Touchy-Feely: Who’s getting the touches?

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12: Pierre Thomas  of the New Orleans Saints runs past the defense of the St. Louis Rams at the Louisiana Superdome on December 12, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Rams 31-13. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

With so much on the line during the fantasy playoffs, I thought I’d take a closer look at the productive RBBCs around the league and try to read the tea leaves in order to figure out who will dominate the touches over the last few games.

Off we go…

New Orleans Saints
Pierre Thomas returned to action and saw 16 touches (for 58 yards). This was more than anticipated because Chris Ivory suffered/re-aggravated a hamstring injury at some point in the first half, finishing with just seven touches (47 yards), all carries. Ivory ran the ball better (6.7 ypc) than Thomas (3.3), but that’s to be expected as Pierre works his way back into game speed. Reggie Bush had 14 touches for 61 yards. If Ivory can’t play or is limited next week, Thomas will become a low-end RB2/flex play against a Ravens defense that has been pretty good against the run.

Detroit Lions
I watched this game and I thought Maurice Morris was getting more work, but Jahvid Best actually out-touched Morris 14 to 12. Morris gained 57 yards and ran the ball better. Best only managed 42 yards on two more touches. The reason I’m writing about the Lions is because they play the Bucs next week so there’s a chance for a Detroit RB to post nice numbers. If the team gives Morris 15+ carries, I think he’ll have a nice day, but it appears that they want to keep Best involved.

Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan strikes again! All week he played coy about who his starter was leading fantasy owners to believe that he’d use some sort of committee. Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. Ryan Torain reclaimed the RB1 job with 172 yards on 24 carries and added two catches for 10 yards. Keiland Williams only had four carries (for 16 yards) but turned three catches into 60 yards. I wouldn’t expect that kind of production every week. Torain is clearly the Redskin RB to own for the final three weeks of the season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Examining the RBBCs: AFC

To see the NFC RBBCs, click here.

Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were fourth in the league in rushing last season, so this is one of the most interesting RBBCs in the league. The touches broke out this way: 21 for Ray Rice (19 carries, two catches), 14 for Willis McGahee (10 carries, four catches) and nine for LeRon McClain (six carries, three catches). Rice looked strong all day, but it was McGahee who scored twice, once on a 3-yard reception and once on a 1-yard plunge. It should be noted that Rice got two carries inside the 5-yard line before McGahee scored on the reception. Rice also had a 22-yard scamper that set up the McClain 1-yard TD. I don’t think that the Ravens are going to necessarily pull Rice in the red zone, so he should have an opportunity to score 7-10 TD this year. However, it’s clear that Willis McGahee is still a viable fantasy player and the Ravens’ strong running game can support two fantasy backs.

Indianapolis Colts
Looking at the stat sheet, Joseph Addai had 22 touches (17 carries, five catches) compared to Donald Brown’s 13 (11 carries, two catches), but nine of Brown’s carries came in the second half after Addai lost a fumble. Clearly, the Colts aren’t married to the idea of Addai as their RB1, but as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over and stays productive, he should still get the lion’s share of the carries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Examining the RBBCs: NFC

Week 1 can tell us a lot about how a team plans to split carries amongst its running backs. In Part 1, I will take a look at some of the top Running Back By Committees (RBBCs) in the NFC and examine how they divvied up the touches:

New York Giants
Last year it was Derrick Ward that ate into the workload of Brandon Jacobs, and this year it’s Ahmad Bradshaw (12 carries, 60 yards). Jacobs mustered only 46 yards on 16 carries, so Bradshaw was far more productive on Sunday. Jacobs caught two passes to Bradshaw’s three. Jacobs got three consecutive carries inside the Redskins’ 5-yard line and failed to pick up a first down. He is a fairly overrated goal line back. It appears that Bradshaw is picking up where Ward left off.

Seattle Seahawks
Julius Jones (19 carries, 117 yards, TD) was far more effective than Edgerrin James (11 carries, 30 yards). It should be noted that James only saw four of those carries in the first three quarters, so at this point in the season, Jones is the feature back. (Though it’s possible that the coaching staff intends to get James more involved as he becomes more acclimated to Seattle’s system.)

Read the rest of this entry »

2009 fantasy football is coming soon—a look back at 2008 QBs

Remember when we were instructed to draft running backs with our first two, and in some cases, our first four, fantasy football picks? Yeah, that was so 1999. Heck, that was so 2004 or 2005 when LT and Shaun Alexander were dominating the gridiron. But a funny thing has happened. Running backs by committee are not only keeping legs fresh, they are wreaking havoc on fantasy rosters. Also, a recent trend toward pass-happy offenses is making quarterbacks and receivers more valuable. Last season, QBs were dominating — here is how the Top 10 QBs finished fantasy-wise in 2008 (your league may have scored differently than mine) and what you can expect from them in 2009:

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints—Brees fell 15 yards short of Dan Marino’s single season passing yards record, finishing with 5069 yards, along with 34 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Is he going to match that? There’s no reason to believe he won’t.

2. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers—I had LT last year and one of the reasons his stats suffered was because this guy kept throwing the damn ball. Rivers threw for 4009 yards with 34 TDs and just 11 picks. This year, will they go back to more of a run-first offense? Probably not — not with LT a year older.

3. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals—Ah, the Fountain of Youth is a beautiful thing. Warner drank from it often, and of course when you have guys named Boldin and Fitzgerald to throw to, it can make you look good and feel ten years younger. Still, who expected 4582 yards and 30 touchdowns with 14 picks and a trip to the Super Bowl? Not me. This year, Warner may not have Boldin, who just keeps whining about his contract, but don’t think the QB’s numbers will suffer all that much.

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers—Brett who? You certainly won’t hear anyone blaming the Packers’ 6-10 season on Rodgers. It was in fact their defense that failed them, because Rodgers passed for 4038 yards with 28 TDs and 13 interceptions. And just for kicks, Favre’s numbers with the Jets were 3472 yards, but 22 TDs and league leading 22 picks. Going into 2009, Rodgers’ stock has to be even higher.

5. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos—On what planet does 4526 yards and 25 touchdown passes get you run out of town? In Denver, where new coach Josh McDaniel screwed up and tried to trade for Matt Cassel. Oops. Cutler is now in Chicago, so that means his fantasy stock automatically drops a few notches.

6. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts—The Colts got off to a horrible start and in fact didn’t win the division for the first time in years. But Manning finished strong, with 4002 yards, 27 TDs and just 12 picks. Marvin Harrison is no longer catching his passes, but that doesn’t mean Manning doesn’t have weapons.

7. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles—It was a roller coaster season in 2008, but the Eagles came within about a quarter of reaching the Super Bowl. Somehow McNabb held it together (what, they have ties in the NFL?) and wound up having a great season, passing for 3916 yards with 23 TD passes and 11 picks. He only had 147 rushing yards and 2 rushing scores, but that’s what Philly has Brian Westbrook for. McNabb is getting long in the tooth, but he’s smarter and as accurate as ever.

8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys—Okay, so there may be trouble in paradise and there is no T.O. anymore, but Romo is still a very good fantasy QB. His 3448 yards and 26 TDs were a bit off his 2007 pace (4211, 36 TDs), but part of that is because he missed a few games with a thumb injury.

9. Matt Cassel, New England Patriots—With zero pro experience and almost zero college experience, who would have thought Matt Cassel could come in for Tom Brady and have the season he did? Okay, so he is no Brady, but Brady is in a class of his own anyway. Cassel’s 3490 yards with 21 TD passes and just 10 interceptions were good enough to land him the starting job in Kansas City. How that will affect his fantasy stats remains to be seen, but don’t expect too much of a drop-off on an improved Chiefs’ team.

10. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins—You know Chad is still gloating after being pushed out of New York by Brett Favre, and then leading his Dolphins to the division title. Pennington is always risky as a fantasy QB because of injuries and inconsistency, but 3653 yards and 19 TDs is not shabby, nor was his microscopic total of 7 picks. If he stays healthy, Chad should have another good season.

The other name you’ll have to consider in 2009 is Brady. He missed the final 15 ¾ of the season after getting knocked out of the opener against Kansas City, but early reports are that Brady is looking and feeling great and will be at full strength in 2009. Randy Moss is salivating, and so will fantasy owners, though they will do so skeptically.

Are you ready for some football? I know I am and feel great just talking about it!

(Next week: Wide Receivers)

Related Posts