Thoughts on Various Players-Running Backs

Here’s the next round of random thoughts, this time on running backs:

Felix Jones/Dallas Cowboys – Did you realize he had a 8.9 per average on his 30 carries before he got hurt. I know that’s a limited amount of work, but watching him last season it was easy to see how special he was in space. I’d get this guy in rounds 7-8 and he could actually win you some games. He’s one of those rare backs that doesn’t need a lot of carries to do serious damage.

Clinton Portis/Washington Redskins – Most of you probably don’t realize just how good he was during the first half of last season before he suffered a spate of nagging injuries. In his first eight games, Portis posted 944 yards on the ground with 7 TDs, including five straight games of over 100 yards. After that, he was completely worn down and had just one good game the rest of the way. Remarkably, he turns just 28 in September. The Redskins are still a power rushing team on offense and look for Portis to be pretty solid again.

Michael Turner/Atlanta Falcons – Some fantasy owners are wondering if he’ll repeat his success this season. He had 376 carries in 2008 (23.5/game), but with Tony Gonzalez in the fold, I think they may throw just a little bit more. That wouldn’t be a bad thing since Turner had probably too many carries. It’s a virtual lock that if Turner is healthy, he’ll still have at least 20 carries/game. Too bad he doesn’t catch the ball at all, but he’ll still be solid again, especially with more versatility to their passing game with Gonzalez’s addition. It will be harder for teams to defend the Falcon offense this season.

Pierre Thomas/New Orleans Saints – We talked about him in last week’s podcast, but in fantasy terms, I think he will be as solid as it gets as a #2 RB. He’ll get plenty of touches each game and he really can make plays in their passing game. I’m interested to see how they will use him and Reggie Bush this season.

Jonathan Stewart/Carolina Panthers – I’m starting to get a little concerned with his injuries. Last year, it was expected that he might have trouble from time to time with his toe surgery. But he now is dealing with a sore Achilles that is a result of overcompensating for the toe injury. I’d draft him as my third back, less risk that way.

Julius Jones/Seattle Seahawks – As much as we’ve dogged him rightfully so over the past few seasons, it’s all about opportunity and Jones will get a great one this season. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be challenged for his starting job though the very slow and plodding T.J. Duckett will take some goal-line carries away from him. Still, Jones should be a solid mid-round choice as your third RB.

Ronnie Brown/Miami Dolphins – I realize this fall he’ll be two years away from the ACL injury, but until the coaching staff is willing to let him break out of the RBBC, draft him as your second back. There just doesn’t seem to be the kind of backing from this coaching staff that you would expect him to get. I realize that they didn’t draft him, but it’s still surprising that he’s not getting a true chance to handle 17-20 carries/game.

Baltimore Running Backs – I’m basically staying away from all of them. Willis McGahee may never be the same, his knees don’t seem like they are back to where they were two years ago. I don’t trust him or the rest of them. I’d rather have some kind of definitive word on a player’s role before I invest a pick in the first half of a draft on him.

Steve Slaton/Houston Texans – Only concern here, and it’s potentially a big one, is his ability to hold up over a 16-game season. I think the Texans have made a mistake by not signing a solid veteran to back him up. Thinking Chris Brown will be able to handle the role and stay healthy is foolish.

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


24 Responses

  1. Idiot Savant says:

    Any thoughts on whether Chris Taylor could fill that role in Houston of the “bigger back?? Does he have the talent and confidence of his coaches to do so…and is his health likely to be where it needs to be to challenge Brown for the role? Hmm…a lot of if’s in this question…perhaps I have answered my own question! Still, if given the shot…how might he fare?

  2. MI-5 says:

    That “beeping sound” is a huge back track on Steward. I’ve been loud and repeative in my claim that D. Williams repeats last year. Looks like his value will go down as other realize he is a true stud.

  3. Adam Caplan says:

    Chris Taylor isn’t on their roster. I think they waived-injured him last year.

    MI-5: If you’re referring to use on Stewart, you couldn’t be farther off. It comes down to his ability to stay healthy, just like it does for any other young player. If he’s healthy without any setbacks, we’ll expect him to make a pretty big impact on Williams this season. Would you rather us not bring up his injury situation? It’s a factor, period. We also discussed this during last week’s podcast.

  4. MI-5 says:

    I listened and I think Steward injury is much of the same issue as before. I was more worried that Williams value may be dropping, as more seem to be viewing him as true stud.

    I think you’ve come around for more than just injury. Their is a podcast earlier in the year, where you indicated that Williams at the end of the first round was unwise. I listened to the current podcast, and it almost sounded like you were looking for a reason to change your stance on Williams and Stewards injury issue seemed good enough.

  5. Adam Caplan says:

    You couldn’t be more off. I think you want to hear what you want to hear because you like the player. But that’s fine, believe what you want. At the time we wrote the camp battles, it wasn’t known about Stewart’s Achilles problem. Big difference.

  6. Idiot Savant says:

    Of course you are correct Adam – but I had seen both of these blurbs in May 09′

    May. 26, 2009 – 6:19 p.m. ET

    Coach Gary Kubiak reiterated that the Texans view Chris Brown as a potential short-yardage back behind Steve Slaton.

    “He’s showed in this league he can have some big games and also he should be a good short-yardage player,” Kubiak said. Brown, who isn’t limited at OTAs, is currently rotating with Ryan Moats as the team’s No. 2 back.


    May. 1, 2009 – 11:46 a.m. ET

    Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan says the Texans are “counting on” Chris Brown this season.

    “If Chris can stay healthy, I feel very good about (the running back situation),” Shanahan said. “He’s healthy now, and…I expect a lot out of Chris this year.” Brown missed all of last season with a herniated disc in his back. He is a brittle player and seems unlikely to be relied on for a major role.

    Source: Houston Chronicle

  7. Idiot Savant says:

    Funny thing…i had saved that under Chris Taylor…my bad

  8. Idiot Savant says:

    Actually, funny thing is that I bothered!

  9. Adam Caplan says:

    Like I said with Brown, it’s a mistake for them to think he can handle being Slaton’s backup.

  10. MI-5 says:

    Adam -

    Your the expert, so I’ll back off.

    Please answer this for me, knowing what you know now, which RB’s would you take before D. Williams?

  11. Adam Caplan says:

    I can’t really anwswer questions like that here. The best thing to do is go to the chat this Thursday and ask about specific players.

  12. OutlawTitan says:

    Chris Brown handling short yardage situations for Houston is a stretch. His upright running style and inability to get one or two yards in short yardage situations is why the Titans cut him loose in the first place.

  13. Any thoughts on Jeremiah Johnson in Houston? He was pretty good for the Ducks in college. Moats is decent, but nothing special. Brown is a nice fit, but like Adam said, injuries, injuries, injuries. Johnson is a long shot, but he could have some value as the season progresses.

    My buddy Tony continues to think it’s Arian Foster.

    Thoughts? Which one makes the team or both, Foster and Johnson…..and which one will be the better NFL back?

    And I love me some Felix. Anyone who knows anything about football realized he was the better back coming out of Arkansas. I watched a few Razorback games and loved what I saw. He’s definitely special, meanwhile, McFadden is definitely STILL overrated.

    Also, how about Justin Forsett in Seattle? I liked what I saw from his in the preseason. Any chance he steals some J.J. thunder?

  14. Adam Caplan says:

    Foster has better size over Johnson and that’s what they need. He has a chance to be the long-term handcuff at this point.

    I think we got McFadden right on the nose from the start last year, but we’ll give him another chance.

    Forsett is a change of pace back. IF he makes the team, I could see 5-7 touches/game.

  15. Adam Caplan says:

    OT: Totally agree on Brown, not sure what their GM is thinking there. Brown always had the talent, but being a tall, upright runner is tough to overcome.

  16. Scot says:

    Isn’t the point that Chris Brown ought to be able to stay healthy for 5-10 carries a game to spell Steve Slaton? I don’t really see why that is a stretch. No dispute that Brown isn’t a feature back, but in all honesty the injury tag was always a little overrated with him. He wears down, but should definitely be fine for 5-10 carries a game, plus starting a game or two if Slaton gets injured.

  17. Adam Caplan says:

    The problem is, as detailed above, Brown’s running style makes him susceptible to injury. He runs too upright. It really isn’t about how many carries he gets, it’s about what happens when he gets hit. What you don’t understand is how many times he’s left games early. That was a criticism from the Titans.

  18. Scot says:

    I do understand that he has an upright running style (sort of like B. Jacobs) and that the type of hit the player takes with that style is cumulatively more punishing than a more compact player would take. Because he was cumulatively taking more punishing hits, he tended to develop nagging injuries. But the point is that he is being asked to provide 5-10 carries a game for Slaton. Therefore, one would only naturally assume that he wouldn’t suffer the cumulative impact of taking 15-20 hits. Given his undeniable skill, and the relatively limited number of carries he will be asked to make, he actually seems like an ideal back-up running back.

    It’s the same argument that would be made in opposition to a back-up RB like D. Sproles or L. Washington. Those guys are relatively little and there is cause for concern that they could handle a full workload. But no one is questioning their utility as back-up running backs.

  19. Adam Caplan says:

    Again, you don’t seem to understand, it has nothing to do with the cumliative issue, it’s about what happens when he gets hit on any of his carries. Brown is actually a talented back and is only 28, but teams were wary of him being able to handle any kind of important role because of his running style. Just talk to anyone who has covered Brown since he’s been in the league or any coach who has broken down his film (this is why no team wanted him in free agency last year other than the Texans). Can’t compare those backs because they have different body types.

  20. Bryan says:

    Adam – do you have any strong feelings on the RB situation in Pittsburg? I realize Mendenhall was drafted to be their starter and not the understudy, but he wasn’t exactly lighting things up before the injury last season. I’m wondering if FWP isn’t more than just an early-season value and might be worth having for the entire season.

  21. Adam Caplan says:

    Parker is still the starter, but Mendenhall should be able to cut into that role. We discussed that in the training camp battles report.

  22. Blake says:

    Is LT still an elite back? Does he warrant a first round pick anymore?

  23. Blake says:

    what do you think of cedric benson? He finished very strong last year and has all the confindence from marvin lewis, does he have a breakout season in him?

  24. Adam Caplan says:

    Blake: I think Tomlinson is a risk as a first-round pick based on his age and recent injury history. Benson had a few nice games, yards per carry average was low though. Can’t really trust him yet for 16 games.

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