Thursday, June 6, 2013

We’ve All Been Bitten by an RB1nce

Since the draft and big name free agency has come and gone, the mock and ranking season is getting into gear. Popular themes this year revolve around about how deep the quarterback pool is, how few elite wr’s there are, if you don’t get Graham or Gronk you stream, and the old tried and true adage RB/RB or RB/RB/RB.

Gone is the year of Rodgers #1 or drafting a QB early as the foundation of your team. In 2013 PFF DraftMaster’s 29, 36 and 43 (link) only 1 QB was selected in the top 24 and it only happened in 43 and that was at 23rd overall. 

Adrian Peterson has solidified his spot at #1 overall based on usage and the help of Greg Jennings to take some Safety pressure off. After AP, you really can select up to nine RB’s at two thru ten and depending on your scoring system could easily be defended.

You’ve got the young nimble pass catchers like Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, CJ Spiller and LeSean McCoy. The three down backs like Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Ray Rice along with the young low mileage studs like Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris.

Aside from your leagues scoring system the biggest factors regarding this tier of RB’s and their respective ADP is age along with mileage/usage.  The three mostly affected by this are Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch and Ray Rice.

Marshawn is the oldest having turned 27 in April, while Foster will turn 27 in August and Rice will turn 27 in January; so it’s really hard and nearly impossible to say that either of these players should be selected over the other due to ‘age.’ All three are the focal point of their offense and handle a majority of their teams goal line attempts, so it’s going to come down to what’s become a popular saying; this is the year his wheels fall off.

After a couple years as the first back off the board Arian Foster has begun to slip in drafts. Between owners saying he’s been overused, ran into the ground and on the decline we try to rationalize staying ahead of the curve and keeping all the wheels on our first round draft pick. So owners tend to go with younger/lower mileage or upside picks early in the draft after being scared off by potential decline or breakdown. This is why you haven’t seen MJD, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews mentioned yet; because when healthy or healthy for a full season they’re RB1’s. But since everyone is staying away from these guys in the first round, means thanks to history and injury they’ve been an RB1nce.

Unfortunately there probably won’t be any real total point’s difference between Foster and the likes of Charles and Martin if they all play a whole year. Sure one may rush for more yards, the other catch more passes while another amasses the most receiving yards; so there may be no discernible difference at the end of the year that one was the 2nd overall pick and another 9th.

What we do as owners is try to mitigate any risk, be it real, a trend, belief or prediction; all of which a Fantasy owner values as their code or philosophy when taking their first RB. Why do these theories exist? Because we’ve all been bitten by an RB1nce.

So in order to mitigate risk the simplest way I can explain this philosophy is we become used car buyers. We look at age; mileage, touches (owners) and situation (team/rec/goal line etc) which all affect final pricing.  If I am going to pay a premium (top 5 pick) for a quality used car, I want a 1 owner with low mileage. This is why 24 and 25 year old guys like Martin, Charles and Spiller are getting drafted over 2 and 3 year elders Foster, Rice and Lynch and ultimately why some consider Trent Richardson a top 5 pick; however he’s picking up dings that may require bodywork prior to resale.  

This is why I’ve got Martin, Charles and Spiller ranked directly behind AP with Foster and Lynch at 5 and 6. Trent Richardson comes in at 8, ahead of Ray Rice at 9. (as of June 2nd) (link)

What you don't want to do is, get bit like Ted “The Iceman” Jackson