Archive for Player Analysis

Backfield Breakdown: Will Anyone Thrive In The Post-Marshawn Lynch Era?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Marshawn Lynch officially retiring, the Seahawks running back corps is certainly in flux.  That’s not to say that there isn’t upside and potential, because they are actually flush with running backs who could make an impact.  The question is who is going to step up and carry the load?  Let’s take a look:

 

Thomas Rawls
Entering his second season, Rawls actually led the Seahawks in rushing last year as he took 147 carries for 830 yards and 4 TD.  He had more than 6 carries in a game six times, and each time he thrived:

  • September 27 (vs. Chicago) – 16 carries for 104 yards
  • October 5 (vs. Detroit) – 17 carries for 48 yards
  • October 11 (at Cincinnati) – 23 carries for 169 yards and 1 TD
  • November 22 (vs. San Francisco) – 30 carries for 209 yards and 1 TD
  • November 29 (vs. Pittsburgh) – 21 carries for 81 yards and 1 TD
  • December 6 (at Minnesota) – 19 carries for 101 yards and 1 TD Read more

With Arian Foster Now In Miami, Is Jay Ajayi An Even More Attractive Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There had been rumors seemingly the entire offseason that tied Arian Foster to the Miami Dolphins, but they finally came to fruition yesterday as he signed a one-year contract.  The question facing fantasy owners now is who will be the lead back in Miami?  Will it be Foster?  Will it be sophomore Jay Ajayi?

At this point it’s impossible to know for sure, though the signing of Foster will surely make Ajayi a more intriguing option on draft day.  Wait, what?  No it’s not a typo, as the more the focus shifts away from Ajayi the more valuable he will likely become.

Remember Foster will turn 30 prior to the start of the season and is working his way back from a torn Achilles.  That’s simply not a good combination and it is impossible to know if he is even capable of returning to the type of player he once was.  As it is he was averaging a meager 2.6 yards per carry in his four games last season and has only twice played a full 16 game season (the last time coming in 2012). Read more

Deep League Sleeper: Could Bruce Ellington Be The Top WR In San Francisco?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Anquan Boldin no longer in the mix, the San Francisco 49ers appear primed to open the season with Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton as their starting wide receivers.  That’s hardly an impressive duo and behind them there are arguably even more question marks.

Jerome Simpson?  He’s entering his seventh NFL season and owns a career high of 50 receptions (2011) and 726 yards (2013).

DeAndre Smelter?  An intriguing fourth round selection in 2015, he missed his entire rookie season due to injury.

Bruce Ellington…  Ellington could prove to be the name to watch as we enter 2016 and beyond. Read more

Backfield Breakdown: Will Carlos Hyde Thrive In Chip Kelly’s System?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s often seemed like the 49ers have had numerous options in the backfield behind the ageless Frank Gore, who we kept waiting to pass the torch.  Last season the team finally moved on, but they were left with little (mainly due to injury).  As we head into 2016 let’s take a look at the options and try to see if this could be the year that the heir apparent to Gore finally emerges:

 

Carlos Hyde
He was limited to just 7 games last season, taking 115 carries for 470 yards and 3 TD.  The production certainly wasn’t terrible (4.1 YPC), though it also wasn’t spectacular.  That said, he has 7 TD in 198 carries over his first two years in the league (21 games), bringing hope that the 235 pound back can score early and often.  As was said of him by NFL.com prior to being drafted:

Extremely powerful short-yardage/goal-line runner.” Read more

3rd Year Wide Receivers: Are Dontrelle Inman or Albert Wilson Worth An Investment?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that third year receivers are often viewed as breakout candidates, though that doesn’t mean that every option is “can’t miss” and worthy of an investment.  Let’s start taking a look at a few of the options heading into 2016 and trying to determine who could breakout and who we should be ignoring:

 

Dontrelle Inman – San Diego Chargers
He had 35 receptions for 486 yards and 3 TD in his sophomore campaign, though the bulk of that damage came in the second half:

  • Games 1-8 – 9 receptions, 142 yards, 1 TD
  • Games 9-16 – 26 receptions, 344 yards, 2 TD

In fact his two biggest games came in the final five, including an 8 reception (on 13 targets) performance against the Raiders in the second to last game of the season.  Keenan Allen should be back and the team added Travis Benjamin this offseason, but there should still be ample opportunities. Read more

Draft Day Sleeper: Can Sammie Coates Emerge As A Viable Option In Pittsburgh?

by Ray Kuhn

Next man up. While it sounds harsh, that is how things go (and this is especially true in the NFL). Disappointment or a missed opportunity, for one reason or another, results in a gain for another player. As we embark on a new season, we will have many situations like that with one of the most notable likely taking place in Pittsburgh.

With Martavis Bryant suspended for the 2016 season, there will be a beneficiary. We know that Antonio Brown is out of this world, but there has to be more than one wide receiver who catches the ball. Someone needs to replace Bryant’s 50 receptions, 765 yards and 6 TD from last season…

And that will be Sammie Coates.

While Markus Wheaton is listed as Pittsburgh’s number two receiver, he had 44 catches for 749 yards last season, the Steelers offense can support multiple receivers. The problem, though, is that with the absence of Bryant and how Wheaton finished the season, 28 receptions for 476 yards and 4 TD in the last six games, it is unlikely that he will meet or exceed his draft day price. Read more

Backfield Breakdown: St. Louis Rams: Just How Good Is Todd Gurley?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The days of a true workhorse running back appear to be a thing of the past, complicating decisions for fantasy owners.  In some cases we know who the “lead” back is going to be, or there are obvious defined roles, but that’s not always the case.  That’s why we are going to go around the league, checking in on each situation, to try and shed some light on who fantasy owners should be targeting.

Things are a little bit different in St. Louis, where they did something many teams will no longer do…  They spent a first round pick on a running back.  Lucky for them he proved to be a workhorse in his rookie season, but will he be among the elite in ’16?  Is there anyone else who could bring value?

 

Todd Gurley
He got a late start to the season, playing in just 1 game (6 carries) in September.  However he poured it on over the final three months of the season:

  • October – 68 carries for 433 yards and 2 TD (6.4 YPC)
  • November – 90 carries for 352 yards and 4 TD (3.9 YPC)
  • December – 65 carries for 312 yards and 4 TD (4.8 YPC) Read more

Old Face, New Place: Could Robert Griffin Return To Relevance?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Robert Griffin went from hero to zero rather quickly in Washington, but now in Cleveland he will get a chance to revitalize his career.  The team has Josh McCown and drafted Cody Kessler in the third round, but it would appear to be Griffin’s job entering the season.  Can we really expect much from Griffin at this point, though?

Granted he’s only 26-years old, but the injuries have mounted and clearly had an impact on his style of play.  After rushing for 815 yards and 7 TD in his rookie campaign (15 games), he’s managed 665 yards and 1 TD over the subsequent 22 games.  That’s just 30 yards per game on the ground, and while there is some value in that there isn’t much.

You also have to wonder if he’s going to have the weapons at his disposal to produce with his arm.  Corey Coleman has upside and potential, but he’s still just a rookie and impossible to depend on.  He’ll obviously get his opportunities and rack up some numbers, but he also could be inconsistent as he finds his footing in the NFL.  After that? Read more

Backfield Breakdown: Arizona Cardinals: Is David Johnson Worthy Of A Top 10 Pick?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The days of a true workhorse running back appear to be a thing of the past, complicating decisions for fantasy owners.  In some cases we know who the “lead” back is going to be, or there are obvious defined roles, but that’s not always the case.  That’s why we are going to go around the league, checking in on each situation, to try and shed some light on who fantasy owners should be targeting.

Let’s kick things off in Arizona, where they have three running backs who could produce this season.  Who appears primed to get the bulk of the work?  Will it be the veteran, the youngster or the potentially dynamic?  Let’s take a look:

 

David Johnson
The 2015 third round pick got forced into a significant role in December, after just 35 carries over the first three months of the season, and he ran with the opportunity.  Over 7 games (including the playoffs), he amassed 120 carries for 537 yards (4.48 yards per carry) and 5 TD.  Among qualified running backs that average yards per carry would’ve placed him in the Top 20 of the league. Read more

Bust Candidate (2016): Why The Risk Of Selecting Matt Jones May Outweigh The Reward

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Barring adding a running back late the Washington Redskins appear primed to lean on Matt Jones in 2016.  A third round pick in 2015, he shared time with Alfred Morris last season and posted less than impressive marks:

  • Rushing – 144 carries, 490 yards (3.4 YPC), 3 TD
  • Receiving – 19 receptions, 304 yards, 1 TD

You could argue that those numbers were about what we should’ve expected, after he never had more than 166 carries in a season at Florida (and he never averaged more than 5.3 YPC).  Sure he has the size that you look for (6’1”, 231 lbs.), but it’s easy to argue that he is going to be mislabeled as a “lead” back.

Just look at this scouting report from NFL.com prior to the draft:

“Has very good athleticism for a big running back and is a physical pile-mover who is difficult to stop for negative yardage. Unfortunately, Jones lacks the instincts and vision to fully maximize his physical tools. Jones could become the physical member of a running-back-by-committee approach, with upside as a third-down option.” Read more