Underrated/Overrated: RB ADP Data

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We’re comparing the SoR composite RB rankings to Average Draft Position data from three sites (Y!, ESPN, FFC). We’re looking for running backs who are being overvalued or undervalued in fantasy football leagues and mock drafts. One of our sixteen backs bounces defenders off him like he’s an 8-bit reincarnate of 1991’s most feared. Sixteen backs; some are overrated, some are underrated and some are both. Enjoy.

Rank SoR composite RB rankings
ADP average ADP from the three sites
FFC FantasyFootballCalculator (mock draft results from August 24th)

Player                         Rank   ADP   Yahoo   ESPN   FFC 
Arian Foster 1 1.33 1 2 1
Adrian Peterson 2 1.67 2 1 2
Jamaal Charles 3 3.33 3 4 3
Ray Rice 4 4.67 5 5 4
Chris Johnson 5 4.33 5 3 5
Rashard Mendenhall 6 7.33 7 8 7
Darren McFadden 7 10.0 9 12 9
LeSean McCoy 8 7.00 8 7 6
Michael Turner 9 8.33 6 9 10
Maurice Jones-Drew 10 8.00 10 6 8
Steven Jackson 11 12.7 15 11 12
Frank Gore 12 10.7 11 10 11
Shonn Greene 13 19.0 14 26 17
Matt Forte 14 13.3 13 14 13
DeAngelo Williams 15 18.0 18 15 21
Ahmad Bradshaw 16 16.0 16 16 16
Jahvid Best 17 20.3 22 20 19
Peyton Hillis 18 13.0 12 13 14
LeGarrette Blount 19 16.3 17 17 15
Daniel Thomas 20 27.3 23 31 28
Ryan Mathews 21 22.0 19 25 22
Mark Ingram 22 23.3 20 27 23
Knowshon Moreno 23 20.7 24 18 20
Felix Jones 24 21.7 28 19 18
Fred Jackson 25 29.7 30 29 30
Ryan Grant 26 24.3 26 23 24
Beanie Wells 27 28.0 34 24 26
Jonathan Stewart 28 28.7 29 22 35
Cedric Benson 29 26.7 25 28 27
Marshawn Lynch 30 28.7 27 30 29
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 31 22.3 21 21 25
Joseph Addai 32 31.7 31 32 32
Mike Tolbert 33 32.3 32 34 31
Brandon Jacobs 34 38.3 41 38 36
Reggie Bush 35 34.7 33 37 34
Michael Bush 36 41.7 46 40 39
Pierre Thomas 37 38.0 44 33 37
Ryan Williams 38 - 40 56 -
Roy Helu 39 47.3 47 51 44
James Starks 40 40.0 43 36 41
Ryan Torain 41 43.3 45 42 43
Danny Woodhead 42 43.0 39 45 45
C.J. Spiller 43 43.0 50 39 40
Rashad Jennings 44 50.3 52 53 46
Tim Hightower 45 35.0 37 35 33
Delone Carter 46 - - 65 -
Willis McGahee 47 44.3 48 43 42
LaDainian Tomlinson 48 38.0 35 41 38
Shane Vereen 49 - - 76 -
Thomas Jones 50 48.0 51 46 47

Darren McFadden is slightly underrated even though he is widely considered a Top 10 RB. After traveling more than 1,600 yards (with 10 TD) in 13 games last year DMC is ready to add to his breakout season. He totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage in nine of thirteen games. McFadden was consistently awesome. I loved him, I hated him and now I love him all over again. I have DMC ranked fifth in my personal rankings.

Fred Jackson is just one of those quiet, consistent players that continues to fly under the radar. Few people know of the Bills that roam Buffalo. They’re a peaceful bunch that were pushed into a corner of New York, almost forced into Canada. Fred Jackson is a feature back who can play third down and doesn’t have anyone poaching goal line carries. It sounds strange, but these guys are hard to find. C.J. Spiller is lurking in the shadows, but that’s where he’ll spend his entire NFL career. He’s nocturnal, not active in the daylight. Fred Jackson’s shadow is C.J. Spiller’s ecosystem. Fred is a solid bet for another 200 plus carries, 1,100 total yards and 7 TD. He makes for a great flex player.

Brandon Jacobs is an in shape 264 lb running back. You should draft him on that alone. He is powerful and he is still pretty quick for a big guy. In the world of Tecmo Super Bowl he would be Christian Okoye (youtubed above). Jacobs looks great this preseason and he should be in line for another 150 carries with the possibility of getting closer to 200. Coach Coughlin says he was under worked last year (154 touches) and Jacobs expressed his desire for 200 carries. Anything is possible, especially when Bradshaw has an untrustworthy foot. I like the big brute for 800 yards and 8 TD with the upside of 1,150 yards and 10 or more TD.

Michael Bush is a poor man’s Brandon Jacobs. Maybe that’s a wee harsh, but oh well. Bush isn’t as big as Jacobs, but at 245 lbs he’s still massive. Bush is a complement to Darren McFadden in the Raiders run game, but his size will help him steal goal line carries. He enters the 2011 season in full health and further removed from leg surgery. He’s a good bet for 800 plus total yards and 6 to 8 TD. Bush is ranked 36th in my personal RB rankings, but he goes much later in drafts because half the people that see him play are stabbed to death in the Raiders parking lot.

Willis McGahee can be found circling the Denver skies, flying overhead waiting for the Broncos reach the red zone. There was a time when Jerome Bettis would rush for negative two yards, but score three touchdowns. It takes only one carry to score six points. Denver’s confirmed goal line back, Willis McGahee, wasn’t shown much love in our composite rankings, but I have him going as high as my 36th RB. I think he’s being overlooked even though the rankings say he’s overrated.

Delone Carter cannot be found in most ADP reports, but he has a realistic chance of being the goal line back in a high powered offense. The fourth round pick is stout (5’9, 225 lbs) and he specializes in downhill running. He’s looked good in camp and we all know Joseph Addai is not built to last. If Addai goes down Delone Carter would make for a solid RB2. Right now he’s merely a speculative goal line vulture, but this could be the flier pick that people brag about during the 2012 draft season.

Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon cannot be found in our Top 50 RB or the ADP reports. That’s because neither are starters nor are they vultures. Both are backups to the Evil Knievil of the NFL, Frank Gore. Frank has broken every bone in his body during his NFL career, it’s true. Which back will be the understudy when Gore goes down is anyone’s guess. I like ‘em both, what can I say? Dixon is the bruiser (goal line duties) and Hunter is the little guy who could. If I had to choose one it would be Hunter.

Roy Helu is just one of the handful of Redskin lottery ticket running backs. First it was Ryan Torain, now it’s Tim Hightower and next it could be Roy Helu. The bad reputation Mike Shanahan has earned will continue to manifest itself as fantasy football managers are tormented by the speculation of fantasy prognosticators. Will it be the former Bronco back who Shanny adorned? Will it be the fumbling Hightower? Will it be the fourth round draft pick? I don’t know. But what I do know is Roy Helu costs only one dollar and the margin for profit is substantial. Sign me up.

Shonn Greene has to be included in this because of our composite ranking (13) and his ADP (19). He looks to be underrated, but ESPN dragged down his average draft position and quite frankly I’m not a big believer in Greene. Shonn was unimpressive last season despite running behind the best run blocking unit in the league. I have him ranked 16th and gave consideration to moving LeGarrette Blount ahead of him.

Peyton Hillis looks to be overrated according to our rankings (18) and his ADP (13), but I’m with the masses on Hillis. I have Peyton ranked 11th among RB. My affection for Hillis is on full display in the latest Beef the Series entry. I do not want to jinx him so I will go no further.

Daniel Thomas looks to be underrated according to our rankings (20) and his ADP (27), but again I’m with the masses. Because of the team’s desire to prove their trade for Reggie Bush was stupid cool and Thomas’ lack of “umpf” from a so-called big man, I have him ranked 29th among my RB. If Lex Hilliard were to poach goal line carries… well…

Tim Hightower is all the rage in Washington. Ryan Torain is out with his annual broken something so Hightower volunteered his services. That’s how easy it is to be a featured back in Mike Shanahan’s offense. The SoR composite rankings says he’s overrated (45 rank vs 35 adp), but I have him ranked 31st among all RB. I’m campaigning for Hightower in Washington. I recognize the risk, but he’s a starter and deserves to be drafted as such. If he has overcome his fumbling woes of the past he could end up being a Fred Jackson-type back.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis is still being drafted as a RB2 at Yahoo! and ESPN even though the Patriots drafted Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. I believe BJGE can meet and pay off the price tag, but that’s if the two draft picks get few if no carries. That’s the (nearly unattainable) ceiling and we try to avoid ceiling price tags. It’s nearly a lock that he doesn’t live up to last season’s standards, don’t pay for it.

Knowshon Moreno is being drafted as a Top 20 RB, but I’m not buying it. Willis McGahee will be stealing the most important carries and Willis has shown he can fit into John Fox’s ground scheme. Denver doesn’t have a good run blocking unit, but they will be looking to move the ball via the ground. Moreno’s upside, however, will be limited if McGahee (and Tim Tebow) are stealing touchdowns. Knowshon comes in at number 26 in my personal RB rankings because of the lack of upside and potential for downside.

LaDainian Tomlinson looked great in the early weeks of the 2010 season and then rolled into Mile High seated in a wheel chair. It’s hard to tackle a guy in a wheel chair, but they have no break away speed. As a result LDT averaged 3.3 yards per carry from week six going forward. The reigns have been handed over to Shonn Greene. LDT is merely a third down back with a popular name. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of our fantasy heroes of yesteryear, but like Robert De Niro said in the movie Heat, “don’t let yourself get attached to any player that you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat of a PCL injury around the corner”.

Maurice Jones-Drew and Frank Gore. I think you know where I’m going with these two. MJD and Gore provide great production when healthy, but the question is whether or not they are abled-bodied and will they remain vigorous as the season wears on? MJD has a troublesome knee and Frank Gore has a troublesome everything. I play in head-to-head leagues and I can’t trust either back to play for my team come week 14. I will avoid these two with the passion of Mel Gibson.

Related SoR Content
QB ADP Analysis
Composite RB Rankings

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