I don't know why I read these things, but did anyone else see the article on ESPN's fantasy page that was down on Tolbert?http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/footb ... ting110921
It's not AJ Mass, it's Ken Daube, whose work I'm not familiar with. I don't really read ESPN's fantasy stuff very much. The basic line of argument is that he's pretty down on Tolbert moving forward, and thinks that his current fantasy value masks some underlying worrying issues. Namely (1) Tolbert's yards-per-carry is very low; and (2) SD is targeting RB in the passing game at about twice the historical rate. Thus (1) we should worry that Mathews will start getting more of the carries and (2) we should expect Rivers to stop targeting his RB at such a high rate.
What do people think about this argument? Is he just trying to be contrarian, or is there merit to his claims?
I think the yards-per-carry worry is a red herring, personally. Tolbert gets the goal-line and short-yardage carries, and is splitting carries with Mathews. So he's getting carries in situations we shouldn't expect a huge ypc, and there's a low sample size of carries. For him to lose his role in the rushing game to Mathews, we'd need to see Mathews start excelling in short-yardage situations and become a better pass blocker.
There's more merit, I suppose, to SD moving away from including RB in the passing game so heavily, meaning both Tolbert and Mathews targets go down. Still, Tolbert has good hands, and it wouldn't shock me to see SD keep them both involved in the passing game.
I like Tolbert (and Mathews) moving forward this season. They're both involved in the running game in SD, and I expect that to continue. RB is also a kind of funny position this year, and it wouldn't shock me in the least to see a few RB finish in the top ten that aren't every-down kind of backs. That's a huge shift from even five or ten years ago, but that's today's NFL.
Still, I doubt Tolbert finishes as a top five or even top ten back (though top 15 isn't a bad bet). He's on my team, and I'd definitely consider taking advantage of his nice start and moving him for a better RB. The big question would be who, as Tolbert, in my opinion, is likely to be a good steady producer, even if not always a flashy one.