We all have heard the theory that running backs tend to slow down when they reach 30-years old. While it isn’t a hard and fast rule, there certainly is data to help support it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of running backs who are close (or over) the magical age to try and determine if they are worth drafting or not:
Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – 31-years old
He did rush for 934 yards in just 10 games last season as a 30-year old. He also added 39 receptions for 442 yards and scored a total of 6 TD. So is he the exception to the rule?
It is possible, as he doesn’t have the same wear and tear on his body that many backs do at his age. He has only had two years of at least 200 carries and a total of 817 throughout his career. Not taking on a major role till later in his career has likely preserved his body compared to his counterparts.
While C.J. Spiller could eat into his touches, Jackson proved last season that he is a dual threat. He is going to play a major role in Buffalo and definitely should not be avoided.
Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
You don’t think it was an accident that the team stock piled backs, do you? Gore has carried the ball over 1,600 times during his career and at least 200 times each of the past six seasons. Throw in 287 receptions and you can imagine the pounding his body has taken throughout the years. Read more
We finally saw Mike Wallace sign with the Steelers, Kenny Britt’s suspension come down and much more. Let’s take a final look at our wide receiver rankings (barring some substantial news) as we head into the final weekend before the start of the regular season:
Tier 1 – Calvin Johnson Stands Alone
- Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions (1)
Tier 2 – WR1 Locks
- Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals (2)
- Andre Johnson – Houston Texans (3)
- Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons (4)
- Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers (5)
- Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants (6)
- Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons (8)
- A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals (7)
- Wes Welker – New England Patriots (9) Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Player: Rashad Jennings
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft Range: 89-ND (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)
Right now those that are taking Jennings are getting a starting running back no earlier than the 8th round in a 12 team league. That is great value based on Jennings skill set, but you must remember that it is unclear how long he will be starter for.
Regardless of what happens with Maurice Jones-Drew, Jennings is the week one starter. The question now is how long will this holdout continue? As Adam Schefter noted on ESPN Tuesday (click here for the article), at this point it seems like the holdout will continue into the regular season. If nothing changes, it is not out of the question for Jones-Drew to miss 2 or 3 games if not more. However, when he comes back he will return to the starting running back role. At least in the beginning Jennings will retain some value, but eventually that will diminish. Read more
Looking to find a wide receiver flier in the final few rounds of your draft? Here are a few names to consider (all ADP data courtesy of Mock Draft Central):
Davone Bess – Miami Dolphins
ADP – 206.13
I know there isn’t much optimism surrounding the Dolphins offense at this point, outside of maybe Reggie Bush. However, Bess is going to be the top receiver for Ryan Tannehill with Brandon Marshall traded and Chad Johnson released (though, did anyone really expect Johnson to be a major factor). With Joe Philbin, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, now running the show you would think that would translate into ample opportunities for Bess.
Let us not forget that in 2010 Bess had 79 receptions for 820 yards and 5 TD. He is not going to make the big play often (career average of 10.3 yards per reception), but he should be a steady option that his rookie quarterback can lean on. In the third preseason game he showed that ability, with 4 catches for 59 yards.
At 5’10″ he probably isn’t going to be a consistent red zone target, so he is going to be better suited for those in PPR formats. That said, he has not missed a game in the past four seasons and could easily set career highs across the board in 2012. Think 85 catches for 950 yards and 6 TD with the potential to exceed those numbers. As a bench option in PPR formats you really can’t go wrong. Read more
With Jason Witten looking like he will miss only one game, if that, how does that impact our rankings? Let’s take a look at how far he moves up, as well as all the other changes in our rankings:
Tier 1 – The Elite
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots (1)
- Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints (2)
Tier 2 – Not Elite, But Extremely Good Options
- Aaron Hernandez – New England Patriots (3)
- Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys (7)
- Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers (5)
- Jermichael Finley – Green Bay Packers (4)
- Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers (6)
- Brandon Pettigrew – Detroit Lions (8)
Tier 3 – Worth Considering as a Low-End TE1
- Fred Davis – Washington Redskins (9)
- Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons (10) Read more
There was a time when there were two wide receivers named Steve Smith that fantasy owners targeted on draft day. One we all know currently resides in Carolina where he has joined forced with Cam Newton to form a dynamic duo. The other has fallen out of fantasy relevancy… That is,until now.
In 2009 the other Steve Smith caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and 7 TD as a member of the New York Giants. In the two subsequent seasons he managed to play just 18 games with the Giants and Eagles, as microfracture surgery on his knee cost him both time and production.
Last season was a complete bust, with 11 receptions for 124 yards as a member of the Eagles. While his preseason numbers with the Rams this year may not give you reason for optimism (4 catches for 31 yards), all reports are that he is finally healthy and looking productive.
Is he ever going to be the same player he was in 2009? Not likely…
Is he an explosive receiver who is going to break off huge yardage after the catch? He never truly was and, with his knee issue, it’s hard to imagine… Read more
Heading into Week 14 of the 2011 season (which, coincidentally ended up being DeMarco Murray’s last game of the season), I posted the following when trying to determine if Murray should be active in fantasy lineups:
DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – Running Back
Murray is taking a gigantic step forward in our rankings this morning, and it has nothing to do directly with him. According to Brandon Mendoza of ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth (click here for the article):
“Fiammetta’s presence could make a big difference in the Cowboys chances. He has missed the last three games due to an undisclosed illness, with symptoms of nausea and dizziness. He is listed as questionable this week, but expected to play. That could provide a huge statistical boost.”
Without Fiammetta the past three weeks Murrayhas managed just 198 yards on 59 carries (3.36 yards per carry) without a touchdown. In three of the previous four weeks he had rushed for at least 135 yards (including his coming out party in Week 7 with 253 yards against the Rams).
According to Mendoza the Cowboys are averaging 145.8 rushing yards per game with Fiammetta and 83.8 rushing yards per game without him. With Fiammetta now expected in the lineup Murray should be considered a RB1 in all formats.
Why is that relevant now? Well, Fiammetta is no longer in Dallas, first signing with the Patriots and then ultimately walking away from the game. The question facing fantasy owners now is if Murray can produce without his lead back? Read more
With Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout continuing, how far does he fall down the rankings? How do the injuries to Jonathan Stewart or Kevin Smith affect their status? Who else is making a move? Let’s take a look at how the rankings currently look as we head towards the start of the season:
Tier 1 – The Elite
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans (1)
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Rice (2)
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles (3)
Tier 2 – Mid-First Round Consideration
- Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans (4)
- Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders (5)
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers (6)
Tier 3 – Maybe in the First Round or Maybe Not, But RB1 Worthy
- Matt Forte – Chicago Bears (7)
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks (8)
- DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys (9)
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings (10) Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Player: David Wilson
Team: New York Giants
Draft Range: 77-109 (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)
David Wilson might be the best value for those drafting Giants running backs, and there is a possibility he could be the more valuable of the two running backs as well. For starters, Wilson’s ADP is about 70 picks lower than Ahmad Bradshaw’s, plus there is the issue of durability.
Bradshaw entered this preseason healthy and appearing to be in great shape. His troublesome foot and ankle problems that caused him to miss four games last season seemed to behind him. Then he proceeded to injure his hands in the Giants second preseason game causing him to miss their third game. Now it is the preseason so I am not going to get worked up about Bradshaw missing a game, but it is just something to keep in your evaluations. Based on his injury history, it is unlikely to expect him to play in all 16 games, which will open some opportunity for Wilson. Read more
By now we have all heard that Russell Wilson has beaten out free agent signee Mmatt Flynn to earn the starting quarterback job for the Seattle Seahawks. However, do we know his potential value? Let’s take a look at everything we need to know bout Wilson in order to make a determination:
- Listed at 5’11″, 206 lbs.
- Drafted in the third round (#75 overall) and was the sixth quarterback selected
- Began his college career at NC State, where he played for three seasons; as a senior in 2010 he threw for 3,563 yards, 28 TD and 14 INT while adding 435 yards and 9 TD on the ground
- Due to NCAA rules, was allowed to transfer to Wisconsin and play immediately in 2011 as he had year of eligibility left
- In 2011 he completed 72.8% of his passes (had never before completed more than 59.3%) while throwing 33 TD vs. 4 INT and led Wisconsin to the Rose Ball
- Prior to the draft CBS Sports said, “If Wilson was a few inches taller he might rank as the top senior quarterback prospect in the 2012 draft.”
- Proved he could excel in both end ACC and Big 10, two power conferences
- A good athlete, he was a fourth round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2009 Read more