In the last article we looked at QB’s that could present value at your 2013 NFL Fantasy Football Auction Drafts. Now let’s shift gears and look at the running back auction values.
This position is a lot different then the QB position. In 2012 we saw a number of QB’s step up to the point where there are around 12 starting calibre fantasy players. The talent at that position is deeper than ever. At RB, on the other hand, we saw some veteran runners take a bit of a step backwards creating some uncertainty in terms of depth and draft order for 2013.
Although the values may not be as obvious as in the QB group, there are still some players that I think you can target as value picks at the RB position.
LeSean McCoy ‘12 Stats: Fantasy Pts – 148 (21), Rush/Rec Yds – 840/373, Rush/Rec TDs – 2/3, Fumbles Lost – 3
I would dare someone to tell me that they didn’t have McCoy as at least a Top 5 fantasy running back heading into their 2012 draft. I have him as the #9 RB of 2013 with a draft value of $38. How can Shady possibly come close to those numbers this year? He can’t. He turns 25 this June, so it’s not like he has a lot of mileage on his tires. Chip Kelly is going to come in and run a very uptempo style of offense which is great news for the versatile McCoy. Look at what an exotic and fresh offensive style did for someone like Frank Gore, and McCoy is much more explosive than Gore at this stage in their careers. Some people may bring up Bryce Brown, let them. The only reason Brown got any burn was because McCoy suffered a concussion and we saw what happened to him when the Eagles had to rely on him to shoulder the load. He fumbled. He fumbled often actually. To me, McCoy should still be very close to a top 5 back. Even if he doubles his total TD output in 2013 with no change in yardage totals, which should be considered his absolute floor, he would finish near the top 12 according to 2012 stats. I see something like Shady being able to get 1400 rush yards, 450 receiving yards and 13 total TDs IN HIS SLEEP this year as long as he stays healthy. That would have been good enough for him to finish 7th in RB fantasy points in 2012. Add in the upside and this guy could be the steal of the draft this year at the RB position.
Trent Richardson ‘12 Stats: Fantasy Pts – 203 (10), Rush/Rec Yds – 950/367, Rush/Rec TDs – 11/1, Fumbles Lost – 0
When I think of Richardson’s season last year the first thing that comes to mind were actually all the poor rushing performances he had. He had 8 games where he rushed for under 60 yards. Those are the kind of stats that you keep bringing up to your fellow drafters in order to smoke screen them a little bit. Why would you do that? Because when I think harder I realize that T-Rich played a lot of the season with an injured ankle and ribs. He really only played in 13 games because of those injuries. He also constantly saw 8 and 9 man fronts because no opponents respected Weeden’s passing ability. Now where is the good news? Well he did score 11 rushing touchdowns and something that may come as a surprise a lot of people, he also sneakily caught 51 balls which is a great little bonus, especially when drafting for PPR leagues. In his seven games where he rushed for over 60 yards he averaged 96 yards in those contests at a 4.2 yards per carry clip. Much better than the 63 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry averaged over the full season. My point is that do you expect a second year runner in an offense with a second year QB and second and third year WR’s to not improve on their offensive outputs? Do you expect a back of this talent to average 63 yards per game again with a full season now under his belt? No way. Even if Brandon Weeden isn’t the second coming of Tom Brady this offense has to improve. Greg Little and Josh Gordon are talented and so young. I have Richardson as the 10th RB on my board at $37. I think that depending who you are drafting with, it won’t be out of the question to maybe see him drafted at closer to $30 perhaps. If that’s the case, I’ll take a RB at a price between $30-$35 that I think will produce something like 1200 yards rushing (which is 80 yards per game over 15 games – only 17 more yards per game than last year), 350 yards receiving with 12 total TD’s. That would give him 227 points which would be good enough for him to finish as the 6th overall RB based on 2012 stats. Near Top 5 production from someone quite possibly picked outside the Top 10? I’ll take that all day.
Chris Johnson – ‘12 Stats: Fantasy Pts – 180 (12), Rush/Rec Yds – 1243/232, Rush/Rec TDs – 6/0, Fumbles Lost – 4
I know most people hate Chris Johnson’s guts now after the last two seasons….and that could be a very good thing. Anyone that has owned him or listened to some that has owned him bitch about owning him will probably want to avoid him like an all you can eat oyster bar at a 2 star resort in Cuba. Now if we take a closer look at this we will see that in his first 5 games he averaged 2.9 yards per carry, and that was with a 25 rush/141 yards performance in week 4 sprinkled in. After that he averaged 94 yards/game at 5.1 yards per carry. Not too bad, especially that YPC number. He still showed flashes of the explosiveness he’s known for. The biggest issue isn’t with the runner, it’s with the guys blocking for him and the quarterback play. If you look at the games when CJ started improving it was when Jake Locker got hurt. Hasselbeck was a better game manager which helped the whole offense. Locker at times looked lost out there and his decision making was often very bad. Also the offensive line play was brutal. I don’t care if you’re Barry Sanders, if you have to constantly try and make defenders miss in your own backfield you are not going to be able to run effectively. I’m watching to see what moves the Titans do to improve their offensive line. If they make that a priority and Locker shows signs of improvement I’ll take CJ on draft day for around $20 as a RB2. Right now I have him ranked 15th at $24. Remember though, as goes the Titans offseason, so goes Chris Johnson’s value.
Darren Sproles – ‘12 Stats: Fantasy Pts – 141 (22), Rush/Rec Yds – 244/667, Rush/Rec TDs – 1/7, Fumbles Lost – 0
Darren Sproles is a tougher RB to break down since he’s not your typical back in the sense that he’s more known for his contributions in the passing game than in the running game. This is a reason why I think he will be undervalued on draft day. He always seems to come off the board in conventional (non PPR) leagues around the 20th RB off the board. If you take a quick look that seems like a reasonable spot since he did finish as the #22 RB in ‘12. However, upon closer examination you will notice that in ‘12 he only played in 13 games. Extrapolate his numbers for a full 16 games and he finishes with 174 fantasy points which slots him as the 14th RB on that list at seasons end. So by playing in an extra three games he jumped 8 spots into the Top 15? Another reason to consider Sproles is due to the fact that the Saints defense is so bad. I like owning a player that is integral in the passing game on a team that loves to throw the ball and is always playing in a shootout. Thinking of that just made me have to run a tuck into my underwear waistband circa my 8th grade bus rides to school. Also you have to figure Sean Payton into the equation. We saw how bad the offense of the Saints struggled at times in ‘12. Don’t you think that Sean Payton coming back to game plan and strategize with his offense won’t help Sproles’ offensive production? That’s what Payton does best. It was only 2011 where Sproles had 1300 total yards and 9 total TDs. That’s 184 points right there, 43 more points that 2012. Don’t forget that come draft day because I wouldn’t be surprised many other owners you draft with will have. Drafting a back like Sproles with RB3 price but with RB2 production is what wins you pools.
Go to http://www.thefantasyfootballauction.com/auctionvalues/ and you can see my auction values at all the other positions.
Next post I will throw out some potentially good deals at the wide receiver position.
All Auction All The Time!!
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