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Benny Cunningham, Rams RB (1 Viewer)

ShaHBucks

Footballguy
Small sample size, but he was a dominate performer in his last seasons before he was injured. It's impossible to get a accurate combine numbers because he was coming off of injury. He did post a o-lineman like 26 reps at his pro day. I assume he has good agility and is close to a 4.5 runner when healthy. His closest comps to me would be Vereen, Moreno, and Bobby Rainy, small built backs with the strength of a power runner and WR hands. He has the most upside in the Rams backfield. He could be one of the biggest gambles this week if named the starter.

Anyone else making this play or not?

 
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Ministry of Pain

Footballguy
This is a hot mess, other threads with a lot of discussion but I would wait and see how this plays out. You could end up with Cunningham getting the start, fumble early, in comes DRich for 10 or 12 carries, the prize here is not worth the headache at the moment.

 

kd1

Footballguy
Small sample size, but he was a dominate performer in his last seasons before he was injured. It's impossible to get a accurate combine numbers because he was coming off of injury. He did post a o-lineman like 26 reps at his pro day. I assume he has good agility and is close to a 4.5 runner when healthy. His closest comps to me would be Vereen, Moreno, and Bobby Rainy, small built backs with the strength of a power runner and WR hands. He has the most upside in the Rams backfield. He could be one of the biggest gambles this week if named the starter.

Anyone else making this play or not?
i'm not one to correct grammar to be a jerk, but to be helpful. the word you are looking for is "dominant". it amazes me how many people make this mistake. i've been seeing it a ton lately, and i'm not sure how it suddenly started.

as for cunningham, only if he's named starter this week.

 

socrates

Footballguy
Cunningham intrigues me. He compares to Vereen only in that he has surprising strength and physicality for a back his size. Cunningham is less "shifty" than Vereen, and I don't think he compares to Vereen as a receiver. I will be watching this situation closely, although I am not yet ready to add him to my roster, and I am certainly not putting him in my lineup yet.

 

Hoss Style

Footballguy
This is a hot mess, other threads with a lot of discussion but I would wait and see how this plays out. You could end up with Cunningham getting the start, fumble early, in comes DRich for 10 or 12 carries, the prize here is not worth the headache at the moment.
It is a hot mess, I agree. I nabbed him this week. Anytime there's a "mess" it means that either someone has a shot to shine OR everyone stinks and no one will shine.

My RBs are less than stellar so far and solid RBs are hard to find. I just traded for Vereen and picked up Cunningham. Cross my fingers, knock on wood and all that jazz. I'm looking for a late season player. If you are in the same situation I think Cunningham should be on your radar.

 

jsharlan

Footballguy
Both are extremely impressive game tapes... he seems to be a pretty solid receiver. And that first TD run in the second tape was amazing, dude just plowed that linebacker over and ran into the endzone.
I disagree. He has a nice burst, but outside of one TD run in each of the games where he does actually break tackles, he is going down on first contact. He doesn't show many moves in the second level. Its college, anyone can run through an open hole. Also he looks lost in pass protection, and completely misses his block twice.

 

ShaHBucks

Footballguy
is this guy worth a dynasty roster spot or droppable ?
I don't think you'll have much competition for his services if you drop him depending on roster size. You just run the risk of him being a hot name if something happens to Stacy, because Pead and DRich are not the answer. I drafted him as a HC to Stacy with a little hope he takes the job completely. Nothing has changed to me. If anything it's as close to a best case as you could have hoped for a UDRFA as of now.

 
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RushHour

Footballguy
He might be worth a pickup for Stacy owners but I wouldn't expect too much against better run defenses, like the one he would be facing this week.

 

Sabertooth

Footballguy
This is a hot mess, other threads with a lot of discussion but I would wait and see how this plays out. You could end up with Cunningham getting the start, fumble early, in comes DRich for 10 or 12 carries, the prize here is not worth the headache at the moment.
For Ben Tate owners it might be.

 

Isotopes

Footballguy
Any word on Stacy? Is this a first concussion, or has he had others? Just looking to gauge the value of Cunningham vs. a guy like Dennis Johnson for weeks 14 - 16

 

Slider

Footballguy
Cunningham looked better than Stacy in the preseason to me. Figures the higher pick would win out but Cunningham definitely can play. I'd roster him in a heartbeat.

 

Ministry of Pain

Footballguy
This is a hot mess, other threads with a lot of discussion but I would wait and see how this plays out. You could end up with Cunningham getting the start, fumble early, in comes DRich for 10 or 12 carries, the prize here is not worth the headache at the moment.
For Ben Tate owners it might be.
Agreed and what was crummy 6-7 weeks ago seems more defined now. I will be looking to pick him up as more of a defense move against owners with Stacy, have no plans to really start him vs the Niners.

 

Faust

MVP
Rotoworld:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that "if Benny Cunningham isn't challenging Zac Stacy for the starting job, he's certainly pushing him for playing time."

Beat man Jim Thomas says Cunningham has been the best Rams running back this preseason, echoing similar statements from ESPN's Nick Wagoner. This comes on the heels of Stacy playing off the bench behind Cunningham in the third preseason game. While we fully expect Stacy to hold the starting job and be the main back, he can't afford to lose too much volume. He averaged just 3.89 yards per carry and 5.42 yards per reception last year. Cunningham is worth a late-round flier until the uncertainty here shakes out.

Related: Zac Stacy

Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch

Aug 28 - 11:36 AM
 

munygon2

Footballguy
I see that BC is the primary kick returner and number 2 RB. Does anyone think he will take over Stacy's job or was the preseason just an extended look to make sure he was the right person for the backup role?

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
I think Stacy would have to really flop--like, Daryl Richardson flop--for Cunningham to take over the lead runner spot. I say this not as any sort of Rams expert, but as a dude who saw Stacy be a pretty effective grinder last year, despite the low YPC.

If Cunningham is really excellent, perhaps he gets himself 10 carries and a few catches a week like Ellington last year. A reasonable guy to have as your last man on the bench, but not one you should feel bad about cutting if any of the guys like Latimer/John Brown/Kelce strike your fancy or blow up this weekend.

 

pollardsvision

Footballguy
2nd on the depth chart.

5-7 carries week one or are we looking at more?
I wouldn't expect much. I think the play with Cunningham is really just hoping he takes the lead back role outright. Fisher is one of the few coaches left that I'd be surprised to see a real RBBC develop.

 

TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
According to PFF, once Stacy took over the job, he played on 77% of the Rams offensive snaps. I don't think that was because he was so talented, but simply out of necessity as the staff had lost complete confidence and faith in Richardson/Pead and was not quite yet sold on Cunningham since he was a UDFA.

But in his last 7 games, he averaged but 3.4 YPC and in one of those games, he was facing a historically bad run defense in Chicago. Take away that game and that average dips to 3.1. Despite 26 receptions, his 5.4 YPR seems to indicate that he was a break glass in case of emergency option.

Stacy was simply the lesser of the evils in the Rams backfield last year. To his credit he took the opportunity presented to him and did well with it. But I don't think he established himself as the type of talent who the Rams can not do without. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cunningham get 400 snaps and carve out a definitive role as a 1B option to Stacy's 1A. But I think best case for him 2014 is that he rises to 1A to Stacy's 1B.

 

steveski

Footballguy
TheDirtyWord said:
According to PFF, once Stacy took over the job, he played on 77% of the Rams offensive snaps. I don't think that was because he was so talented, but simply out of necessity as the staff had lost complete confidence and faith in Richardson/Pead and was not quite yet sold on Cunningham since he was a UDFA.

But in his last 7 games, he averaged but 3.4 YPC and in one of those games, he was facing a historically bad run defense in Chicago. Take away that game and that average dips to 3.1. Despite 26 receptions, his 5.4 YPR seems to indicate that he was a break glass in case of emergency option.

Stacy was simply the lesser of the evils in the Rams backfield last year. To his credit he took the opportunity presented to him and did well with it. But I don't think he established himself as the type of talent who the Rams can not do without. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cunningham get 400 snaps and carve out a definitive role as a 1B option to Stacy's 1A. But I think best case for him 2014 is that he rises to 1A to Stacy's 1B.
I agree. I don't think either one has earned a long leash. The guy who looks better will slowly become the lead back sooner rather than later. There are some major red flags with Stacy:

1) Low YPC: Yes the team had no passing offense and was going against some tough defenses, but it's still a red flag.

2) Drafting of Mason: Looks like there are too many flaws in his game for him to be too much of a threat this year, especially early on. But the fact that they spent an early round pick on a highly touted RB is a red flag.

3) Cunningham starting in preseason: It could be that they just wanted to see how he'd do with the starters to see if he was ahead of Mason. I dunno, seems Fishy to me. Stacy could have done the first series and then let Cunningham come in after, similar to what the Broncos did with Ball and what the Packers did with Lacy.

There's no doubt that Stacy will be given the first shot, but people that are doubting this is a competition are foolish. Every year there are players that are busts that when we look back on we say "Yeah, I should have saw that coming." Well...I just pointed out 3 very good reasons for Stacy not being the clear starter/bellcow above. Just keep it in mind and keep Cunningham on your waiver wire speed dial.

 
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We Tigers

Footballguy
Drafting Mason strikes me less as a vote of no-confidence in Stacy than in Pead. Pead was a second rounder who got himself suspended and made no impact last year. After cutting Richardson, the Rams needed another guy, and Mason's definitely a talent. Pead probably wouldn't have gotten past 4th on the depth chart even if he hadn't been injured in the preseason.

 

steveski

Footballguy
Drafting Mason strikes me less as a vote of no-confidence in Stacy than in Pead. Pead was a second rounder who got himself suspended and made no impact last year. After cutting Richardson, the Rams needed another guy, and Mason's definitely a talent. Pead probably wouldn't have gotten past 4th on the depth chart even if he hadn't been injured in the preseason.
It could very well be. My point was that we seem to be covering up and brushing away a lot of these red flags like they mean nothing. They all mean nothing until they mean something.

 

r0llin_game

Footballguy
pollardsvision said:
ex-ghost said:
2nd on the depth chart.

5-7 carries week one or are we looking at more?
I wouldn't expect much. I think the play with Cunningham is really just hoping he takes the lead back role outright. Fisher is one of the few coaches left that I'd be surprised to see a real RBBC develop.
Chris Johnson's rookie year.

2008- Lendale 303 carries, Johnson 251

2009- Johnson 358, Lendale 200

Ultimately Lendale was traded, but that shows Fisher liked using two backs and loves running the ball and if he has two good backs, he will use them til they have nothing left.

TheDirtyWord said:
According to PFF, once Stacy took over the job, he played on 77% of the Rams offensive snaps. I don't think that was because he was so talented, but simply out of necessity as the staff had lost complete confidence and faith in Richardson/Pead and was not quite yet sold on Cunningham since he was a UDFA.

But in his last 7 games, he averaged but 3.4 YPC and in one of those games, he was facing a historically bad run defense in Chicago. Take away that game and that average dips to 3.1. Despite 26 receptions, his 5.4 YPR seems to indicate that he was a break glass in case of emergency option.

Stacy was simply the lesser of the evils in the Rams backfield last year. To his credit he took the opportunity presented to him and did well with it. But I don't think he established himself as the type of talent who the Rams can not do without. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cunningham get 400 snaps and carve out a definitive role as a 1B option to Stacy's 1A. But I think best case for him 2014 is that he rises to 1A to Stacy's 1B.
A lot of the reason his ypc was down was because of how many times they ran the ball and lack of QB play. That happens when you get eight in the box.

 

Banger

Footballguy
they have nothing invested in Stacy. I had chances to draft him and let him go in every draft. Workhorses without much talent and someone nipping at their heals is a dangerous situation to invest a 3rd round pick on.

 

Bob Magaw

Footballguy
TheDirtyWord said:
According to PFF, once Stacy took over the job, he played on 77% of the Rams offensive snaps. I don't think that was because he was so talented, but simply out of necessity as the staff had lost complete confidence and faith in Richardson/Pead and was not quite yet sold on Cunningham since he was a UDFA.

But in his last 7 games, he averaged but 3.4 YPC and in one of those games, he was facing a historically bad run defense in Chicago. Take away that game and that average dips to 3.1. Despite 26 receptions, his 5.4 YPR seems to indicate that he was a break glass in case of emergency option.

Stacy was simply the lesser of the evils in the Rams backfield last year. To his credit he took the opportunity presented to him and did well with it. But I don't think he established himself as the type of talent who the Rams can not do without. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cunningham get 400 snaps and carve out a definitive role as a 1B option to Stacy's 1A. But I think best case for him 2014 is that he rises to 1A to Stacy's 1B.
I agree. I don't think either one has earned a long leash. The guy who looks better will slowly become the lead back sooner rather than later. There are some major red flags with Stacy:

1) Low YPC: Yes the team had no passing offense and was going against some tough defenses, but it's still a red flag.

2) Drafting of Mason: Looks like there are too many flaws in his game for him to be too much of a threat this year, especially early on. But the fact that they spent an early round pick on a highly touted RB is a red flag.

3) Cunningham starting in preseason: It could be that they just wanted to see how he'd do with the starters to see if he was ahead of Mason. I dunno, seems Fishy to me. Stacy could have done the first series and then let Cunningham come in after, similar to what the Broncos did with Ball and what the Packers did with Lacy.

There's no doubt that Stacy will be given the first shot, but people that are doubting this is a competition are foolish. Every year there are players that are busts that when we look back on we say "Yeah, I should have saw that coming." Well...I just pointed out 3 very good reasons for Stacy not being the clear starter/bellcow above. Just keep it in mind and keep Cunningham on your waiver wire speed dial.
1) Aside from the last game against SEA outlier in which the OL was blown up (he got over 100 yards in the first meeting), when he was 15-15-0, he averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Same as Lacy and Bernard. Under much worse circumstances. Tough defenses are the nature of the beast in the NFC West (though SF and ARI appear significantly weakened on paper). Hard to say how the lack of a competent passing game impacted Stacy (he didn't start the first month and Clemens was the QB in 9/12 starts). If it had been better, and he did better as a result, maybe it wouldn't be a major red flag (and again, he did comparable to Lacy and Bernard)? The WRs look improved, with the addition of Britt, and looking like the light has come on for Quick, he is playing with more confidence than I ever saw in his first two seasons.

2) A third isn't a low pick, but it is somewhat of a subjective call that it is a high pick. He was the fifth RB taken, in a year when the first RB taken was the lowest in draft history, and in which it looks like not a single one taken in front of him will start initially, and maybe not at all this season. Sims was taken ahead of Mason, but that isn't interpreted as TB souring on Martin. Very few teams have one dominant RB like Peterson. I've seen this interpretation a lot (not just from you), but imo it is at least as likely an interpretation that STL wanted to upgrade their complementary RB, with the potential he could start in the future (but not likely this year). One of the biggest arguments cited against Stacy earlier in the pre-season was exactly the drafting of Mason. Yet he has gained no traction, and if anything, seems further removed from challenging Stacy. Now the imminent threat has supposedly shifted from Mason to Cunningham. Maybe, maybe not. Clearly, those that project Stacy to be mediocre or a failure will see whoever the RB2 is as an imminent threat. Those that think he is more talented than his fifth round pedigree would suggest (if he went just one round higher, that would be the same round as potential future starters from the class of '14 like Andre Williams and Devonte Freeman), don't. If the rationale of some is that Mason's superior pedigree makes Stacy vulnerable in the near future, than that would seem to make UFA Cunningham less of a threat.

3) Again, if we are looking for reasons to be spooked by Cunningham, his opening the pre-season game provides it for some, if not, others take Fisher's explanation at face value. Some thought it meant Stacy had lost the starter role and Cunningham had surpassed him. Yet Stacy is still starting. In the preseason, 1's play with 1's, 2's with 2's and 3's with the 3's. But if Cunningham is going to play a larger role in the regular season, he will be playing with the starters. They didn't need to send him out on the first series to establish what he looks like in that context, but Stacy was dinged a few times last year. Why not see what Cunningham looks like, even if he is pressed into action in a spot starter role at some point during the season due to a Stacy injury. Even if Cunningham hadn't started that game, it sounds like you would have pretty much the same concerns above. You still would have thought he was vulnerable to losing his job, so it is unclear how much this actually moved the dial.

The pre-season suggested to me a few things. Cunningham looks like Stacy's handcuff, not Mason. Also, STL will be in (even more) serious trouble if Hill is injured, there is too much at stake to risk playing a rookie extensively that is so shaky in pass protection.

Like all polarizing, divisive players, Stacy is a Rorshach blot that people can cast their hopes and fears on to. There are facts and opinions. If somebody states Stacy has a 44" VJ, that is a factual error. If we interpret the meaning of Stacy's similar yard per carry average (identical absent the outlier game) to Lacy and Bernard, we enter the speculative realm. That includes me. I don't think you are foolish for what I chalk up to subjective difference of opinion. But for the same reason, those that differ aren't either.

Ultimately, if even one of your three points are correct, you will have been right. If they are all wrong, no amassing or linkage of incorrect points lends additional weight or cache to the critique.

 
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Freelove

Footballguy
I'd say to those:

For point 1: Every back looks considerably better when you erase the games where they struggle. Even Lacy and Bernard. Among all starting running backs for whom you do them the service of disregarding their terrible starts, Stacy's 4.1 YPC number remains embarrassingly low on the totem. But this low YPC is frightening not just because it happened last year, but because it continued to happen in preseason, while the competition, during the time he spent running behind the same line, excelled.

For point 2: The pick isn't damning so much because of the rounds his competition was picked. It's damning because without the large financial and logistical investment of a high-round pick anchoring the team's investment in him (or any player), they become extremely replaceable. Teams have had a lot invested in the success/failure of, say, Trent Richardson. That's why he seems to plod on despite the objections of fans and fantasy footballers everywhere, while our antennae go up in a hurry when a nickel-and-dimer like Stacy starts to struggle. Fisher is bound to be receiving exactly zero pressure from ownership to make sure Zac Stacy gets every chance to succeed. They just want production.

I agree with point 3 that coach speak and preseason action are both open to interpretation. But I think it becomes increasingly rational to see reasons the interpretations begin to point in the opposite direction.

:shrug:

 

georg013

Footballguy
pollardsvision said:
ex-ghost said:
2nd on the depth chart.

5-7 carries week one or are we looking at more?
I wouldn't expect much. I think the play with Cunningham is really just hoping he takes the lead back role outright. Fisher is one of the few coaches left that I'd be surprised to see a real RBBC develop.
Chris Johnson's rookie year.

2008- Lendale 303 carries, Johnson 251

2009- Johnson 358, Lendale 200

Ultimately Lendale was traded, but that shows Fisher liked using two backs and loves running the ball and if he has two good backs, he will use them til they have nothing left.

TheDirtyWord said:
According to PFF, once Stacy took over the job, he played on 77% of the Rams offensive snaps. I don't think that was because he was so talented, but simply out of necessity as the staff had lost complete confidence and faith in Richardson/Pead and was not quite yet sold on Cunningham since he was a UDFA.

But in his last 7 games, he averaged but 3.4 YPC and in one of those games, he was facing a historically bad run defense in Chicago. Take away that game and that average dips to 3.1. Despite 26 receptions, his 5.4 YPR seems to indicate that he was a break glass in case of emergency option.

Stacy was simply the lesser of the evils in the Rams backfield last year. To his credit he took the opportunity presented to him and did well with it. But I don't think he established himself as the type of talent who the Rams can not do without. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cunningham get 400 snaps and carve out a definitive role as a 1B option to Stacy's 1A. But I think best case for him 2014 is that he rises to 1A to Stacy's 1B.
A lot of the reason his ypc was down was because of how many times they ran the ball and lack of QB play. That happens when you get eight in the box.
That's what HE said. He being Trent Richardson.

 

Junior McSpiffy

Footballguy
The way I would question point #2 is that you indicate the drafting of Mason in the third round is a vote-of-no-confidence to some extent or another in Stacy. But nobody looks to the first round when the Rams were already considered to be on the short short list of best DLs in the game, and then they took Aaron Donald. If you are going to say that drafting Mason was a sign the team lacked trust in Stacy, then you also have to show the same logic for the same front office drafting an even higher pick to what was already their greatest strength.

If you say Donald was best player available, then you can easily argue Mason was the same type of pick and not read any more into it than that.

 

SameSongNDance

Footballguy
He ended up on a lot of my deep league benches simply because he fulfilled at least one of my RB lottery ticket requirements and represents rather high upside. I won't be surprised if he doesn't pan out though.

 

ponchsox

Footballguy
Stacy isn't a "stud." Hell, everyone though Daryl Richardson was going to be a good fantasy RB. That didn't work out so well.

 

Bob Magaw

Footballguy
I'd say to those:

For point 1: Every back looks considerably better when you erase the games where they struggle. Even Lacy and Bernard. Among all starting running backs for whom you do them the service of disregarding their terrible starts, Stacy's 4.1 YPC number remains embarrassingly low on the totem. But this low YPC is frightening not just because it happened last year, but because it continued to happen in preseason, while the competition, during the time he spent running behind the same line, excelled.

For point 2: The pick isn't damning so much because of the rounds his competition was picked. It's damning because without the large financial and logistical investment of a high-round pick anchoring the team's investment in him (or any player), they become extremely replaceable. Teams have had a lot invested in the success/failure of, say, Trent Richardson. That's why he seems to plod on despite the objections of fans and fantasy footballers everywhere, while our antennae go up in a hurry when a nickel-and-dimer like Stacy starts to struggle. Fisher is bound to be receiving exactly zero pressure from ownership to make sure Zac Stacy gets every chance to succeed. They just want production.

I agree with point 3 that coach speak and preseason action are both open to interpretation. But I think it becomes increasingly rational to see reasons the interpretations begin to point in the opposite direction.

:shrug:
If you back out Lacy's worst game his yard per carry average goes from 4.1 to 4.2. Bernard's from 4.1 to 4.3. Depending how you define considerably, in the case of Lacy, I don't think that constitutes a massive change. More important than 1/10th of a yard difference are some situational factors. Stacy played with the starting QB for 3/12 starts, against the consensus best defensive division in the league. Lacy started 15 games, 8 of which were with Rodgers. As far as I know, Bernard played in 16/16 games with the starting QB, and both of them played against lesser defensive divisions. Again, we don't need to just compare Stacy to other RBs from his class, plenty of good/great RBs (I don't think Stacy is great, he might be good or even average, I don't think he is terrible) have had sub-4.0 yard per carry averages as rookies or even longer and turned out fine. If 4.1 is embarrasingly low, is 4.2 great, is there really a big chasm between those numbers? I haven't weighted pre-season performance very strongly in the past, when it comes to incumbents. I've certainly seen incumbents at many positions not do as well as reserves, but not yield their job when the regular season rolls around. Bernard's average is 2.5 in the pre-season. His second round pedigree is better than Stacy's, but Jeremy Hill's same second round pedigree is also better than Cunningham. Should we be concerned about Bernard's role in 2014 due to a low average in the pre-season?

The next point is a different one than the one I was responding to. I wasn't stating Stacy's pedigree is so compellingly high that he doesn't need to worry about his job. Just that Mason's isn't so high he is in imminent danger of losing his job. Also, if others have used the (lack of) pedigree argument against Stacy here and in other threads, than it applies even more so to UFA Cunningham.

If Cunnngham is decisively better in the regular season, Stacy isn't so firmly entrenched that it is inconceivable he could lose his job. I just haven't found the yard per carry average argument compelling under the circumstances of last season. If the team does better (Hill an upgrade over Clemens, adding Britt, Quick looks improved, defense should be better, etc.), I don't see why Stacy would be incapable of improvement, which increases the chance he holds off Cunningham. Stacy could be decisively outplayed and lose his job, I'm just not expecting it.

I just chalk up the differences to opinion, not one side being an inherently, intrinsically more rational interpretation.

 
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Bob Magaw

Footballguy
Stacy isn't a "stud." Hell, everyone though Daryl Richardson was going to be a good fantasy RB. That didn't work out so well.
I can't speak for others, but I never thought Richardson was destined to be a good RB. Pretty sure his ADP was a lot lower than Stacy this time last year, which speaks to their not being comparable prospects, imo. If you meant Trent, that is an excellent example of not panning out so far, and if it could happen to such a high pick, agreed, it could happen to Stacy.

 
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Bob Magaw

Footballguy
The way I would question point #2 is that you indicate the drafting of Mason in the third round is a vote-of-no-confidence to some extent or another in Stacy. But nobody looks to the first round when the Rams were already considered to be on the short short list of best DLs in the game, and then they took Aaron Donald. If you are going to say that drafting Mason was a sign the team lacked trust in Stacy, then you also have to show the same logic for the same front office drafting an even higher pick to what was already their greatest strength.

If you say Donald was best player available, then you can easily argue Mason was the same type of pick and not read any more into it than that.
Good point, and I agree with the rationale in general.

In this case, the STL DL is called maybe the best in the NFL largely because of the DEs, Quinn, Long and Hayes. Brockers and Langford probably weren't cited as the best interior DL duo in the league. In that sense, Donald was almost certainly viewed as a future starter. Langford is probably a better run defender now, and Donald already a better pass rusher, so he could be used situationally as a rookie. But this may be Langford's last season in STL. I don't know if Mason was brought in with the intention of being a long term complement (not unlike Hill to Bernard), or with the expectation that he would compete to start at some point and replace Stacy. I do think he could replace Stacy (or Cunningham?), or relegate him to the smaller part of a RBBC, but probably next year at the earliest, imo.

 

Bigboy10182000

Footballguy
I dont know much about their situations but IMHO Cunningham just looks better running than Stacy does. I believe PFF did a piece recently on this two as well.

 

chinawildman

Footballguy
The main concern w/ Stacy is that the Rams coaching staff have shown zero loyalty to any RB if they fail to produce. Pead IMO was given the longest leash despite performing the poorest due to his draft status, which doesn't exactly bode well for the length of Stacy's incumbency. If Stacy doesn't produce in the first 3 weeks, this will be a committee.

 

ZigZagMan

Footballguy
Rams fan here.

Benny Cunningham looks like he's the most talented RB on the field for the Rams at all times. He's got the skillset of Zac Stacy but he's got the extra burst to turn 20 yarders into 40-50 yarders.

Stacy also had tendency to get banged up in almost every game. In that prime time game against the Seahawks last year, the Rams probably would have won with Stacy running so effectively, but he had to come off the field once they got inside the 10.

I see some people still holding out hope for Tre Mason, but the fact is he can't pass block. He may not even be dressing on Sundays if our ST coordinator Fassel decides that Trey Watts can contribute more on special teams.

If this continues it's going to open the door to a split. As a Stacy owner in multiple leagues, Benny Cunningham is sitting on my bench in all of them.

 
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Bob Magaw

Footballguy
Rams fan here.

Benny Cunningham looks like he's the most talented RB on the field for the Rams at all times. He's got the skillset of Zac Stacy but he's got the extra burst to turn 20 yarders into 40-50 yarders.

Stacy also had tendency to get banged up in almost every game. In that prime time game against the Seahawks last year, the Rams probably would have won with Stacy running so effectively, but he had to come off the field once they got inside the 10.

I see some people still holding out hope for Tre Mason, but the fact is he can't pass block. He may not even be dressing on Sundays if our ST coordinator Fassel decides that Trey Watts can contribute more on special teams.

If this continues it's going to open the door to a split. As a Stacy owner in multiple leagues, Benny Cunningham is sitting on my bench in all of them.
Good post.

What can be vexing for fantasy is a good thing from the Rams perspective, to have potentially three RBs capable of starting at some point (again, probably Mason's time will come in the future).

Below are the last four entries at Rotoworld for Cunningham, dating from mid-August. What team beat reporters Wagoner and Thomas wrote aligns with what you are describing, he does sound like an ascendant player. Even last year, Cunningham flashed more burst than Stacy. He should, since his listed weight is lighter. Same with Mason. All three RBs have varying degrees of power and elusiveness, but Stacy is more about power, with Cunningham and Mason more about elusiveness, imo. Cunningham is in between size-wise, compared to Stacy and Mason, offering better size than Mason and better elusiveness than Stacy, so that may be a more effective combo of traits and attributes for a RB. Last year he was returning from a torn patellar tendon, and could have regained additional burst and explosiveness in the year since, which fits the latest reports.

The only somewhat mixed message in the recent Roto reports is making Cunningham a kick returner. Probably if he becomes the starter, they take him off that detail. I can't think of too many starting RBs that return kicks (though Spiller is set to in BUF). Patterson did last year, Harvin has, it is easier to think of starting WRs that have done it. That goes for punt returners, too (Austin did last year, Antonio Brown will continue to this season, many examples at that position/return-type). Knile Davis is a kick returner, though he is clearly a backup. Maybe this is common, for backup RBs.

http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/8953/benny-cunningham

1) ESPN Rams reporter Nick Wagoner suggests second-year RB Benny Cunningham "could play a more integral role" in St. Louis' offense this season.

Cunningham topped 5.0 YPC as a rookie and can pass protect, solidifying him as the clear-cut backup to Zac Stacy, ahead of raw third-rounder Tre Mason. While we don't see Cunningham as a serious threat to Stacy's carries, this is a reminder that he's the preferred handcuff over Mason at this stage of August. Aug 14 - 11:29 AM

2) Benny Cunningham made a surprise start in Saturday's regular-season dress rehearsal against the Browns, rushing five times for 32 yards.

He caught one pass for six yards. Zac Stacy checked in on the Rams' second series, but Cunningham out-touched him 6-5. As has been the case all preseason, Cunningham was more productive than Stacy, out-gaining him 38-11. For the month of August, Cunningham now has 15 carries for 80 yards (5.3 YPC) to Stacy's 15-39-2.6. Stacy should still open the season as the Rams' starter, but Cunningham is his clear backup, and perhaps not terribly far behind on the depth chart. Beat man Nick Wagoner says Cunningham has been "sharper" than Stacy throughout camp and preseason. Aug 23 - 10:44 PM

3) The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that "if Benny Cunningham isn't challenging Zac Stacy for the starting job, he's certainly pushing him for playing time."

Beat man Jim Thomas says Cunningham has been the best Rams running back this preseason, echoing similar statements from ESPN's Nick Wagoner. This comes on the heels of Stacy playing off the bench behind Cunningham in the third preseason game. While we fully expect Stacy to hold the starting job and be the main back, he can't afford to lose too much volume. He averaged just 3.89 yards per carry and 5.42 yards per reception last year. Cunningham is worth a late-round flier until the uncertainty here shakes out. Aug 28 - 11:36 AM

4) Benny Cunningham is listed as the No. 1 kickoff returner and No. 2 running back on the Rams' updated depth chart.

The new depth chart was released Tuesday. Zac Stacy remains atop the tailback pecking order, while Cunningham will work in as a breather back and focus on special teams. Cunningham and Chris Givens will line up deep on kickoffs. Sep 2 - 7:33 PM

* Cunningham is an unknown commodity in a larger role at this level (so was Stacy this time last year). Other than the CHI game (13 carries), he never had more than 7 carries in 14 games during 2013.

Favorable scouting projection for Cunningham vs. the STL RB field, from BEFORE the 2013 season. My only question is he doesn't seem to be factoring in level of competition at all, Cunningham might not have been as productive in the SEC, and Stacy may have been more so playing in Middle-Tennessee State's conference. I'm not sure where the 40 time came from (supposedly about 4.50, but estimated faster if not rehabbing the knee injury during the pre-draft process, his 26 BP reps is very strong for a RB, like Stacy), not sure he ran one at the Combine or even at a pro day. He was injured multiple times in college, a torn patellar tendon in 2012, and broken foot that caused him to miss 4-5 games in 2011. Maybe he would have been drafted if not for that?
http://sportswunderkind.com/benny-cunningham-the-rams-darkhorse-backfield-candidate-2/
Cunningham seems to have gained weight, I think he is now listed at about 217 lbs. (5'10"). So did Zac Stacy, who was listed in college at close to the weight Cunningham is now, and is now 224 lbs. (5'8", so noticeably thicker, if he was 5'10" and proportionately heavier, he would be about at 235 lbs.). Carlos Hyde is considered a big back (6'0" 235 lbs.), as are Jeremy Hill (6'1" 238 lbs.) and Andre Williams (5'11", 234 lbs.). Again, if Stacy were lengthened to the height dimensions of Williams, Hyde and Hill, and made proportionately heavier, he would be around 240-245-250 lbs. He was specifically asked by STL to gain weight, perhaps thinking it would enable him to better handle the pounding, but maybe it has counterproductively slowed him down? Ray Rice has been in the news for this. We won't see him play in the 2014 regular season until the third game due to supension, but he was much faster and quicker in 2012, and while there were OL problems and the wheels fell off the offense last year, he looked more sluggish and plodding when he was reportedly 10-15 lbs. heavier (we will find out of it was just accelerated skill erosion, not weight gain, and he is no longer the same back he was even just two years ago). Stacy is strong (Fisher stated in the Summer he was able to BP 500 lbs.), but did show some explosiveness at his combine. I think he was one of the best performers and about top 3 from the RB position group in both the BP and cone drill, probably an unusual combination, and had a 10'6" broad jump at his pro day. Some of these measureable don't fit the profile of a plodder.

Stacy had 250 carries as a rookie, with 1 carry in the first month, he may have led the league in carries per game after the first month. Than we have a situation where STL may want to run more (drafted Robinson and Mason, when they could have gone in a different direction both times). If they move from a 45% to 50% run/pass ratio, like SEA and SF (top two in the NFL on a percentage basis, though it helps to be in the lead or at least close in score to do that, it awaits to be seen if STL can execute what they intend), clearly they need to get a second RB more involved than last year, whoever it is (imo, it is a given there will be some form of RBBC, the question is the distribution of carries). If Stacy maintains the work horse role, and cedes a few carries to Cunningham (or Mason), to about 18 carries a game, he could still preserve a lot of his value. If Cunningham outplays Stacy, even if he doesn't actually supplant him but pushes for something like an even split of 12-15 carries, that will definitely hurt Stacy, but could still potentially offer some value for where Cunningham was taken. If Cunningham does quicky pass Stacy on the depth chart and dispatches him as the feature RB, he could end up being quite the steal.

** What are the chances you estimate Cunningham pushes for a lead role in a RBBC, or even becomes the feature RB?

 
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