Rookie RB Rx for Redrafts
Last month in the Stat Lab we saw how opportunity does or doesn’t translate into success for rookie runningbacks. It’s getting near draft time, which means it’s time to put our ideas to work. In this edition of the Stat Lab, we’ll build on the facts, and offer my prescriptions for the rookie class with an eye towards opportunity.
To recap what we found last time, the rookies who immediately make a splash tend to find themselves competing with underachievers or aging veterans, fill in for injured starters, or are future Hall of Famers (don’t expect any predictions for that last category). We’ll take a look at each player in order of Average Draft Position (ADP) from MyFantasyLeague.com as of July 22nd.
(OAK, Taken: 1.04, ADP: 4.02): Only a few rookie runningbacks put up fantasy starter numbers each season, and McFadden will probably be one of them. On the one hand, he’s on the Raiders, so expectations should be tempered. On the other hand, he’s on the Raiders, with just
Justin Fargas ahead of him on the depth chart coming into the season. This is a gamble not for the faint of heart, especially as a fourth round pick.
(CAR, Taken: 1.13, ADP: 5.09): Stewart joins the Panthers behind
DeAngelo Williams, who performed well when called upon while sharing with
DeShaun Foster (now in SF). The news on this crew remains mixed, and Williams has been going 3 rounds later in drafts. Stewart has upside in his situation, but I’m struggling to buy him in the 5th round until I see him in action in the preseason. Using either of these guys may cause indigestion, and prepare for the carry load to evolve over the season – they surely didn’t take him in 13th overall just to return kicks.
(PIT, Taken: 1.23, ADP: 6.08):
Willie Parker’s YPC and YPR have been slipping, even when you consider his carry load, and his goal-line success rate is not what you like to see in a featured back. Mendenhall is probably still a bit overvalued at ADP, but should become productive as a TD vulture if nothing else. Use sparingly, as needed.
(CHI, Taken: 2.13, ADP: 6.06):
Adrian “Every Other Day” Peterson was unimpressive on the ground in place of
Cedric Benson last season, which leaves room for a rookie to fight his way to the top of the depth chart. Forte could well begin the season as the starter, making him a great value if he continues to float in the middle draft rounds. Don’t go too crazy reaching for him though, as a potentially disastrous passing game could really hold this running game back.
(DET, Taken: 3.01, ADP: 7.02): Competing with Denver castoff
Tatum Bell and a stable of underachievers,
Kevin Smith seems to be in a good situation to make some noise, and churn out RB3 value at a discount. Buy low and store in a dark, cool place on your bench for 2-4 weeks while you see if Detroit can run the ball.