2010 Speed Bump 3 – NY Giant vs. Oakland RBs
Posted Jul. 28 at 02:04 AM
Four backs. Two teams. One poll. Four New York Giant and Oakland Raiders running backs are all slotted relatively near to one another in average draft data (MFL) with Brandon Jacobs first as the 27th selected running back on average, Ahmad Bradshaw at 31, Darren McFadden one spot behind at 32 and Michel Bush at 36.
Brandon Jacobs' NFL history has been a volatile one. He chipped in for 16 TDs in his first two seasons as a handcuff to Tiki Barber. However, in his first season as a starter in 2007, in all it's fantasy devastation, Jacobs went down with a knee injury in week one - on national TV no-less - after just six carries. Jacobs was able to return in week 5, would go in and out of games, but then finished the season strong. He ended with 1,009 yards rushing but just 4 TDs and then helped the Giants win a Super Bowl championship against Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots. Jacobs rolled that into a 15-TD season in 2008 however he again disappointed last year with just 6 total TDs and a miserable 3.7 per-carry average and not a single 100-yard game on the season. Jacobs' draft price has tumbled from the late 2nd round in 2009 to the late 7th round this year. The pro-Jacobs arguments are a beaten down set but he did play thru a torn meniscus last season and is reportedly feeling much better in OTAs this year. Jacobs remains the top dog of this set according to ADP data and wins this relatively easily according to the major magazines on the market.
Ahmad Bradshaw edged-out Brandon Jacobs last season in PPR fantasy points at 156.50 to 152.90 and would have won this poll in 2009. Now entering his 4th NFL season at age 24, Bradshaw trajectories are all pointing upward. The 7th-round steal for the Giants in the 2007 draft has increased his yardage total from 190 to 355 to 778, is coming off a career-best 7 TDs last year and averages an impressive 5.2 yards per carry over his career. With the departure of Derrick Ward, Jacobs and Bradshaw split the carries at a 58%/42% ratio last year (Jacobs/Bradshaw). Bradshaw was the much more effective back. He averaged more than a full-yard per carry more than Jacobs and outscored him 7-6. Bradshaw was also much more effective around the goalline. Per Fantasy Index, Bradshaw scored on 5 of 8 carries (63%) inside the 5-yard line compared to Jacobs' 4 of 19 (21%). Bradshaw has had surgeries on both his feet (screws inserted to repair fractured bones) and on an ankle (bone spurs) as well during the off-season.
If you've been playing dynasty football since 2008 you or someone you know likely laments Darren McFadden. It's likely McFadden was the top pick in your league's rookie draft that year having been the 4th pick of the NFL Draft after posting a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash and joining Ricky Williams as the only two-time Doak Walker Award winner in college history (he was also 2nd in Hesiman voting twice). Fantasy and NFL GMs alike now shudder at the thought of selecting McFadden over an absolutely stacked running back draft class that year – the Raiders passed on Jonathan Stewart (1.13), Felix Jones (1.22), Rashard Mendenhall (1.23) and Chris Johnson (1.24), plus 2nd-round NFL picks Ray Rice and Matt Forte made for an exceptionally deep dynasty rookie class in 2008. McFadden enters his third NFL season having averaged 693 yards per season and 2.5 TDs. McFadden missed four games last year (knee sprain) and three as a rookie (turf toe). The one big saving grace for McFadden is he has impressive receiving skills. McFadden has averaged 25 receptions per season with a solid 10.6 yard average (nearly four more yards per reception than Michael Bush). In fact McFadden's 11.7 yards per catch last year led the NFL for RBs (20+ receptions).
Ranking last of these four backs in both ADP and magazine averages (quite easily actually) is Michael Bush. The two Oakland backs have two significant impacts to their fantasy potential heading into 2010 – the addition of QB Jason Campbell and the subtraction of Justin Fargas. Adding a competent QB in Jason Campbell should significantly improve the Raiders' offense and Fargas leaves behind 125 carries presumably for McFadden and Bush to split. Where will they go is the question? Bush has certainly done more than McFadden with nearly identical NFL rushing opportunities. Bush has 218 NFL carries with a 4.6 YPC average versus 217 carries and a 3.9 YPC average for McFadden; Bush has three 40+ yard runs to one for McFadden; and Bush has three 100-yard rushing games to one for McFadden. Per Fantasy Index, Bush was stopped for a loss last year on just 7 of 123 carries, the 3rd-best ratio in the NFL last year.
Who's your fancy here? Can Brandon Jacobs stay healthy and deliver closer to his upside? Does Ahmad Bradshaw emerge? Can the former #4-overall pick Darren McFadden deliver on his draft position or does the more productive Michael Bush get his chance to be a primary back?
Vote in the official Dynasty Rogues Speed Bump Challenge: http://dynastyrogues.com/headline/?id=216
Posted by Jason Turner | Aug. 01 at 04:15 PM
I had Jacobs last season...And I won it all IN SPITE of him. I watched all season as he tip toed his way into getting stuffed at the goal line countless times. Ahmad Bradshaw looked explosive, but he battled injuries all season long. Were it not for those injuries, I believe he would have taken Jacobs job last already. We'll have to see which Jacobs shows up to camp. The oft injured tip toeing back we saw last year, or the beast we have seen in previous seasons. If he doesn't come out of the shoot bucking, we could see a lot more out of Ahmad Bradshaw this season. Either way, I'm leaning towards the two backs in New York. That line has atleast showed in recent years that the team can run the ball very well when everyone is right. The Oakland backs scare me. Darren McFadden has the most talent, but carrying the load is an issue. I see all four backs in a time share, but Jacobs and Bradshaw are in a much better situation. If I had to rank right now in a PPR scoring system I'd go 1.) Jacobs 2.) Bradshaw 3.) McFadden 4.) Bush
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