LeSean McCoy

 

Which RB's burst through the hole and scored for fantasy and which ones tried to bounce it outside and hurt fantasy owners?

 

As part of the 2013 fantasy season review, I thought it would be interesting and maybe beneficial to have a look at which players performed above expectations and which ones let us down fantasy-wise.  The best way to do that is to compare their fantasy production with respect to their average draft position or ADP.  For those few who don’t know, there are many web sites that gather the results of hundreds or thousands of online fantasy drafts and determine on average how high players got drafted.

 

For the purpose of this article I’m using data from fantasypros.com.  They gather draft data from other sites like ESPN, MyFantasyLeague and others and then average the average draft positions from all these fantasy league sites.  We’ll take a look at each position and compare where they ranked at their position versus where they were drafted at their position.  Undrafted players ADP is one higher than the number of players listed and noted with *.

 

The Running Backs

 

RB Rank

Player

Team

FPts

RB ADP

Rank vs. ADP

1

Jamaal Charles

KAN

312

4

3

2

LeSean McCoy

PHI

261.2

9

7

3

Matt Forte

CHI

231.6

11

8

4

Marshawn Lynch

SEA

225.2

6

2

5

Knowshon Moreno

DEN

224.2

48

43

6

Adrian Peterson

MIN

209.7

1

-5

7

DeMarco Murray

DAL

198.4

19

12

8

Eddie Lacy

GNB

195.4

22

14

9

Chris Johnson

TEN

182.1

13

4

10

Reggie Bush

DET

180.7

18

8

11

Frank Gore

SFO

179.5

16

5

12

Fred Jackson

BUF

171

40

28

13

Ryan Mathews

SDG

170.9

25

12

14

Alfred Morris

WAS

169

10

-4

15

Joique Bell

DET

162.1

56

41

16

Giovani Bernard

CIN

161.6

26

10

17

Le'Veon Bell

PIT

158.3

32

15

18

Zac Stacy

STL

155.6

59

41

19

Danny Woodhead

SDG

145.4

42

23

20

Maurice Jones-Drew

JAX

137.02

15

-5

21

Rashad Jennings

OAK

136.8

70

49

22

DeAngelo Williams

CAR

130.8

33

11

23

Pierre Thomas

NOR

127.9

44

21

24

Rashard Mendenhall

ARI

124.1

29

5

25

Andre Ellington

ARI

122.1

82

57

26

Stevan Ridley

NWE

118.1

14

-12

27

Ray Rice

BAL

117.1

7

-20

28

Ben Tate

HOU

115.1

36

8

29

Donald Brown

IND

113.6

78

49

30

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

CIN

113.2

34

4

31

C.J. Spiller

BUF

109.9

5

-26

32

Steven Jackson

ATL

105.9

12

-20

33

Darren Sproles

NOR

103.5

23

-10

34

Trent Richardson

CLE/IND

101.7

8

-26

35

Chris Ivory

NYJ

100.4

30

-5

36

Bilal Powell

NYJ

95.7

52

16

37

Bobby Rainey

CLE/TAM

93.6

107

70

38

Mike Tolbert

CAR

92.6

64

26

39

Lamar Miller

MIA

92.2

21

-18

40

LeGarrette Blount

NWE

92.1

69

29

41

Jacquizz Rodgers

ATL

91.4

45

4

42

Montee Ball

DEN

85

24

-18

43

Arian Foster

HOU

84.5

3

-40

44

Daniel Thomas

MIA

82.9

58

14

45

Darren McFadden

OAK

81.24

20

-25

46

Marcel Reece

OAK

78.68

65

19

47

Shane Vereen

NWE

77

31

-16

48

Roy Helu

WAS

72.7

57

9

49

James Starks

GNB

72.7

81

32

50

Chris Ogbonnaya

CLE

69.3

107

57

51

Bernard Pierce

BAL

61.4

39

-12

52

Brandon Bolden

NWE

60.3

84

32

53

Doug Martin

TAM

58.2

2

-51

54

Shonn Greene

TEN

56.4

51

-3

55

Kendall Hunter

SFO

53.8

60

5

56

Jordan Todman

JAX

53.7

86

30

57

Willis McGahee

CLE

51.7

74

17

58

Jason Snelling

ATL

50.9

107

49

59

Mark Ingram

NOR

49.1

35

-24

60

Toby Gerhart

MIN

49.1

67

7

61

Brandon Jacobs

NYG

49.1

107

46

62

Michael Bush

CHI

47.4

46

-16

63

Bryce Brown

PHI

44.7

37

-26

64

Peyton Hillis

TAM/NYG

40.1

79

15

65

Mike James

TAM

37.88

77

12

66

Benny Cunningham

STL

37.8

107

41

67

Ronnie Hillman

DEN

36.7

41

-26

68

Knile Davis

KAN

35.1

61

-7

69

Ahmad Bradshaw

IND

34.8

27

-42

70

Darrel Young

WAS

34.8

107

37

71

Joseph Randle

DAL

34.5

62

-9

72

Daryl Richardson

STL

33.6

28

-44

73

Brian Leonard

TAM

32.5

80

7

74

Robert Turbin

SEA

31.1

66

-8

75

Chris Polk

PHI

30.5

88

13

76

Ronnie Brown

SDG

27.7

89

13

77

Antone Smith

ATL

27.5

107

30

78

Fozzy Whittaker

SDG/CLE

25.7

106

28

79

Bruce Miller

SFO

25.6

107

28

80

Matt Asiata

MIN

24.6

107

27

81

Frank Summers

BUF

24.5

107

26

82

Jonathan Dwyer

PIT

24.2

50

-32

83

Felix Jones

PIT

23.6

63

-20

84

Da'Rel Scott

NYG

23.5

90

6

85

Khiry Robinson

NOR

23.4

97

12

86

Jackie Battle

TEN

22

92

6

87

Anthony Sherman

KAN

21.8

107

20

88

David Wilson

NYG

21.4

17

-71

89

Lance Dunbar

DAL

20.9

73

-16

90

Johnathan Franklin

GNB

19.7

53

-37

91

Anthony Dixon

SFO

18.4

102

11

92

Alfonso Smith

ARI

18.2

101

9

93

John Kuhn

GNB

17.8

85

-8

94

Stanley Havili

IND

17.7

107

13

95

Stepfan Taylor

ARI

17.2

72

-23

96

Marcus Thigpen

MIA

16.4

107

11

97

Tashard Choice

BUF/IND

16.2

87

-10

98

Jed Collins

NOR

15.4

107

9

99

Vonta Leach

BAL

13

107

8

100

James Develin

NWE

12.8

107

7

101

Tommy Bohanon

NYJ

11.9

107

6

102

Derrick Coleman

SEA

11.9

107

5

103

Justin Forsett

JAX

11.3

75

-28

104

Theo Riddick

DET

11.1

94

-10

105

Rhett Ellison

MIN

10.8

107

2

106

Phillip Tanner

DAL

10.5

83

-23

107

Isaiah Pead

STL

9.9

47

-60

108

Will Johnson

PIT

9.2

107

-1

109

Dan Herron

CIN/IND

9

107

-2

110

Mike Goodson

NYJ

8

71

-39

111

Christine Michael

SEA

7.9

54

-57

112

Taiwan Jones

OAK

7.8

107

-5

113

Jeremy Stewart

OAK

6.8

107

-6

114

Travaris Cadet

NOR

6.5

107

-7

115

LaMichael James

SFO

6.3

55

-60

116

Cyrus Gray

KAN

6.1

107

-9

117

Vick Ballard

IND

5.8

38

-79

118

Tony Fiammetta

CHI

5.7

107

-11

119

Michael Cox

NYG

5.5

107

-12

120

Patrick DiMarco

ATL

4.6

107

-13

121

Alex Green

NYJ

4.3

103

-18

122

Will Ta'ufo'ou

JAX

4.1

107

-15

123

Nate Byham

TAM

3.8

107

-16

124

C.J. Anderson

DEN

3.8

107

-17

125

Jerome Felton

MIN

3.7

107

-18

126

Jeff Demps

TAM

3.5

96

-30

127

Collin Mooney

TEN

3.2

107

-20

128

John Conner

NYG

3.1

107

-21

129

LaRod Stephens-Howling

PIT

3

68

-61

130

Greg Jones

HOU

3

107

-23

131

Bradie Ewing

ATL

2.9

107

-24

132

Michael Robinson

SEA

2.7

107

-25

133

Isaac Redman

PIT

2.6

43

-90

134

Le'Ron McClain

SDG

2.2

104

-30

135

Michael Hill

GNB/TAM

2

107

-28

136

Cedric Peerman

CIN

1.7

98

-38

137

Kenjon Barner

CAR

1.4

76

-61

138

Spencer Ware

SEA

1

107

-31

139

Mikel Leshoure

DET

0.9

49

-90

140

Cierre Wood

HOU/NWE

0.9

91

-49

141

Zach Line

MIN

0.8

107

-34

142

Ronnie Wingo

BUF

0.6

107

-35

143

Robert Hughes

IND

0.6

107

-36

144

Armond Smith

CAR

0.5

107

-37

145

Darius Reynaud

TEN/NYJ

0.4

107

-38

146

Tyler Clutts

MIA/DAL

0.4

107

-39

147

Evan Royster

WAS

0.3

93

-54

148

Shaun Draughn

BAL

0.2

107

-41

149

Leon Washington

NWE/TEN

0.1

100

-49

150

Michael Ford

CHI

0

95

-55

151

Kerwynn Williams

IND/SDG

0

99

-52

152

Chris Thompson

WAS

0

105

-47

153

Matthew Tucker

PHI

0

107

-46

154

Kyle Juszczyk

BAL

0

107

-47

155

Chase Reynolds

STL

0

107

-48

156

Dallas Thomas

MIA

0

107

-49

157

Spencer Larsen

TAM

0

107

-50

158

Josh Vaughan

ATL

-0.4

107

-51

 

Top Performers Relative to ADP

 

RB1’s

 

Knowshon Moreno – KC: 32 seconds after the Broncos drafted Montee Ball many people assumed he would be anointed the bell cow back for the Chiefs.  Turns out Moreno had something to say about that.  He was easily the best pass protecting back on the roster and protecting Peyton Manning was always going to be job one for any RB.  Moreno is a free agent at the end of the year and Ball saw a lot more time as the season went on.  We’ll have to wait and see if Moreno re-signs in Denver or goes elsewhere before trying to predict his 2014 value.

 

Fred Jackson – BUF: The Bills coaching staff told anyone who would listen that they were going to run CJ Spiller into the ground, but it didn’t work out that way.  The veteran Jackson got plenty of carries even before Spiller got hurt, and Jackson got more of the goal line carries too.  Jackson should be back to finish the last year of his contract, depending on what Buffalo does at the draft and/or in the offseason.  So assume one more year of a RB by committee scenario.

 

 

Joique Bell – DET: Bell pushed himself into the RB1 conversation with the Lions high octane offense.  Reggie Bush missing a couple of games helped too, but the ‘thunder and lightning’ combination worked well all year for Detroit.  Bell is an RFA at the end of the year and should have no shortage of options if the Lions new coaching staff for some reason want to go in another direction.  For now we’ll assume Bell will make a high-end RB2 with upside in 2014.  He will go a lot higher than the 56th RB at next year’s fantasy draft.

 

RB2’s

 

Zac Stacy – STL: Sitting third on the Rams RB depth charts going into fantasy drafts, Stacy was the 59th RB taken.  He ended up starting 12 games and averaged nearly 4 yards per carry.  It’s easy to assume Stacy steps back into the starter’s role next year, but we made the same assumption about Daryl Richardson after his performance in 2012.  The Rams have four RB’s under 25 years old on affordable contracts, so expect a full-blown competition in training camp and another potential change to the pecking order during the season.

 

Rashad Jennings – OAK: Jennings came over from Jacksonville for 2013 and with McFadden’s injury history and little other competition he should have been drafted earlier than the 70th RB.  But in 2012 it was mostly fullback Marcel Reece and not then-backup Michael Bush who got the carries when McFadden went down, so fantasy GM’s were right to not assume Jennings would take over the lead role.  Jennings is a free agent, as is McFadden, so until we know more about the direction the Raiders are taking in the off-season it’s hard to gauge what Jennings’ value will be.  If McFadden leaves and Jennings stays he’ll be a quality RB2 in 2014.

 

Andre Ellington – ARI: With a crowded backfield for the Cards going into 2013 it’s not surprising Ellington was only the 70th RB selected in fantasy drafts.  Despite Mendenhall being the starter all year Ellington got the same amount of rushing yards on half the carries and was more effective catching passes.  Mendenhall is a free agent and shouldn’t be brought back but he seems to be a favorite of the coaching staff.  Ellington may be capable of being the lead dog but I suspect he’ll be in a similar committee situation next year depending on whether Mendenhall is brought back or what other moves the team makes in the off-season.

 

RB3’s

 

Donald Brown – IND: After a mostly ineffective 2012 season, and seeing the Colts bring in Ahmad Bradshaw, fantasy GM’s chose Brown 78th among running backs.  Bradshaw went down early, newcomer Trent Richardson never got going, and Vick Ballard also went on IR early in the year.  So Brown got the starter’s job as the fourth choice and managed to put up decent numbers, averaging over 5 yards per carry.  The Colts will give Richardson every opportunity to win the lead back job in 2014, leaving Brown and Ballard to likely fight it out for the number two role.

 

Bobby Rainey – TAM: Lead man Doug Martin went down for the year in week 6, backup Mike James followed suit in week 9, leaving the top spot for Bobby Rainey.  Rainey had a huge week in his debut but could only clear 70 yards once the rest of the way.  Obviously Martin will be back as the starter so Rainey will battle it out with James for the number two spot.  Rainey could have fantasy relevance in 2014 with Tampa recently indicating they want to go with a committee at RB.

 

Mike Tolbert – CAR: Normally the fourth RB option in Carolina when you include QB Cam Newton, Tolbert moved up to third with the injury problems of Jonathan Stewart.  Thanks to five rushing TD’s and some increased pass catching duties, Tolbert managed to finish as the 38th best fantasy RB in 2013.  All three RB’s – Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and Tolbert – are under contract for 2014 so expect Tolbert’s numbers to be closer to 2012 if both Williams and Stewart are healthy and not released in the off-season.

 

 

Worst Performers Relative to ADP

 

RB1’s

 

Arian Foster – HOU: Foster played half the season before getting injured, and while his carries and yards per carry were fine, he only scored one rushing TD and one receiving TD.  That’s not acceptable for the third RB drafted in fantasy.  With the coaching change and quite likely a QB change as well, look for Foster to rebound in 2014.

 

Doug Martin – TAM: Like Foster, Martin’s season was cut short by injury.  Also like Foster, Martin wasn’t performing up to expectations before he got hurt.  He averaged 3.6 yards per carry and only had 1 touchdown before being lost for the year.  Again like Foster, I expect Martin to rebound next year.  Not to the point where I would select him as the second RB taken in my fantasy draft but he should be a low end RB1.

 

CJ Spiller – BUF: Everyone’s favorite coaching quote prior to the start of 2013 was from the Bills coaching staff who said ‘we’re going to run CJ until he pukes’.  Well apparently Spiller has a very weak stomach because he wasn't overused even when he was healthy.  As the fifth RB drafted fantasy owners expected much more than the 31st scoring RB for fantasy.  In 2014 Spiller should end up closer to an RB1 but more likely an RB2 if Fred Jackson’s still there.

 

Ray Rice – BAL: For years Rice has been a dependable top 5 RB selection in fantasy drafts.  He was selected 7th overall in 2013 drafts but due to his nagging hip injury, poor run blocking by the offensive line, and losing some carries to backup Bernard Pierce, Rice ended up only the 37th best RB in fantasy.  He’s only 26 years old and assuming he’s healthy and the Ravens address their run blocking issues in the off-season, I expect a bounce back year for Rice and possibly a nice value pick in 2014 drafts.

 

Trent Richardson – CLE/IND: After a somewhat disappointing rookie season in 2012, Richardson did little in Cleveland his first two games and ended up being traded to the Colts.  It seemed like a cure for whatever was ailing Richardson, to be on a team where defenses wouldn’t be able to just key on him.  But he performed even worse, and basically lost the starter’s job to Donald Brown.  I’m not ready to give up on him just yet, give him a full training camp to learn the Colts offense and let’s see what he can do.

 

Steven Jackson – ATL: I wasn’t convinced going into the season that Steven Jackson would be an RB1 but I think I was very much in the minority.  He ended up as the 12th RB drafted in fantasy and then proceeded to finish up 32nd in RB scoring.  Jackson has reached that magical age for running backs of 30, I don’t think we’ll see anything more in 2014 than he produced in 2013.

 

RB2’s

 

David Wilson – NYG: Wilson only managed to get into 5 games before being felled by a serious neck injury.  He produced very little in the games he played, and unfortunately there are concerns he may not be ready to start the 2014 season.  Some are even suggesting he shouldn’t play again which I think is a bit alarmist at this point.  Regardless, it seems Wilson will not have much if any fantasy value at the time of your fantasy draft next year.

 

Lamar Miller – MIA: At the time I thought Miller going 21st was perhaps a bit high since it seemed pretty clear that he and Daniel Thomas would be in a committee situation.  But did think he would have finished higher than 39th in RB scoring.  He’s a better back than Thomas so it’s a bit surprising that Thomas got over 100 carries and got 6 TD’s to Miller’s 2.  If the coaching staff survives we have to expect the same sort of RB committee approach next year, with maybe the number of TD’s evening out a bit.

 

Stevan Ridley – NWE: Ridley’s disappointing finish to the season can be summed up in three words: Fumble, Fumble, Fumble.  And add a fourth fumble for good measure.  Coach Bill Belichick has shown zero tolerance for fumbling by his running backs, so it’s even possible Ridley’s fate has already been sealed.  The other three RB’s on the roster all had better yards per carry than Ridley anyway, maybe Belichick decides to go with the thunder and lightning model of LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen in 2014?  We’ll need to wait and see but I suspect Ridley’s fantasy value takes a hit next year regardless.

 

Darren McFadden – OAK: Fantasy GM’s finally learned their lesson and stopped drafting McFadden as an RB1.  Unfortunately he failed as an RB2 as well, finishing 45th in RB scoring for fantasy.  He was able to play in 10 games but even then only managed 3.3 yards per carry.  McFadden’s a free agent and unless he takes a significant pay cut I imagine his days in Oakland are done.  We’ll have to see where he ends up before we can even suggest he might make a viable RB2 next year.

 

Montee Ball – DEN: As mentioned when discussing Knowshon Moreno’s high value performance, Ball was handed the lead RB job on a silver platter by many fantasy experts the moment he was drafted by the Broncos.  It didn’t turn out that way, but by the end of the year Ball was seeing action in crucial situations and acquitted himself well.  There’s a good chance Ball will be a quality high-end RB2 next season.  He may end up an RB1 if Moreno is not kept.

 

RB3’s

 

Daryl Richardson – STL: No idea what happened to Richardson after his 2012 performance.  As mentioned in Zac Stacy’s write-up above, Richardson will be in the mix to try and win back lead back duties in camp.  Just a hunch but I think he has a real good chance of at least earning a committee role with Stacy.

 

Ahmad Bradshaw – IND: Bradshaw looked good in his 3 games as a Colt.  Unfortunately for him – and fantasy owners who drafted him as the 27th RB – he suffered a serious neck injury and was lost for the year.  He’s a fee agent after the season and with the Colts bringing in Trent Richardson I don’t see any way Bradshaw stays.  With his injury history it may be tough for him to latch on anywhere in 2014.

 

Shane Vereen – NWE: Vereen only got into 8 games due to injury but once he got in he impressed.  Given a full slate of games he would have been a high-end RB2.  If he didn’t already have an injury history I’d be projecting Vereen to be in the RB1 conversation for 2014 but as it is I see him being the high RB2 he could have been in 2013.

 

Mark Ingram – NOR: Ingram missed 5 games so that explains much of his underperformance relative to his ADP.  I think many fantasy owners also thought his production would go up with the departure of Chris Ivory?  Enter little known RB Khiry Robinson to snag 50+ carries.  Ingram also only had 1 TD which as the supposed goal line back is quite surprising.  All the backs are under contract for next season so unless someone gets moved or released for cap reasons, expect more of the same in 2014.

 

Vick Ballard – IND: Another Colt RB on the underachiever’s list, Ballard was injured after just one game.  He averaged almost 5 yards per carry though, so at least it appears there’s some talent there waiting for the opportunity.  Unfortunately he’ll likely be no more than the number three RB next year, so his fantasy appeal will be quite limited.

 


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