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Player Spotlight: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals (1 Viewer)

Jason Wood

Zoo York
2013 Player Spotlight Series

One of Footballguys best assets is our message board community. The Shark Pool is, in our view, the best place on the internet to discuss, debate and analyze all things fantasy football. In what's become an annual tradition, the Player Spotlight series is a key part of the preseason efforts. As many of you know, we consider the Player Spotlight threads the permanent record for analyzing the fantasy prospects of the player in question. This year, we plan to publish more than 140 offensive spotlights covering the vast majority of expected skill position starters.

As always we will post a list of players to be discussed each week. Those threads will remain open for the entire preseason, and should be a central point to discuss expectations for the player in question.

Thread Topic: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Player Page Link: Rashard Mendenhall Player Page

Each article will include:

  • Detailed viewpoint from a Footballguys staff member
  • Links to thoughtful viewpoints from around the Web
  • FBG Projections
The Rules

In order for this thread to provide maximum value, we ask that you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Focus commentary on the player (or players) in question, and your expectations for said player (or players)
  • Back up your expectations in whatever manner you deem appropriate; avoid posts that simply say "I hate him" or "He's the best"
  • Avoid redundancies or things like "good posting" ... this should be about incremental analysis or debate
While not a requirement, we strongly encourage you to provide your own projections for the player (players):

Projections should include:

  • For QBs: Attempts, Completions, Passing Yards, Passing TDs, Ints, Rush Attempts, Rush Yards, Rush TDs
  • For RBs: Rushes, Rushing Yards, Rush TDs, Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
  • For WRs & TEs: Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
 
1050 yds 7 tds 10 rec 70 yds

He could be one of the few draft day bargains at the RB position, based on ADP more than performance.

2nd year back from knee injury can only help. Arizona is viewed as where RB's go to die, and rightly so.

This will likely keep his ADP down throughout the preseason. Bruce Arians brought him in to start and he

will get his shot regardless of who is behind him.

 

Bayhawks

Footballguy
Arians has been an OC in Cleveland (2001-2003), Pittsburgh (2007-2011), and Indianapolis (2012). In all those years, he has only had a bell cow RB 3 seasons (2007-Willie Parker, 2010-Mendenhall, and 2011-Mendenhall). A large part of that is, IMO, due to the talent (or lack thereof) he had at RB. Between poor players (Cleveland/Indy), and injuries (Pittsburgh), he didn't really have the opportunity to rely on a single RB to carry the load. That being said, Arians has stated he wants one RB to carry the load, Mendenhall has been named starter, and Arians has called Mendenhall an "every-down player," & that he is in for an "outstanding season."

Arizona's O-line was horrible last year, and while it should be better with the return of Levi Brown, the addition of Cooper, and the re-shuffling that goes with those 2 additions, the RBs in Arizona have only averaged 3.99 YPC over the last 3 years. Mendenhall has only averaged 4.1 YPC in his career (although the Pittsburgh line wasn't that great the last few years, either). Mendenhall has averaged a rushing TD for every 29 carries in his career, and Arizona has (over the last 3 years) has averaged a rushing TD for every 32 carries (by RBs). Arian's RBs have averaged a rush TD for every 39 carries.

I'm going to project 375 carries for Arizona RBs this year. I will give 70% of those to Mendenhall. I also project 40 catches for Arizona RBs this year, with 23 going to Mendenhall. I will project him for 7.0 YPR.

263 carries @3.8 ypc, 999 yards, 7 rush TD, 23 receptions @7.0 YPR, 161 yards, 1 rec TD.

286 touches, 1160 total yards, 8 TD.

That is 164 FF points (non-PPR). That would have made him RB16 last year. With a current ADP of the middle/end of round 6 (pick 69), he presents value. If he/Arizona were to show improvement, those numbers could be higher, and his value would be even greater.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
Mendenhall is entering his 6th NFL season with only 1 season of high per touch production - this occurred 4 seasons ago in 2009. Other than that one season, he's put up a plodder's stats. Now he's moved to a team with one of the worst offensive lines for just a meager $500k in guaranteed money. The Cardinals drafted a couple rookies and have carried over the initially hyped, perpetually injured Ryan Williams. At this point it appears all but certain that Mendenhall will be given first crack at the starting gig, but with so little invested in him, I don't think he'll have any sort of stronghold on the position. His career trajectory leads me to believe he will not hang onto the job for long. If he does maintain the starter's role for 16 games, he'd have a hard time not outplaying his ADP of RB28 even behind such a bad offensive line. Given his attitude last year when he was demoted, I'm not even sure he'll end the season on the Cardinals' roster. I fully expect him to sputter through the first 4-5 games with a sub 4.0 ypc and for Arians to try to find a spark for the running game with one of the younger guys.

One thing that will limit any RB for the Cards is that Arians tends to shy away from using the RB position in the passing game. From what I can tell, Mendenhall is actually a fairly capable pass catcher, but he saw less than 2 receptions per game under Arians in Pit. With this limitation, I think even a very talented back would be prevented from achieving RB1 fantasy numbers on this team in this system. But Arians does prefer a bellcow, so if you can guess who ends the year as the starter, you'll likely have found yourself a decent RB2 on a points per game basis.

130 carries x 3.9 ypc = 507 yds 3 TD, 10 rec x 8 ypr = 80 yds 0 TD

 

Sabertooth

Footballguy
175 carries, 700 yards

10 catches, 100 yards

6 touchdowns.

I don't think he holds the job all year. I think Ryan Williams gets in and it is more of a committee type thing than we've seen from Arians in the past.

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
Good year. Not massive, but good. I think everyone is undercutting his RB receptions here, given that Palmer has become king of the dump-off and that Mendenhall has been good for 1-2 a game his whole career. He's not an exceptional talent, but he's done well behind poor offensive lines in the past. I expect him to get the bulk of the work in Arizona and be both useful and unspectacular.

240 carries, 960 yds, 7 TDs; 28 receptions for 250 yards.

 
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TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
In 2011, Mendenhall was a consensus first round pick. After putting up a 1340/13 season in 2010, most thought he would be PIT’s starting RB bellcow not only for that season, but for many more. What you didn’t necessarily gain in upside, you got with rock solid production.

2011 was a bit of a down year for Mendenhall before he tore his ACL in his 15th game. But if you take into account that he played only a quarter in that game, he would have projected to 1215/10. The fact is, Mendenhall actually had a higher YPC & YPR in 2011 versus the previous year. Quite frankly, the reason his performance was down that year was due to usage, not performance.

But then the ACL happened and we didn’t hear from Mendenhall again until Week 5 of last season. After an incredible 2012 debut, Mendenhall essentially struggled with staying healthy and in top form the rest of the way with other leg issues that seemed tied to his ACL recovery. In addition, he also incurred a 1-game suspension. While the Steelers were over the salary cap this off-season, given that Mendehall only singed for $2.5M…it seemed like they were quietly anxious to cut ties.

If we flash back to 2010, part of the reason for Mendenhall’s excessive workload was due to him carrying the offense via 94 touches during Roethlisberger’s 4-game suspension to start the season. And for a team that many thought would struggle out of the gate without Big Ben, their 3-1 start came a s a big surprise and Mendenhall received a lot of credit for that. But in 2011, he simply wasn’t used as much. Whereas in 2010, he exceeded 20 carries 7 times, in 2011, it happened just once.

I’ve kind of felt the need to re-acquaint myself with Mendenhall because it’s tough to believe that he’s still only 26, and I mean JUST turned 26 (6/19). He has 864 career carries and is a former 1st round draft choice RB and yet to a certain extent he feels ‘written off’. He’s being re-united with his old coach in Bruce Arians, a person responsible for his previous success, who seems unequivocally in his corner. The RB talent on the roster consists of Ryan Williams,Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington. I can’t figure out why Mendenhall is going so low at the moment (RB28 on FFC; 5.07). It’s not that I feel that he’s going to return to glory, but in an NFL landscape where only 10 RB’s finished with 300+ touches, Mendenhall seems at least destined to approach that total provided he can stay healthy.

Detractors will say that the ARI O-Line is putrid and while they are certainly not top tier, they’ll be getting re-inforcements in the form of Levi Brown and Jonathan Cooper. That along with Bobbie Massie who showed improvement in the seasons 2nd half and consistent C Lyle Sendlin has this O-Line at least with a chance to be average. Carson Palmer at QB…again, I’d probably consider him an average option…but it’s enough of one for a consistent, if unspectacular running game to emerge. At the end of the day, Mendenhall is more bull than gazelle. A 4.2-4.4YPC average is good work for him, but if he gets 250 carries, he’ll be worth his current draft position. Could he have a similar career resurgence experienced by fellow NFC West RB Marshawn Lynch out in SEA? Despite body composition similarities,Lynch is the significantly harder runner. But Mendenhall could not have wound up in a better place to experience one and my bet is that he puts himself back on the map. Fact is, the Cardinals if all goes right could get as many as 4 good seasons out of him. But for 2013, his upside has a ceiling of mid-high tier RB2.

Prediction: 267 Rushes 1115 Rushes, 8 TD’s 25 Receptions 159 Receiving Yards 1 TD.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
A 4.2-4.4 YPC average is good work for him
Yeah... really good. He's only eclipsed 4.1 ypc once in his career! It is by no accident that you only used aggregate stats in your analysis. Mendenhall was nothing more than a stat compiler in 2010 and 2011. His career stats look much like those of Shonn Greene. Mendenhall was on pace for 1215 yds in 2011? Well, Greene DID produce 1265 yards. Mendenhall was on pace for 10 TD while Greene only got 6 TD? Mendenhall was on pace for twice as many carries inside the 5. Mendenhall is nothing more than a product of opportunity. When your team has invested a 1st round pick in you and there are no capable backups, you get to plod around for several seasons. But Arizona doesn't have that invested in him, so he'll be on a much shorter leash. I'll take the under on 267 carries for as much as the casinos will let me bet.

The fact that Greene got a 3-year $10 million dollar contract ($4.5 guaranteed) and Mendenhall got a 1-year $2.5 million dollar contract ($0.5 guaranteed) should say something. Greene is actually 1 year older and, again, they have very, very similar career stats. I think Mendenhall is one of those picks you will want back by week 8.

 

TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
A 4.2-4.4 YPC average is good work for him
Yeah... really good. He's only eclipsed 4.1 ypc once in his career! It is by no accident that you only used aggregate stats in your analysis. Mendenhall was nothing more than a stat compiler in 2010 and 2011. His career stats look much like those of Shonn Greene. Mendenhall was on pace for 1215 yds in 2011? Well, Greene DID produce 1265 yards. Mendenhall was on pace for 10 TD while Greene only got 6 TD? Mendenhall was on pace for twice as many carries inside the 5. Mendenhall is nothing more than a product of opportunity. When your team has invested a 1st round pick in you and there are no capable backups, you get to plod around for several seasons. But Arizona doesn't have that invested in him, so he'll be on a much shorter leash. I'll take the under on 267 carries for as much as the casinos will let me bet.

The fact that Greene got a 3-year $10 million dollar contract ($4.5 guaranteed) and Mendenhall got a 1-year $2.5 million dollar contract ($0.5 guaranteed) should say something. Greene is actually 1 year older and, again, they have very, very similar career stats. I think Mendenhall is one of those picks you will want back by week 8.
For all the barbs directed Greene's way throughout his career, he was an effective RB2 last year. Certainly uninspring but as you put it...he was a product of opportunity.

The capable back-ups you referred to didn't exist in NY, but I don't see much change in ARI. Alot of people are still on the Ryan Williams bandwagon, but a patella tendon injury seems much more difficult to come back from than an ACL. It's an injury that saps explosion which was one of Williams' biggest attributes prior to the injury. I can't remember an RB returning to form from his pre-injury self from this injury. I could be wrong here, but I think to assume Williams can is a less than 50/50 bet.

As for Taylor/Ellington...Ellington strikes me as 3rd down type and Taylor projects to be a plodder like Mendenhall without the experience.

Arizona may not have much invested in him, but that doesn't change the fact the Mendenhall is still the best RB on that roster. As such, the opportunity you speak of is very much present for him. he won't knock your socks off, but getting RB2 production for RB3 value is the name of the game...no?

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I'm not on a bandwagon for Ryan Williams, but he has had a lot of time to recover from his second knee injury. And I don't know much about the rookies, but my concern is that if Mendenhall is plodding along then Arians hand is going to be forced. He's going to see if he can find a spark from the bench. So maybe these guys don't do better than Mendenhall, but if he's not doing well then they're definitely going to get a chance. Personally, I'm saving that draft pick and spending it elsewhere. I'll try to find a guy with more upside or more lives remaining than Mendenhall - Arizona has only put in 1 credit for Mendenhall. If they fail to beat level 1 with him, I suspect they'll try a new player.

So what I'm saying is that he's a high risk guy. They're not going to keep feeding tokens into the machine if he's not producing. You can get Mark Ingram about 2 rounds later. At least the Saints traded up to draft him in the 1st round so I've got more hope that they'll try to make it work with him. Stewart can be had a round later than Mendenhall. That team has a lot of money tied up in him. All these guys have risks, but Mendenhall has only really had one notable season and he's getting paid peanuts for the NFL. I think he's a longshot to be the RB2 that you bought at an RB3 price.

 

TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
I'm not on a bandwagon for Ryan Williams, but he has had a lot of time to recover from his second knee injury. And I don't know much about the rookies, but my concern is that if Mendenhall is plodding along then Arians hand is going to be forced. He's going to see if he can find a spark from the bench. So maybe these guys don't do better than Mendenhall, but if he's not doing well then they're definitely going to get a chance. Personally, I'm saving that draft pick and spending it elsewhere. I'll try to find a guy with more upside or more lives remaining than Mendenhall - Arizona has only put in 1 credit for Mendenhall. If they fail to beat level 1 with him, I suspect they'll try a new player.

So what I'm saying is that he's a high risk guy. They're not going to keep feeding tokens into the machine if he's not producing. You can get Mark Ingram about 2 rounds later. At least the Saints traded up to draft him in the 1st round so I've got more hope that they'll try to make it work with him. Stewart can be had a round later than Mendenhall. That team has a lot of money tied up in him. All these guys have risks, but Mendenhall has only really had one notable season and he's getting paid peanuts for the NFL. I think he's a longshot to be the RB2 that you bought at an RB3 price.
It's one thing to have an opinion on someones future...it hasn't occurred yet. But let's not undersell his past.

2009: 1369 YFS/8 TD's (in essentially 13 games)

2010: 1440/13

2011: 1082/9 (in essentially 14 games)

...to say that he's had one notable season I think is an unfair assessment. In 2 seasons, he was a legitimate RB1 option and 2011 he was mid-high tier RB2. Whether he was a plodder or a burner, I could put together an argument that says in each of his full seasons that weren't compromised by injury...he was a very safe/solid choice for RB.

With a roster of RB's as unimpressive as ARI has combined with the fact that Mendenhall is still very young, why would ARI want him to NOT succeed? He's the only guy on the roster that comes close to looking like a bellcow, and there is at least some possibility with none of the other RB's on the roster showing yet they are NFL caliber, that he's the only one of those. Not probable, but there is not alot of proven commodity on that roster at that position.

I can understand the pessimism with Mendenhall, but no RB you get in Round 5-6 comes without warts. And comparatively in that area of the draft...he seems a good risk. If he plays at an RB3 level...that's essentially where you drafted him.

 

Grahamburn

Footballguy
I'm seeing something close to Beanie Wells' 2011 here. Undervalued player and situation.

The Cardinals have some pretty good receivers. Say what you want about Carson Palmer, but he's a vast improvement. There's potential here for offensive production, and if Mendenhall is the workhorse back for this team he'll put up some fantasy points. RB2 production at a RB3 price.

265 carries @ 4.0 per carry is 1,060 yards. 20 receptions @ 7.4 per reception. 8 total TDs.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I'm not on a bandwagon for Ryan Williams, but he has had a lot of time to recover from his second knee injury. And I don't know much about the rookies, but my concern is that if Mendenhall is plodding along then Arians hand is going to be forced. He's going to see if he can find a spark from the bench. So maybe these guys don't do better than Mendenhall, but if he's not doing well then they're definitely going to get a chance. Personally, I'm saving that draft pick and spending it elsewhere. I'll try to find a guy with more upside or more lives remaining than Mendenhall - Arizona has only put in 1 credit for Mendenhall. If they fail to beat level 1 with him, I suspect they'll try a new player.

So what I'm saying is that he's a high risk guy. They're not going to keep feeding tokens into the machine if he's not producing. You can get Mark Ingram about 2 rounds later. At least the Saints traded up to draft him in the 1st round so I've got more hope that they'll try to make it work with him. Stewart can be had a round later than Mendenhall. That team has a lot of money tied up in him. All these guys have risks, but Mendenhall has only really had one notable season and he's getting paid peanuts for the NFL. I think he's a longshot to be the RB2 that you bought at an RB3 price.
It's one thing to have an opinion on someones future...it hasn't occurred yet. But let's not undersell his past.

2009: 1369 YFS/8 TD's (in essentially 13 games)

2010: 1440/13

2011: 1082/9 (in essentially 14 games)

...to say that he's had one notable season I think is an unfair assessment. In 2 seasons, he was a legitimate RB1 option and 2011 he was mid-high tier RB2. Whether he was a plodder or a burner, I could put together an argument that says in each of his full seasons that weren't compromised by injury...he was a very safe/solid choice for RB.

With a roster of RB's as unimpressive as ARI has combined with the fact that Mendenhall is still very young, why would ARI want him to NOT succeed? He's the only guy on the roster that comes close to looking like a bellcow, and there is at least some possibility with none of the other RB's on the roster showing yet they are NFL caliber, that he's the only one of those. Not probable, but there is not alot of proven commodity on that roster at that position.

I can understand the pessimism with Mendenhall, but no RB you get in Round 5-6 comes without warts. And comparatively in that area of the draft...he seems a good risk. If he plays at an RB3 level...that's essentially where you drafted him.
This is what I was referring to:

Mendenhall is entering his 6th NFL season with only 1 season of high per touch production - this occurred 4 seasons ago in 2009.
So again, his stat compiler seasons where he was plodding along at 4.0 ypc because he was the only horse in the stable on a playoff caliber team just aren't relevant here. What is relevant is that he has looked like a plodder ever since 2009. Just because he got to plod a LOT and he got a lot of goal line carries does not make him likely to perform well now.

So while he was a safe lineup selection in 2010 and 2011 (although he underperformed his ADP both years, by a quite a margin in 2011), he was only safe due to job security, which won't be the case in Arizona. And at no point did I imply that Arizona does not want him to succeed. Of course they do. I'm just saying they aren't going to keep giving him the ball if he isn't performing. He was a low-risk gamble for him. They bought a plodder hoping for a stud to reemerge. If his performance shows otherwise, why would they not give someone else a chance? Arians has praised Ryan Williams all offseason. I don't think he's going to stick to his guns if Mendenhall is unable to crack 4 yards a carry in his offense. That would make him look bad.

 

Anarchy99

Footballguy
I see the majority of people slamming RM or suggesting he won't have a job for long . . . to which I openly ponder WHY?

Looking at the 2009-2011 timeframe, Mendenhall ranked 13th in terms of fantasy ppg in 0 ppr leagues. He also compiled the 8th most rushing yards in the NFL in that 3 year stretch. Sure, he may not have been the most efficient back out there, but his coaches felt confident enough in him to keep giving him the ball.

His OC then is his HC now, who is now praising Mendenhall and anointing him as a three down back and featured back. While things can certainly change, it doesn't sound like there is much competition right now and Mendenhall will be seeing an ample workload each week.

He may not have a high ypc. He may not catch many passes. He may not see a ton of carries if the team gets behind. He may not even get a lot of TD opportunities if the offense is mediocre. But even so, for where he is getting drafted, he should still see a ton of carries. In some ways, he reminds me of Eddie George back in the day.

So Mendenhall may not be a sleek, sexy pick, but that doesn't mean he won't have a fair amount of fantasy utility. 265-1050-8 with 25-210-0 or in the RB15 range.

 

ol blues

Footballguy
Williams has significantly more talent than Mendenhall and, if healthy, he figures to usurp the starting role at some point during the season. Arians has made it pretty clear, however, that Mendenhall starts. To me it's a question of how soon Williams has value and, since I believe Arizona will be an improved team with an upgraded OL, Floyd's maturation and a QB who can actually play, it's hard to believe Mendenhall's time as the starter ends quickly. Mid season is my guess. 600 all purpose yards, 3 TDs.

 

jurb26

Footballguy


A 4.2-4.4YPC average is good work for him, but if he gets 250 carries, hell be worth his current draft position.

Prediction: 267 Rushes 1115 Rushes, 8 TDs 25 Receptions 159 Receiving Yards 1 TD.
A 4.2-4.4 YPC average wouldn't just be good work for him, it would be career high work for him. This is a guy who's career YPC is 4.1 and who had eclipsed that 4.1 mark only once in 5 seasons. Also, 25 receptions would be career high marks for Mendenhall as well. Given the scarcity of use of RBs in Arians run systems, I'd say that is overly optimistic. IMO Mendenhall will be lucky to get 20 receptions. Maybe that's splitting hairs but still, it's worth mentioning. I'm not nearly as bullish on Mendenhall as many in this thread it appears. I like his ADP but hate his situation. On top of his poor situation I just don't think he's that good of a RB. That somewhat is irrelevant considering the options in Arz I suppose. None the less, I'm of the opinion that Williams is the best talent on the team at RB. Of course he's perpetually injured and Mendenhall is looking like the starter so I regress that contention for now.

Overall I just don't see Arz making such leaps of progress offensively as many others do. I agree they have done things to move forward, the additions on the oline and Palmer are clearly steps in the right direction. Still, Palmer is an average QB at best right now. That does provide a decent upgrade from the abyss they had at the position last year and years prior but it doesn't inject a tidal wave of improvement like many are seeing. On top of that, the oline should get better but by how much? This was the worst unit in the NFL last year and basically has been for a couple of years. For the sake of Arz I hope Cooper turns out to to be the player they expect. If he's not, this unit will again be in contention for the worst in the NFL.

Lastly, Mendenhall has 6 games vs some of the toughest defensive teams in the league; Sea, SF and St. L. With such a poor supporting caste and such little involvement in the passing game I just don't see much potential here, for any RBs on the roster. I agree with an earlier poster who thinks at some point Williams will cut into touches. I'm not sure if I would say a full blown RBBC, that isn't in Arians nature. But enough touches that it will severely derail Mendenhall's already slim value.

240 rushes, 940 yds, 6 TDS, 20 receptions, 120 yds

Total of 1060 yds and 6 TDs. Could be a decent flex or 3rd RB option but would have to play the match ups IMO.

 
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Rhythmdoctor

Footballguy
Good year. Not massive, but good. I think everyone is undercutting his RB receptions here, given that Palmer has become king of the dump-off and that Mendenhall has been good for 1-2 a game his whole career. He's not an exceptional talent, but he's done well behind poor offensive lines in the past. I expect him to get the bulk of the work in Arizona and be both useful and unspectacular.

240 carries, 960 yds, 7 TDs; 28 receptions for 250 yards.
Hey kids, let's pick up sticksLet's make out the sounds of our bones

........

Katydid, Katydid

Ogres Ogres Ogres Ogres Ogres

 

Grahamburn

Footballguy
Williams has significantly more talent than Mendenhall and, if healthy, he figures to usurp the starting role at some point during the season. Arians has made it pretty clear, however, that Mendenhall starts. To me it's a question of how soon Williams has value and, since I believe Arizona will be an improved team with an upgraded OL, Floyd's maturation and a QB who can actually play, it's hard to believe Mendenhall's time as the starter ends quickly. Mid season is my guess. 600 all purpose yards, 3 TDs.
How could you possibly know this?

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
Good year. Not massive, but good. I think everyone is undercutting his RB receptions here, given that Palmer has become king of the dump-off and that Mendenhall has been good for 1-2 a game his whole career. He's not an exceptional talent, but he's done well behind poor offensive lines in the past. I expect him to get the bulk of the work in Arizona and be both useful and unspectacular.

240 carries, 960 yds, 7 TDs; 28 receptions for 250 yards.
Hey kids, let's pick up sticksLet's make out the sounds of our bones

........

Katydid, Katydid

Ogres Ogres Ogres Ogres Ogres
I guess you can say I just think there's a good chance that Mendenhall will Turn Into Something worthwhile at his current ADPeacebone.
 

Anarchy99

Footballguy
Williams has significantly more talent than Mendenhall and, if healthy, he figures to usurp the starting role at some point during the season. Arians has made it pretty clear, however, that Mendenhall starts. To me it's a question of how soon Williams has value and, since I believe Arizona will be an improved team with an upgraded OL, Floyd's maturation and a QB who can actually play, it's hard to believe Mendenhall's time as the starter ends quickly. Mid season is my guess. 600 all purpose yards, 3 TDs.
How could you possibly know this?
On the strength of his 2.8 ypc last year?

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I see the majority of people slamming RM or suggesting he won't have a job for long . . . to which I openly ponder WHY? Career trajectory mainly... but also attitude, throwaway contract, historically unimpressive per touch performance

Looking at the 2009-2011 timeframe, Mendenhall ranked 13th in terms of fantasy ppg in 0 ppr leagues. He also compiled the 8th most rushing yards in the NFL in that 3 year stretch. Sure, he may not have been the most efficient back out there, but his coaches felt confident enough in him to keep giving him the ball. The team was winning games with the defense and they had no worthwhile alternatives, plus they'd invested a 1st round pick in him. Additionally, it sounds cool that Mendy ranked #8 in rushing yards over that cherry picked span, but CEDRIC BENSON ranked #7. Compiling stats over 3 years =/= talent.

His OC then is his HC now, who is now praising Mendenhall and anointing him as a three down back and featured back. While things can certainly change, it doesn't sound like there is much competition right now and Mendenhall will be seeing an ample workload each week. His HC has also been praising Ryan Williams. This is the offseason. There will be a lot of praise thrown around. Also, being a 3 down back in an Arians system is not as good as it sounds.

He may not have a high ypc. He may not catch many passes. He may not see a ton of carries if the team gets behind. He may not even get a lot of TD opportunities if the offense is mediocre. But even so, for where he is getting drafted, he should still see a ton of carries. In some ways, he reminds me of Eddie George back in the day. He'll be a lot like Eddie George except he won't have 300+ carries, nor will his job be as secure. Job security is my chief concern. The volume of work will be enough to support an RB2 status, but they gave him a throwaway contract which means he gets first crack due to familiarity but if he sputters then the guy on deck gets a shot. He's also got a bit of an injury bug chasing him. He may not even be the mediocre runner he once was.

So Mendenhall may not be a sleek, sexy pick, but that doesn't mean he won't have a fair amount of fantasy utility. 265-1050-8 with 25-210-0 or in the RB15 range.
 

biju

Footballguy
Also not brought up yet: the NFC West. He has 6 games against the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams (who have a very strong defense suddenly).

I think a guy who has a 4.1 career YPC average behind the Arizona O-line is not going to do well. I think people are on his bandwagon based on the Steelers glory days and not on his talent and current situation.

I see ~200 carries for ~700 yards, and throw in a handful of TDs. He's not going to be your RB2.

 

WickedCanRest

Footballguy
Rashard Mendenhall is not a back I'm likely to own this year. We're looking at someone whose performance, in his most recent iteration in Pittsburgh, ranged from average to subpar when he was able to stay on the field. Now, transitioning to Arizona, I can't see him being much better. I know the line play in Pittsburgh in recent years has been mediocre at best, but it's not like the line in Arizona was paving a ton of road for their backs either. I do think that Mendenhall, at this stage of his career would be best served in a time share, but given the fact that he was in one in Pittsburgh and was irrelevant, I don't think there's much room for improvement here even on a per-play basis. I anticipate Ryan Williams will be the "back to own" in this Arizona backfield, but I'm also not exactly sure what that means since I don't expect this to be a great ground attack.

Barring injury, I've got Mendenhall pegged for:

100 Rushes, 325 Rushing Yards, 4 TDs, 5 Receptions, 30 Receiving Yards

 

Bayhawks

Footballguy
Rashard Mendenhall is not a back I'm likely to own this year. We're looking at someone whose performance, in his most recent iteration in Pittsburgh, ranged from average to subpar when he was able to stay on the field. Now, transitioning to Arizona, I can't see him being much better. I know the line play in Pittsburgh in recent years has been mediocre at best, but it's not like the line in Arizona was paving a ton of road for their backs either. I do think that Mendenhall, at this stage of his career would be best served in a time share, but given the fact that he was in one in Pittsburgh and was irrelevant, I don't think there's much room for improvement here even on a per-play basis. I anticipate Ryan Williams will be the "back to own" in this Arizona backfield, but I'm also not exactly sure what that means since I don't expect this to be a great ground attack.

Barring injury, I've got Mendenhall pegged for:

100 Rushes, 325 Rushing Yards, 4 TDs, 5 Receptions, 30 Receiving Yards
Barring injury? That seems like an unlikely projection. Even if you think Mendenhall is not good, the fact is that he is the starter, per Arians. Assume that he starts for the first 4 games. average 15 carries, and only 3 yards/carry. That's 60 carries. Your projection indicates that Mendenhall won't get hurt, but will only get 40 carries in the final 12 games? Less than 4 carries a game? I don't see him dropping off that cliff that much, if he doesnt' get hurt.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
Arians praising Williams is news to me. Link to said praise and comments?
The most recent praise/comment from Arians about Williams:

http://www.rotoworld.com/recent/nfl/6480/ryan-williams

However, those comments were from January and February, respectively, and since then Arians has also said he doesn't like RBBC, signed FA Mendenhall, and named Mendenhall the starter. He did "praise" Williams at one time, however.
Oh yeah, it is definitely old news. I didn't mean to imply it was new. But it just goes to show how much praise is worth in the NFL.

 

WickedCanRest

Footballguy
100 Rushes, 325 Rushing Yards, 4 TDs, 5 Receptions, 30 Receiving Yards
Are you down for a bet?
Haha based on the swift opposition (and reasonable reaction by the way, certainly not disparaging anyone) I'll pass on the bet. I just really think this turns into a pass heavy offense, with Williams usurping the lead back role. I don't know what that really leaves for Mendenhall. I could have shot a bit low, and I know the objective is to get a prediction, but in what scenario is he contributing for your fantasy backfield. What's the upside for him? An RB3? I'd rather grab a guy whose upside is RB1 or RB2 (albeit with a lower probability of hitting that level). Either way, you're probably right and I'm dinging him too much, my main point is that I see limited to no value in this role for him.

 

JPeso

Footballguy
260 rush attempts / 1060 rush yards / 9 TD ; 20 receptions / 140 rec yards = 194 PPR ; 12.1 PPR PPG

 

tdmills

Footballguy
Arizona just signed free agent RT Eric Winston.

This is a huge signing, Winston was regarded as one of the best RTs in football prior to 2012. He had a disappointing year in Kansas City, but was still a top 15 RT season.

Winston paired with 1st round pick OG Jonathan Cooper could greatly improve the OL in Arizona. I'm not expecting a top 10 season from them, but even approaching the middle of the pack would be a big upgrade.

This means more time for Carson Palmer, which helps Fitz/Roberts/Floyd/Housler and bigger running lanes for Mendenhall.

Great move by Arizona

 

Rhythmdoctor

Footballguy
Good year. Not massive, but good. I think everyone is undercutting his RB receptions here, given that Palmer has become king of the dump-off and that Mendenhall has been good for 1-2 a game his whole career. He's not an exceptional talent, but he's done well behind poor offensive lines in the past. I expect him to get the bulk of the work in Arizona and be both useful and unspectacular.

240 carries, 960 yds, 7 TDs; 28 receptions for 250 yards.
Hey kids, let's pick up sticksLet's make out the sounds of our bones

........

Katydid, Katydid

Ogres Ogres Ogres Ogres Ogres
I guess you can say I just think there's a good chance that Mendenhall will Turn Into Something worthwhile at his current ADPeacebone.
I'll be seeing them in October - a makeup show from March. One of the greatest bands around right now.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Arians has been an OC in Cleveland (2001-2003), Pittsburgh (2007-2011), and Indianapolis (2012). In all those years, he has only had a bell cow RB 3 seasons (2007-Willie Parker, 2010-Mendenhall, and 2011-Mendenhall). A large part of that is, IMO, due to the talent (or lack thereof) he had at RB. Between poor players (Cleveland/Indy), and injuries (Pittsburgh), he didn't really have the opportunity to rely on a single RB to carry the load. That being said, Arians has stated he wants one RB to carry the load, Mendenhall has been named starter, and Arians has called Mendenhall an "every-down player," & that he is in for an "outstanding season."

Arizona's O-line was horrible last year, and while it should be better with the return of Levi Brown, the addition of Cooper, and the re-shuffling that goes with those 2 additions, the RBs in Arizona have only averaged 3.99 YPC over the last 3 years. Mendenhall has only averaged 4.1 YPC in his career (although the Pittsburgh line wasn't that great the last few years, either). Mendenhall has averaged a rushing TD for every 29 carries in his career, and Arizona has (over the last 3 years) has averaged a rushing TD for every 32 carries (by RBs). Arian's RBs have averaged a rush TD for every 39 carries.

I'm going to project 375 carries for Arizona RBs this year. I will give 70% of those to Mendenhall. I also project 40 catches for Arizona RBs this year, with 23 going to Mendenhall. I will project him for 7.0 YPR.

263 carries @3.8 ypc, 999 yards, 7 rush TD, 23 receptions @7.0 YPR, 161 yards, 1 rec TD.

286 touches, 1160 total yards, 8 TD.

That is 164 FF points (non-PPR). That would have made him RB16 last year. With a current ADP of the middle/end of round 6 (pick 69), he presents value. If he/Arizona were to show improvement, those numbers could be higher, and his value would be even greater.
Good post.
 

Ghost Rider

Footballguy
So Mendenhall may not be a sleek, sexy pick, but that doesn't mean he won't have a fair amount of fantasy utility. 265-1050-8 with 25-210-0 or in the RB15 range.
That might be, but I just know I would hate my team if this guy was my number 2 RB. I'd rather stock up at WR and getting a lesser RB2 in regards to ADP who has a high ceiling if things fall just right.

 

Anarchy99

Footballguy
So Mendenhall may not be a sleek, sexy pick, but that doesn't mean he won't have a fair amount of fantasy utility. 265-1050-8 with 25-210-0 or in the RB15 range.
That might be, but I just know I would hate my team if this guy was my number 2 RB. I'd rather stock up at WR and getting a lesser RB2 in regards to ADP who has a high ceiling if things fall just right.
If you draft Mendenhall, he probably would not be drafted as your second RB drafted. His ADP is 84th overall (last pick in the 7th round in a 12 team league). If you DID draft him as your second RB, you should be STACKED at the other skilled positions, meaning that if he did end up ranked in the teens, your scoring advantage from the other guys should be pretty substantial.

 

pollardsvision

Footballguy
Mendenhall's probably the most boring topic possible, but anybody buying a little?

AZ offense looks good. Mendy with 15+ carries and 60+ yards in both games. Ellington will certainly get plenty of touches, but there should be enough to go around.

Given the state of most RB2's these days, a lot of teams are about to have to rely on him, and that might not be the worst thing in the world.

 

RGIII HTTR

Footballguy
For what it's worth...I drafted him and he's swapping in and out as a 2RB/flex. I am looking to move him and get an upgrade or more stable RB (not in competition of carries or playing time).

 

Run It Up

Footballguy
Not looking to move him as I drafted him as my RB4, but I've been forced into starting him as my RB2, I'm starting him with confidence against New Orleans this week on the shortest leash possible.

 

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