2009 ray rice, 2010 Arian Foster 2011 Ryan Mathews
So, how do you pick 2011's break out back? Well that seems damn near impossible. So, lets take a stab in the dark, shall we? I'm not looking too much into the ADP of backs before their break out season; I'm filling in the blank based on similar talent, role, situation and expected production.
Much like Rice and Foster, Mathews is a dual threat back. Like Foster, Mathews is on a high powered offense. Like Rice (did in 2009), Mathews potentially has to deal with a TD vulture in Mike Tolbert.
Ryan Mathews was the most complete back taken in his draft class. The Chargers highly sought him, and the organization has not given up on him yet. It seems the Chargers' brass is a little wary of his durability, but SD sees Mathews as a 1500 yard back with a vastness of talent. He looks to play a high number of downs this year and has explosive ability. If he stays healthy, Mathews could have a monster year.
It is tough to predict anyone to break out like Arian Foster did in 2010, but Ryan Mathews is my best guess. This isn't a Matthew Berry, cold-hard lock. I'm not saying anyone should take this prediction to the bank. I'm just trying to get some discussion going because I'm curious to see what the rest of the Cafe thinks.
Other backs I considered were Shonn Greene and Jahvid Best. Greene was ruled out due to the fact he is likely going to be used one-dimensionally. Best was ruled out not because of his talent but due to his situation. Mikel Leshoure is a work-horse back and might trim into Best's carries.
Mathews makes a lot of sense but I just worry about his injury. But with the departure of Sproles, Mathews value is even higher. I think you could be on to something here...
I agree about Greene. I don't think he will have any monster games unless he scores multiple times. Seems like he's the type of back that never has a long run but gets his 4 yards a carry.
Jahvid certainly has the talent to do so but the Lions will definitely be a passing team, which yeah, that could play into his favor. Not to say he won't do serious damage even with his limited number of touches. The kid is ELECTRIC.
Well let's figure it out logistically. Take out the entire NFC, since both Foster and Rice came from the AFC ( I know, a big move, but thats logistics for you) Italicized any player that has a chance to break-out in a big way. Start with the divisions.
AFC East. Bills--Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller Dolphins--Daniel Thomas, Reggie Bush Patriots--Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead Jets--Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight
AFC North Ravens--Ray Rice Bengals--Cedric Benson (?), Bernard Scott Browns--Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson Steelers--Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer
AFC West Broncos--Moreno, Correl Buckhalter Chiefs--Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones Raiders--Darren McFadden, Michael Bush Chargers--Ryan Mathews
AFC South Texans--Arian Foster, Steve Slaton, Ben Tate Colts--Joseph Addai (?), Donald Brown Jaguars--Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashard Jennings Titans--Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer
Add-In: Looking over the NFC only teams that could have a Foster-esque player are Cowboys, Cardinals, Lions, Packers, and the Saints. Out of those, I would pay attention to Felix Jones, Beanie Wells, James Starks, and Pierre Thomas to the list.
So now to the 17 candidates: C.J. Spiller Reggie Bush Danny Woodhead Shonn Greene Bernard Scott Montario Hardesty Brandon Jackson Correll Buckhalter Michael Bush Ryan Mathews Steve Slaton Donald Brown Rashad Jennings Felix Jones Beanie Wells James Starks Pierre Thomas
Now to narrow the list down: **If the team has a new head coach, cross that player off. Lockout just makes it too hard for them this year. Save these guys for next year or just keep your eye on them. Interim coaches won't count. (Eliminates Buckhalter, Scott, Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, Michael Bush) **If the player is behind a true stud on the depth chart cross them off (these are more handcuffs than immediate break-out candidates. but if the stud gets injured, they go back on this list) (Eliminates Steve Slaton, Rashad Jennings) **If the player is older than 25 they are eliminated. Foster broke out at 23 and Rice broke out at 23. (Eliminates Bush 26, Danny Woodhead 26, Pierre Thomas 26)
So now down to the 7 left: C.J. Spiller Shonn Greene Ryan Mathews Donald Brown Felix Jones Beanie Wells James Starks
2 final things to eliminate these guys with to find who truly could be a complete surprise this next year: Eliminate all who have over 150 touches and average under 4.0 yards per carry. (Eliminates Donald Brown (207 touches, 3.8 YPC) Starks is very borderline for elimination on this one, but if you add his playoff run and regular season together it comes out to 120 touches and around a 3.7/3.8 YPC. If they play in terrible offense with little potential eliminate them (Eliminates CJ Spiller)
So thats as close as I can really get to the answer. It's one of these: Shonn Greene, Ryan Mathews, Felix Jones, Beanie Wells, or James Starks. I would rank them as so with 1 being the best-chance of breaking out 1. Felix Jones (Reason: Garrett as HC loves Felix personally, will use him well. Great passing game to balance. Has become a better receiving back as well, last year had 48 REC and 450 YDS. On 331 career attempts has a nice 5.3 YPC. Backfield is mainly his, with Barber out. Only Choice could steal SOME carries, not many though) 2. Beanie Wells (Reason: Kolb and Fitz will draw attention. I don't think Ryan Williams will pose a problem at all honestly. Last year was injured, still looking at his rookie year only 2 years ago of 4.5 YPC, about 800 yards rushing and 7 Tds. Although injuries are gonna be a question, I am just feeling him this year, and you can get him quite cheap as well) 3. Ryan Mathews (Reason: Injuries are a question. He's a high pick already with Sproles leaving town. Tolbert will still get goal-line carries. I'm not high on the guy but statistically is ready to break out, and in the right situation) 4. Shonn Greene (Reason: New York's offense I am not a fan of. The passing game is not strong enough to justify it, and LT and McKnight may create a platoon) 5. James Starks (Reason: bad YPC, Grant coming back from an injury is well loved in GB and won't be thrown aside)
So there you have it. Felix Jones will be the next Arian Foster, or as close as anyone will get to that title. And if that doesn't happen then Beanie will do it. Hopefully.
moochman wrote:Using Bosoxandy's logisitcal breakdown, then asking a player to defy logic altogether and the blank will be filled with:
Donald Brown, Indy Colts. He need only stay healthy to produce surprising numbers, exceeding his draft value greatly. Close as a Foster or Rice for this year.
The Colts don't seem to have a lot of faith Brown, although I agree with you in theory. I think blocking could make him unlike a foster or rice, beat writer Philip Wilson said that Indy would part ways with him most likely after this upcoming season, saying "Peyton Manning still doesn't trust "Dammit Donald" as a blocker". I still like him as a late-round flyer though, especially if they don't sign another RB
J Per wrote:You had said Lions up above...Jahvid Best would meet all of these requirements except for the YPC, HOWEVER, he played most of the season with turf toe. I'd count him in there.
Maybe chalk it up to turf toe, but when giving double-digit carries last year here is his YPC #'s: 3.4, 2.9, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, 1.3, 3.5, 4.2, 4.6, and 1.4. Not very impressive--in only 3 games he averaged 4.0 YPC or better out of those 10 games. I think he is a much better WR than a RB honestly which is why I didn't include him. Also he is picked quite high for my liking. And how they draft Leshoure is discouraging as well.
IF these numbers were heavily influenced by the turf toe, he absolutely would've made the list. But that also means he had a turf toe problem over an entire season, at his youngest age as well which is extremely discouraging.
The more I look into Felix Jones the more I like him. Everything points to an amazing year. So I will dedicate one entire post to him to cement my case. First, the talent: ---24 years old ---Career 5.3 YPC ---only 331 carries on his career, fresh legs/not a lot of wear n tear ---great foundation year last year w/ 800 rush yards and 450 rec yards
Second, the fantasy value: ---Average ADP of 59.3 according to ESPN
And finally, the opportunity" ---Cut Marion Barber ---Tashard choice strained his calf (possibly out 2-4 weeks) ---Rookie DeMarco Murray hamstring injury (roughly out 2 weeks)