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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-08-02 06:04:36
DFL Podcast #3 is up! We're covering the top half of running backs this week. I'm still figuring out format issues, and this podcast runs super long with a running time of 2:40. You can safely ignore the final segment if you don't care about our DFL draft, but it does provide a few examples of various draft tactics. Also, I rant about my dream game: NFL Tactics, for the first 20+ minutes before we get down to running back ranking business.
You can find text rankings with contextual explanations below. I do need to build separate pages for this material, but it'll be hosted here on Dave the Direman for the interim.
Fantasy players: we're not going to show up in Google searches, so please help us out by sharing our links. I think the rankings below provide a fantasy football reference unlike anything else out there. If you've got scouting that I missed on these players, hit me up.
About today's comic, I embrace the message, but cannot abide the messenger. Under Riccitiello's watch, Electronic Arts engaged in some of the grubbiest forms of opportunism. At least I can give the man some credit for not naming a former EA product among those he extols.
Software Slump reminiscences about fuzzy game protagonists.
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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-08-02 07:02:55
Fantasy Football: Running Back Rankings, Part 1
This list ranks running backs for the 2013 football season. It applies to standard redraft formats (PPR is nonsense), but includes notes for dynasty.
Each back is ranked next to their ECR (Expert Consensus Rank) so you can see where and how much I disagree. Most rankings lack any context whatsoever (which is vital for drafting), so I have further notes:
Sitch - Team situation that affects fantasy production
Consist - Fantasy production consistency
AtSotF - Ability to Stay on the Field
TIER 1 - Don't think about it, just be grateful of your draft position:
1 (1) Adrian Peterson
Talent - Unparalleled; I almost created a separate "All Day" A.P. tier. Nick Fury should draft him into the Avengers sequel.
Sitch - Rough; faced 8 in the box all last season. Greg Jennings might cut that to 7.
Consist - No better bet for production, but don't *expect* him to challenge Dickerson's record again.
AtSotF - Workload (348 carries last season!) has him headed toward that RB cliff, but should be fine for 2013 redraft.
Dynasty - Draft Doug Martin.
2 (2) Doug Martin
Talent - Solid all-around performer. Scary to think the sophomore should only improve.
Sitch - Offensive line is bolstered, but Peyton Hillis might vulture some TDs.
Consist - Production is strongly influenced by long plays; odds are against him breaking as many again.
AtSotF - Muscle Hamster runs low and doesn't get hit squarely. The Bucs will ride him all season.
Dynasty - I've never had the first pick in any league ever; you lucky bastard.
TIER 2 - RB1s + a rookie and an undervalued potential RB1 that snuck in:
3 (6) Marshawn Lynch
Talent - BEASTLY. YouTube his playoff run against the Saints; that stiff arm was fucking ridiculous.
Sitch - The primary weapon for a good offense. Out-producing the Tier 1 guys wouldn't surprise me.
Consist - I was disappointed any week he didn't hit upwards of 110 plus a TD. DAMN I SHOULD'VE PROTECTED HIM IN OUR EXPANSION DRAFT!
AtSotF - Struggles with back spasms but BEASTS through them on game day. A known knucklehead, but his DUI court appearance was pushed past this fantasy season. There's risk, but worth it.
Dynasty - Will begin the aging process; let someone else snag him unless you're determined you must win now.
4 (7) LeSean McCoy
Talent - I like him better than Doug Martin.
Sitch - Rookie coach Chip Kelly's offensive system could be Patriots good (or sputter in the NFL), and it's keyed by the RB position. The offensive line CAN'T be as horrid as last season, but Jeremy Maclin's injury hurts. And you can't trust Vick or two rookie types at QB. This factor has a massive range that you might as well shake a magic 8-ball at.
Consist - His talent gives him an extremely high floor. Anticipate a rebound season.
AtSotF - Worries that Bryce Brown will steal carries are overblown. Don't worry about his concussion last season, unless he gets another one.
Dynasty - Target him ahead of Marshawn. Shady is still young and has tons of potential yet to be harvested.
5 (8) Ray Rice
Talent - A more established, proven version of Doug Martin.
Sitch - With Boldin gone and Pitta out, the Ravens will lean on him hard. Touches, particularly catches should increase. I am concerned that the offense won't be able to reach the red zone as often.
Consist - The poster child for fantasy consistency. A terrific steadying back to anchor your corps.
AtSotF - 1,100 touches over the last 3 seasons is outrageous. He's not showing pronounced signs yet, but the wheels will come off at some nearish point. Acquire handcuff Bernard Pierce if you can without overpaying.
Dynasty - Couple him with the handcuff. Pierce has the physical gifts to become an even better runner.
6 (3) Arian Foster *dropped from #4 in podcast ranking
Talent - The ultimate one-cut zone scheme running back among active players.
Sitch - Texans are a playoffs caliber running team with an effective O-line.
Consist - Will produce as well as anyone, given a minimum number of healthy carries.
AtSotF - Showing signs of breaking down under several years of heavy usage. I dropped him a couple ranks due to a troubling slow-healing calf injury that has sidelined him for two months and counting. Handcuffing Ben Tate is virtually mandatory.
Dynasty - He scares me. His peak value is behind him, and the cliff somewhere in the impending future.
7 (5) C.J. Spiller
Talent - Electrifying. He makes me lean forward in anticipation of a jaw-dropping jump-out-of-your-seat play every time he gets the rock.
Sitch - The Bills are abysmal, particularly at QB. It's a shame C.J. doesn't play on a more effective offense.
Consist - A definite upside play. Capable of shouldering a fantasy win SOLO, but might score like an RB3 on occasion. I may have him ranked too high, because I LOVE watching him run. If you're with me, make sure your RB2 is a steady chain mover.
AtSotF - The young back has not yet demonstrated the ability to carry a full workload across an entire season. The Bills still have Fred Jackson, who is universally under-appreciated.
Dynasty - I'm a huge fan. Just temper your expectations so you're not crushed if he doesn't develop into a fantasy superstar. Remember that he's a Bill.
8 (12) Steven Jackson
Talent - Tough warrior who never stops fighting, who's making an argument for the Hall of Fame.
Sitch - Improved by SEVERAL ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE. He will rip off steady points in Atlanta's offense.
Consist - Nobody works harder or takes better care of himself. You'll appreciate how Jackson fights for extra yards. Think about what Michael Turner used to do on the Falcons before he got fat PLUS legitimate receiving ability.
AtSotF - An elderly running back with a rep for nagging injuries. But bank on him; he'll be having a ton of fun playing on a winner for the first time in his entire career.
Dynasty - A clear WIN NOW pickup.
9 (4) Jamaal Charles
Talent - Solid receiver with preposterous afterburners. A touchdown waiting to happen on any play.
Sitch - Chief's new coach Andy Reid has been (somewhat legitimately) criticized for under-utilizing talented running backs in the past. There's a reason I why mentioned Charles' receiving skills as they convert to a West Coast Offense. Why are people excited about Alex Smith at QB? And do not forget that the Chiefs were 2-14. They'll improve (healthy defense), but enough to support Charles as an elite pick?
Consist - This is where I'm bearish. I have Charles ranked lower than the "experts", because I'm not convinced the Chiefs will set him up to steadily produce toward his ceiling. I feel like I'm ranking him too low, but this is where I would draft him.
AtSotF - He looks completely healed from his ACL tear, and he's far too talented to sit.
Dynasty - I'd be anxious with Charles as a frontliner, but he warrants the first round pick.
10 (9) Trent Richardson
Talent - Complete; does it all and does it all well.
Sitch - Absolutely wretched. He is the sole weapon for the magnificently horrid Browns.
Consist - You gotta respect him. Defenses key on him, and all he does is grind for yards (at an ugly 3.6 average clip) AND is also Cleveland's best receiver.
AtSotF - He gets beat up non-stop. Props for playing and producing through a rib injury last season, but I cringe hard watching the punishment he endures. If anything, coordinator Norv Turner will call his number even more often.
Dynasty - I hope you have a better #1 option. It's heart-wrenching to pass on this kind of talent, but the Browns fugliness looks to break the poor kid.
11 (25)Montee Ball *dropped from #10 in podcast ranking
Talent - Sufficient to produce front line RB production in the right setting.
Sitch - He's in the right setting. The Broncos offense whips ass.
Consist - The Broncos offense can take decent talent (see: Knowshown Moreno last season) and carve major chunks of yardage. Ball is more talented. Look at the disparity between where I and the Experts rank him. If I'm right, you can rob your league blind with Ball at the right pick. But...
AtSotF - There's disturbing news dribbling out of training camp that he can't pass protect. Peyton Manning will not abide that shit. Hillman and Moreno are distinct steps down as ball carriers and Denver wants Ball to step to, but this situation bears continued scrutiny as Hillman currently has a lock on first team reps. I dropped Ball one rank from the podcast for now, but that could plummet. This ranking is based entirely on the supposition that he wins the job.
Dynasty - Until Peyton retires, Ball is the cream of the crop among the 2013 rookies.
12 (19) Darren McFadden
Talent - We've seen him school defenses stupid before. We know it's in him.
Sitch - The Raiders are laughable, but they're switching back to a power blocking scheme. Run DMC has schooled defenses stupid before, under the exact same circumstances.
Consist - Chalk last year up to the ill-advised zone blocking design; the Raiders aren't smart enough to run it. DMC is in a contract year, and he's all the Silver and Black have. The track record is lacking, but I believe he will "do work" in 2013.
AtSotF - As explained in the podcast, I don't believe he's injury prone, just unlucky. Now, this is where I have him ranked, but virtually nobody has DMC this high. Angle yourself to steal him somewhat lower than this actual position, as your fellow league owners follow the mainstream crowd.
Dynasty - Hell if I know. It all depends where he signs to play out his few remaining peak years.
TIER 3 - RB2s
13 (10) Alfred Morris
Talent - Any rookie RB that churns out 1,600 yards deserves recognition. However, he's capped hard by the fact that he can't (doesn't?) catch.
Sitch - I don't like the uncertainty swirling around RG3's knee. A significant amount of Morris' big play threat was sprung by his dynamic QB. Maybe an increased amount of short yardage carries to protect RG3 will compensate.
Consist - If you were among the lucky to claim him off waivers last season, you got a serious freebie stud. He combined good vision and patience within the offensive system to bring it week in week out.
AtSotF - There's a minor concern Coach Shanahan goes with someone else at some point. Their RB production is system based, and Shanahan has previously turned scrubs like Mike Anderson into Terrell Davis impersonators. Roy Helu looks healthy, for example, and an argument could be made that he's more talented than Morris. Note that I said minor concern. It's still Morris' job.
Dynasty - I'm a little uneasy for the reasons given above. I have something of a suspicion that we've already seen Morris' career best season. Still, youth counts for a lot. Good luck.
14 (17) DeMarco Murray
Talent - Strong, physical ball carrier that can bang and slash for upper end RB2 production.
Sitch - Hate the offensive line, and Dallas looks to throw first.
Consist - When he plays, you can expect steady 80+ yard games with a liberal sprinkling of TDs.
AtSotF - Unlike DMC, I'm convinced this dude IS injury prone. He runs with an upright style and linebackers spear him like the wrestler Edge used to finisher opponents. Low tackles clip his knees, additionally exposing his ankles. He'll need more than the usual dose of luck to avoid missing games. I'm wondering how I like him more than the experts...must be the talent.
Dynasty - I currently own him, and am disgruntled at his outlook.
15 (18) Reggie Bush
Talent - There are *moments* when he looks like Walter Payton and Gayle Sayers combined.
Sitch - He has tremendous receiving skills and his move to Detroit is a substantial upgrade. With defenses occasionally even TRIPLE-TEAMING Megatron, Bush will have ample room to romp. THIS is the reason I think he's being undervalued.
Consist - He's never quite put it all together to produce according to his ability. Yes, he's a clear risk, but take advantage of this common knowledge to draft him before he drops too far.
AtSotF - Bush is always nursing some injury. I suspect that he compensates for lingering pains, and keeps torqueing something new. One more time, his upside is worth risking these issues considering his low ADP.
Dynasty - I'm strongly recommending him for redraft, if you can absorb the risks, but that's too many factors that will catch up to him in dynasty.
16 (13) Steven Ridley
Talent - Slowish, but a hammer that employs other strengths effectively.
Sitch - Ridley may get more touches with most of the Patriots weapons having moved on, but the loss of known contributors does leave something of an uncertainty factor for the offense. Coach Belichick is also a threat to randomly (at least to us, the evil genius) swap in other running backs at any given time.
Consist - Makes the most of his opportunities.
AtSotF - WHAT GOES ON IN THE MIND OF THAT EVIL GENIUS?!
Dynasty - Ridley's value stems from the Patriots offense. It's hard to rely on him when Belichick is ruthless about cutting players once their usefulness dips.
17 (16) Frank Gore
Talent - Tough, strong ball carrier. Not sexy, but reliable.
Sitch - Michael Crabtree's injury is a huge loss, but the strong 9ers offense leans on Gore with quality carries and red zone opportunities behind a monster O-line.
Consist - He's pumped out double digit fantasy production since 2006. He's a near lock for 1,200 yards and 8 TDs.
AtSotF - I keep expecting him to break down, but it just doesn't happen. I'm learning that this workhorse conditions and trains with a furious passion, and he is willing himself to remain productive. Gotta love that work ethic. I'm fighting the urge to raise his ranking. Maybe I should.
Dynasty - How long can he keep up the mind over matter?
18 (11) Matt Forte
Talent - A complete back, but the kind that gives you contentedness, not excitement.
Sitch - The new offense SHOULD give him new opportunities (he's a solid receiver), but I figure Jay Cutler will ignore it and just keep airing it out to a triple-teamed Brandon Marshall. Their offensive line also seems a hot mess at the moment.
Consist - He moves the chains all game long.
AtSotF - Forte is getting long in the tooth, and always seems banged up. The real concern is Michael Bush vulturing TDs in the red zone.
Dynasty - Try to go younger. Forte is a stopgap measure.
19 (15) Maurice Jones-Drew
Talent - Seems like forever ago he led the league in rushing yards, but that was just two seasons ago.
Sitch - Miserable. The Jaguars are terribad and whichever atrocity they trot out as QB will have to throw after they fall behind every game. Still, it is his contract season, and the Jaguars will try to run him into the ground so he'll get reams of first half carries.
Consist - Dude can clearly bring it, but too many factors are conspiring against him.
AtSotF - Recovering from a mean Lisfranc foot fracture, disgruntled with team management, and danced around an assault charge in the offseason.
Dynasty - Hard to trust he'll have anything left for 2014 and beyond.
20 (22) Le'Veon Bell
Talent - Not particularly impressive...
Sitch - ...but Pittsburgh's other running backs are depressive.
Consist - The rookie projects to hammer the line as the Steelers' feature back.
AtSotF - Nothing negative on my radar.
Dynasty - After Montee Ball, the only rookie you can trust to produce something.
21 (21) Lamar Miller
Talent - Good speed coupled with passable vision.
Sitch - Miami's lead back with Reggie Bush's departure. Mike Wallace should create some space for their RBs. I believe in their young QB, Ryan Tannehill, but their offense still has room for upgrades.
Consist - This season is his first meaningful opportunity, but the eyeball test indicates that he's simply decent, lacking major upside.
AtSotF - I'm skittish. Daniel Thomas is a serious threat to take his job. Monitor training camp.
Dynasty - Thomas? And the Fins just drafted Mike Gillislee as well? At this point, Miller just isn't amazing enough to inspire confidence he'll retain the job.
22 (14) Chris Johnson
Talent - He did run for 2,000 yards once.
Consist - But he won't shut up about it. He spent last year dancing behind the line trying to break the big play and leaving yardage on the table. He followed up those performances by throwing his offensive line under the bus in interviews. He wasn't wrong, but publicly blaming your teammates for your lack of production is a straight punk move.
Sitch - Hasn't improved that I can see. His talent will produce the occasional big play, but even with the fantasy community down on him, I still think he's overvalued. I'm clearly irrational in my distaste for him, but I personally wouldn't ever consider taking him as either of my first two running backs. Even swiping him as an RB3 wouldn't give me any satisfaction.
AtSotF - The Titans just signed Shonn Green who will leech away short yardage carries.
Dynasty - I don't want him on any permanent basis. Am I being unreasonable? Yeah, but I don't care.
TIER 4 - Bye Weeks/Injuries/Flex Fillers
23 (23) Darren Sproles
Talent - Lethal in open space.
Sitch - He's the Saints listed starting running back, but he's really a receiver you can slot in as a running back. He can eat up BIG yardage on that great offense between the 20s, but his TD potential is severely curtailed. He can go entire games without getting a traditional rushing carry.
Consist - Effectively a receiver, he's going to flash the inconsistent production range of a receiver.
AtSotF - Ingram and Thomas both hit the field for traditional carries. It's a testament to his ability that Sproles scores as well as he does with limited opportunities.
Dynasty - Sproles is a bonus piece you can do without.
24 (20) David Wilson
Talent - He's the NFC version of C.J. Spiller.
Sitch - Has a great breakout opportunity curtailed by his AtSotF.
Consist - Has struggled with pass protection and fumble-itis in limited opportunities.
AtSotF - Coach Coughlin is a hardass who benches him and makes him cry every time Wilson makes a mistake. Andre Brown will take away a ton of carries, especially with goal to go.
Dynasty - He's the future in New York with lofty potential. Target him accordingly, but be prepared to be patient.
Running Backs Part 2 coming next week...
Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-08-02 08:44:26
Diplomacy VII - Spring of 1460