Posted Aug. 03 at 02:34 AM
This is an odd poll. In some sense Steven Jackson is the #1 option here by a good margin. In magazine rankings Jackson is ranked ahead of DeAngelo Williams 80% of the time (Fantasy Index and Fanball being the exceptions). However, Jackson is ahead of Jonathan Stewart 100% of the time – on average by +8 in the RB rankings. However, it's certainly much closer than these A versus B options would suggest. In average draft position rankings SJAX is tops in this poll as the #6 RB (with a 2.01 average draft position in 12-team leagues). DeAngelo is next as the #9 RB with a 2.11 ADP then Stewart at #14 with a juicy 3.06 ADP here in early August when this was written. Only one vote though - who do you take, Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart?
Steven Jackson just turned 27. He seems older than that. Jackson has now been around since 2004 - remember the days when Steven Jackson was a "sleeper handcuff" to Marshall Faulk! Jackson made an immediate fantasy impact as a rookie, instantly cutting into Marshall Faulk's time right out of the gate. It was a 60/40 split in Jackson's rookie season (to a then 31-year-old Marshall Faulk). Jackson averaged 5.0 YPC to Faulk's 4.0. Jackson then paid off jumbo the very next season with an 80/20 split in his favor and 10 TDs. Faulk retired after that 2005 season. Over the last five seasons Jackson has averaged 1,600 yards per season, with 280 carries and 52 receptions PER season – a true workhorse (including a team that has been 6-42 over the last three years, the worst 3-year run in NFL history). Jackson has played on average 14 games per season but only average 9 TDs per season over the last five years. Each of these RBs comes into 2010 off some sort of surgery – Jackson had "minor" back surgery in April to repair a herniated disk from November.
It's likely a golden year in your fantasy football career if you happened to land DeAngelo Williams on your teams in 2008. With that pesky DeShaun Foster out of the way Williams exploded to be the #1 RB in fantasy football. In 2008 DeAngelo completely re-branded his fantasy football image. After week four the writing for Williams seemed on the wall as he had 0 TDs while rookie Jonathan Stewart was coming off a 3-game scoring streak with 4 TDs on the season. Ha! Not so fast. Williams scored 3 TDs in week 5 and would go on an utter terror and close out as fantasy football's #1 RB in 2008 with 1,515 yards rushing and a cool 20 TDs. Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 2,351 rushing yards that season the most by a duo in 24 years. On a per game basis DeAngelo was averaging 105 yards per game last year – actually one yard higher than that magical 2008 season. However, Williams' TDs dropped to 7 last year. Per Fantasy Index, over the last two years Williams has run for over 1,000 yards and averaged over 5.0 yards per carry – and only six RBs in NFL history can make that claim. Williams underwent off-season surgery in his foot/ankle but it was considered minor (he played in the Pro Bowl). This is a contract season for DeAngelo (he'll make $2.1M this season and is slated to enter 2011 an unrestricted free agent).
With DeAngelo Williams sidelined, we got a good glimpse of what Jonathan Stewart as a lead back can look like, in a word: mmm. In weeks 15-17 (and against the Vikings, Giants and Saints) Stewart averaged 157 yards per game and scored 4 TDs. Stewart averaged a beefy 5.1 yards per carry last year and scored 10 TDs on the season. He's likely paying big odds in this poll. As mentioned above, Steven Jackson ranks ahead of Stewart 100% of the time and DeAngelo ranks ahead of his teammate Stewart 80% of the time. There's been nothing but great reports on Stewart's off-season surgery to remove bone spurs that have bothered him for two years. Publicly speaking anyway, the Panthers' brass has talked about a 50/50 split for Williams and Stewart. Last season they each eclipsed 1,100 yards rushing - the first time two backs on the same team accomplished the feat in the same season in the history of the NFL. Over the last two seasons Carolina leads the NFL in rushing yards with 2,468 per season and rushing TDs with 48.
Vote in the official Dynasty Rogues Speed Bump Challenge: http://dynastyrogues.com/headline/?id=224
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