If you want to be living the fantasy high-life come playoff time, you will listen to me now and think about it later as I beg you to not take a kicker until the last few rounds of your draft; especially when a guy with the upside of Denver running back Ryan Torain is still on the board.
I have a draft coming up this week and I thought it might be interesting to see how some of the early mock drafts over at MockDraftCentral.com were taking shape this early in the season. In particular, I wanted to see where Ryan Torain was being drafted, and you won’t believe what I discovered.
For those of you drafting in Yahoo! public leagues, here is a bit of advice … Don’t take a kicker before Denver RB Ryan Torain!!! To a lot of you this is probably just common sense, but apparently, there are a lot of chums drafting in Yahoo! leagues, and they prefer to nab a kicker over someone in the Denver running back mix. On average,
11 kickers are being drafted before Torain. This stat absolutely floors me.
Torain’s ADP (average draft position) is 183.78, so in a standard 12-team league that would make him a 15th round draft choice. I know that Denver coach Mike Shanahan can be as unsettling as nails on a chalkboard when it comes to the Denver running back situation, but given the love that Shanahan has showered onto Torain there is no way that any kicker should be drafted before him. Torain is currently listed third on the Denver depth chart behind Selvin Young and Michael Pittman, which is expected given that Torain is a rookie.
It shouldn’t take long for Torain to pass Pittman on the depth chart given that Pittman will be 33 years old when the season starts and his relatively light workload over the last three seasons. He has not had more than 70 carries in any of the last three years. One could argue that Pittman has a lot left in the tank (that may be true) but I’m willing to bet that a fulltime workload at this stage of his career would be a bad idea. So, now it’s down to a two-man competition between Torain and Young.
Young is the incumbent and it is definitely his job to lose, which he should do at some point this season, if not during training camp. Young carried the ball 140 times last season for 729 yards, a 5.2 average. So, it’s easy to see why everyone wants a seat on the Selvin Young bandwagon, but when you break down the numbers you see why Young really is best suited to be a change-of-pace back. You need look no further than the split between his 1st- and 2nd-half carries to see a disturbing trend.
Young averaged 6.4 yards per carry on 78 first half carries compared to 3.6 yards per carry on 62 second half carries. At 5-foot-11 and 207 pounds it is clear that Young wears down as his workload goes up. Only once last season did Young carry the ball more than 20 times in a game. Just in case you’re looking for one more stat to convince you that Young should not be the starter, he averaged 1.8 yards on 18 carries inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Torain is listed at 6-foot-1, 220, and according to Denver coach Mike Shanahan has first-round skills. Heading into his senior season, which was cut short by injury, he was rated the No. 2 senior running back by Mel Kiper. Granted Mel isn’t always right, but you have to respect the hair.
He is tough between the tackles and his running style has been compared to former Bronco Mike Anderson who rushed for 1,487 yards and 15 touchdowns during his rookie season in 2000.
So, all you chums can feel free to grab one of those sexy looking kickers, but as for me, I’ll take the sweet upside of Ryan Torain in round 15. In fact, I’ll probably grab him a round or two earlier.
Once I recovered from the shock of the Yahoo! mock draft I just had to see if this kind of craziness was going on in the NFFC (National Fantasy Football Championship) and WCOFF (World Championship of Fantasy Football). The NFFC and WCOFF are two of the premier high-stakes fantasy events in the industry, so the guys drafting in these leagues are some of the best fantasy players around, and not only are they putting their reputations on the line but also a nice chunk of change.
In the NFFC, Torain’s average draft position was 167.95 and no kickers were drafted ahead of him.
In the WCOFF, Torain’s ADP was 159.05 and once again, no kickers were selected ahead of him.
I guess the old adage, ‘Money talks, B.S. walks’ holds true in the world of high-stakes fantasy sports. What this proves is that if you’re forking over big money to play fantasy football, the upside of Ryan Torain trumps the prestige of being the first one to grab a kicker.
Over the years I’ve participated in more than a few leagues on Yahoo! and one of my favorite moves is to forego a kicker altogether during the draft, instead focusing on players in RBBC (running back by committee) and potential sleepers. Given that all non-drafted players will be available in two days, once they clear waivers, you’ll have plenty of time to pick up a kicker before the season. Meanwhile, you’ve rostered a player who just may pay off handsomely should things break his way during training camp.
Should you have any questions or comments or just want to thank me for being me, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org