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The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

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The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby bostonsoxandy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:44 am

I've been using this theory all the time during all my drafts every year for the past few years because it has proven to be effective. The idea is based off of the common fact that The Top-10 Running Backs have the biggest upturn from year-to-year.

In the data below, i did every 2 years, you only see two or three running backs stay in the top-12 each year, and usually only 1 per year proves they deserve that spot. But when looking further into the overturn, you will see that of the top-12 RB's projected that year, SEVEN of those are busts....heres some stats to break this down...

So how should you use this data? I think the best way to use it is during drafts in the first couple of rounds. Instead of coming in thinking I NEED to take a running back first round, you keep your options open. Like for this year, if the Top-4 RB's are off it may be worth to reach for Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers instead...or Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, or a different stud WR like Wayne who you KNOW will be there...

Concluding, the odds are against you when you take an RB projected in the top-12. Chances are the running back will be a disappointment for your team. Just thought these were some cool trending stats that show the shift of power from RB to WR and QB, especially in PPR leagues now with the RBBC especially.


Previous Years:
2005 Consensus Top 12:
LaDanian Tomlinson-3rd
Shaun Alexander-1st
Priest Holmes-huge bust (450 yds, 7 tot td) 32nd
Willis McGahee 13th
Dominack Davis-huge bust (950 yds, 2 tot tds) 17th
Edgerrin James-5th
Clinton Portis-6th
Julius Jones-borderline bust (950 yds, 5 tds) 21st
Jamaal Lewis-borderline bust (900 yds, 3 tds) 25th
Deuce McAllister-huge bust (350 yds, 3 tds) 54th
Correy Dillon-16th
Ahman Green-huge bust (255 yds, 0 tds) 70th
Overall: 4 huge busts, 2 borderline busts=6 busts/12 rb's

2006 Consensus Top 12:
LaDanian Tomlinson-1st
Larry Johnson-2nd
Shaun Alexander-huge bust (890 yds, 7 td) 28th
Clinton Portis-huge bust (520 yds, 7 td) 36
Tiki Barber- 7
Steven Jackson-3rd
Rudi Johnson-9th
Cadillac Williams-huge bust (230 yds, 4 td) 39th
Edgerrin James-borderline bust (1150 yds, 6 td) 20th
Lamont Jordan-huge bust (400 yds, 2 td) 55th
Ronnie Brown-borderline bust (1000 yds, 5 td) 25th
Brian Westbrook-[6th/i]
Overall: 4 huge busts, 2 borderline busts = 6 busts/12 running back's

2007 Consensus Top 12:
LaDanian Tomlinson-[i]1st

Larry Johnson-huge bust (500 rush yds, 5 tds)40th
Steven Jackson-borderline bust (1000 rush yds, only 5 tds) (drafted too early)14th
Frank Gore-9th
Willie Parker-borderline bust (1300 rush yds, only 2 tds!) (drafted too early)16th
Brian Westbrook-2nd
Joseph Addai-5th
Rudi Johnson-huge bust (497 yds, 3 tds)47th
Shaun Alexander-huge bust (700 yds, 4tds)35th
Reggie Bush -huge bust (580 yds, 4 tds)24th
Travis Henry-huge bust (691 yds, 4 tds)[39th/i]
Willis McGahee-[i]8th

Overall: 5 HUGE BUSTS, 2 BORDERLINE BUSTS =7 BUST/12 RB'S
***funny thing I saw while looking up rankings: a tidbit on Adrian Peterson @ RB30 position: "The upside is obvious, but he won't be rushed into a prime role and Peterson won't explode often enough to be a quality fantasy starter in his rookie year." yeah....about that...***

2008 Consensus Top 12:
LaDanian Tomlinson-[7th/i]
Adrian Peterson-[i]3rd

Brian Westbrook-9th
Joseph Addai-huge bust (550 yds, 5 td)39th
Steven Jackson-12th
Frank Gore-borderline bust (1000 yds, 6 td)14th
Clinton Portis-10th
Marshawn Lynch-borderline bust (1000 yds, 8 td)15th
Marion Barber-borderline bust (885 yds, 7 td)16th
Larry Johnson-huge bust (870 yds, 5 td)29th
Ryan Grant-borderline bust (1200 yds, 4 td)[22nd/i]
Willie Parker-huge bust (790 yds, 5 td)[i]40th

Overall: 3 huge busts, 4 borderline busts

2009 Consensus Top 12:
Michael Turner-huge bust22nd
Adrian Peterson-2nd
Matt Forte-huge bust18th
DeAngelo Williams-borderline bust (drafted too early, but performed ok)14th
LaDanian Tomlinson-huge bust19th
Maurice Jones-Drew-3rd
Steven Jackson-10th
Chris Johnson-1st
Steve Slaton-huge bust32nd
Brandon Jacobs-huge bust29th
Brian Westbrook-huge bust61st
Overall:6 HUGE BUSTS, 1 BORDERLINE BUSTS=7 Total/12 RB's


This Year Consensus Top 12:
1. Chris Johnson-#4 RB Currently
2. Adrian Peterson-#1 RB Currently
3. Maurice Jones-Drew-#26 RB Currently
4. Ray Rice-#24 RB Currently
5. Frank Gore-#6 RB Currently
6. Steven Jackson-#17 RB Currently
7. Michael Turner-#19 RB Currently
8. Rashard Mendenhall-#8 RB Currently
9. DeAngelo Williams-#28 RB Currently
10. Cedric Benson-#12 RB Currently
11. Ryan Grant-out for year, this year's first HUGE BUST
12. Shonn Greene#56 RB Currently (7 points)
Total Busts so far: 1 Huge Bust
Possible/Likely Busts: Huge Busts: Shonn Greene, Steven Jackson, Rice, MJD, Turner, DeAngelo (6 Total)

seems like a recurring trend for sure...7 a year basically that dont live up to the hype.
Last edited by bostonsoxandy on Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby u_fig_eater » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:05 pm

Not this again...

Bye week hell is upon us. You need three RBs in the top 30, IMO, to be competitive. If you didn't grab a RB early and you have depth at that position, I applaud you for your genius. Otherwise, you'll be starting a bum for two weeks.

I still think that the proverbial pendulum swung this year in drafting trends. Everyone got obsessed with waiting on a RB. So, everyone stashed all the sleepers. If you guessed wrong, and didn't draft a stud RB, you're screwed, more this year compared to others past.

The way to win is still to draft a RB, and be right about it. Just because some people guessed wrong doesn't make the strategy wrong. It just means they were stupid to draft Ryan Mathews (11.9 Yahoo ADP) in the first round. I will concede that the line starts to get blurry at the later positions in the draft...but as a "strategy" I still don't agree with it.
Last edited by u_fig_eater on Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:22 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby Oatsdad » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:06 pm

Other than players out for injury - which is more "bad luck" than "bust" - I think it's kinda nuts to decide who's a "bust" after three games. By that logic, Mark Teixiera is always a bust in baseball - he's dreadful in April.

Three games down, 13 to go. Is there a "chill" emoticon around here?
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby woodson_28 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:33 pm

bostonsoxandy wrote:Overall: 4 huge busts, 2 borderline busts=7 busts/12 rb's


First off, 4 + 2 = 6

Second, a borderline bust does not = a bust. It's either a bust or not a bust. You can't say it's half way there, and then count it.
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby bostonsoxandy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:21 pm

u_fig_eater wrote:Not this again...

Bye week hell is upon us. You need three RBs in the top 30, IMO, to be competitive. If you didn't grab a RB early and you have depth at that position, I applaud you for your genius. Otherwise, you'll be starting a bum for two weeks.

I still think that the proverbial pendulum swung this year in drafting trends. Everyone got obsessed with waiting on a RB. So, everyone stashed all the sleepers. If you guessed wrong, and didn't draft a stud RB, you're screwed, more this year compared to others past.

The way to win is still to draft a RB, and be right about it. Just because some people guessed wrong doesn't make the strategy wrong. It just means they were stupid to draft Ryan Mathews (11.9 Yahoo ADP) in the first round. I will concede that the line starts to get blurry at the later positions in the draft...but as a "strategy" I still don't agree with it.


You can't use Ryan Matthews as your evidence for a mistake in the first round when he isn't a top-12 back...the top-12 backs EVERYONE thought were studs, no one was arguing about any of their possible productivity. But now only 3 weeks in only 2 of the 12 are in the Top 5 RB's and only 5 of the 12 are in the top 12...RB's are too random to JUST "draft a RB and be right about it"".....chances are-you WONT be right about it....this is why I'm posting this thread I guess a second time, we need to realize that conventional wisdom of taking RB first round and back-back in the second round as well is no longer a good strategy. And its not a new concept...thats why I pulled examples from way back in 2005...
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby bostonsoxandy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:24 pm

Oatsdad wrote:Other than players out for injury - which is more "bad luck" than "bust" - I think it's kinda nuts to decide who's a "bust" after three games. By that logic, Mark Teixiera is always a bust in baseball - he's dreadful in April.

Three games down, 13 to go. Is there a "chill" emoticon around here?


Well do you see anyway Shonn Greene becomes affective at all barring a Tomlinson injury...if Tomlinson healthy-which he currently is-Greene doesn't play enough to even be worth a roster spot right now atleast...maybe it is early for this year-but look at the history-every single year 6 or 7 of the top 12 ranked RB's are busts. So it just MAY be worth looking ahead in this year, taking your best guess with a few weeks of games of stats, to take a stab at who this years 6 or 7 will be....and trade those goes away NOW while they still have some value....hope that makes sense
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby bostonsoxandy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:25 pm

woodson_28 wrote:
bostonsoxandy wrote:Overall: 4 huge busts, 2 borderline busts=7 busts/12 rb's


First off, 4 + 2 = 6

Second, a borderline bust does not = a bust. It's either a bust or not a bust. You can't say it's half way there, and then count it.


OK, then you can call all of my borderline busts, busts then....no biggie

P.S. I cant add lol...thanks!

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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby DraftDodger » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:07 pm

To really test your "skip the running backs" theory you'd have to go through the stats on at least the wide receivers and see how much better they fare. However, I think you're missing other considerations too. For example, the 2005 example of Priest Holmes overlooks the 1750 yards and 20 TDs that Larry Johnson put up in place of him. Considering that Holmes missed 8 games the previous season, it's possible that a lot of players who drafted Holmes handcuffed Johnson and still got that mega-production. That doesn't make the Holmes pick any less of a waste in hindsight, but we all know hindsight is 20/20.

I think too that it matters how big your league size is, how many RBs you have to start, etc. If you have to start 2, how long do you seriously think you can wait to get them, against other good players? Do you want your chance at having decent RBs to come down to whether or not you get the great waiver pickups? In many leagues, you might not have much of a chance to fill spots that way. I'd also worry that if the top RB picks are that unreliable, how about the lower tiers?

It still comes down to teams starting 1 RB and not all of them being very good, vs. teams starting 2-3 WRs, with many non-studs capable of putting up good numbers. I don't doubt that someone could wait until round 4 of the draft to take their first RB and still be competitive, but that's not going to be the case for most players most of the time. It all depends on how well you know the talent and the team RB situations.

A lot of people have gotten away from the Stud RB theory, but that doesn't mean that RBs should be ignored in the early rounds, just that sometimes there is an arguably better choice than the current top RBs on the board. Great drafting is a draft by draft process that can't be diluted into Rd1 RB, RD2 WR-type formula.
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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby bostonsoxandy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:51 pm

DraftDodger wrote:To really test your "skip the running backs" theory you'd have to go through the stats on at least the wide receivers and see how much better they fare. However, I think you're missing other considerations too. For example, the 2005 example of Priest Holmes overlooks the 1750 yards and 20 TDs that Larry Johnson put up in place of him. Considering that Holmes missed 8 games the previous season, it's possible that a lot of players who drafted Holmes handcuffed Johnson and still got that mega-production. That doesn't make the Holmes pick any less of a waste in hindsight, but we all know hindsight is 20/20.

I think too that it matters how big your league size is, how many RBs you have to start, etc. If you have to start 2, how long do you seriously think you can wait to get them, against other good players? Do you want your chance at having decent RBs to come down to whether or not you get the great waiver pickups? In many leagues, you might not have much of a chance to fill spots that way. I'd also worry that if the top RB picks are that unreliable, how about the lower tiers?

It still comes down to teams starting 1 RB and not all of them being very good, vs. teams starting 2-3 WRs, with many non-studs capable of putting up good numbers. I don't doubt that someone could wait until round 4 of the draft to take their first RB and still be competitive, but that's not going to be the case for most players most of the time. It all depends on how well you know the talent and the team RB situations.

A lot of people have gotten away from the Stud RB theory, but that doesn't mean that RBs should be ignored in the early rounds, just that sometimes there is an arguably better choice than the current top RBs on the board. Great drafting is a draft by draft process that can't be diluted into Rd1 RB, RD2 WR-type formula.



Well using to answer your question about lower tier RB picks and their prodcution, great post btw, is answered in Pro Football Forecast (published in June remember)...they give 10 RB's who are available in rounds 6-12 and have the potential to be fantasy difference makers, so heres this years list with their current rank next to them:
Thomas Jones-22nd RB
Arian Foster-2nd RB
Steve Slaton-66nd RB
Darren Sproles-50th RB
Donald Brown-36th RB + injury
Ricky Williams-50th RB
Ahmad Bradshaw-13th RB
Cadillac Williams-30th RB
LaDanian Tomlinson-18th RB
Laurence Maroney-62nd RB
Chester Taylor-62nd RB
Michael Bush-injury
Montario Hardesty-out for year
Clinton Portis-22nd RB
Willis McGahee-56nd RB

Maybe not stellar numbers right now but eventually a few of these guys will break out
Right now in their list thye have pinpointed the 2nd, 13th, 18th, 22nd, back out of 14 nominated....
you would be happy/content with that type of production out of an RB you draft in the 6-12 round range-right?
so using that-to see how likely it is you hit money, you have to take out the 2 injured guys (Bush + Hardesty) to make it 12 total guys they nomianted
Four of those 12 guys are hits in Foster, Bradshaw, LT, and Portis. So your chances of grabbing one of those guys in the middle rounds? 1 in 3... Pretty good odds...especially if you use your 6,7,8,9,10,and 11 picks on RB's...If you spend those 5 mid-round spots on upside RB's you have a 1/3 chance each pick out of hitting one of those guys...so according to that, its almost a gaurntee you get one of those 4 guys...and there is a chance you could get two.

Secondly, you have to add the waiver wire RB's you can pickup throughout the season.
Waiver wire RB's so far include: (RB Rank) McFadden (5), Hillis (9) Snelling (11), Tolbert (19), and Green-Ellis "The Law Firm" (30th)....its a crapshoot on the waiver wire, but for the sake of the argument lets say for each guy you have a 1 in 6 shot at getting them since not everyone makes the same #1 WW priority pick the same....1 in 6 shot + 5 guys = good chances you land one of those 5 guys...

Now you put the whole puzzle together following this strategy

In the draft you have a 1 in 3 chance to snag the first true upside pick and a 3/11 for the second pick...considering you use 5 picks to get each its pretty much a lock that you snag one upside pick, a second is a little of a reach...so lets say in the draft you only get one. Out of Foster, Bradshaw, LT, and Portis their Pos. Rank at RB right now is 2, 13, 18, 22...average of those is 13.75 at RB...we will call that 14. So in the draft you snagged the #14 RB with your picks 6-11...the rest were duds

In picks 1-5 you take 3 WR, a QB, and a TE.....so you end up with Rodgers (late 1st)(ADP:7.9), Randy Moss (late 2nd)(ADP:14.3), Brandon Marshall (early 3rd)(ADP:24.2), Dallas Clark (late 4th)(ADP:39.0), and Hakeem Nicks (early 5th)(ADP:60.4)....I based all these picks on ADP strictly, the person with the closest ADP in that situation was taken...

Then somewhere in the waiver wire process, odds are, you will be able to snag one of the 5 RB's commonly available, McFadden, hillis, Snelling, Tolbert, BJGE...we will call this guy #15RB since the mean of these guys was 14.8...

Overview the realistic to achieve team using this strategy:
QB #4 QB
RB #14 RB
RB #15 RB
RB/WR #4 WR
WR #16 WR
WR #11 WR
TE #3 TE

thats a pretty good looking team in my opinion :p....I tried to make this hypothetical and realistic at the same time so I hope I didn't confuse anyone too much...but all of these choices were the probable thing that would happen if you followed this strategy exactly. I could have made the team a lot better if I wanted to tweak the numbers instead of go by ADP STRICTLY (EX: pick PManning in 2nd round as #1 QB OVRL, take Collie 6th round etc....) but that would make it unrealistic...hope this post helps some poeple

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Re: The Argument Against RB 1st Rd. UPDATE THREAD

Postby dgan » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:48 pm

Really? This again?

1. Just because the RB is a "bust" because he didn't live up to his ADP doesn't mean he can't help your fantasy team. If you draft him at #5 and he winds up at #18, that is still a fantasy starter.

2. A first round "bust" is far likely to still be productive than a 4th round "bust". It's the 4th rounders that when they bust, they fall off the fantasy map and get dropped from rosters.

3. Just because you draft a RB early doesn't mean you can't ALSO draft depth at RB and get those sleepers.

4. Your 50% "bust rate" in the 1st round increases to 90% after the 3rd round. So grabbing a bunch of "sleepers" is not a reliable way to find RBs, especially when you'll need to hit on more than just a couple because you need depth for injuries and bye weeks.

5. The #1 fantasy RB is rarely drafted outside the first round. So while you may avoid having your first round pick "bust", you're giving yourself virtually no chance of landing the MVP of the fantasy football season.

Bottom line: The longer you wait, the higher the chances of your RBs busting BADLY, rather than simply "disappointing". And the difference you'll make up by getting an extra point or two from your WRs won't make up for your season long struggle at finding a startable player at RB.

Not saying it is a bad idea to go WR or QB first round (depending on your scoring) - just saying that "bust rate" is constantly applied incorrectly when it comes to RB.
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