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Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby Timbathia » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:03 pm

I want to put this out there as a questions, as I havent seen enough Redskin's games or familiar enough with how they intend to change things this year.

In Portis's first two years in Denver, he had carries of over 20 yards 11 and 13 times. In Washington over 3 years he has had 5, 6 and 3. The length of his longest carry has also gone down from about 60 yds in his first 3 years, to 48, then to 37 last year (obviously last year was injury interrupted). It was these 20+ yard carries and the home-run hitting ability that accounted for his ypc over 5.

Is this wholly due to the size of the holes the skins o-line are creating and the down-field blocking? Will the improvement in the Redskins ground game enough to allow Portis to rip off those long runs again? Has Portis lost a step since his first 3 years (i.e. was he getting run down from behind more than he used to)?
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby bagobonez » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:21 pm

You're right, few backs can average 350+ carries a year for four straight years without missing a game here or there. But there's a difference in someone catching a bad break in one season out of a few and missing games just about every season.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby CBMGreatOne » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:30 pm

Timbathia wrote:I want to put this out there as a questions, as I havent seen enough Redskin's games or familiar enough with how they intend to change things this year.

In Portis's first two years in Denver, he had carries of over 20 yards 11 and 13 times. In Washington over 3 years he has had 5, 6 and 3. The length of his longest carry has also gone down from about 60 yds in his first 3 years, to 48, then to 37 last year (obviously last year was injury interrupted). It was these 20+ yard carries and the home-run hitting ability that accounted for his ypc over 5.

Is this wholly due to the size of the holes the skins o-line are creating and the down-field blocking? Will the improvement in the Redskins ground game enough to allow Portis to rip off those long runs again? Has Portis lost a step since his first 3 years (i.e. was he getting run down from behind more than he used to)?


Good question. I think Portis was an undeniably dynamic player when he played for Denver. When he first signed with the Redskins, I was extremely excited to have him here. That being said, after ripping off a 60+ yd TD run in his first carry as a Skin vs Tampa Bay, he was generally markedly less explosive in his first year. Of course the media came with their I told you so's, It was Denver's system, etc., but they often neglected to acknowledge the fact that 1300 yards and 7 total TDs was a HUGE upgrade over what Trung Canidate and Ladell Betts had accomplished in the previous season.

In his second season, he ran much better and he broke the Redskins single season rushing record with 1519 yards, also adding 216 through the air. This was before we hired Saunders and I believe that Saunders system is far closer to the zone blocking scheme he ran behind in Denver than what we implemented in 2004 or 2005.

Entering 2006, Portis had played 31 of Washington's 32 regular season games and both playoff games. Pretty durable if you ask me. Yes he was hurt last year, and yes that is a reason for concern, but for those of us who aren't surreptitiously writing him off as injury prone, the concern isn't as alarming as it is to others.

Last year, even playing hurt, he was better than he was in 2005. It's really a shame that he did get hurt too, Saunders's system obviously helped the running game tremendously. If Portis had played all of those games that Betts started, he'd probably be in the conversation at #3 overall.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby Humpback » Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:44 am

Free Bagel wrote:
Humpback wrote:You guys should know better than to try and argue with Matt and FB :-b . I think you know I'm a big fan of Portis, I think he's a great talent, but I think even you'd agree that there are question marks in terms of his FF value. You guys bring up many valid points, but do you really think all of them are going to pan out? Campbell is "only going to improve", their defense "only got better", another year under Saunders is going to "make a huge difference", "he uses his shoulder a lot, his injury was serious so it affected him last year, but not long-term so it won't affect him this year", etc., etc., etc. Honestly, you don't think there's any chance that Campbell stinks next year, or he gets banged up again, or they give Betts a much larger role, or the offense or defense as a whole doesn't live up to expectations? Shoulder injuries do tend to linger, especially if you use them to smash into moster defensive players 50+ times per game (counting blocking). I'm not saying I expect his shoulder to be an issue, but it's certainly a concern.


That's just it though, you don't have to "count on" any of those things because even when they were all at their worst the guy was still putting up top 10 numbers with only 60% of the touches. Campbell will probably get better, most QBs are better after their first half season as an NFL QB. But even if he's not, he won't be worse than Brunell with whom Portis put up top 10 PPG numbers, so who cares? QB play has nowhere to go but up. If Campbell played with two broken arms and in a wheelchair he'd be better than Brunell was last year just because he's not scared to stand within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, so even if everything breaks down and Campbell ends up being awful Portis is still no worse off than he was with Brunell.

If the defense doesn't improve, so what? He did fine with the defense just the way it is.

Maybe Saunders second year will be no better than his first, and he's just an overrated guy that benefited from being an assistant of Vermeil. Even if that's the case though and they don't improve any from last year, that system was still good enough to put up 1st round RB numbers.

Maybe Portis' shoulder will never be the same as it once was. But it certainly won't be any worse than it was when he was playing last year and he did just fine even playing with it.

Now, many of those things are likely to improve. But even if they don't he was still doing just fine with all of them in the forefront.

That's the thing with Portis. Every argument that people make about the guy is something he's already dealt with. Splitting time? He was a top 10 PPG RB doing the same thing last year. Poor QB play? Last year was as bad as it gets.

The injuries scare many people off, and I get this. But the guy has one major injury in his NFL career, and managed to play through the rest and put up 1st round VBD numbers basically every year of his career except 2004, where he was still pretty close to it.

Further, to those worried about "counting" on Portis, those little nagging injuries generally have not come at bad times. Last year his major injury knocked him out of the 2nd half but the rest of his career he's been very strong towards the end of the season. He missed week 16 in 2003 and other than that he averaged 24 (!!!) PPG in the fantasy playoffs (weeks 14-16). For those interested, that comes from 140yds and 1.7 TDs per game in that span.

In those TEN games he failed to go for 100 yards only ONCE. He scored a TD in 7 of those 10 games and scored multiple TDs in 5 of those 10.

So it's not like he's a guy like Mcnabb (we'll leave out the part where that's not really even a fair comparison for Portis) where you can say that he's not there when you need him. So he misses a game in week 4 and you have to start someone else (that should be even less of an issue this year given that his backup is very startable when he's out this year). He's a RB, that happens and that's part of the reason guys like Rudi are valuable. Half the 1st rounders aren't reliable to stay healthy every game every year (Brian Westbrook anyone?). Again though, it's not like he misses all the big games, in fact he may be one of the best out there during the FF playoffs.


I think we're mixing up people's arguments a bit here. I never said anything about comparing him to McNabb, it's doesn't really compare IMO. I also don't consider him "injury prone" just yet, but it is a concern. We agree on a lot of points, a decent amount of what I was writing was directed towards Matt as well. I completely understand that he could be a top 5-10 RB this year, but Matt is projecting him to be, which I just think is dangerous. Why draft him in the first round, when you could get a "safer" pick there and grab Portis in the 2nd? There isn't any upside there, if you take him towards the end of round one and he performs like it, then you got fair value. If he doesn't, then you got burned.

The point about the timing of his injuries is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? No one can control or predict that. The timing of his perfomances isn't really as great as it seems either. His first two seasons with Denver aren't really applicable because of the system, and if you look at his stats during the FF playoffs over his last 3 years with Washington, it's not that impressive- didn't play in '06, pretty good in '05, and pretty poor in '04. Those happened to be against decent to below average defenses. This year, he has Chicago, @ NYG, and @ Minny for the FF playoffs. Again, not totally applicable IMO because you can't time things, just wanted to point it out.

The one thing that's different from the past is that Betts finally got a chance to play last year and performed well. If Portis gets just a little nicked up, or isn't very effective from the get go, they now have much more confidence in Betts to get the job done then they have had in the past, so they're much more likely to use him. Also, I know Portis has been an effective goal line runner and is probably as good or better than Betts in that role, but that doesn't really matter if the coaching staff decides to give Betts some or all of those touches. I'm not saying it's likely, but it is a possibility, if for no other reason than to try and keep Portis healthy.

First round pick upside, absolutely. Downside risk to be a 2nd or 3rd round value, absolutely as well.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby mattb47 » Fri Jul 20, 2007 11:32 am

Humpback....just because I may project him that high doesn't mean it's worth taking him that high. You always have to take into account the perceived value of a player by others as well because it's terrible drafting strategy to continue to draft players higher than where you could actually get them. If I can grab Portis in round 2 as opposed to round 1 because people let him fall then I'm not going to spend a 1st rounder on him even though I wouldn't mind taking him in the late 1st. I'd like you to point out where in those predictions did I say that I would take him as a top 7 or 8 RB? I'm pretty darn sure it's not there, so let's not argue against things I don't say. Right now his value is really best in the 2nd because that's where people are valuing him and because of that I'm more than happy enough to wait and take him there....same sort of deal with people who think that SJax will be better than LT or something. Regardless of what you think there, it would be foolish to take SJax #1 because the value of LT is just higher....same sort of deal really.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby Free Bagel » Fri Jul 20, 2007 6:15 pm

Humpback wrote:I think we're mixing up people's arguments a bit here. I never said anything about comparing him to McNabb, it's doesn't really compare IMO.


Yeah, I didn't intend to direct that specifically towards you. The first few points were in response to your post and after that I kind of went on with some general points, though it probably looked differently since your post was quoted up top.

Humpback wrote:Why draft him in the first round, when you could get a "safer" pick there and grab Portis in the 2nd? There isn't any upside there, if you take him towards the end of round one and he performs like it, then you got fair value. If he doesn't, then you got burned.


I think you're misunderstanding here. I in no shape or way see Portis' upside as RB10 or RB11 or one of those spots towards the end of the 1st round. I wouldn't be drafting him there if I thought that was his upside. Let's not forget that heading into last year Portis was a consensus top 5 guy and despite playing injured was still on his way to finishing right around there before getting hurt.

The point about the timing of his injuries is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? No one can control or predict that.


If we're to agree that these are just random injuries that pop up here and there than sure, I agree with you. But the point is unlike the problems people have with many guys the issue isn't him going down for the year often, or him wearing down as the season goes on (on the contrary we've seen the opposite).

The timing of his perfomances isn't really as great as it seems either. His first two seasons with Denver aren't really applicable because of the system, and if you look at his stats during the FF playoffs over his last 3 years with Washington, it's not that impressive- didn't play in '06, pretty good in '05, and pretty poor in '04.


Wha? He went for 100+ yards in every one of those games and scored in 4 out of 6 of them.

In total in those 6 games he went for 749yds and 6TDs, or 18.5PPG in standard scoring leagues with his absolute worst game at 10.2 points. Those are phenomenal numbers. To put it into context, over the course of a season those numbers would come out to 2000 yards and 16 TDs.

Now, I'm not even here arguing that his value should go up because he's good during playoff time. I'm just saying to those worried about him missing a game here or there it's not like he's letting people down when they really need him (unlike most other players that are labeled as "injury prone") - quite the opposite in fact.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby Humpback » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:00 am

Check the numbers again- in '04, he went for 32 total yards and zero TDs in the FF super bowl, week 16. He had good FF numbers in week 14 that year, pretty good in week 15, and horrible in week 16. His ypc were 3.5, 3.1, and 3.2 in those 3 games, so it's not like he was great, and he only scored in 1 of them. Also, they were against not so good defenses- his FF playoff schedule is much tougher this season. Again, not very important anyway.

I don't see Portis as a top 5 guy anymore- he hasn't been in his 3 years in Washington, and while I think there's a very slight chance he could be top 5, I'd project his upside to around 8-10 range. I just can't see him being that much better than the last 3 years, not with Betts in the picture now. I see very little chance of him finishing ahead of LT, SJax, LJ, Gore or Parker, and you could make the case for quite a few other guys beating him in FF production as well.

Matt, the problem with that drafting strategy is if only one other owner projects him that high and takes him, then you probably can't get him in the second. You didn't specifically say that you'd take him as a top 7 or 8 RB, but you are projecting those type of numbers out of him, that's why I said that.

We're kind of on the same page, I just think that his injury "leash" is a lot shorter than in past seasons because of the emergence of Betts last year.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby Free Bagel » Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:29 pm

Humpback wrote:Check the numbers again- in '04, he went for 32 total yards and zero TDs in the FF super bowl, week 16. He had good FF numbers in week 14 that year, pretty good in week 15, and horrible in week 16. His ypc were 3.5, 3.1, and 3.2 in those 3 games, so it's not like he was great, and he only scored in 1 of them. Also, they were against not so good defenses- his FF playoff schedule is much tougher this season. Again, not very important anyway.


I did misread those stats a bit. It looks like he didn't play week 17 and NFL.com didn't list it as "did not play", they just didn't even put the game up there at all so the games I pulled out were shifted off by one (week 16 was actually week 15, etc).

Week 16 I still already had mentioned as pretty much the only poor performance he's put up during the FF playoffs. The other two games he went for 130 yards, and for 102 yards and two scores. So in those games he put up 13 and 22.2pts respectively. For "off" games I'll certainly take those.

I don't play in any leagues that award points for YPC, so I can't help you there.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby cardiac cats » Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:57 pm

there was no "emergence" of Betts. Those numbers would have been Clinton's had he been healthy and not suffered that "FREAK" accident in the 1st place, so I don't buy that. Yes Betts played well down the stretch and is a good insurance policy, but Portis has done nothing but put up great fantasy numbers throughout his career and will continue to do so.
You have what: Denver he blew it up like for like 3 years straight, 1300/7 in his first year in Wash, 1500/11 2nd year, and then he gets hurt last year(he was still on pace for great numbers and was playing injured).... seems to me like he's a consistent producer despite last year's fluke. I believe he has great potential this year.
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Re: Clinton Portis = Mr. Overated

Postby maddog60 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:58 pm

mattb47 wrote:If I can grab Portis in round 2 as opposed to round 1 because people let him fall then I'm not going to spend a 1st rounder on him even though I wouldn't mind taking him in the late 1st. I'd like you to point out where in those predictions did I say that I would take him as a top 7 or 8 RB?


Well stated, in fact I just did this in a draft. This is where you really build a powerhouse team. Think of the people who took notice or Barber's reduction in fumbles after Coughlin's first year and got him in the 2nd round expecting 1st round results (which he delivered and then some). When facing players you rank about the same, almost always take the guy with the higher perceived value, as the other may fall back to you.
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