First Round RBs lack downside

I think we can all agree that 2007 was a tough year for fantasy. Mainly because it was a down year for RBs, and there were the usual number of injuries, there were more disappointments than strong producers plucked in the early rounds. However, I’ve learned over the years that thing tend to even out in fantasy. When there are a disproportionate number of disappointments one year, for example, there are usually a higher number of values the next. I think that will be the case this year.

One of the things that stood out to me while doing our RB writeups for the magazine was that the player I had in my top-12 didn’t seem to have a disconcerting amount of downside. Everyone has some downside, or course, and a guy like Frank Gore may have a lot of it. But I really feel as if this year’s first round should be a lot less treacherous than last year. That said, I can’t see taking QB Tom Brady in the first, and I might be inclined to pass on Randy Moss. After the first, I’m totally in BPA mode (Best Player Available), but as I’m preparing for my first “Expert Draft” of the year one week from today (I’ll cover it here), I’m pretty locked into taking a RB with my first pick – unless I pick like #10-12 and I decide to roll with Moss. I’m not taking Brady in the 1st in a 12-team league, that’s for sure.

Here’s a look at my top-12 as of right now:

LaDainian Tomlinson – I can’t remove him from the top spot just yet.

Adrian Peterson – I can’t pass on him and his upside at #2.

Brian Westbrook – A certifiable stud, so I’ll take on his injury risk.

Joseph Addai – As stated last year, the safest guy on the board after LT in the 1st.

Steven Jackson – Pretty damn solid and the situation has to be improved at least slightly.

Frank Gore – When in doubt I’m going to roll with a true stud, and Gore is one.

Marion Barber – The guy was well within the top-10 last year in a true timeshare, so he’s very safe.

Clinton Portis – Until the wheels fall off, you have to give him this respect.

Maurice Drew – Very safe, with the potential to carry you.

Marshawn Lynch – Still think he’s pretty safe, and if the receiving production comes, he’ll be more than fine.

Willis McGahee – Not in love, but production last year was nice.

Laurence Maroney – Lack of action in the passing game hurts a lot, but a lot of other things working in his favor.

As you can see, there are a lot of safe and steady options here. And other than LT and Portis, not a lot of tread on these guys’ tires.

Category: Fantasy Football


13 Responses

  1. jbeau says:

    I agree with you John. I like Gore’s potential this year with Martz as long as he’s healthy. I wanna place Lynch ahead of Drew, cause I think Taylor still will take away from him. Would you employ the same strategy in a dynasty league though?? I pick #5 in two separate leagues and have been considering picking up Peyton or Brady since they are rock solid year inand year out and are basically injury free.

  2. NYBrewCrew says:

    Where has players like Bush, LJ and Henry fallen as they were some 1st rounders last year.

  3. jbeau says:

    Bush…injury, timeshare issues. LJ…line, QB issues. Henry…weed issues.

  4. GregR210 says:

    I like Gore, but there’s only one question.
    Is Mike Martz smart enough to feed him the

  5. John Hansen says:

    In a dynasty league, I’d consider a Manning or Brady over a guy like Portis and maybe even McGahee. Those guys are a little shaky and with the landscape changing so quickly these days there’s a lot to be said for the stability of a stud QB. But I’d still rather have a young stud back, especially one in a good situation like Addai and MJD.

    Here are some thoughts on Gore with Martz:

    With the arrival of Mike Martz, there might be a few less rushes (only the Lions ran the ball fewer times than the 49ers last year) but there will be more passing. And Martz’ offense has been known to throw the ball to his RBs a lot; Marshall Faulk consistently caught 80 receptions a year in this system and even Kevin Jones caught 60 in 12 games in Detroit in 2006 (which equates to 80 in 16 games). Martz has publicly stated that he hopes to build the offense around Gore’s talents both as a runner and as a receiver. And contrary to public perception, Martz likes to pound the ball into the end zone. Even with the poor running game in Detroit in 2007, Martz’ offense was the 2nd most likely to run the ball inside the five rather than pass. So Gore should do all right getting TDs if the 49ers can get the ball down near the goal.

  6. John Hansen says:

    Also, I’ve broken this down intensely and Bush still needs to be in the top-20. Henry and Benson currently reside in the 25-30 range. Pathetic.

  7. Air Stich says:

    I like this list for the most part. I’ll be taking Lynch higher than Drew, Portis, Barber, and Gore, though. I also don’t think Maroney is in the top 12 RB’s. I don’t think he’s even a second round pick.

  8. ditka85 says:

    Wow, no LJ is surprising. I understand why but I’d have a hard time passing him up in the 1.8+ range.

  9. chrispen5 says:

    I agree that LJ should have cracked the list especially if maroney is on there. Even though he had a rough year he still averaged more pts/game than maroney. Maroney hasn’t proved that he can be a main back and he also shares carries while LJ does not.I also think Lynch should be ahead of Portis and Drew cause he will be seeing a lot of touches and touchdown opportunities.

  10. John Hansen says:

    I have LJ next at 13, but his situation is so bad right now that I can’t in good conscience rank him in the top-12. I’m not in love with Maroney, but you have to like his situation, and there’s no way the Pats ignore the run like they did for most of the year last year.

  11. jbeau says:

    I agree John, and I think because of last year that people will overpay for Brady and underpay for Maroney. The Pats won’t be an airshow this year.

  12. chrispen5 says:

    you said you wouldn’t take Brady in the 1st round? Personally, i don’t see myself taking maroney or any of the backs 8-12 before Brady.

  13. John Hansen says:

    chrispen5: I can’t argue really. It’s just my “expert” leagues are so easily handicapped. Everyone always holds off on the QBs, so it’s questionable Brady is a #1 pick (although it’s probably 75% he is).

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