Thursday, July 21, 2011

2011 ROOKIE RB LOW DOWN


ROOKIE LOW DOWN

RUNNING BACKS







1. Mark Ingram - Saints (5'9" 216lbs) Ingram is what we like to call here at SFS a PRP (pro ready player). Featured in a pro style offense in college and having played against the premiere talent, size and speed that the SEC offers there is no back in the draft that is more ready to step into a solid role with an NFL team than Ingram. Look for the Saints to find a reason to get rid of PT Cruiser and allow Ingram and Chris Ivory to run the show this season. Even if PT Cruiser sticks with the team, he is not a tough player and will end up hurt eventually anyway allowing Ingram and Ivory to do their thing. If I can say one negative thing about Ingram it's that he is not a freakish athlete when it comes to one thing that he does...but the kid can flat play football and he gets the job done...these are the kind of players I would want on my team. I think Ingram is worth a late 3rd or early 4th round selection.

2. Mikel Leshoure - Lions (6'0" 227lbs) The kid with a name like an Indy driver is only 21 years old and he has better athletic ability than Ingram. I read somewhere that he beat Ingram at every competition on the day they ran at the combine and he was carrying 10 lbs more body weight. Leshoure has a crazy high ceiling and not many miles on the engine...he only carried the ball 424 times in his 3 year career at Clemson, but the downside of that is we don't know alot about him as a football player other than the fact that he seems to have all the tools to be a great runner in the league. He only caught 37 balls in his college days, but with Jahvid Best on the roster in Detroit they will not need him to play on 3rd downs unless it's short yardage. I think a new version of Thunder and Lightning is brewing in Detroit rock city. He is a must hand-cuff to Best. I look for Leshoure's draft position to be all over the place depending on if fantasy managers that have Best feel it necessary to reach for Leshoure. What will be interesting is watching him in leagues with a 75%-25% td over yardage ratio...will he be drafted before Best? In seasonal leagues I think we could look at Leshoure going in the 6-7th rounds and later in default sized leagues.

3. Ryan Williams - Cardinals (5'9" 212lbs) Williams blew out his hamstring in 2010 and lost most of his season after wrecking the ACC with his vicious running style in his freshmen year. Ryan Williams is a wrecking machine when he hits a hole. He runs like he is pissed off at the world and he breaks tackles along the way. This muscle bound freak is young and is loaded with potential. He is either going to skyrocket out of the gate and do damage early on or he will be an injury riddled disappointment with a short shelf life in the league. The Cards have a log jam at RB with Beanie and Hightower so the year for Ryan is probably going to be next year if Beanie doesn't have a boom of a year. If they move him to backup or possibly move Hightower I would be very intrigued with Williams. In keeper leagues I am taking Ryan toward the end of my 12-14 man draft and doing the wait and see thing with him. In standard drafts he will go undrafted.

4. Roy Helu - Redskins (6'0" 219lbs) Helu is the most interesting RB in this rookie class (in my opinion). He has great size and great speed at his size having run a 4.4 40 yard dash at the combine ...ya don't see combo too often. Then again, if you look at his performance on the weights it's also jaw dropping in the opposite way. Helu benched 11 reps of 225 lbs. There are kids in my gym that look like string beans right outta high school that can do that. Another negative about Helu is that he played behind a dominant line at Nebraska and faced some very sub par defenses. How will he fair not having the gaping holes that he had in college? That said, The Redskins have a poor stable of talent at the RB position. C.Portis needs to be put out to pasture...Ryan Torrain is a straight ahead runner with the talent of a backup at best and K.Williams doesn't exactly turn heads when he carries the ball. Helu could come out of this pack and end up starting for the Redskins...how will he fair vs NFL linebackers and Safeties with his limited upper body strength?...That is going to be the big question. Helu is worth a shot late in drafts though he will probably be taken much sooner than he should be because of his possible opportunity to get some real PT in the Skins backfield. Ryan Williams is being billed as the boom or bust rookie RB, but I think that label is perfect for Helu because he will get his shot. Proceed with caution and make sure to taunt your opponents if you get him and he pays off! Not sure where he will be drafted yet, but he will be taken in most formats and surely reached for by Redskin homers.

5. Daniel Thomas - Dolphins (6'0" 230) Daniel Thomas ran wild in the Big 12 last year and right now has now has an inside track on walking into Dolphins camp and starting week 1 if a veteran RB is not signed. Thomas has a great combo of speed, size and toughness and will get every opportunity to do his thing in Miami. He is not as sexy of a pick as Ryan Matthews was last year for the Chargers simply because the Dolphins offense has been about as exciting as watching paint dry for years now. I don't trust Henne or anyone else they have down there running the show at QB so there is no telling how many TD's a guy like Daniels will get even if he does get the Lions...err Dophins share of the load. Thomas has a ton of great NFL qualities...he can catch the ball, which gives him more value in ppr's because bad teams like the Dolphins are many times throwing alot in 2nd halves and that means check down points for Mr.Thomas. The kid can flat score marching in for 30 td's in his two seasons at K-State. He is very comfortable running between the tackles and picking his spots, the potential is there my friends. I have been suckered in by players like this before and am alittle gun shy when drafting them. I look at these guys and think...hmmm this guy could be a gold mine and then I think about all the rookies I have taken or stayed away from and let others take them and was glad I did after watching them struggle in their rookie year...it's a tough call. I do not think I would take this kid before the 3rd or 4th round even if Miami doesn't get a veteran, but others will surely jump on him no later than the 2nd if a featured role is expected. Proceed with caution...Gamblers...pick the kid early and let it ride!!!

6. Jacquizz Rodgers - Falcons (5'6" 196lbs) The little guy out of Oregon State was a nightmare for opposing defenses in college, but I do not see him having much of an impact in his first year in the NFL. I believe his ceiling is a complimentary back and KR for the Falcons this season. The kid can do magical things in the open field but with such a talented roster I think he will only see spot duty. He is going to make some spectacular plays this year and possibly pull a spot start for you somewhere down the line, but ya can't draft this guy unless you are in a league with high KR yd points and even then make sure he has secured that job.

7. DeMarco Murray - Cowboys (6'0" 213) 4.37 forty - Murray is a great athlete and can run like a deer. Murray is a versatile back that is a perfect fit for today's NFL game. A pass catcher and above avg runner Murray could have a much bigger role on most teams, but him being drafted by the Cowboys have put him squarely behind Felix Jones and Tashard Choice on the depth chart. I personally would like to see the Cowboys use all three of these guys in order to keep them all healthy, but that would mean causing us fantasy owners headaches all season wondering which one to start. I think the Cowboys are dead set on having Felix start and play huge role for them which doesn't leave much room for Murray, because Choice is a very underrated running back in this league and is more than capable of sharing the load with Felix if needed. Let's hope Murray gets and extended run in the preseason where she should do very well and force the coaching staff to get some plays in for him every game. Unless there is an injury you can't draft this DeMarco...Choice is the hand-cuff for Jones for now. I wish the Rams would have drafted Murray, he'd have been the perfect spell for Stephen Jackson...rather than Kenneth "don't call me Terrence Trent" Darby.

8. Jordan Todman Chargers(5'9" 203lbs) Uconn is a run first system that has done well vs a less than stellar big east conference the past few seasons. Todman is another back very similar to his fellow RB out of Uconn Donald Brown (Colts). Brown is turning out to be a bust considering where he was drafted. I can see Todman having a short shelf life in the league ...I could be wrong, but I just can't see this kid being more than a 4th string back or possibly even a practice squad player by next season. Wait and see before you roster him. He is going to be WAY down the depth chart in San Diego.

9. Delone Carter - Colts(5'9" 222lbs) This pick by Indy puzzles me. If you are going to take a running back why not take someone like a Demarco Murray, a versatile player that can play many roles in your dynamic offensive scheme? Instead they draft Carter who has hands of stone (20 career catches at Syracuse) and is mostly a one dimensional player. We have seen other stiffs get PT for Indy in the past and feast on short yardage TD's so maybe that is where the value is here. Carter is a load that can smash into the line and get you tough yards so he is a vulture in the making if he gets any playing time at all. I imagine he will see the field...after all didn't Indy actually play Dominic Rhodes a few times last year? Good luck with that Indy. Worth a very late look in TD leagues, but is mostly wait and see prospect and a possible handcuff to Joseph Addai.

There were other RB's drafted this season that could make their mark in the league...Rookie RB's are a tough call..it's all about taking the opportunities given to you. Many times the better RB's in a class are not given the same opportunities that a lesser back may get on a team with a shorter depth chart. It's our job as fantasy owners to dissect all this and get the right player...not always the best player. Good luck gentlemen.

Wes
theShow

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