SSOG

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  1. I think it would be if it were possible. The issue is that there's no way to compare a "fresh" 30 year old LaDainian Tomlinson with a "worn down" 30 year old LaDainian Tomlinson because there's only one LaDainian Tomlinson. We have no way of really knowing how long a guy like Tomlinson, Faulk, or Portis could've played if he hadn't been worked into the ground from the age of 20-27. Without the wear and tear, maybe they could've lasted longer. I think it makes sense to consider mileage as a negative, even if there's nothing concrete in the data to support it. On the flipside, the fact that a back is talented enough and durable enough to handle a high workload bodes well for his future. In general, the reason why players get those opportunities is because they can deliver. That's a reasonable hypothesis, but even by that hypothesis, there's no reason to expect Jackson/Gore to decline more than Sproles. Jackson/Gore get negative points for "wear related to workload" and positive points for "workload indicating general awesomeness", and the negative and positive points perfectly offset. So while I will gladly accept that, in theory, workload is a possible contributor to a player's decline... I just don't see how in practice considering workload will increase your accuracy in predicting declines.
  2. John Riggins and Mike Anderson were also backs that had great older seasons after light workloads early in their career. Still, I agree with you that "mileage" is an answer in search of a question. It's intuitively appealing, especially given the fact that overuse over a short time frame is generally considered to be bad- witness guys like Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, or Ricky Williams getting run into the ground in a single season. If we agree that too much workload in one year can be bad, it makes sense that too much workload over an entire career can be bad, too. It's just not really supported by the data, though.
  3. I like this guy. You should, too!

  4. The same could easily be said about Frank Gore and Steven Jackson, who are both the same age as Sproles, who are both on teams that know how to use them and who are both guaranteed to get their touches this season (or as guaranteed as a 30-year-old back can possibly be), and who both have a dynasty ADP after Stewart's (Gore is the next back off the board, and SJax comes off 5 RBs and 17 picks after Stewart). What makes Gore and Jackson different from Sproles? Are owners underrating Sproles' age risk? Are they overrating Gore's and Jackson's? Seriously? Gore and SJax have had a lot more touches over the years, and thus way more wear and tear on their bodies, so to compare them to Sproles just cause they are the same age is rather silly. Also, we have no idea yet how Atlanta will use Jackson; it's all just speculation until we see it. I thought you were better than this. Well, again, I give 0% credence to workload and 100% credence to age when predicting declines, so I don't see what's so silly about the comparison. Either way, it seems to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you agree that Sproles will be out of the league before Stewart, but value him higher anyway because he'll be more productive in the meantime. If that's the case, I don't see how the Gore/Jackson comparison is so crazy. And the question isn't "why is Sproles going before Gore/Jackson", it's "why is Sproles going 2-4 rounds before Gore/Jackson". It seems to me that people are either underrating Sproles' decline risk, or overrating Gore/Jackson's. or possibly the average risk calculation is far, far more "workload heavy" than I thought, because I wouldn't think even a 50/50 age/workload split would have gotten those two backs so far behind Sproles. It just seems to me like Sproles is being treated differently than everyone else because his value comes from receptions instead of rushes. I don't know if the data justifies that. 20 players have topped 60 receptions at age 26. 21 have done it at age 27. 19 have done it at 28. 10 have done it at 29. 9 did it at 30, 4 at 31, 3 at 32, 2 at 33, and just one at 34. Change the threshold to 75 receptions and the drop is even more precipitous, as Larry Centers and Darren Sproles are the only players in history to top that mark twice after age 28, and only four times has a back made it there at age 30 or later. Receiving backs age, too. Sproles is an oddity, but he's not unique in history, and 30 years old is 30 years old no matter who you are.
  5. The issue is that I think TE4-6 (where he's being drafted now) is his ceiling. So I don't think you're buying low if you get him now. Most of the guys who went on to become elite TEs had demonstrated more ability by this point in their careers. Gronk, Graham, Gates, Hernandez, and Witten all hit 900+ yards within their first two seasons. Winslow, Heap, and Shockey all hit 800+ yards within their first two seasons. Rudolph is well off the pace with a career best of 493 yards. When you look at the lack of dynamic plays in the NFL, the poor receiving numbers in college, and the sluggish 40 time, it starts to paint a bleak picture. I think Rudolph will have some top 10 seasons, but if he were going to become a real difference maker I think he would've shown more by now.I agree with all of this, but the question remains... if not Rudolph, then who? Witten in PPR leagues, but he has only been a difference maker in one of the last four years in non-PPR, and he's on the wrong side of 30. Vernon is a couple years younger, but has made even less of a fantasy impact. Gresham is a strong contender, as he's also young and pedigreed, but it's not like he lit the world on fire in his first two years, either. Finley has upside, but I think his downsides hardly need to be enumerated. Olsen and Pitta? They're a pair of non-difference makers like Rudolph, only 4 years older and with less upside. At this point, we can expect that they are what they are. In the end, you gotta rank somebody 4-6, and no matter who falls there, you can make a strong case they're overrated. The second tier is just really weak right now, but you can't just not rank someone there. Now, if someone's valuing Rudolph as a tier to himself (and I've definitely seen people doing that), I think that's overrated... but as the (very marginally) best guy in a (very deep and flawed) tier, I think he's right where he deserves to be.
  6. I agree that Rudolph is a thoroughly underwhelming prospect, but you have to rank someone there. He's young, has good pedigree, seems to be favored by his QB, and is a good red zone weapon. You have to at least respect the possibility of him being the real deal. Mostly, though, it's just a reflection of how terrible the current TE crop is. I might rank him higher in the intrapositional rankings, but the interpositional rankings are another story- if I didn't get Gronk/Graham/Hernandez or possibly Witten (especially in PPR), I'd just ignore the position and take whoever was left at the end of that big next tier (Gresham, Rudolph, Olsen, Davis, Pitta, Finley). Rudolph might be at the top of that tier, but it's barely any drop at all down to the bottom.
  7. The same could easily be said about Frank Gore and Steven Jackson, who are both the same age as Sproles, who are both on teams that know how to use them and who are both guaranteed to get their touches this season (or as guaranteed as a 30-year-old back can possibly be), and who both have a dynasty ADP after Stewart's (Gore is the next back off the board, and SJax comes off 5 RBs and 17 picks after Stewart). What makes Gore and Jackson different from Sproles? Are owners underrating Sproles' age risk? Are they overrating Gore's and Jackson's?
  8. Oh yeah, Stewart is absolutely a flawed asset. That situation is toxic, and who knows if it'll ever revert back to 2011 levels or remain at 2012 levels going forward? Who knows how the carries are going to be broken out? I'm not arguing for Stewart as a top 12 dynasty RB, here. According to the DLF mocks, Stewart's being drafted as RB23. Looking at the RBs around him, that seems out of whack to me. Darren Sproles is going 2 rounds before Stewart, despite being 4 years older, never having double-digit TDs, and only topping 400 rushing yards once. Yeah, he gets 80 receptions a year, but... two rounds earlier! You've got Lamar Miller going before Stewart. Miller's a 4th round pick in a complete mess of a situation. He was the 15th pick in rookie drafts last year! As I said, I'm not calling for Stewart to be in the top 12, I'm just saying that a ranking in the late teens seems far more reasonable for an ultra-talented 26 year old with a track record of success. Also, I may be attacking a straw man or tilting at windmills, here, but I think the whole "if Stewart is so talented, why hasn't he seized the job yet?" line of questioning is off track. Of all the questions surrounding Stewart (health, situation, age, talent), talent is the only one that doesn't bother me in the slightest. On talent alone, Stewart would be a slam dunk dynasty RB1. your "track record of success" is different than mine. I see talent player, who has 1 decent end of season run and exactly 1 top 12 finish in his career. (FBG scoring) and 1 season with more than 20 catches. The reasons (excuses) are endless. Lets just call a spade a spade here. He is what he is, his situation isnt going to change because we wish it to. Context is important. Compared to Jamaal Charles or Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson or Ray Rice, Stewart does not have a "track record of success". Compared to the guys being drafted around him, though? Absolutely, Stewart has a track record of success. In addition to his top 12 finish, he was RB18 in PPR leagues as recently as 2011. 4.7 career YPC. You can say the situation isn't going to change at this point, but isn't that what situations do? They change. His situation changed dramatically from 2011 to 2012. Why can't it change again? If Carolina's situation was the same as it was in 2011, Stewart would be in an enviable position. Irrelevant. Sproles has never been a guy who get a ton of touches, and his style is not conducive to taking a lot of hits, so he doesn't have the wear and tear of a normal 30-year old RB. Plus, he has shown over the years that he is the king of doing more with less. He doesn't need a lot of touches to produce. It's not irrelevant if you believe that workload is essentially useless in predicting decline, while age is the opposite. I don't care how light his workload has been to this point, I care about the fact that he's already going to be on the wrong side of 30 by the time this season kicks off. And it's not just that he's getting drafted ahead of Stewart, it's that he's going TWO ROUNDS ahead of Stewart. That's an awfully large gap to bridge.
  9. Oh yeah, Stewart is absolutely a flawed asset. That situation is toxic, and who knows if it'll ever revert back to 2011 levels or remain at 2012 levels going forward? Who knows how the carries are going to be broken out? I'm not arguing for Stewart as a top 12 dynasty RB, here. According to the DLF mocks, Stewart's being drafted as RB23. Looking at the RBs around him, that seems out of whack to me. Darren Sproles is going 2 rounds before Stewart, despite being 4 years older, never having double-digit TDs, and only topping 400 rushing yards once. Yeah, he gets 80 receptions a year, but... two rounds earlier! You've got Lamar Miller going before Stewart. Miller's a 4th round pick in a complete mess of a situation. He was the 15th pick in rookie drafts last year! As I said, I'm not calling for Stewart to be in the top 12, I'm just saying that a ranking in the late teens seems far more reasonable for an ultra-talented 26 year old with a track record of success. Also, I may be attacking a straw man or tilting at windmills, here, but I think the whole "if Stewart is so talented, why hasn't he seized the job yet?" line of questioning is off track. Of all the questions surrounding Stewart (health, situation, age, talent), talent is the only one that doesn't bother me in the slightest. On talent alone, Stewart would be a slam dunk dynasty RB1.
  10. Since 2008- Yards per carry: 5.0 DeAngelo 4.7 Stewart 4.0 Goodson 3.4 Tolbert Also, moving beyond YPC (which is a pretty flawed metric heavily influenced by usage patterns), you've got the following stats: 2008 DVOA: Williams (24.9%, 1st overall), Stewart (4.6%, 13th overall) 2009 DVOA: Stewart (12.8%, 8th overall), Williams (11.3%, 10th overall) 2010 DVOA: Stewart (-12.2%, 37th overall), Goodson (-15.3%, 52nd overall), Williams (-17.2%, not enough carries to be ranked) 2011 DVOA: Stewart (23.4%, 2nd overall), Williams (18.0%, 3rd) 2012 DVOA: Williams (-6.6%, 26th overall), Stewart (-18.5%, not enough carries to be ranked) Williams topped Stewart in Jon's rookie year, and again last year (when he was injured all season), and Stewart had the best DVOA on the Panthers the other three years. 2008 Success Rate: Stewart (49%, 11th), Williams (47%, 19th) 2009 Success Rate: Stewart (50%, 19th), Williams (45%, 30th) 2010 Success Rate: Goodson (38%, 42nd), Stewart (36%, 45th), Williams (not enough carries) 2011 Success Rate: Stewart (53%, 8th), Williams (46%, 28th) 2012 Success Rate: Williams (48%, 22nd), Stewart (not enough carries) And of course, there's always Pro Football Focus... Point being, Stewart has not been outperformed by his teammates- even if you go purely by the statistics and ignore the "eyeball test". He's performed comparably (and even slightly better) to Williams (who also benefits from not having his own rookie season thrown into the comparison...), and he's dramatically outperformed everyone else. And, again, since DeAngelo Williams is one of the best backs of the last decade, performing comparably (and even slightly better) to him reinforces that Stewart is a fantastic talent who has been very productive to this point in his career. Value is pretty relevant when discussing Stewart. If you buy him as rb22 in a startup and he gives you three top-5 seasons, that's worth a lot more than if you buy Peterson as rb1 and he does the same. That's what I was saying about reaching a point in the draft where upside begins to far outweigh downside. As for consistency... It's not the key to a great player. Great players are often consistent, but that gets the causal arrow backward- players that score a lot of point tend to have fewer games where they don't score many points, sure, but that's because they score so many points. Players who are consistent don't become great, players who are great become consistent. Add to this the fact that consistency is not consistent (knowing how consistent a player was in year N tells you very little about how consistent he'll be in year N+1), and that consistency really isn't that valuable (someone- maybe ZWK?- ran a study that found that a super-consistent WR that scored 180 points would be expected to net as many wins for his owner as a super-inconsistent WR that scored 182 points). To finish this off, consider that Jonathan Stewart has actually historically been a pretty consistent guy. Come up with any definition of consistency you want (games above 8 points, percentage of games within one std dev of his scoring average, percentage of points scored in his four best games) and compare Stewart to the two guys immediately above and below him in the year-end rankings and you'll see that Stewart is no more inconsistent than we would expect an RB with that many points to be. In short, consistency isn't worth much of anything, IMO- give me the guy who scores more points, regardless of how consistently he does so. If Stewart had laid eggs in week 15 and 16 of 2009, I wouldn't be talking about how he carried teams to titles, and I wouldn't be saying I got a pretty good return on him already. He didn't, though, and the championship trophy he put on my mantle disagrees with anyone who says he's been a disappointment so far and has underperformed what his owners had to pay to get him. Okay, again, you are focusing mostly on value, which was not part of the equation I originally had a problem with. I don't know you can still he put a championship trophy on your mantle all by himself. Did the rest of your team suck ### down the stretch and in the playoffs and all of your opponents' lineups also lay eggs? Cause otherwise it is foolish to ever suggest that one guy gave you a championship (although I get the hyperbole of saying it when players have all-time great seasons, like ADP this past year, Moss in '07, Peyton in '04, etc.). And if all it takes is one good stretch for a player to not be a disappointment, does his solid play this past season prove that Knowshon Moreno is not a disappointment? I mean, his solid numbers for excellent value (since most probably picked him up for nothing since he went undrafted or not auctioned off in most leagues) likely helped some fantasy teams win titles, so he is now not a disappointment as well? It seems that there's a problem with the language that I used, and I apologize for that. No, Jonathan Stewart did not literally carry me to a championship. I did not submit a starting lineup that consisted of Stewart and 7 empty spots. You're right that I was being hyperbolic, and that seems to have distracted from my larger points, so I would be very happy to replace "he single-handedly carried me to a title" with "he was by far the most important player on a team that won the championship". That particular team was 8th in points scored, had a losing regular season record, snuck into the last playoff spot on tiebreakers (thanks to some big Stewart games down the stretch), and walked away with the championship largely because Stewart put up a couple of monster games (magnified by my league's yardage-heavy scoring). Getting past the sticky particulars, though, what are your thoughts on my larger point? Jonathan Stewart is someone who I believe could explode and carry teams to championships (or, at the least, become the most important piece on championship-winning teams). As evidence for this assertion, I submit the fact that Jonathan Stewart has already done exactly that. And even if we want to ignore the timing (yes, it was lucky that Stewart's big games were week 15 and 16 instead of weeks 13 and 14), how many other RBs currently ranked in the late teens or later are both 26 or younger *AND* have a top 12 finish on their resume? What better proof that a player has huge upside than actually having a player demonstrate that huge upside in the NFL already? There are a lot of important questions to ask about Stewart. Was last year a fluke resulting from his injury, or a meaningful sign of decline? What will his role be in Carolina going forward? These are very important questions, and it seems to me that there is a lot of room for genuine and legitimate disagreement. Was Jonathan Stewart ever any good? Obviously I'm biased, but I just don't see how there's room for significant disagreement on this one. Stewart has performed comparably to DeAngelo Williams, who is one of the best backs of this generation. He has a top 12 fantasy finish, averages 1000 yards a year for his career despite playing in a timeshare, has off-the-charts stats (both simple and advanced), is top 5 among active RBs in career YPC, holds an NFL record (most rushing yards in a player's first 3 starts), has a "small legion" of major fans who can't stop raving about how talented he is, and got a $38 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. It seems to me that Stewart has been every bit as good as his fans thought he was, and if last year's injury wasn't a harbinger of things to come, that talent will likely pay major dividends over the next 4 years. I'd much rather buy him as a low-end RB2 than a guy like Reggie Bush, Kendall Hunter, Mark Ingram, or Lamar Miller.
  11. Talk about revisionist. If all they needed to do is meet the salary floor they could have overpaid a someone just for that year, not locked up Williams with a $21M guaranteed contract.It's only revisionist if I didn't believe it at the time. Look, even if we leave aside all talk about WHY they did what they did and just present the facts on the ground, it's pretty compelling. Up through 2010, Carolina was shedding money like their life depended on it. The front office even acknowledged that that was what they were doing- using the uncapped season to shed salary. Then, the new CBA was signed, and for whatever reason you want to believe, Carolina suffered one of the most extreme changes of direction you'll ever see. Over a one month span, in addition to the Mare and Williams contracts, Carolina also gave huge new deals to its defensive end, its entire LB corps, and its center. The guaranteed money alone from those seven deals totaled $125 MILLION, all paid out over the course of about 30 days. Seven contracts, every one of them insanely above expected market price, and the end result was locking in the core of a 2-14 franchise. Maybe they were spending up to a floor. Maybe their decision makers all suffered a collective stroke. Maybe they liked getting the #1 overall pick so much they wanted to immortalized the roster that did it. Who knows. All I know is, taken in the context of everything else Carolina was doing at the time, I think the correct reaction wasn't "wow, Carolina just gave DeAngelo huge money, they must not be believers in Stewart". I think the correct reaction was "wow, either Carolina has gone completely off the rails, or else someone has a gun to Richardson's head and they'll pull the trigger if he doesn't spend $3m a day, every day for an entire month". If we're talking about revisionist history, I think this idea that the Williams signing meant Carolina doesn't like Stewart is a revisionist idea. If Carolina didn't like Stewart, or if Carolina thought he was an overrated tease or mediocre talent, Carolina wouldn't have given Stewart a huge new contract, too. The DeAngelo contract says very little about what Carolina thinks of Stewart.
  12. I don't think that's a valid assumption. I think all it means is that former GM Hurney was an idiot with the owner's money. And with a lot of other things -- IMO one of the worst GMs in the league when he was in there. Now he's gone.The situation is more complicated than that. Leading up to the end of the CBA, Jerry Richardson issued a mandate to be incredibly cheap (I'm sure he'd call it "cautious") until he saw what the new CBA looked like. Carolina purged assets and cleared cap space like it was their full-time job, leading to the 2010 season where Carolina was so talent deprived that even John Fox, a good coach who is at his best getting talent-shy rosters to overperform, couldn't lead them to better than a 2-14 record (only to get ushered out the door himself to save the cheapskate owner even more money). While owners like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder were using the uncapped season to try to load up on talent, Richardson was engaged in a race to the bottom to see just how little money he could possibly spend on an NFL franchise. The problem, then, was that the new CBA came out, and it contained a salary floor, which Richardson and the Panthers were something like $30 million below with only half their players under contract. That, combined with a weak free agent class, led to Carolina giving ridiculous money to anyone with a pulse. Just look at Olindo Mare, who got a 4-year, $12 million dollar contract that offseason (he lasted just one season). Mare's tenure with the team was such a joke that a Panthers fan blog wrote an article about Carolina resigning him for April Fools' this year. His tenure was so forgettable that it doesn't even show up on his Wikipedia page, which lists his team in 2010, and his team in 2012, but not his team in 2011. Today, when he should be two years into the contract, he's instead out of football entirely. And Mare wasn't the only bad contract that year. Faced with a terrible situation, Carolina spent huge money overpaying its own free agents, including Williams, leading to many of the national punditry joking up that they were busy "locking up their core" (off a 2-14 team). But it was really the least bad of all the bad options- they had to spend the money, and these guys were better than most of the free agents on the street. If you have to overpay someone, why not overpay the guys you got and earn some points for "loyalty"?Anyway, DeAngelo's contract isn't really a product of the FO's view of Stewart, it's a product of a unique and unprecedented situation. In a vacuum, the DeAngelo contract was a bad contract. In context, it was the least bad of a range of bad options.
  13. I was about to post the same thing. That seems really high at a time when there seems to be a glut of TE talent.Is there? You've got Gronk, Graham, and Hernandez, but then who? Rudolph is young and gets TDs, but where are the yards? Witten is great, but pretty old for a TE. Ditto that for Daniels. Gates and Vernon are both MIA. Gonzo has made it clear he's a one year rental. Finley's stock has dropped like a rock. You're left with players like Olsen and Pitta being above-average dynasty TE1s- two TEs who are 28 and possess severely limited upsides. I'd say the TE pool right now is extremely shallow, and I'd be very high on some of the rookies compared to the veteran alternatives. Crappy draft.
  14. His volume stats are alright, but his efficiency stats are not. He's never topped 7 YPA, his TD:int ratio is uninspiring, his QB rating ranks 27th among active QBs, and his adjusted net yards per attempt ranks 28th. I don't think you can blame it on his weapons, either- Laurent Robinson left St. Louis for Dallas and then blew up. Danario Alexander left St. Louis for San Diego and then blew up. Watch Amendola do the same in New England. Jared Cook is a promising TE, but so was Kendricks when St. Louis spent a premium pick on him. Stephen Jackson was one of the top receiving backs in the league. Bradford always has had plenty of weapons, he just hasn't done anything with them. This makes me less optimistic about his chances of making good use of any new weapons going forward. I'm not a buyer on Bradford.
  15. Rule of thumb #102: all rules of thumb are sometimes wrong, even this one.