As I started working on the preseason injury notes, I realized that the talent and the health concerns go deeper than I can recall on RBs. Finding that one elite back who can carry a team and be worthy of those first few picks is tougher than ever. It forced me to go much deeper than my normal top 10 or so. Fact is, I couldn't stop until I got into the 30s, noting that more and more players are both fantasy-relevant and injury-prone.
The RB position has morphed over the past decade more than any other in the modern NFL. We have very few true "feature backs," the descendants of Jim Brown, Walter Payton and Marshall Faulk. Instead, we're left with platoon backs, system backs and role backs. That's the future, and as we continue to see the position evolve, we'll need to evolve our drafting strategies along with it.
The value equation is still based on the need to go three deep at the position. Until leagues offer more flexibility, RBs will remain slightly inflated in fantasy football. Between evolution and value, fantasy owners are forced to go far deeper with RBs than any other. No one will look askance at drafting six or seven RBs in a normal draft. I've seen strategies out there that involve taking one backup at every other position, then loading the bench with RBs. Many will have four or five RBs drafted before taking a second QB, even with the upswing in injuries to QBs in the last five seasons.
All that makes it even more important to risk-adjust your RB rankings. I use SI.com's Eric Mack's rankings, but no matter who's rankings you choose to use, it's important to risk-adjust above and beyond what they have done. The fact that one in three RBs will underperform projections is largely a function of injury and therefore a function of risk-adjustment.
Timing is everything.
This is going to be another committee for
Heading into this rookie season,
Richardson spent part of the offseason recovering from knee surgery, something he's had before. It's minor, sure, but the wear and tear appears to wear down Richardson to the point that rest isn't enough. He's hardly "injury-prone," but he's not proven durable either. Early camp problems are proving this to be the case. Another knee scope forces you to handcuff him ... but with who?
It goes without saying that
People keep thinking back to
The Broncos hope
The "other" RB coming back from ACL reconstruction and the one that might not be as much of a physical freak,
With 20 TDs in 15 games,
Forget 370. The Falcons realize that even 300 carries might be a bit much for "The Thighs" at this stage in his career. Fewer touches isn't a bad thing for
The Bucs surprised a bit with their pick of
Some fantasy analysts, including some I really respect, are down on
Fantasy players shouldn't have to worry about the moral failings of their players. I draft for production, not sainthood.