Jonathan Dwyer

 

 

Love Him or List Him: Jonathan Dwyer

 

Just to be clear, Love Him doesn’t mean refuse a trade that will blow your doors off.  No player is untradeable if the price is right.  And List Him doesn’t mean trade him for a sack of dirty jock straps.  Try and trade him for what his current value is worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Dwyer is a Georgia boy, 5-11, 235 lbs.  He played his high school ball in his home state and was widely recruited before deciding to stay home and play with the Yellow Jackets.  Dwyer ran a 4.48 forty as well as a 10.81 hundred meter.  In his first year he played in all 13 games when starter Tashard Choice got injured.  He ran for 436 yds and nine touchdowns, averaging 5.3 ypc to make the All-Freshman Team.  Dwyer followed that up with 1,328 yards and 12 TD’s in 2008 earning him ACC Player of the Year honors.  He duplicated his yardage total exactly, but substituted a lower ypc with two more touchdowns in 2010.  He decided to forego his senior year and entered the NFL draft where, despite his college accolades and accomplishments he wasn’t selected until the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He played one game his first year and then seven games in 2011.  He only got 16 carries but put up a gaudy 17.6 ypc average thanks to a 76 yard run.

 

 

If Dwyer was taken in your league’s draft it was likely with a very late pick as his ADP was in the 200 neighborhood.  Rashard Mendenhall was going to miss the start of the season and all indications were that Isaac Redman would be the starter, at least until Mendenhall returned.  Then Redman injured his groin during preseason but he was still the first Steeler’s RB off the board in most drafts, followed by Mendenhall.

 

 

Prior to the 2010 draft Dwyer was considered a first round prospect and one of the top three running backs.  There were a few reason’s Dwyer’s draft stock fell so dramatically; some questioned how he would adjust to a pro offense, there were concerns about his weight and conditioning after a less than impressive showing at the combine, and he tested positive for amphetamines.  Dwyer was ruled exempt as he tested positive due to the medication he was taking for ADD.  However all these issues conspired to drop him from potential first rounder to late in the sixth round.  It’s obvious though that the Steeler’s felt he had more to offer than your typical sixth rounder as they gave him some action in one game as a twenty one year old rookie.  His results were not all that impressive, nine carries for 28 yards.  In 2011 he fared better, albeit still in limited action.

 

Year

G

Att

Yds

TD

Lng

Yds / Att

Rec

Yds

Yds / Rec

TD

2011

7

16

123

0

76

7.7

1

6

6

0

 

 

If you remove the 76 yarder, his average becomes a pretty pedestrian 3.13.  Still, Dwyer was just 22 and learning the pro game.  It is still somewhat surprising that Dwyer wasn’t taken higher in many fantasy drafts.  It was assumed Dwyer would be the man if neither Mendenhall nor Redman were healthy.  And if there’s one thing fantasy owners know is that almost any starting RB is valuable.  Still, if you assumed one of Mendenhall or Redman got healthy early in the season then Dwyer would most likely become a short term asset.  You shouldn’t risk an early or even mid round pick on a gamble like that, especially when he could be had later based on his ADP.  So let’s look at what Dwyer’s done so far this year:

 

Date

Opp

Att

Yds

Yds / Att

TD

Rec

Yds

Yds / Rec

TD

9/9/2012

@DEN

9

43

4.8

0

2

11

5.5

0

9/16/2012

NYJ

12

28

2.3

0

1

12

12

0

9/23/2012

@OAK

3

-1

-0.3

0

1

1

1

0

10/21/2012

@CIN

17

122

7.2

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

In week one Dwyer split the carries with Redman, and was the much more impressive of the two.  He did however injure his foot which forced him to miss a practice.  Week two his stats were much worse as he and Redman again split the carries.  It turned out Dwyer had a case of turf toe and missed another practice.  In week three Dwyer only carried the ball three times, it’s suspected due to his injury although I couldn’t find any definitive indication of that.  After the Steelers’ bye in week four Dwyer was a healthy scratch weeks five and six, a bit of a surprise although with Mendenhall coming back he would step into the lead role and Redman seemingly ahead of Dwyer on the depth chart.  There were also rumors of him being in coach Tomlin’s bad books due to his week three fumble although I highly doubt that.  Both Mendenhall and Redman came up lame after week six, leaving Dwyer as the lead back for week seven.  Dwyer looked great in that game, eclipsing the 100 yard mark.

 

 

From what I’ve seen so far of Dwyer, I really like his chances of continuing on his success of week seven.  He is not what you would call a creative runner but a guy with his combination of speed and size just needs a hole.  Once he builds up speed after getting beyond the defensive line he’s a load to try and bring down.  Mendenhall is going to be the lead back when he gets back to full health, and rumor has it he will be ready to go this week but I think after Dwyer’s performance Tomlin should think about he and Mendenhall splitting carries or let Mendenhall sit out one more week to get back closer to full health.  Honestly I think Rainey is the most talented back on the Steelers roster but Tomlin like’s him in a limited role for this year.  Isaac Redman does not really impress me and I don’t think he is a threat to Dwyer’s playing time once he gets healthy.

 

 

Here’s the Steelers’ remaining schedule for 2012

 

 

 

Rank

week 8

Sun, Oct 28

Washington

11

week 9

Sun, Nov 4

at NY Giants

15

week 10

Mon, Nov 12

Kansas City

22

week 11

Sun, Nov 18

Baltimore

28

week 12

Sun, Nov 25

at Cleveland

23

week 13

Sun, Dec 2

at Baltimore

28

week 14

Sun, Dec 9

San Diego

3

week 15

Sun, Dec 16

at Dallas

17

week 16

Sun, Dec 23

Cincinnati

25

week 17

Sun, Dec 30

Cleveland

23

 

Looks like a pretty sweet schedule, with only the Chargers in week 14 a top ten fantasy rush defense.  Of course week 14 is the start of playoffs for most fantasy leagues so that’s not good.  Still the first objective is to get to the playoffs and with the week 10-13 teams all being in the bottom third of the league that should be a nice run up to the postseason.  The biggest question of course is will Dwyer be the lead back during that run, or at least be in a timeshare that should still make him a valuable RB2 candidate?  My gut feeling is that Mendenhall will play this week and struggle to stay healthy.  If Tomlin sits him for another week or two that could spell bad news for Dwyer.  The Redskins and Giants are both in the top half of the league against the run for fantasy purposes so if Dwyer starts and struggles in either or both of those games then Mendenhall likely steps in week ten and runs wild.  I don’t think Tomlin will sit Mendenhall, so that favors Dwyer if Mendenhall plays and re-injures himself.  Then Dwyer gets the premium starts leading up to the playoffs.

 

 

One Year League: Love Him, especially if you have a spot on your bench.  Then you can watch the weekly injury reports and plug Dwyer in as a valuable RB2 with RB1 upside depending on the match up.

 

 

Keeper/Dynasty League: Love Him.  He’s still only 23 years old and has already shown a great deal of upside.  His future may not end up being in Steeltown with Rainey on board, but I believe he will shine in whichever location he ends up.

 

 

Survivor Update: Last week I recommended New England, Oakland, Minnesota, or Dallas.  Figures once I get eliminated from my own survivor league I can’t miss!  Hopefully if you took the Pats or Raiders you’ve finally recovered.  This week I recommend Minnesota, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Green Bay obviously.

 

 

Re-Draft Update: Narrowly avoided a humiliating loss last week.  Had my full starting lineup going except for Vick on a bye (replaced by Cutler) and my absentee opponent was missing a receiver, running back and defense due to byes.  I ended up trailing before Monday night and won by a measly three points.


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