I had some fantasy reflection time this past weekend. I was one of many owners who were severely affected by injuries and trades happening in the NFL. My starting running backs consisted of Ray Rice, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Maurice Jones-Drew.
Since Bradshaw is no longer listed as the lead back and with injuries occurring to Rice and Jones-Drew, I was desperate for a running back to play. No one was willing to trade so I was forced to start DeAngelo Williams and Jacquizz Rodgers. It was either start them or take a chance with Felix Jones or Isaiah Pead (Yes, my options were that bad). Now the fact that they all had great weeks is the premise of this article.
Suppose you were in the same situation. You owned Steven Jackson or Eddie Lacy and found yourself scrapping for starters. All you have heard is that running backs are tough to come by and you immediately begin to think your fantasy season is over. Trust me, I was there and if not for some research, I would still believe it.
As a mathematician, I appreciate fantasy sports because it breaks down every player by numbers and statistics. I believe that all sports are just made up of numbers and can be predicted by analyzing them. (Yes, I love the movie Moneyball). So the following information is based off of running back performance. They explain why if you are having injuries problems, you are still okay for this fantasy season.
Players by the numbers:
Player A: 190 yards, 3.9 ypc, 1td, 0 20+
Player B: 184 yards, 6.8 ypc, 0 td, 1 20+
Player A is Arian Foster and Player B is Ben Tate.
For just a backup, Tate has performed well this season. His numbers are practically identical to Foster’s. What is interesting about this scenario, is that Ben Tate is obtainable is almost all leagues. If you are playing in a 8, 10, or 12 team fantasy league, the chances are that Tate is taking up someone’s roster space. He could be an easy trade for you too. Tate may not keep these numbers up all season, but could be useful going into bye weeks. When Foster is 100% healthy, this back field with be unstoppable. Both running backs are going to get their carries, so hold on to both if you can.
Player A: 198 yards, 7.6 ypc, 0td, 4 20+
Player B: 186 yards, 3.9 ypc, 2td, 4 20+
Player A is Terrelle Pryor and Player B is Darren McFadden.
Unfair, Pryor is a quarterback! I know and I apologize. I could not help it though. Pryor’s running game covers any contribution McFadden might be giving you in your lineup. Plus, Pryor is adding a few throws in the mix. McFadden has always had the appeal of a top running back. He runs hard and downhill, but has never been provided with ideal blocking. Since he is starting in Oakland, he has loads of value. Trust me, when your quarterback is out rushing your running back, it is time to start shopping your RB.
Player A: 291 yards, 4.7 ypc, 0td, 2 20+
Player B: 142 yards, 3.5 ypc, 1td, 2 20+
Player A is DeAngelo Williams and Player B is Frank Gore.
That is right folks, DeAngelo Williams is having a great year. In fact, Williams is currently the third highest rusher in the NFL. Considering he was probably drafted in the 7th round, DeAngelo has become a steal. Without looking at the numbers, you would never guess that he is outplaying Gore. No one expects Williams to keep this up either, so now is a good time to purchase him. For those who drafted David Wilson in the second round, I am talking to you!
Player A: 77 yards, 5.5 ypc,
Player B: 98 yards, 3.3 ypc,
Player C: 99 yards, 3.2 ypc
Player A is Steven Jackson, Player B is Daryl Richardson, and Player C is Montee Ball.
Why did I bring up this scenario? To prove that for how little Ball has been on the field, he is still producing. Jackson and Richardson have had their injury issues so this is not fair to them. However, it does helps put Ball’s skill into perspective. As of right now, owners are either dropping or trading Montee Ball. Since he is listed as the third string, he is worth practically nothing. Do not hesitate to throw him into a trade or put in a waiver for him. If Ball can get his fumbles under control, he will finish this year strong.
Hang tight Jackson and Richardson owners. They will both be back soon.
Player A: 226 yards, 4.3 ypc, 1td, 2 20+
Player B: 155 yards, 3.9 ypc, 1td, 0 20+
Player C: 129 yards, 2.8 ypc, 2td, 0 20+
Player D: 121 yards, 3.4 ypc, 0td, 1 20+
Player A is Bilal Powell, Player B is Rashard Mendenhall, Player C is BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Player D is Stevan Ridley.
Bilal Who? Undrafted in 98% of fantasy leagues, Bilal Powell has solidified himself as the sole carrier in New York. He is legit too. Powell runs hard and finds his own holes when the offensive line fails to provide one. Plus, he is currently out playing Mendenhall, Green-Ellis, and Ridley. Powell’s trade value is low and is worth a look if you find yourself searching for a cheap trade.
You can still be patient with Ridley, but owners of the ‘Lawfirm’ and Mendenhall might want to start to panic a bit. They struggle with their few carries and are beginning to lose touches. Start to sell high while you can.
Player A: (Trent Richardson) 140 yards, 3.2 ypc, 1td, 0 20+
Player B: (Jacquizz Rodgers) 102 yards, 3.3 ypc, 0 td
Player A is Trent Richardson and Player B is Jacquizz Rodgers.
I love this scenario. For now, Rodgers is the starter in Atlanta and is producing when he is out on the field. There are no owners who value Rodgers so they would give him up for virtually anybody. I feel comfortable starting Rodgers in all formats if I am struggling through injuries and bye weeks.
With the trade to the Colts, Richardson’s stock went up. He is going to benefit from Indianapolis’ style and will begin to put up strong numbers. Up to this point, he has been disappointing and has probably cost you a win or two. Do not worry, he will make up for it in the upcoming weeks.
Injuries are going to occur, especially with your running backs. As you can clearly see, there are options you can trade for if you are desperate. When I looked at my team, I only saw the lack of big name players and not the numbers. Perhaps you are in the same situation. If you feel your running backs are in trouble, try comparing their statistics to others in the league. Naturally Adrian Peterson is a better option than Felix Jones, but if you need someone to fill a spot for a while then there are players out there who could be solid options.
You just have to break it down.