Ask the Experts
Posted Nov. 15 at 03:46 AM
ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly, with answers to a new question being posted every Thursday morning.
How the guest experts responded when we asked them:
Several unheralded and undrafted running backs have emerged recently: Ryan Grant, Selvin Young, Earnest Graham. Which would you most like to own the rest of the season?
DEREK VAN RIPER
If the suspension to Travis Henry were to happen, it would Immediately vault Young to the top of my list, but between Grant and Graham, I'd prefer to have Grant given that he's been able to make an impact that nobody else on that Green Bay team has been able to do from the backfield this season. By that, I mean he's been able to pick up yards against an excellent run defense (Minnesota - Week 10) while also getting the job done when the Packers are pass-heavy. Graham is a very close second, given that he seems destined to receive at least the goal-line touches from here on out with Pittman getting healthy. Young is probably the most talented, but it's all or nothing with his production, depending entirely on Henry's status.
VanRiper is an editor for RotoWire.com and is entering his third season with the company. His weekly column "Moving the Chains" is syndicated at FoxSports.com, while his other duties at RotoWire include tracking Average Draft Position and managing the team defense and offensive line rankings. He's also worked as a Contributing Reporter on Yahoo! Sports' Fantasy Football Live Webcast on Sunday mornings.
If there was ever a year where taking a quarterback over a running back in the early rounds of a fantasy draft made sense - 2007 looks like the one. With injuries to key running backs and the overall bust play of some of the first round picks in most fantasy drafts, quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have carried fantasy teams. Out of the three running backs, Selvin Young has the most potential, but also a huge risk. Travis Henry is going to hear back from the NFL on his drug suspension and if Young is the starter the rest of the year, he's a top-20 running back in every week as the starter. Earnest Graham is running tough, but Michael Pittman and Michael Bennett are going to steal away carries in the coming weeks - but I like their schedule to close out the season. Green Bay's Ryan Grant has been a pleasant surprise and outside of matchups against Dallas and Chicago, his matchups are very favorable. With the unknown status of Henry and Pittman returning to the lineup, I have to go with Grant -- he seems the most likely to continue getting 20-25 carries each week.
I like the tough running of Ryan Grant. Not only is he running well and hard, but he's also catching 3-plus passes each week, and gets the call at the goal. Although if Travis Henry is suspended, Selvin Young has great potential too. Eanest Graham is a hard worker, but will lose touches when Michael Pittman returns from a sprained ankle.
Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc. His company offers an online rookie draft kit, preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, a fantasy auction drafting program, weekly in-season fantasy newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site. He is the reigning three-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League. He is also a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a columnist for SI.com. For more info go to http://www.ffmastermind.com. Nazarek can be reached at 702-568-7118 or email@example.com.
Earnest Graham is the guy that has the most upside as he has averaged over 20 touches a game in his last four and is becoming focal point of Jon Gruden’s west coast offense. Even with Pittman coming back and acquiring Michael Bennett, Graham has established himself as the #1 guy in Tampa Bay. Graham also has favorable schedule down the stretch that will help stay in the top 15-20 RBs for the rest of the season. Selvin Young and Ryan Grant are both intriguing, but with Travis Henry still No. 1 in Denver and the uncertainty surrounding when he will get suspended, that's holding Young back. The Packers rank in the bottom 5 in rush offense and have only had one solid running effort all season; Grant will have some decent efforts but we all know the fate of the Packers lies on one guy and his name isn’t Ryan Grant, it’s Brett Favre.
Swaw is senior writer and owner of GameTimeDecisions.net and the co-host of two fantasy football radio shows for ESPN AM 1000 in Chicago -- Fantasy Football Island and Fantasy Expert. He has been a keynote speaker for the FSTA and several fantasy football conventions with the likes of John Clayton, Chris Mortensen, Sean Salisbury and Mark Schlereth. For more info, visit www.gametimedecisions.net.
I’ll go with Young. Not by much, though. The Packers seem to be for real, and I expect their running game will be improved during the second half of the season. But I liked what I saw out of Young in the Kansas City game. He’s playing on a lesser team — this isn’t your typical overpowering Denver team — but he’s got some speed and big-play ability. I think he’ll be a much bigger factor in the receiving game than Travis Henry was. And I expect that by next week, Young will be Denver’s clear starter the rest of the way.
Allan is the senior writer for Fantasy Football Index magazine. He’s also one of the main content contributors for that company’s website, www.fantasyindex.com. His IAN ALLAN’S MAILBAG column is posted on Fridays.
All these RBs may have trouble keeping their jobs as the No. 1 guys could be back soon. But we’d go with Ryan Grant as the Packers run game seems to be on the upswing and they have the best overall team which helps.
Endsley is co-owner and a senior fantasy football consultant for FantasyDraftEdge.com. For more info, go to www.fantasydraftedge.com.
Aside from the concussion scare last week, Ryan Grant is looking every bit like the real deal. The key is that he is on a winning team with a winning attitude. Selvin Young is on a failing Denver team. If they start to gel and finish the year strong he could be a force, but not as long as they play mediocre football. Ernest Graham is a little too small. He has been putting up respectable numbers and is developing into a Westbrook-type back. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay is a mediocre team and his fantasy numbers will be impacted by this.
No-brainer here, Ryan Grant. Grant plays on an offense that has a ton of weapons right now. That Packers WR core may not be as good as some of the WR core's that Favre had in the Super Bowl years, but if not it's close. Bottom line that Packers offense can score, and their D is going to put them in good position, in that they will be in every game, so he will always have a chance to get 15-20 carries a game. Young would be our second choice and thereafter Graham.
Kamys is president of Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports. His company, via the web, offers player news, injury reports, cheat sheets, projections, weekly matchups, statistics, and a customized team tracker. Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports also e-mails preseason newsletters and reports throughout the season. For more info visit www.docstats.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of those three running backs, I would most want to have Grant on my fantasy squad given that he plays on a team that is almost certain to go deep into the playoffs and contend in every game. He has the best passing game to back the defenses away from the line of scrimmage and more scoring opportunities playing for a more productive offense. Young was impressive today but there still looms Travis Henry to take away carries when he is healthy (and assumedly not suspended). Graham plays well at home, but how often do the Buccaneers get involved in a game with many touchdowns? Plus Michael Pittman is returning and will take at least a little workload from him.
Dorey is the co-founder of TheHuddle.com and the lead NFL analyst. He has been projecting players and predicting games since 1997 and has also authored the book Fantasy Football: The Next Level which is available at all major bookstores and at Amazon.com. Dorey is one of the top prognosticators in the Fantasy Football Index Experts Poll every year and won it in 2005.
I'll go with Grant, by a little, over Graham. Grant's definitely the guy in Green Bay right now, the team has a very good offense, and they've got some good matchups down the stretch -- not just bad defenses, but probably a lot of games in bad weather where they'll have to run more than pass. I like Graham a lot, though, and he'll probably do more as a receiver. (I'm not that concerned about him losing a lot of work to Pittman -- possible, but Graham just looks like a better player, and Jeff Garcia throws to his backs a lot anyway.) Third is Selvin Young, who I've gladly traded away in two leagues this year (one in a package with Travis Henry). I've just had it with the Denver running game. Even when Henry was leading the league in rushing early on, Denver is a lot more concerned with being cute around the goal line, throwing little flips to fullbacks and tight ends. I'm sure Young will have some good yardage days, but I have no faith he'll be much of a scorer -- he doesn't look like a particularly good inside runner anyway. I'm done with Denver players for the foreseeable future.
Richardson has been a columnist and contributor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and web site for the past six years. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections, as well as various site features. He has run the magazine's annual draft and auction leagues since their inception. Other writing credits have included FFToday.com and football coverage for newspapers in Colorado and Florida. For more information go to www.fantasyindex.com.
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