It seems the middle round RBs could wind up in a lot of different orders. Everytime a mock comes up with all these guys left I just kind of "pick" one. So let's figure this out.
Try and give some kind of explanation (either on the whole list or guys in particular) and keep straight one-by-one lists outta here as those threads get stale fast. Start some discussion when you order them.
And let's do this for redrafts with standard 10/6 scoring.
We've got (in no particular order):
1. C. Williams - With his signing today, he'll be in camp for the duration of practices and preseason games. Gruden loves this guy and will give him every opportunity to succeed. While others worry about Pittman taking carries, I personally think that Pittman will be an asset to CWilliams owners because he can be used in situations to help keep the rookie RB fresh all season. The Bucs will be a run-first offense, and Cadillac will easily outdo the other rookie RB.
2. JJArrington - The Cardinals will have a surprisingly good offense this season, and get to play two games each against questionable defenses such as St. Louis, Seattle and San Fran. Shipp being healthy will be an asset here (see my Pittman comments above).
3. K. Barlow - While questions abound about Barlow's pathetic yards per carry last season, you try running into a brick wall time and time again at the line of scrimmage and try to beat the 3.7 yard average. I have a gut feeling that Barlow bounces back this season and keeps Gore at bay. While an arguement could be made that the Niners haven't done much of anything on offense to make defenses stop stacking the box, I believe that Alex Smith will start and defenses will be focused on him. Expect Barlow to be Smith's safety valve, and some statistical rebound this season.
4. D. Foster - News about Stephen Davis' injury being worse than expected immediately improved Foster's stock. While Carolina may have Shelton waiting in the wings, we all know what Foster can do when healthy -- and Shelton won't be a factor as long as Foster keeps chugging. So this all boils down to whether or not DeShaun can stay healthy. While some may think that this is one very big "If", I think that this is where Shelton does help -- that Carolina can use him with confidence to help maintain Foster's health. Last year, Goings was an afterthought until Carolina was forced to play him. Shelton's presence will be factored into strategies to keep Foster fresh, but it won't cut too far into Foster's production to drop him down this list.
5. M. Bennett - There are a lot of question marks concerning Bennett heading into this season, but let's look at the facts first. While Minnesota's backfield is somewhat crowded, it is much less crowded with Onterrio Smith out of the equation. Mewelde Moore will factor in some, but I feel that this will only be a real concern if Bennett gets hurt. This, of course, is one very big "if", but Bennett has the tools to be something special and that's what I'm banking on here. I feel he'll stay healthy long enough into the season to justify this pick. I also expect that Culpepper relies on Bennett's speed out of the backfield and that the RB's value will come from short dump passes into the flats when Culpepper needs an out here and there.
6. D. Staley - Some may call me crazy here, but I think Staley will have a decent season. He will lose some TDs to Bettis. We all know that. However, what I like here is Staley's ability to rack up the yards. On top of that, Pittsburgh's offense makes me feel much more excited about Staley than any of the offenses of the players left on this list. The Steelers will continue to be a run-first team. They have the defense to keep opponents out of the endzone and will continue to grind out the clock in most games, which will allow Staley to do well this season.
7. W. Dunn - I'm not a Dunn hater, but more of a TJ Duckett worry wort. While I feel that Dunn has the potential to be a lot like Staley this year, the one glaring difference is that I feel Duckett will be much more a hinderance to Dunn's fantasy performances than Bettis will be to Staley. Not only will Dunn have Duckett to contend with, but Michael Vick again has basically no real toys to play with in the passing game. He has vowed to shoulder more of the load this year in the offense and I think this translates to Vick trying to do it on the ground again.
8. C. Benson - This rookie could do quite well if given the opportunity. However, until he reports to camp and starts to develop chemistry with the offense, he's shooting himself in the foot. Factor in that Thomas Jones will not go quietly into the night and that the Bears, while improved somewhat as a team, still isn't a fantasy powerhouse, and I think that Benson's expectations should be tempered.
9. L. Suggs - I keep considering putting Suggs down and then think better for each pick. I'll place him here on potential alone, but there are some factors that concern me with Suggs this year. I'm a fan of what Suggs could do overall, but why did Cleveland so quickly go after R. Droughns? It's not like they waited to see where other RBs fell in an offseason where solid backup RBs could be had fairly reasonably (see THenry). Instead, they jumped early on Droughns, telling me that either they have a serious concern about Suggs or that they're in love with Droughns for some reason. Either way, when you factor in how anemic Cleveland will be on both sides of the ball, I'm not in too much of a hurry to snag Suggs this season.
10. R. Brown - Many will have all the rookie RBs at the top of this list, but the phenomenon of rookie RBs kicking tail out of the gates is a fairly recent thing. I think it's ridiculous to expect all of them to be fantasy studs in their first seasons, and out of the group, I think Brown has the biggest uphill battle. Not only does Miami have a killer schedule to start the season -- at a time when Brown has to make a name for himself to hold off Ricky Williams in the backfield -- but he also will have to contend with Miami doing everything it can to drive up Williams' trade stock so they can get some decent value for him at the end of the season. I think that Brown will have a rocky start to the season and that Ricky Williams will take advantage of that when he comes back into the fold.
11. L. Johnson - I've seen him go pretty early in a lot of drafts, and not always to Priest Holmes owners. However, it's hard for me to jump on a guy early based only on hoping the guy ahead of him gets injured. Of course, he's a great handcuff for anyone with Holmes, and should be targeted well before some of these guys for those specific teams, but to the general public, I'd suggest that you go for the players who have a shot at starting right off the bat if you can. There are a ton of other RBs that should do well if the players ahead of them falter or go down to injury -- Najeh Davenport comes to mind. However, Davenport goes undrafted in many leagues, as do other solid RBs who are on the outside looking in as elite backs ahead of them continue to chug along.
12-13. T. Henry and C. Brown - It's basically a crap shoot between these two as far as I'm concerned. Henry won't shoulder the whole load until Brown goes down. Considering the injury tag many are putting on Brown after last season, that may come earlier rather than later, but even if one back somehow breaks, the offense they're on is going to struggle overall. While I think that parties in the Tennessee passing game may do fairly well this year, the Titan running game will be a mess and one I'll avoid in the fantasy world.
I'll try and take a crack at this, since this topic is so damn sexy. Go easy on me though, as this is my first real effort at being insightful in the Football Leftovers forum in like... over a year.
13. LEE SUGGS I always thought that William Green was better than Lee Suggs. I believe that Reuben Droughns is better than Lee Suggs. Cleveland has a horrible team. They haven't had a thousand yard rusher in years. It's looking like another RBBC. It's also looking like a fantasy nightmare.
12. CEDRIC BENSON Eh, I don't know. I just think that Chicago will be a fantasy mess this season. Between just having a pretty bad team + Thomas Jones still being a pretty solid RB, I just don't see much value.
11. LARRY JOHNSON Johnson really only has value if Priest goes down with an injury. Priest-owners should definitely look at making the handcuff, as Johnson proved last season that he can score TDs too.
If you're not a Priest-owner and take Larry Johnson, that's cool too... mostly just to see the Priest-owner whine, complain, and get upset with you. That alone might be worth taking him among these other guys.
10. RONNIE BROWN The Dolphins are a plain 'ol bad team. The Dolphins are really, really bad...
...plus, there's Ricky Williams. He was a GREAT RB before taking a year off. Granted, he may not be in shape now, but I'd reckon by the time he is able to play, he'll be good enough to force a RBBC.
9. CHRIS BROWN Even though I like Henry more, I think that with an even split of carries (like Fisher says is the case), he can make some fantasy contribution this season.
8. TRAVIS HENRY I wouldn't be surprised if by mid-season, Henry is the lone RB in Tennessee, either by outperforming Chris Brown, or a Chris Brown injury. But then again, I thought he'd hold off Willis McGahee last year too (I'm a fan). I think he's a great value pick, especially if Jeff Fisher stays true to his word of it being an even split between the two carries-wise.
(Have I lost all credibility now by not putting Brown/Henry on the bottom of the list?)
7. MICHAEL BENNETT Eh, I've been screwed over by Bennett the last few years. With Onterrio Smith out of town, I'm digging him a 'lil bit more... but I'm still worried about Mewelde Moore taking his job down the road.
...and that's assuming he makes it out of training camp without getting himself hurt.
But he plays for a good offensive team and is the starter right now... so this is where he gets ranked for me.
6. KEVAN BARLOW Kevan Barlow screwed a lot of people over last season. Luckily, one of my few bright spots of last season was not buying into the hype. Now that he's not a borderline first rounder though, I've changed my opinion of him quite a bit. I think he makes for a fine third-option at RB - hell, any RB who is the undisputed starter on his team is a great #3RB. I'm not expecting him to bust out into the top ten or anything, but he's worth having for a bye week or injury start.
5. DUCE STALEY His TDs might get vultured, but before getting injured, Staley was a yardage machine. He'll get his yardage, and hopefully bust out for a few more TDs too.
4. DESHAUN FOSTER Foster is a risky pick, but he's certainly got plenty of upside. Barring injury, he has the greatest chance to really outproduce his draft position. The problem with Foster is that he's being held together with staples and duct-tape - the man is more fragile than Fragile Freddy (or something else that's fragile that might actually be funny).
Assuming he does stay healthy though, he could put up borderline top-ten numbers. Carolina likes to run the ball, and when Foster can... well, he can run pretty darned well.
Depending on who's available, I'd be happy to have him as my #3RB. I'd be more comfortable with him as my #4RB... but I'd also be more comfortable with Shaun Alexander as my #4RB, so that's just nonsense talk right there.
Either way, I definitely see some great value in the later rounds on someone like Eric Shelton or Stephen Davis. Should the opportunity present itself (and with Foster being made of glass, there's a good shot), Shelton or Davis could be Carolina's starting RB.
3. WARRICK DUNN Warrick Dunn is always underrated. He always puts up top-25 numbers. He's a solid fantasy scorer... he's just not a sexy pick.
Maybe it's Michael Vick... maybe it's T.J. Duckett... but dammit, Dunn's put up the numbers with both of those guys in town before and he can do it again.
2. J.J. ARRINGTON I wasn't paying attention to college-ball last year. I've never seen Arrington play. I did see a few highlights of Arrington runnin' around during the draft, though.
Even if I've never once seen the guy in action, I'm diggin' him. Arizona is a young team, but they could have an explosive offense. His competition is nearly non-existant... a beat up Marcel Shipp and a big 'ol fatty in Troy Hambrick... what's not to like about that?
1. CADILLAC WILLIAMS I did actually get a chance to watch a 'lil bit of Cadillac in college, and I liked what I saw. I think he can be really special in the NFL. Will it be next season? With Pittman still in town and able to play, Caddy might lose a few third down carries... but otherwise, I'm really diggin' him.
Eh, I'm done writing.
'CUNA-MANIA IS RUNNING WILD! "You will be a king here, instead of a peasant at the Cafe."
This tier I would be happy to have as a third RB and exstatic to have as a #4 RB:
Williams - I like the TBB Running game. Last year Pittman put up decent numbers and Williams is going to be special. He is in camp and TB is a run first offense.
Foster - Foster is in one of the dominate running offenses in the league and seems to be the clear cut starter. Foster is an injury concenr but you can get Shelton cheap (rd 12?)as a back up if you think you need it.
Dunn - Consistent. He had some big games last year and does not look to be slowing down at all. I especially like him in a pt per reception league and would actually move him up the list in those.
Bennett - I know, he of the oft burned owners. Min has a top rushing offense (though the offense is very different without Moss) like Carolina and Bennett can be special. Again Moore can be had in the last few rounds as a back up and will produce much the same as Bennett if he goes down.
This tier I think will be a good bye week filler with some upside:
Arrington - Rookie in what could be a very good offense. Only issue I have here is will they play enough close games for JJ to rack up the yards or will they be in air it out come from behind mode like much of last year.
Barlow - I was not a believer last year (thank god) but I like him better this year where he is being drafted. I do not however, like the fact that Alex Smith will be starting. Lots of teams will look at their roster and take Barlow out of the game and see if Smith can beat them especially early. I would think Barlow will actually be better towards teh end of the year than the begining which means you might be able to get him cheap in a trade after week 4/5.
Staley - Bettis is still around and all I heard last year from the guy that had Staley in my league was "Bettis is KILLING me". I think Staley would be a top 10 RB without Bettis there but he will just not score enough to justify starting him.
This tier you are hoping to catch lightening in a bottle:
Benson - Let's see, T Jones had a good year, Rex Grossman is the QB, Benson isn't in camp, and the bears D is not what it once was. Call me crazy but I don't think that adds up to much production here.
Henry/Brown - Pick 'em. I think Henry will be the better back but this team is headed in the wrong direction overall and I just don't see either back making much impact here. I actually think that would be different if Volek was the starter however. He really added a spark to the offense last year when mcnair was out.
R Brown - I don't see it. Miami sucks as a running team. They were bad with R Williams as their RB and I don't see Brown changing things. R Williams in the house just makes my hackles go up even more.
LJ - I know, a back up before a starter! But the question I ask myself is "how bad would things have to get for me to have a Brown's RB starting for me?" LJ is the top RB in the game if Preist goes down and I would rather gamble on that then on 10+ years of no 1000 yard runner in Cleveland changing.
This guy I wouldn't draft unless I got him really late or had a lot of really good RB's and really good WR's and needed to fill out my bench.
Suggs - I think Suggs is the starter and will be until he fumbles twice with the game on the line or gets hurt. Droughns was brought in because he was cheap and because Green wore out his welcome. All reports have Green behaving but I think he is done in Cleveland at this point. I just don't see things changing for Cleveland this year. Winslow being out another year really hurt this offense.