speed, but was above average in the three-cone drill and has good leaping ability (for what it’s worth). For a big guy, he showed pretty good quickness. He’ll probably play Thunder to Jahvid Best’s Lightning.

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

Murray is like Ryan Torain with a lot more speed. His numbers are pretty similar to Ronnie Brown as well.



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