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Top 25 Rookies 2016 (1 Viewer)

EBF

Footballguy
So while what you are saying is true, the actual number of top 12 seasons one should expect based on historical data (using the best of the best) is only two seasons. So it isn't realistic to expect any RB to do much more than that.
Any 1k season is valuable, but your odds of getting one from a late round player are very low. I went back and tallied the numbers for every draft class between 1998-2010. I chose 2010 as the cutoff date because relatively few players drafted before then are still compiling 1k seasons (Peterson, Forte, Stewart, Mathews, Forsett, and handful still have a chance to add to their totals). I tried to cut out fullbacks, pure return men, defensive players, and other players listed on drafthistory who might skew the data. Here are the numbers I came up with:

% of RBs with at least one 1k+ rushing season by round:

First Round - 73.2%

Second Round - 39.3%

Third Round - 32.3%

Fourth Round - 10.8%

Fifth Round - 5.0%

Sixth Round - 10.5%

Seventh Round - 10.8%

1k rushing yards isn't the perfect gauge of a "good" FF season, but in general I think it works as an approximation. It does cut out a few pretty good players (Sproles, Marion Barber III), which may be why the 4th round looks lighter than the 5th-7th rounds, which shouldn't be the case. The general pattern is clear though: your odds of getting even one good season from a back are roughly 70% for a first round NFL draft pick, 30-40% for a 2nd-3rd round NFL draft pick, and 10% for the remaining rounds. The hit rate for the 5th-7th rounds is actually higher than I would have guessed. 10% isn't that bad.

But...that's just one good season. When you start to look for sustained success, you get the following results:

% of RBs with multiple 1k+ rushing seasons by round:

First Round - 51.2%

Second Round - 25.0%

Third Round - 19.4%

Fourth Round - 8.2%

Fifth Round - 5.0%

Sixth Round - 5.3%

Seventh Round - 2.7%

Here we see a similar pattern at the top. First round RBs are worth almost twice second round RBs, with third round lagging only slightly behind the second. There's another significant % drop to the 4th-7th round RBs, who are all single-digit percentage plays to have multiple 1k seasons. These numbers suggest that the average RB picked in the first round has a 1 in 2 chance of yielding multiple 1k seasons, whereas the average RB picked in the 5th-7th round has about a 1 in 20 chance.

This does a pretty good job of telling us how likely you are to get sustained success, but even two seasons of 1k production doesn't necessarily qualify as a great career. Players like Domanick Davis and Shonn Greene meet that mark even though I wouldn't consider them to have been great FF assets. If you become even more selective and look at players who had at least four 1k rushing seasons, you get these results:

% of RBs with at least four 1k+ rushing seasons by round:

First Round - 31.7%

Second Round - 14.3%

Third Round - 9.7%

Fourth Round - 0%

Fifth Round - 0%

Sixth Round - 0%

Seventh Round - 0%

These results are really interesting because the hit rate on 4th-7th round picks drops to zero while the hit rate on first round picks remains almost as high as the "one good season" hit rate for 2nd-3rd round picks. These results illustrate that it's nearly impossible to find a true long-term star RB outside the first three rounds. Most of the productive players beyond that range do not have any real staying power, but are instead guys who have 1-3 years of utility. I think this can be explained by things I've said previously about talent level and competition. "Successful" 4th-7th round RBs tend not to be as talented as successful 1st-3rd round RBs, and are less likely to fend off challengers in the long-term. Having said that, Michael Turner likely could have had 4+ 1k seasons if not for depth chart problems in San Diego and both Arian Foster and Priest Holmes (two UDFAs) would qualify.

Lastly, here is the "average 1k seasons" per pick per round info:

Average Career 1k Rushing Seasons by Round

First Round - 2.57

Second Round - 1.11

Third Round - 0.94

Fourth Round - 0.22

Fifth Round - 0.15

Sixth Round - 0.16

Seventh Round - 0.14

If you put any stock in these numbers, this means that we can expect the average first round RB like Zeke Elliott to yield 2.57 good seasons. A fifth round back like Paul Perkins, Jordan Howard, DeAndre Washington, or Wendell Smallwood could be expected to yield 0.15 good seasons. On average, you would need about 17 backs like Perkins and Howard to match the career value of one Elliott.

Recent seasons have seen a handful of day three/UDFA backs break the 1k rushing barrier (D Freeman, L Miller, C Ivory, L Murray, A Morris, B Green-Ellis). Some people are going to point towards this as justification for reaching on backs like Perkins, Dixon, and Howard. There's probably a viable argument that the NFL has devalued the RB position in recent years and that this will result in more viable backs falling further than they would've 20 years ago, but I think that this trend has been overstated and can be partially explained by random statistical variance in the supply of backs available. IMO the last five years of RB drafts have been a bit short on obvious elite talent compared with the drafts of the early 2000s. I still don't think the league lets great backs slide very far, and I believe that the day three successes I just mentioned earlier in this paragraph generally fit the "useful for a short time" mold and not the "great career" mold. We've already seen the most accomplished player of this group (Morris) relegated to a likely backup role in the prime of his career.

 
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Biabreakable

Footballguy
What I did is based off of fantasy points scored.

I gathered data from Pro Football Reference for all RB drafted from 1989 to 2014. So 25 years is the sample size.

There have been 300 top 12 RB seasons over this time frame and after looking at the data I found that RB with 40 or more VBD almost always had a top 12 season. There were a few instances of a RB having a top 12 season with  30ish VBD so I included those in the sample as well. A few times 40VBD was not top 12, but it was usually pretty close. I then added Priest Holmes and Arian Foster who were undrafted free agents who have had multiple 40 VBD seasons.

I then took the top 150 players on this list by points per game so as to capture the best players in terms of winning games in FF, even if only over a short time frame. Some of these players never had better than 40 VBD in any season, but 101 of these 150 RB did have at least one 40 VBD season.
The difference here is that I am only looking at the players who have been successful. I do not include seasons where a RB may have been a RB 2 or RB 3 in FF. I think the lowest any player who made my cut off was like RB 17 maybe RB 18 for end of year stats. Because of the PPG I have a few players who only did well for 6 or so games. 

What you are doing is including all players drafted by round and obviously there are more RB being taken later on in the draft than there are at the beginning. I do think you need to consider both things. Your chances of any success from a later round draft pick are much lower than a high draft pick. There are many reasons why this is and those reasons are why teams make the decisions that they do.

Thankfully I have more information about these players than just their draft position to help me avoid the landmines and find the values.

 

thriftyrocker

Footballguy
Boehringer might not even be in the league in another year, but that's kind beside the point. I can only think of one or two of my leagues where roster space has become a big problem, and those are devy leagues where the "waiting game" takes on a whole new dimension. That's just me though. I know some formats like FFPC make it very hard to keep projects for more than a year or two without getting a payoff. I know those leagues are out there, but I prefer to play in leagues where I can safely wait 2-3 years on guys like Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers if needed.
I wish there was a league deep enough where I could keep a 6th rounder for his full rookie contract but I haven't played in one yet. There's a big difference between a player like Nelson (or Rodgers or Manziel) and a player like Boehringer (or Foster or Antonio Brown). How many leagues are you in where guy who drafted Foster in the 3rd round of his true rookie season held onto him the full time? I don't think I'm in any. Most he was picked again with rookie picks in the next season. And these are deeper than 12x26. I drafted Wentz in the 2nd but can wait on him. I drafted Boehringer in the 3rd, but can I wait? I have to have positive news on him to keep him. His upside is not better than Marquez North or Kenny Lawler, and if those players made it through the draft unpicked, I am checking on positive news on them before swapping out the Kraut.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Ebf - i get why you keep going back to that,  but there are some serious flaws with drafting based on that study 

First,  I don't find stats ending in 2010 particularly compelling.  They effectively end in 2006 - since the stats require four consecutive years - and there's a general consensus that the running back position has been devalued recently.   It's like citing an article that says quarterbacks with more than 25 tds were rare before 2000.  Coincidentally,  foster had his first 1000 yard season in 2010.  

It also doesn't help that there just aren't many running backs with 4 or more 1000 yard seasons, and a lot of them get hall of fame consideration.  Saying you wouldn't take someone in the late first because they probably won't be a hall of famer sounds a little crazy.   

As the poster boy for Jonathan Stewart - a first round pick who you've strongly backed long after others gave up on him - I'm sure you know he had just one 1000 yard season, back in 2009.  Last year was a relative success for him - but he didn't crack 1000 rushing yards.  Deangelo Williams had a similar quiet period in his resume, as did Doug Martin, Trent Richardson,  Mark Ingram, that guy the Giants took who got hurt... taking a first round running back certainly doesn't guarantee success. 

I'm sure you would point out that first round picks succeed at a greater rate than fourth and fifth round picks,  and I'd totally agree.   But I devalue late round picks who are drafted into roles.  Guys who are drafted in the 4th or later with a chance to become a 3 down back are relatively rare,  but the successful later round guys like freeman (full disclosure - I ended up trading him and more away in a deal for mccoy), Lamar miller and foster seem to be guys who catch will and can score tds - guys like Dixon and Perkins.  

Fun fact - only seven players had 1000 yards rushing last year.   Four of them were first rounders,  one fourth, one sixth,  and one undrafted. Does that help or hurt the notion that only first round picks get 1000 yards? 

Before you answer that, let's look at 2014.  13 players had 1000 rushing yards.   Only one was a first round pick.  Five seconds,  three thirds, a fourth,  sixth,  seventh and an undrafted. 

In fact,  the top running backs since 2010 include Peterson,  foster,  Charles,  mccoy, gore, and lynch.  Only lynch and Peterson were first round picks.

And again - guys can be really good without 1000 yards rushing.  Fred Jackson (undrafted) was a perennial fantasy steal, and he had just one 1000 yard season. 

There are a lot of other flaws - running backs tend to get hurt,  and their shelf life from age 22 to 30 only gives them 8 years of which their age 22 and 30 seasons ate unlikely to be they're best,  so 4 seasons of counting start totals skews heavily towards guys who start right away and stay relatively healthy.  First round picks generally have a clearer path to starting right away,  so it's natural for the data to skew towards them. First round picks get more opportunities if they start slow.  And so on.   That doesn't make fourth round picks worthless, but it makes identifying potential 3 down backs in the latter rounds more valuable.  You're also skewing away from successful rbbc guys - but these days that's most of the NFL.  And so on. I get why you find it compelling.   I just don't. 

 

Alex P Keaton

Footballguy
Any 1k season is valuable, but your odds of getting one from a late round player are very low. I went back and tallied the numbers for every draft class between 1998-2010. I chose 2010 as the cutoff date because relatively few players drafted before then are still compiling 1k seasons (Peterson, Forte, Stewart, Mathews, Forsett, and handful still have a chance to add to their totals). I tried to cut out fullbacks, pure return men, defensive players, and other players listed on drafthistory who might skew the data. Here are the numbers I came up with:

% of RBs with at least one 1k+ rushing season by round:

First Round - 73.2%

Second Round - 39.3%

Third Round - 32.3%

Fourth Round - 10.8%

Fifth Round - 5.0%

Sixth Round - 10.5%

Seventh Round - 10.8%

1k rushing yards isn't the perfect gauge of a "good" FF season, but in general I think it works as an approximation. It does cut out a few pretty good players (Sproles, Marion Barber III), which may be why the 4th round looks lighter than the 5th-7th rounds, which shouldn't be the case. The general pattern is clear though: your odds of getting even one good season from a back are roughly 70% for a first round NFL draft pick, 30-40% for a 2nd-3rd round NFL draft pick, and 10% for the remaining rounds. The hit rate for the 5th-7th rounds is actually higher than I would have guessed. 10% isn't that bad.

But...that's just one good season. When you start to look for sustained success, you get the following results:

% of RBs with multiple 1k+ rushing seasons by round:

First Round - 51.2%

Second Round - 25.0%

Third Round - 19.4%

Fourth Round - 8.2%

Fifth Round - 5.0%

Sixth Round - 5.3%

Seventh Round - 2.7%

Here we see a similar pattern at the top. First round RBs are worth almost twice second round RBs, with third round lagging only slightly behind the second. There's another significant % drop to the 4th-7th round RBs, who are all single-digit percentage plays to have multiple 1k seasons. These numbers suggest that the average RB picked in the first round has a 1 in 2 chance of yielding multiple 1k seasons, whereas the average RB picked in the 5th-7th round has about a 1 in 20 chance.

This does a pretty good job of telling us how likely you are to get sustained success, but even two seasons of 1k production doesn't necessarily qualify as a great career. Players like Domanick Davis and Shonn Greene meet that mark even though I wouldn't consider them to have been great FF assets. If you become even more selective and look at players who had at least four 1k rushing seasons, you get these results:

% of RBs with at least four 1k+ rushing seasons by round:

First Round - 31.7%

Second Round - 14.3%

Third Round - 9.7%

Fourth Round - 0%

Fifth Round - 0%

Sixth Round - 0%

Seventh Round - 0%

These results are really interesting because the hit rate on 4th-7th round picks drops to zero while the hit rate on first round picks remains almost as high as the "one good season" hit rate for 2nd-3rd round picks. These results illustrate that it's nearly impossible to find a true long-term star RB outside the first three rounds. Most of the productive players beyond that range do not have any real staying power, but are instead guys who have 1-3 years of utility. I think this can be explained by things I've said previously about talent level and competition. "Successful" 4th-7th round RBs tend not to be as talented as successful 1st-3rd round RBs, and are less likely to fend off challengers in the long-term. Having said that, Michael Turner likely could have had 4+ 1k seasons if not for depth chart problems in San Diego and both Arian Foster and Priest Holmes (two UDFAs) would qualify.

Lastly, here is the "average 1k seasons" per pick per round info:

Average Career 1k Rushing Seasons by Round

First Round - 2.57

Second Round - 1.11

Third Round - 0.94

Fourth Round - 0.22

Fifth Round - 0.15

Sixth Round - 0.16

Seventh Round - 0.14

If you put any stock in these numbers, this means that we can expect the average first round RB like Zeke Elliott to yield 2.57 good seasons. A fifth round back like Paul Perkins, Jordan Howard, DeAndre Washington, or Wendell Smallwood could be expected to yield 0.15 good seasons. On average, you would need about 17 backs like Perkins and Howard to match the career value of one Elliott.

Recent seasons have seen a handful of day three/UDFA backs break the 1k rushing barrier (D Freeman, L Miller, C Ivory, L Murray, A Morris, B Green-Ellis). Some people are going to point towards this as justification for reaching on backs like Perkins, Dixon, and Howard. There's probably a viable argument that the NFL has devalued the RB position in recent years and that this will result in more viable backs falling further than they would've 20 years ago, but I think that this trend has been overstated and can be partially explained by random statistical variance in the supply of backs available. IMO the last five years of RB drafts have been a bit short on obvious elite talent compared with the drafts of the early 2000s. I still don't think the league lets great backs slide very far, and I believe that the day three successes I just mentioned earlier in this paragraph generally fit the "useful for a short time" mold and not the "great career" mold. We've already seen the most accomplished player of this group (Morris) relegated to a likely backup role in the prime of his career.
Wouldn't this argue for selling any RBs from later rounds....entering a year immediately after having a great fantasy season?  A guy like D Freeman, for example, if you believe this analysis still holds true....should be on your sell high list.

Anyway, appreciate the post.

 

Captain Cranks

Footballguy
I wish there was a league deep enough where I could keep a 6th rounder for his full rookie contract but I haven't played in one yet. There's a big difference between a player like Nelson (or Rodgers or Manziel) and a player like Boehringer (or Foster or Antonio Brown). How many leagues are you in where guy who drafted Foster in the 3rd round of his true rookie season held onto him the full time? I don't think I'm in any. Most he was picked again with rookie picks in the next season. And these are deeper than 12x26. I drafted Wentz in the 2nd but can wait on him. I drafted Boehringer in the 3rd, but can I wait? I have to have positive news on him to keep him. His upside is not better than Marquez North or Kenny Lawler, and if those players made it through the draft unpicked, I am checking on positive news on them before swapping out the Kraut.
You need to start playing 32-team IDP leagues.  32 teams x 35-45 roster spots and only one player pool.  They're a ton of fun.  

 

EBF

Footballguy
I'm sure you would point out that first round picks succeed at a greater rate than fourth and fifth round picks,  and I'd totally agree.   But I devalue late round picks who are drafted into roles.  Guys who are drafted in the 4th or later with a chance to become a 3 down back are relatively rare,  but the successful later round guys like freeman (full disclosure - I ended up trading him and more away in a deal for mccoy), Lamar miller and foster seem to be guys who catch will and can score tds - guys like Dixon and Perkins. 
I don't think we're really going to see to eye to eye on this. I think you overrate immediate opportunity. I think a lot of owners do. You can see it in the ADP of rookies like Booker, Dixon, and Howard. A lot of people just want the instant reward. I have a fundamental philosophical difference compared with people who think and make decisions that way, and it's reflected in my rankings. Players like Perkins and Dixon probably don't have much of a chance of being long-term three down backs in the NFL. That was one of the things I was trying to point out. At best, they are likely to be stopgap guys in the NFL. Another 8-10 backs of equivalent or better talent will enter the NFL in the next draft cycle to potentially displace those guys if they're even good enough to win the starting job as rookies. If you want to roll with those guys then that's your, but we can :blackdot: this for later and return to it in a few years when I suspect we'll see that they were no better than mediocre like I'm saying.

That's not to say that opportunity isn't a factor. It definitely is. Two of the guys you mentioned (Stewart and DeAngelo) would've had better careers in better situations. Michael Turner is another who likely would've had a better overall career with a different landing spot. Others like Shonn Greene and Mike Anderson owe a lot of their success to being in the right place at the right time. Stick those guys behind LT or in that Carolina backfield and they probably never emerge as anything useful.

Where I think we disagree is in the relationship between talent and long-term opportunity. You seem to be treating guys like Dixon and Perkins as if their rosters are static and their teams won't look to upgrade RB in future seasons. IMO that's not realistic. A mediocre player like Zac Stacy can thrive in a small window if his team has no one better, but these players don't last because their teams inevitably seek to upgrade after a year or two. That "great opportunity" that you're buying with Paul Perkins is going to look a lot worse if/when the Giants dip into the draft for a Chubb, Fournette, McCaffrey, etc. Then you'll be back at square one next year trying to fill the same hole on your roster with another second-rate RB prospect.

I don't look at Perkins and Dixon as "possible three down backs" in the same sense that you do. Sure, they might be good enough to have one top 15-20 season if everything breaks absolutely right for them, but I see nothing about them to indicate that they will be relevant in the long haul. They're just this year's version of Buck Allen and David Cobb. You might get one decent season from them ala Chester Taylor or Zac Stacy. Even that's unlikely though. Mediocrity will never last in the NFL. That's just not the nature of the beast. In the long run, the cream always rises and the s*** always sinks. So when it comes to burning high picks on these dime-a-dozen backs, I will respond with the same quote you gave me: "I get why you find it compelling.   I just don't."

 

valhallan

Footballguy
To be fair, any immediate opportunity for RBs usually brings inflated trade value. If dynasty is about building assets, that quick value spike can be really helpful.

 

Snorkelson

Footballguy
"Burning high picks" isn't what's happening here. An early-mid 2nd in a weak draft class. Sure david Cobb flopped, but the opportunity was there and you can move on. All the data on 1k rushing seasons is great, but we are comparing guys like Perkins to a guy like Williams, who some think has a better skill set to be a 3 down back. There are maybe 4 backs in the nfl that are safe from being replacd next year, but it's it's not like next years draft class is going to suddenly all become monster nfl starters either. If you're drafting Perkins in the first expecting a rb1 that's unrealistic, but in mid 2nd I like his value and opportunity over a more talented guy buried behind solid vets. I'm not sure how we got comparing Elliott to 15 Perkins.  Under this philosophy any Rawls or david Johnson owner should have already sold high, and maybe they should have. But if you drafted Rawls and held him while he was on the psquad knowing that a lynch injury might be all he needs, that situation played out and Rawls now has a lot of value (even more 2 months ago). Should we bump prosise up our boards since he was drafted higher than Rawls and therefore has a significantly better chance to be a good nfl back? Or Michael for that matter, since he's drafted the highest? Apply your philosophy to just the Seattle backfield and rate their backs.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Ebf, I agree with you that the odds are against guys drafted in the 4th and 5th succeeding - but we both know that some do.   I'm more interested in discussing the formula for identifying who will succeed long term and who won't, than just saying don't draft 4th and 5th round running backs.

I have articulated why I think they are good - at a basic level,  because I think they can run, catch, and score and they have immediate opportunity to show it in situations where they are good fits for good offenses.  It's a pretty simple formula.  

I believe that there are well over 32 guys in the NFL who could be successful running backs.   I don't believe the best 32 have starting jobs.  The very best guys have risen to the top as you say,  but there are a lot of guys who get a chance due to injury and play well when called upon.   

When a team has two good backs who do similar things usually one becomes the starter and one the backup.  When they gave two guys with different strengths they usually form a committee.  That sucks for both guys' value,  but it doesn't happen by accident.  When one guy is really good at one thing,  they usually either try to find someone else who's good at the other thing or find someone who's better across the board.  The Giants did that when they drafted Williams and added vereen.  Neither worked out quite as well as they'd hoped.  They also added Jennings, who runs better than Williams but doesn't catch better than vereen, yet he still gets receiving duties on early downs because bringing in vereen totally tips your hand.   I was hopeful that they would use vereen as a runner more on early downs - he was good at it in new England and the Giants talked about it last year - but it never panned out.

I think they drafted Perkins because they believe Perkins could be a 3 down back.  I get that you don't like him, but set that aside for a minute because it doesn't matter if you like him better than Jonathan Williams or even if the team would rather have taken Williams.  What matters is how the team sees him in their current backfield mix and if they see him as a quality NFL starter. Here's some quotes from their oc.  

“This guy is someone who is able to play on first and second down and do the things you want him to do as far as run the football and pass protect and also his versatility on third downs,” said offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

“Perkins has such great versatility,” Sullivan added. “This is a guy who was a leader on his team, very bright. Here is someone that can have the good hands to catch the football out of the backfield. You talk about third down and it is really the mental aspect of it, being able to have the awareness of who you have to block to protect the quarterback and he has that and he gets the tough yards.

“He has shown the ability off of his college tape to take the ball, hit the homerun ball, so to speak, so there is just some versatility that makes us very excited to see if he can be someone that can be, not necessarily a situational guy, but a guy that can be there for all three downs.”

Some of that is coach speak.  A lot of it.   But take out all the words like good,  great, and excited and focus on what he's really saying - a 3 down back who can get tough yards or a homerun, who can catch the ball or pass protect.  He says versatility 3 times and specifically says not a situational guy.  That's how they see him.   

Now look at what Carroll said about prosise.  I don't have quotes in front of me,  but Carroll was raving about his guy,  too.  The difference is,  he focused on things like He can catch the ball like a receiver.  He can run.  We can change the play from a pass to a run and move him from receiver to running back.   What he didn't say?  Tough yards.  3 down back.  He talked about versatility, too, but in a very different way. 

Now look at John fox talking about Howard in his backfield saying glowing things like we'll use "whoever has a hot hand". That sounds more like a time share committee where one guy could emerge with a larger share of carries or touchdowns, but nobody's really talking about Howard getting a 3 down workload because he's such a good receiver.  

That's meaningful to me - not because I think it means Perkins is "more talented" than prosise or Howard, but because I think it means the Giants are looking at him for the most valuable role in fantasy football - the guy who gets receptions and touchdowns and yards all around the field.  The guy who can have a big game against a bad run defense and have another good game against a tough run d by catching 6 balls out of the backfield.  

And that's consistent with what I see when I watch him,  and look at his combine numbers.  A guy with good elusiveness who looks decent at everything.  I totally get the other side - he doesn't have elite power or elite speed,  and even if he's successful he could get replaced - and that's why he lasted in the draft.  But he also could pop, and he's in a situation where he will get a chance.  

Compare that with other fourth and fifth rounders who are one sided players like I'm afraid Howard is,  or who might be "better" but are drafted into clear backup roles like Jonathan Williams, or who might have a 3 down skill set but get drafted by a team that wants to use them situationally, like Jerrick McKinnon.  Some of those guys might emerge eventually, but waiting for the talent to rise to the top is just another factor against them because they are racing against the clock to get their opportunity before the team drafts the next next big thing. 

As you say, the odds of finding a 3 down back in the late rounds aren't good,  but if you eliminate a large number of those guys, the odds of finding that 3 down starter in the late rounds goes way up. 

 
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EBF

Footballguy
Under this philosophy any Rawls or david Johnson owner should have already sold high, and maybe they should have. But if you drafted Rawls and held him while he was on the psquad knowing that a lynch injury might be all he needs, that situation played out and Rawls now has a lot of value (even more 2 months ago). Should we bump prosise up our boards since he was drafted higher than Rawls and therefore has a significantly better chance to be a good nfl back? Or Michael for that matter, since he's drafted the highest? Apply your philosophy to just the Seattle backfield and rate their backs.
There is a difference between applying odds to players who haven't played a snap and applying odds to players who have already shown something in the NFL. I wouldn't say that Johnson and Rawls are "proven" or that there's no bust risk with them, but at the very least they've shown some degree of talent and viability. That's more than a lot of 3rd round picks and UDFAs will ever do, which changes how you should view them.

Also, the price of entry is a big variable that you always have to consider. Thomas Rawls was a UDFA and cost nothing to acquire in most leagues besides a waiver pick and a roster spot. There was very little opportunity cost in rostering him because he cost nothing. You weren't passing up anything to take a chance on him. I have no problem with teams using roster spots to take chances on longshots. It's worth a shot if you have the space. UDFAs as a group are their own beast entirely since there are LOTS of them (every team signs a bunch of them every year). There have been a few major successes (Foster, Holmes, F Jackson). As a group though, their hit rate is abysmal. It just looks decent because there are so many of them (so many lottery tickets), that inevitably 1-2 pan out every few years.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
EBF I recall you saying that you enjoy evaluating RB. What I hear are a bunch of excuses why the majority of RB are not worth evaluating.

 

EBF

Footballguy
Biabreakable said:
EBF I recall you saying that you enjoy evaluating RB. What I hear are a bunch of excuses why the majority of RB are not worth evaluating.
You might want to get your hearing checked then. I've looked at all the backs who were drafted.

That doesn't mean they aren't extreme longshots for any kind of meaningful career.

 

coolnerd

Footballguy
:yes:

I think it's objectively weak. Let's look at the number of skill players drafted in the top 100:


 


QB


RB


WR


TE


2016


7


4


9


3


2015


4


8


14


4


2014


5


8


15


7


2013


4


6


11


6


2012


7


8


15


3


2011


7


8


11


3


2010


4


7


13


5
I am glad to see this breakdown.  I was feeling like I was making 3rd round decisions as early as the late 1st/early 2nd in my drafts. the numbers seem to reflect this idea. 

 

Zdravko

Footballguy
The Freeman vs. Hill example is flawed. I personally preferred Freeman over Hill, but there is no way of telling which one would have been more valuable in dynasty when all is said and done. Freeman looked good for a while last year when he was operating alone; so did Hill before that. That's the value of short-term opportunity, isn't it? Yet both are young enough, in fluid situations, and neither is elite enough to dominate carries like a Peterson or Gurley. So how surprised would you be if Coleman does to Freeman's value what Gio does to Hill's? 

The Alfred Morris = Paul Perkins example is also flawed. For every Alf, there are 5 Andre Williams. Good luck figuring out which one is any good and which one can last more than a Zac-Stacy year. 

The Thomas Rawls example is irrelevant. The debate here comes down to how much value does a Paul-Perkins type really have, and is it worth spending a 1st rounder on him. Thomas Rawls was never in the discussion for a 1st round rookie pick. That's like saying "I will draft every UDFA RB and end up with a Foster / Rawls 1-2 punch, because clearly opportunity is more important talent at the RB position."

At the end of the day, both Fred and EBF are right. Fred's approach is probably more conducive to the two-three year dynasty stretch, so he is looking for immediate impact. After that, you leave or rebuild. Makes perfect sense. Conversely, EBF is in for the longer hawl, so he is looking for lasting talent - that makes perfect sense, too. Both approaches seem perfectly legit; I see no big contradiction between their two sets of rankings. 

 

Shutout

Footballguy
I'll keep it short:

I think Perkins and Howard are two RBs that will have a lot of value relative to their draft spot and the way things are run in Chicago wit their philosophy, if Howard can stake a claim to the job this year, I don't think he gets wally-pipped.

 

Madden Curse

Footballguy
Great write-up.  I find myself more unimpressed by this rookie class than I can ever recall since I started playing fantasy football.  I'd be happy to have the 1.1/Zeke, but I wouldn't make an effort to trade for he or the pick, because the expectations are through the roof.  And I wouldn't make any other trade-ups because I just don't care about any of the other rookies.  This year I'm either taking whoever falls or (ideally) trading out of the early rounds to pick up picks for 2017.

 
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Hankmoody

Footballguy
This really gets at the heart of the matter. You are absolutely right that a guy like Perkins or Dixon could be the best back on his team, and that merely being so would give him value. But...you're looking at a one year window. This is a dynasty thread. Dynasty leagues go for multiple years. That means you don't just have to consider how your player fits into his immediate situation, but also how he might fare in a variety of future situations. So, using the Madden analogy, what happens in the next draft cycle when these players enter the draft pool?
Mining talent/opportunity and making trades are a big part of a dynasty league though.  Perhaps bigger because, unlike the draft, it's not limited to once per year.  You've got about 6 months to move a guy for a profit.

 So, using the Madden analogy, what happens in the next draft cycle when these players enter the draft pool?

Chubb - 95

Fournette - 85

Cook - 80

Freeman - 80

Perine - 75

McCaffrey - 75

Mixon - 70

Hood - 65

Hunt - 65

That's a lot of bullets to dodge. Any RB drafted in the top 100 would probably spell calamity for a situationally-dependent mediocrity like Perkins or Booker. This is exactly what happened with Zac Stacy, who was overdrafted a few years ago the same way that so many of this year's backs have been. He had a nice rookie year, but...the Rams found a more talented back the very next year in Tre Mason. Tre Mason had a nice rookie year, but...the Rams found a more talented back the very next year in Todd Gurley. That's life in the NFL. That's why the active rushing leaders list is populated by talent monsters and not short-term opportunity benefaciaries. To have any staying power whatsoever in the league, a RB basically has to be among the top 15-25 players in the entire league at his position. Some of the guys we've talked about are barely locks for the top 15 just within their draft class alone. 

The less talented the player, the more at-risk he'll be of getting Pipped. So why would I use a high rookie pick in a dynasty league on a player like Paul Perkins or Jordan Howard who is a dime-a-dozen talent in the NFL? The only justification for me is if there's nobody better on the board, you desperately need that instant production (which is far from guaranteed), and/or you plan to trade if/when he pops (which is also far from guaranteed). 

You don't pay Mercedes prices for a Honda. I wouldn't say that a 2nd round rookie pick qualifies as "Mercedes prices", but you get the idea. If you are passing on quality prospects like Jared Goff and Hunter Henry to roll the dice on Booker or Howard, you aren't filling holes in your lineup - you are just creating holes in your future lineup by passing on guys who could be multi-year starters for players who will be out of the league in three years. 

Having said all that, I understand that in some formats a 10% chance at Alfred Morris might be worth more than a 50% chance at Heath Miller or Matt Ryan. I get that. I also get that some people look at these players purely as trade commodities, and that a mediocre RB is more likely to pop immediately, as Stacy did a couple years ago. 

All the same, I have a tough time justifying the ADP for most of these guys. If you want a crappy and imminently-replaceable RB, you can get one much later than where Booker/Howard/Perkins are going. 
This is the conversation I was trying to open up a couple of weeks ago about this year's draft.  You don't need to hit that 10% chance of Alfred Morrris, you can go for a 40% chance to get Tre Mason and flip him. You can catch fire with Jeremy Hill and sell high.  You can trade Karlos Williams for a future 1st and 2nd and pocket your profit.

Finding those 65's that were going to get a chance to flash and move them for better future equity was the goal of that thread.  Most people didn't get that and turned it into a "who will stick" thread but there was a little in there to glean.  Sure, we all wanted to trade down/out/get future picks for those picks, but that wasn't always possible.  So in the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, I drafted guys like Perkins or Smallwood or Deandre Washington in the mid rounds with the intention of flipping them as soon as they see a big spike in value.

 

EBF

Footballguy
Mining talent/opportunity and making trades are a big part of a dynasty league though.  Perhaps bigger because, unlike the draft, it's not limited to once per year.  You've got about 6 months to move a guy for a profit.

This is the conversation I was trying to open up a couple of weeks ago about this year's draft.  You don't need to hit that 10% chance of Alfred Morrris, you can go for a 40% chance to get Tre Mason and flip him. You can catch fire with Jeremy Hill and sell high.  You can trade Karlos Williams for a future 1st and 2nd and pocket your profit.

Finding those 65's that were going to get a chance to flash and move them for better future equity was the goal of that thread.  Most people didn't get that and turned it into a "who will stick" thread but there was a little in there to glean.  Sure, we all wanted to trade down/out/get future picks for those picks, but that wasn't always possible.  So in the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, I drafted guys like Perkins or Smallwood or Deandre Washington in the mid rounds with the intention of flipping them as soon as they see a big spike in value.
I think that's a better idea than just drafting them and holding them. On the other hand, I always wonder how many people who adopt this strategy actually follow through with it versus how many buy the hype for their own guys and convince themselves that they have a long-term nucleus player on their hands. I know that I wasn't shopping Tre Mason hard after his rookie year. Maybe I should've been, but he was a somewhat high pick and I thought he played well as a rookie. I have seen similar things happen with guys like Julius Jones and Zac Stacy. In hindsight we know that they were never very good, but it was hard to know that for sure after their rookie year. This may not apply to you specifically, but I think a lot of people who go into it with the intention of flipping the player will still get caught holding the bag. How many David Johnson, Thomas Rawls, and Devonta Freeman owners are shopping those guys hard right now? I'd guess that most of their owners want to keep them because they believe they will keep producing. I think most people adopt that mindset once one of their guys seems to break out.

Apart from that, flipping them after they show some potential is also a strategy that's dependent on your leaguemates making bad decisions and overpaying for short-term flukes, which may or may not work in every league.

 

Hankmoody

Footballguy
I agree that's a different hazard, getting too attached to your guys.  But this is a strategy I have leaned to trust myself on - if I don't like the guy, I find it relatively easy to cut bait and sell high.  There's also the hazard of selling a guy that ends up defying your belief (Freeman) and you end up short.  Like anything else in FF though, you're gonna win some and you're gonna miss some.  If the wins outweight the misses you keep doing it and if the misses out weight the wins you evaluate what you're doing wrong and fix it.  When it's the only good alternative though, like this year's early/mid draft mostly class is, I'm pretty comfortable going with it.

I don't think it's just about leaguemates making "bad decisions", if you find someone looking for a hot hand now to try to push/compete or are looking to cover and injury that can be a win/win.

 

jwb

Footballguy
How many David Johnson, Thomas Rawls, and Devonta Freeman owners are shopping those guys hard right now? I'd guess that most of their owners want to keep them because they believe they will keep producing. I think most people adopt that mindset once one of their guys seems to break out.
I agree that most will want to keep them, but I am seeing these three guys offered by people I consider fairly smart FF players. I've played long enough to know this is the exact type of player who is fools gold more often than not. We both recently saw Johnson + minor stuff score Hopkins in a .5 rb ppr league. Essentially, Johnson needs to almost become ADP for that to be a win.

 
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FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
I think we're watching two people on two fairly extreme ends of the spectrum here with most of the rest of us likely falling somewhere in the middle.

Like Bia, I think short-term opportunity does play a big role in these things, but I'm not willing to just set aside any thoughts about long-term success.  If I just wanted a guy to plug in for a year or two I'd trade the pick for an old established back. 

Likewise, I have several concerns on the other side as well.  Namely...

1) EBF's data about long-term success is striking at first glance, until you really notice just how out of date it is.  To qualify for the 4+ seasons mark, we're talking only about guys drafted in 2006 or before.  I think we can all agree that a 4th round RB drafted in 2016 is VERY different than a 4th round RB from 2006 or before.  Bia's data on the top FF RBs the last few years shows us that just on the guys that are already going, there are several already well on their way there, and more even that have already hit it but didn't qualify for the stud.

2) This hasn't been mentioned yet but the FF community is pretty good at identifying which of these late round RBs should be targeted and that improves your odds some.  Yeah when we include ALL late round RBs in the measure of the percentage that work out the numbers get very small, but the FF community isn't interested in ALL late round RBs.  They're interested in certain late round RBs.

That is to say there were dozens of undrafted free agent RBs in 2009, but people weren't spending FF assets to get all of them.  They were interested in Arian Foster and maybe one or two others.  Arian Foster wasn't one out of 20, he was one out of 2 or 3.

Likewise there were plenty of RBs drafted in the 6th or later in 2012.  But no one was spending early rookie picks on Cyrus Gray or Terrance Ganaway.  They were spending them on Alfred Morris.  Yet guys like Gray and Ganaway, who the fantasy community never really had any interest in, count against the percentages.

Likewise this year.  People aren't spending 1st round fantasy picks on 4th rounder Tyler Ervin.  They're spending them on 4th rounders Dixon/Booker.  Some of the work has likely already been done.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of Jonathan Franklins or Vick Ballards that the fantasy community likes but don't end up doing anything, just that the real percentages are higher if we look specifically at the rookies that are actually being drafted higher than their NFL draft status indicates.

3) EBF has harped on Zac Stacy as the poster-boy for "these guys are replaceable even if they play well for a year or so", but isn't his situation kind of unique?  I can't think of many other guys that rushed for ~1000 yards and then were essentially replaced before the next season even started.  I'm sure there are others out there I'm not thinking of, but how likely is this to happen, really?

 

EBF

Footballguy
data about long-term success is striking at first glance, until you really notice just how out of date it is.  To qualify for the 4+ seasons mark, we're talking only about guys drafted in 2006 or before.  I think we can all agree that a 4th round RB drafted in 2016 is VERY different than a 4th round RB from 2006 or before.  Bia's data on the top FF RBs the last few years shows us that just on the guys that are already going, there are several already well on their way there, and more even that have already hit it but didn't qualify for the stud.
I don't personally buy the devaluation argument much. Here is the # of RBs picked in the top 100 since 2006 (the year you mentioned):

2016 - 4

2015 - 8

2014 - 8

2013 - 6

2011 - 8

2010 - 7

2009 - 6

2008 - 11

2007 - 10

2006 - 8

I don't see a huge drop there. Most years are around 8, give or take a couple based on variance. This year's class happens to be exceptionally weak. I don't think this means that Dixon/Booker/etc are any more talented than the type of RBs who would've fallen to the 4th ten years ago. I think they're the same guys. They are ordinary and replaceable. If they'd come into the league ten years ago, teams still would've seen that.

I also don't buy that the FF audience is good at identifying which guys are featured back material and which aren't. Sproles and MJD fell deeper in rookie drafts than conventional three down backs because of their size, but ended up having two of the best careers of any RB picked in their draft round. Meanwhile numerous community favorites have failed to make an impact. And even if the FF community could double the hit rate through keen filtering and judgment, that would only move these deep day three guys (rounds 5-7) from having an expected yield of 0.15 good seasons to 0.30 good seasons. That's not a terribly exciting proposition at the ADP of a guy like Howard or Perkins. 

Ironically, I have been accused of "putting too much faith in your ability to identify talent" when I am actually the one arguing that draft position is the best single variable to rely on. I have provided the concrete data and the other side has provided the excuses. Anyone who thinks they are going to outsmart the NFL and consistently find quality RBs who fell to the 4th-5th round of the NFL draft is playing a fool's game. Teams are good enough at identifying top talent not to let that happen with great regularity, which is what the data I provided shows. 

At the end of the day, some people can't be reasoned with. They will chase the jackpot regardless of what the numbers say. That's why Las Vegas will never go broke. 

And of course if one of these RBs does well next season these same people will come serving a feast of crow, but they miss the point. You can bet pocket deuces against pocket aces and occasionally you will win. That doesn't mean it was a good decision. I think sticking to the objective odds and only making minor deviations based on your subjective judgment will be a better long-term strategy than consistently trying to turn water into wine with prospects that the NFL has judged as insignificant. 

 
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Biabreakable

Footballguy
Here are the players drafted in the first 3 rounds from 2006 to 2014 who have had more than one successful season ( a successful season being defined as top 12ish at their position.

3 or more good seasons:

Chris Johnson

Adrian Peterson

Marshawn Lynch

Reggie Bush

DeAngelo Williams

Joseph Addai

Jamaal Charles

Two good seasons:

Doug Martin

Mark Ingram

Ryan Mathews

Rashard Mendenhall

Le'Veon Bell

Eddie Lacy

LeSean McCoy

Matt Forte

Ray Rice

DeMarco Murray.

It is an exceptionally high bar being set to expect any RB to achieve more than one top 12 season.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Likewise there were plenty of RBs drafted in the 6th or later in 2012.  But no one was spending early rookie picks on Cyrus Gray or Terrance Ganaway.  They were spending them on Alfred Morris.  Yet guys like Gray and Ganaway, who the fantasy community never really had any interest in, count against the percentages.
Alfred Morris (like Marques Colston & Russell Wilson) was not an early fantasy pick until late in the offseason, after he played extremely well in camp and was a favorite to start. He wasn't even an option in the July Shark Pool rookie polls which went through pick 2.11.

If we look at rd 4+ RBs who were going in the first 18 picks of rookie drafts (according to Shark Pool polls for standard leagues in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016), we get this list:

1.07 Kenneth Dixon (2016 pick 134)
1.09 Marcus Lattimore (2013 pick 131)
1.09 Devontae Booker (2016 pick 136)
1.10 Delone Carter (2011 pick 119)
1.10 Jonathan Franklin (2013 pick 125)
1.11 Devonta Freeman (2014 pick 103)
1.12 Lamar Miller (2012 pick 97)
2.01 Roy Helu (2011 pick 105)
2.02 Zac Stacy (2013 pick 160)
2.04 Kendall Hunter (2011 pick 115)
2.04 Jay Ajayi (2015 pick 149)
2.06 Andre Williams (2014 pick 113)

With Perkins (pick 149) and perhaps Howard (pick 150) in line to join this list as this year's polls continue.

This group has had more success than the average 4th rounder, but it's worth noting that the two big successes (Miller & Freeman) were also the earliest picks in the NFL draft (30ish spots before Dixon & Booker) and that none of these guys went as early as Dixon in fantasy drafts.

 

ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
Here are the players drafted in the first 3 rounds from 2006 to 2014 who have had more than one successful season ( a successful season being defined as top 12ish at their position.

3 or more good seasons:

Chris Johnson - 1st round pick

Adrian Peterson- 1st round pick

Marshawn Lynch - 1st round pick

Reggie Bush - 1st round pick

DeAngelo Williams - 1st round pick

Joseph Addai - 1st round pick

Jamaal Charles - 3rd round pick

Two good seasons:

Doug Martin - 1st round pick

Mark Ingram - 1st round pick

Ryan Mathews - 1st round pick

Rasher Mendenhall - 1st round pick

Le'Veon Bell - 2nd round pick

Eddie Lacy - 2nd round pick

LeSean McCoy - 2nd round pick

Matt Forte - 2nd round pick

Ray Rice - 2nd round pick

DeMarco Murray. - 3rd round pick

It is an exceptionally high bar being set to expect any RB to achieve more than one top 12 season.
basically if you want a longterm FF starter get ones picked in the first round of the NFL draft.  If you want a short-term replaceable guy then picking these later round scrubs is an ok investment...as long as you turn them for profit once they show any kind of potential as they aren't gonna stick around.

 

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
basically if you want a longterm FF starter get ones picked in the first round of the NFL draft.  If you want a short-term replaceable guy then picking these later round scrubs is an ok investment...as long as you turn them for profit once they show any kind of potential as they aren't gonna stick around.
You realize that is a list specifically of players drafted in the first 3 rounds, right?

 

ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
You realize that is a list specifically of players drafted in the first 3 rounds, right?
yes, and 6 of the 7 who had 3+ top 12 seasons were 1st round picks.  If including the 4th and later round scrubs the odds of them having 3+ top 12 years would be horrible.

If you want a stud long-term RB they are coming from the top 2 rounds of NFL draft, and probably from round 1.  Sure you can get lucky 5% or less of the time with a 4th or later guy but they aren't worth drafting in the 1st round of rookie drafts.  Those guys are lottery tickets, not worth any kind of big investment.  Seeing those guys being drafted so high in rookie drafts is mind boggling.

 

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
yes, and 6 of the 7 who had 3+ top 12 seasons were 1st round picks.  If including the 4th and later round scrubs the odds of them having 3+ top 12 years would be horrible.

If you want a stud long-term RB they are coming from the top 2 rounds of NFL draft, and probably from round 1.  Sure you can get lucky 5% or less of the time with a 4th or later guy but they aren't worth drafting in the 1st round of rookie drafts.  Those guys are lottery tickets, not worth any kind of big investment.  Seeing those guys being drafted so high in rookie drafts is mind boggling.
One day you can explain to me how a data set that includes only players drafted in the first 3 rounds says anything about players drafted in the 4th round or later.

While you're at it, explain to me how a study that shows that zero long-term RBs have come from the 2nd round shows that a long-term RB is going to likely come from the 1st or 2nd round.

If you include guys drafted in the 4th or later (Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, Fred Jackson, DeMarco Murray, Michael Turner, etc) then all of the sudden the 1st round isn't 80% any more, and your statement would be "if you want a stud long-term RB they are coming from either round 1 or round 4+ of the NFL draft".  Obviously not a super useful data set.

 
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ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
One day you can explain to me how a data set that includes only players drafted in the first 3 rounds says anything about players drafted in the 4th round or later.

If you include guys drafted in the 4th or later (Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, Fred Jackson, DeMarco Murray, Michael Turner, etc) then all of the sudden the 1st round isn't 80% any more.  In fact, if we did the same study of non-1st round RBs we'd be up around 80% for the RBs drafted in the 4th or later.  So is your assertion then that that 4th+ round RBs are more likely to have 3+ top 12 seasons than 2nd or 3rd round RBs?  Because that's what that data you're using says.
Of course there are exceptions.  But even the guys you listed are iffy.  Morris, F.Jackson, Murry, Turner had a few good years, but not longterm top notch production.   None of those guys were ever highly coveted in dynasty FF outside of Foster.

Either way i don't care, i love when people jump on the later round RB scrubs hoping to hit it big.  2-5% of the time they do, unfortunately they waste picks 95% of the time doing it.

It's fine taking shots on them later in drafts, but these super long shots are being drafted in the 1st round of rookie drafts.

 
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FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
Of course there are exceptions.  But even the guys you listed are iffy.  Morris, F.Jackson, Murry, Turner had a few good years, but not longterm top notch production.   None of those guys were ever highly coveted in dynasty FF outside of Foster.
It wasn't about exceptions.  It was about you using data including only players from the first 3 rounds to somehow draw conclusions about players not drafted in the first 3 rounds.  And then on top of that, doubling down by quoting the dominance of 1st and 2nd round RBs in having 3+ top fantasy seasons while not realizing that there are nearly as many 4th+ round RBs with 3+ top fantasy seasons as there are 1st and 2nd rounders.

It's like looking at a study of WRs drafted from 20-25 and concluding that WRs drafted in the 21-23 range are much better so they should be picked over WRs drafted in the top 5.  It doesn't make sense to draw any conclusions about WRs drafted in the top 5 from a data set that doesn't include them.

Besides all that, yes Dixon and Booker are going very high relative to their draft spot this year but this year is a bit of an outlier in that it's just about the weakest FF rookie draft most of us have ever participated in.  It's the first time I can ever recall the value of draft picks going down as the draft approaches instead of the other way around.  I got better offers for my 1.12 pick last year than I did for my 1.05 this year.  But some people can't adjust to that in their definition of being "drafted high".  It's not like 4th round RBs are regularly being drafted in the 1st round of fantasy drafts.  How many other 4th+ round RBs have had an ADP in the 1st round of fantasy drafts?  Jonathan Franklin is the only one I can think of.

It's not like the WRs are looking much better by the time Booker is going off the board (1.11 adp).  At that point we're talking about WRs drafted almost as late in the NFL draft, with less of an opportunity to start, and at a position of far less need.

 

ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
It wasn't about exceptions.  It was about you using data including only players from the first 3 rounds to somehow draw conclusions about players not drafted in the first 3 rounds.  And then on top of that, doubling down by quoting the dominance of 1st and 2nd round RBs in having 3+ top fantasy seasons while not realizing that there are nearly as many 4th+ round RBs with 3+ top fantasy seasons as there are 1st and 2nd rounders.

It's like looking at a study of WRs drafted from 20-25 and concluding that WRs drafted in the 21-23 range are much better so they should be picked over WRs drafted in the top 5.  It doesn't make sense to draw any conclusions about WRs drafted in the top 5 from a data set that doesn't include them.

Besides all that, yes Dixon and Booker are going very high relative to their draft spot this year but this year is a bit of an outlier in that it's just about the weakest FF rookie draft most of us have ever participated in.  It's the first time I can ever recall the value of draft picks going down as the draft approaches instead of the other way around.  I got better offers for my 1.12 pick last year than I did for my 1.05 this year.  But some people can't adjust to that in their definition of being "drafted high".  It's not like 4th round RBs are regularly being drafted in the 1st round of fantasy drafts.  How many other 4th+ round RBs have had an ADP in the 1st round of fantasy drafts?  Jonathan Franklin is the only one I can think of.

It's not like the WRs are looking much better by the time Booker is going off the board (1.11 adp).  At that point we're talking about WRs drafted almost as late in the NFL draft, with less of an opportunity to start, and at a position of far less need.
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/rush_yds_career.htm

break down the rounds these guys were drafted in.  it's filled with high draft picks.

People are taking guys like Booker/Dixon/etc ahead of Fuller who was drafted in the top 20 of the NFL draft.  That makes no sense any way you look at it, and i'm not even a big fan of Fuller.  

 
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ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
Groundbreaking stuff here.
Based on posts would seem it is.  People are using the "devaluation of RB's theory" (which is somewhat true but not near to the extent being portrayed) to justify the thinking that 4th round and later RB's are all of a sudden great prospects. 

 

bud29

Footballguy
Based on posts would seem it is.  People are using the "devaluation of RB's theory" (which is somewhat true but not near to the extent being portrayed) to justify the thinking that 4th round and later RB's are all of a sudden great prospects. 
I'm usually not a fan of the late-round seemingly "flavor of the week" type RBs, but in this draft class, it's not hard to see why they're going early. Offensive skill positions are not this draft's strong suit - take a look at the 14 guys taken in the first two rounds:

QB - Goff, Wentz, Lynch, Hackenberg

RB - Elliott, Henry

WR - Coleman, Fuller, Doctson, Treadwell, Shepard, Thomas, Boyd

TE - Henry

If you're set at QB, that leaves you only ten options from rounds 1 and 2 before you start dumpster diving a bit. Dixon seems to be the favorite late-round RB and I think his ADP is 1.08 - that's below all the rounds 1&2 RBs, and all the rounds 1&2 WRs except Boyd. Maybe you feel that's a bit high, but it's not ridiculous. There's some solid top-end talent in this class, and some interesting fliers, but not much in between.

 

jmo87usc

Footballguy
ILUVBEER99 said:
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/rush_yds_career.htm

break down the rounds these guys were drafted in.  it's filled with high draft picks.

People are taking guys like Booker/Dixon/etc ahead of Fuller who was drafted in the top 20 of the NFL draft.  That makes no sense any way you look at it, and i'm not even a big fan of Fuller.  
I looked back at the last 15 drafts a few months ago and there is certainly a pattern showing later round RBs don't usually amount to much in terms of fantasy relevance.  Every now and then a 3rd round maybe 4th round RB become valuable.  It's usually due to them having been a high pedigree, but falling in the draft for some type of injury concern i.e. Demarco Murray, Arian Foster, Lamar Miller.  

It's very rare a late round RB becomes valuable for more than just a season.  It can happen, but in a draft like this year, I would rather trade out or draft another position instead of wasting a top 10 pick on a 4th round NFL RB.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Well Beer seems to have missed the point.

Even RB drafted from the first 3 rounds the most common number of good seasons was  1 or zero. The players I listed were the only players from the top 3 rounds to have two or more really good seasons. I added 2005 so we would have an even 10 seasons 2005 to 2014. Here are all the RB from the 1st 3 rounds:

Trent Richardson 1

Doug Martin 2

David Wilson 0

Mark Ingram 2

C.J. Spiller 1

Ryan Mathews 2

Jahvid Best 0

Knowshon Moreno 1

Donald Brown 0

Beanie Wells 0

Darren McFadden 1

Jonathan Stewart 1

Felix Jones 0

Rashard Mendenhall 2

Chris Johnson 5

Adrian Peterson 8

Marshawn Lynch 6

Reggie Bush 3

Laurence Maroney 0

DeAngelo Williams 3

Joseph Addai 3

Ronnie Brown 0

Cedric Benson 1

Cadillac Williams 0

Bishop Sankey 0

Jeremy Hill 1

Carlos Hyde 0

Giovani Bernard 0

Le'Veon Bell 2

Montee Ball 0

Eddie Lacy 2

Christine Michael 0

Isaiah Pead0

LaMichael James 0

Shane Vereen 0

Mikel Leshoure 0

Daniel Thomas 0

Toby Gerhart 0

Ben Tate 0

Montario Hardesty 0

LeSean McCoy 4

Matt Forte 7

Ray Rice 4

Kenny Irons 0

Chris Henry 0

Brian Leonard 0

Brandon Jackson 0

J.J. Arrington 0

Eric Shelton 0

Charles Sims 0

Tre Mason 0

Terrance West 0

Jerick McKinnon 0

Knile Davis 0

Ronnie Hillman 0

Bernard Pierce 0

DeMarco Murray 2

Stevan Ridley 1

Alex Green 0

Shonn Greene 1

Glen Coffee 0

Kevin Smith 0

Jamaal Charles 5

Steve Slaton 1

Lorenzo Booker 0

Tony Hunt 0

Garrett Wolfe 0

Frank Gore 8

Vernand Morency 0

Ryan Moats 0

Maurice Clarett 0

There are 120 top 12 seasons over this 10 year time frame. The only long term high performing player from the 1st three rounds added from 2005 was Frank Gore.

80 of these 120 top 12 seasons were RB from the first three rounds. That means 40 of these top 12 seasons were RB drafted from the 4th round or later.

This means that one out of every three top 12 seasons for a RB is a player who was drafted from later than the top 3 rounds.

When one third of the players are coming from later rounds I think it is important to try to identify those players. 

 
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Hankmoody

Footballguy
Not sure that's properly assessed.  Isn't it likely that some of the earlier seasons had Top 12 performances from guys drafted prior to 2005?  So it wouldn't be 80 of 120, it would be 80 of (120 - Top 12's from 2004 and earlier draftees).

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Not sure that's properly assessed.  Isn't it likely that some of the earlier seasons had Top 12 performances from guys drafted prior to 2005?  So it wouldn't be 80 of 120, it would be 80 of (120 - Top 12's from 2004 and earlier draftees).
Yeah there is always some overlap there. I was being generous to some of the players above giving them credit for a top 15 or top 16 season. Reggie Bush for example only had one top 12 season, but I still give him credit for finishing 13th and 14th.

I think it is close enough to say that one out of every three top 12 seasons come from a player that was drafted in the fourth round or later. Open to seeing if anyone finds anything different.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Well Beer seems to have missed the point.

Even RB drafted from the first 3 rounds the most common number of good seasons was  1 or zero...

... Here are all the RB from the 1st 3 rounds:

Chris Johnson 5

Adrian Peterson 8

Marshawn Lynch 6

LeSean McCoy 4

Matt Forte 7

Ray Rice 4

Jamaal Charles 5

Frank Gore 8
And this is the list of guys taken in the first 3 rounds with 4 or more rb1 seasons.  These guys are the outliers. 

That's why 4 seasons of stud performance is such an absurdly high bar.  You're literally saying it's not worth drafting running backs unless they're hall of famers or close to it.  

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
I was curious so here are the top 12 from 2005 to 2014

2005

1    Shaun Alexander SEA    28    
2    Larry Johnson KC    26    
3    LaDainian Tomlinson SD    26    
4    Tiki Barber NYG        30    
5    Edgerrin James IND    27    
6    Clinton Portis WAS    24    
7    Rudi Johnson CIN    26    
8    LaMont Jordan OAK    27    
9    Thomas Jones CHI    27    
10    Mike Anderson DEN    32    UDFA 1
11    Steven Jackson STL    22    
12    Warrick Dunn ATL    30

2006

1    LaDainian Tomlinson SD    27    
2    Larry Johnson KC    27    
3    Steven Jackson STL    23    
4    Frank Gore SF        23    
5    Willie Parker PIT    26    UDFA 3
6    Brian Westbrook PHI    27    
7    Tiki Barber NYG        31    
8    Maurice Jones-Drew JAX    21    
9    Rudi Johnson CIN    27    4th (100th) 3
10    Ladell Betts WAS    27    2nd 1
11    Joseph Addai IND    23    
12    Chester Taylor MIN    27    6th 1

2007

1    LaDainian Tomlinson SD    28    
2    Brian Westbrook PHI    28    
3    Adrian Peterson MIN    22    
4    Clinton Portis WAS    26    
5    Joseph Addai IND    24    
6    Jamal Lewis CLE        28    
7    Marion Barber DAL    24    4th 3
8    Willis McGahee BAL    26    
9    Frank Gore SF        24    
10    Edgerrin James ARI    29    
11    Earnest Graham TB    27    UDFA 1
12    Marshawn Lynch BUF    21

2008

1    DeAngelo Williams CAR    25    
2    Michael Turner ATL    26    5th 3
3    Adrian Peterson MIN    23    
4    Matt Forte CHI        23    
5    Thomas Jones NYJ    30    
6    Steve Slaton HOU    22    
7    LaDainian Tomlinson SD    29    
8    Clinton Portis WAS    27    
9    Maurice Jones-Drew JAX    23    
10    Brian Westbrook PHI    29    
11    Chris Johnson TEN    23    
12    Brandon Jacobs NYG    26    4th 1

2009

1    Chris Johnson TEN    24    
2    Adrian Peterson MIN    24    
3    Maurice Jones-Drew JAX    24    
4    Ray Rice BAL        22    
5    Frank Gore SF        26    
6    Thomas Jones NYJ    31    
7    Ricky Williams MIA    32    
8    Ryan Grant GB        27    UDFA 1
9    Joseph Addai IND    26    
10    Steven Jackson STL    26    
11    Jonathan Stewart CAR    22    
12    Jamaal Charles KC    23

2010

1    Arian Foster HOU    24    UDFA 4
2    Peyton Hillis CLE    24    7th 1
3    Adrian Peterson MIN    25    
4    Jamaal Charles KC    24    
5    Chris Johnson TEN    25    
6    Darren McFadden OAK    23    
7    Rashard Mendenhall PIT    23    
8    LeSean McCoy PHI    22    
9    Michael Turner ATL    28    5th 3
10    Matt Forte CHI        25    
11    Ray Rice BAL        23    
12    Maurice Jones-Drew JAX  25

2011

1    Ray Rice BAL        24    
2    LeSean McCoy PHI    23    
3    Maurice Jones-Drew JAX    26    
4    Arian Foster HOU    25    UDFA 4
5    Marshawn Lynch SEA    25    
6    Michael Turner ATL    29    5th 3
7    Ryan Mathews SD        24    
8    Adrian Peterson MIN    26    
9    Michael Bush OAK    27    4th 1
10    Darren Sproles NO    28    4th 1
11    Steven Jackson STL    28    
12    Frank Gore SF        28    

2012

1    Adrian Peterson MIN    27    
2    Arian Foster HOU    26    UDFA 4
3    Doug Martin TB        23    
4    Marshawn Lynch SEA    26    
5    Alfred Morris WAS    24    6th 3
6    Ray Rice BAL        25    
7    C.J. Spiller BUF    25    
8    Jamaal Charles KC    26    
9    Trent Richardson CLE    22    
10    Stevan Ridley NE    23    
11    Frank Gore SF        29    
12    Chris Johnson TEN    27    

2013 

1    Jamaal Charles KC    27    
2    LeSean McCoy PHI    25    
3    Matt Forte CHI        28    
4    Marshawn Lynch SEA    27    
5    Knowshon Moreno DEN    26    
6    Adrian Peterson MIN    28    
7    Eddie Lacy GB        22    
8    DeMarco Murray DAL    25    
9    Chris Johnson TEN    28    
10    Reggie Bush DET        28    
11    Fred Jackson BUF    32    UDFA 3 (finished 14 and 15 in other years)
12    Ryan Mathews SD        26

2014

1    DeMarco Murray DAL    26    
2    LeVeon Bell PIT        22    
3    Marshawn Lynch SEA    28    
4    Matt Forte CHI        29    
5    Arian Foster HOU    28    UDFA 4
6    Eddie Lacy GB        23    
7    Jamaal Charles KC    28    
8    Justin Forsett BAL    29    7th 1
9    Lamar Miller MIA    23    4th 2
10    Jeremy Hill CIN        22    
11    LeSean McCoy PHI    26    
12    C.J. Anderson DEN    23     UDFA 1

24 out of 120 is 20% so one out of five come from rounds 4 or lower. Thanks Hank for bringing up the overlap issue. Pretty big difference there.

I still think it is important to try to identify that 20% of the top 12 performers.

 
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Hankmoody

Footballguy
Yeah there is always some overlap there. I was being generous to some of the players above giving them credit for a top 15 or top 16 season. Reggie Bush for example only had one top 12 season, but I still give him credit for finishing 13th and 14th.

I think it is close enough to say that one out of every three top 12 seasons come from a player that was drafted in the fourth round or later. Open to seeing if anyone finds anything different.
What I meant was that a guy like LT, who was drafted in 2001, probably accounts for a few of those Top 12's in the 2005-2009 range.  So there aren't 120 available to the 2005-2014 draftees.  Your 2005 list, for example, is all guys not drafted in 2005.  So there aren't 120 Top 12's, there are at max 108.  LT, Portis, Edge, Tiki - those were all drafted prior to 2005.  So it's not 80 out of 120, it's 80 out of what, 95?  90?  Much bigger ratio.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
What I meant was that a guy like LT, who was drafted in 2001, probably accounts for a few of those Top 12's in the 2005-2009 range.  So there aren't 120 available to the 2005-2014 draftees.  Your 2005 list, for example, is all guys not drafted in 2005.  So there aren't 120 Top 12's, there are at max 108.  LT, Portis, Edge, Tiki - those were all drafted prior to 2005.  So it's not 80 out of 120, it's 80 out of what, 95?  90?  Much bigger ratio.
Yeah perhaps someone better at math than I am could do a better job of breaking this all down. I am not sure how to account for one elite player like LT or Peterson having multiple seasons over the decade and what that does to the rest of the populations opportunity.

The bottom line is there are very few RB who can maintain a top 12 performance more than one season. There are fewer still who can do it for more than two seasons. The ones who do, like LT and Peterson are making it harder for other RB to crack the top 12 because of them holding that spot year after year.

 

ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
24 out of 120 is 20% so one out of five come from rounds 4 or lower. Thanks Hank for bringing up the overlap issue. Pretty big difference there.

I still think it is important to try to identify that 20% of the top 12 performers.
And the sample number of RB's drafted 4th and later (plus UDFA) is much larger than the sample of RB's drafted in the 1st - 3rd each year. 

So let's say there are 8 RB's drafted in the top 3 rounds, there are probably at least double that amount picked each year in the 4th - UDFA.  Needle in a haystack to end up with one of those who ends up with multiple top seasons.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Yes. Because of the draft pick invested in the players, they tend to get more chances than the lower drafted guys. 

There is also the fact that teams don't draft these RB with the intent for them to be starters. Even 2nd and 3rd round picks are drafted for special teams ability or as back ups. The 1st round picks are generally the only RB being drafted to be starters.

Now I think that is changing. Teams just do not use 1st round picks on RB the way they used to. You had two draft classes with zero 1st round RB. The picture is changing and we need to recognize that and try to adapt to it.

ZWK did an analysis of this in one of his threads and my interpretation of that data was that teams are drafting RB about 8 picks later than they were drafting them in the 90's to early 00s. You see the trend with RB going towards the end of the 1st round more often than they did before that. Teams had a much higher run to pass ratio back then as well, so the greater need for RB by all teams. There also just happened to be some really excellent players during the 90s who were do it all RB. Whereas if you go back before that, there was more RBBC and now after that, there seems to be more RBBC.

Chase Stewart wrote a really good article about this several years ago. But I haven't come across that again online. 

 

EBF

Footballguy
Now I think that is changing. Teams just do not use 1st round picks on RB the way they used to. You had two draft classes with zero 1st round RB. The picture is changing and we need to recognize that and try to adapt to it. 


I went back a couple years ago and looked at the kind of RBs who tend to go in the first round. There are really only a few common types:

1. 200+ pound backs with freakish explosiveness (i.e. Reggie Bush, Chris Johnson, CJ Spiller). 

2. 215-220+ pound backs with rare explosiveness for that size (i.e. Marshawn Lynch, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin). 

3. 215-220+ pound backs with outstanding production at a MAJOR D1 program (i.e. Ingram, Benson). 

I can post a more detailed breakdown later if I have the data still, but basically the reason why we haven't seen a lot of first round RBs in recent years is because there haven't been that many prospects with the right combination of production and traits. When those guys have been in the pool (i.e. Gurley and Elliott), they've still gone in the first round. Looking at the next draft class, I see two likely first round picks (Chubb and Fournette) and 3-4 guys who may have a shot (McCaffrey, Freeman, Cook). I wonder how many people will be singing the "RB is devalued" song when we finally get another strong class like 2008. The Bell/Lacy/Hill class was strong in hindsight, but all of those guys had serious combine issues that provide a simple explanation for their fall. 

Anyway, I think it's basically down to variance in the supply. To use an analogy, if you're sitting at a card table and you're being dealt hands, you may find that you go several orbits without getting any aces. This doesn't mean that aces are less likely than the other cards. It just means that you haven't been dealt any lately. For all you know, you could get a pair of them on your next hand. 

I think when people talk about draft trends with RBs, they're attributing too much significance to what essentially amounts to variance in the supply. If a year comes around like 2008 where you had numerous freaky athletes at the top of the class (i.e. McFadden, Stewart, Mendenhall, CJ2K), I think you'll immediately see that teams still value that type of athlete highly. 

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
So let's say there are 8 RB's drafted in the top 3 rounds, there are probably at least double that amount picked each year in the 4th - UDFA.  Needle in a haystack to end up with one of those who ends up with multiple top seasons.
Not really.  You can narrow the pool down a lot,  pretty quickly.  

Does the team currently have an encumbent starter?  

Did the team draft or sign someone else at a higher price than this guy? 

Does the team currently have a guy who does all the stuff the guy sucks at? 

Was this guy highly rated before the draft? 

Is the team talking about what he needs to do to make the team?  Or to get the ball? 

Is the team talking about using him on special teams? 

Is the team talking about him as a 3 down player? 

Does the team have a quality offense outside of the rb position? 

Does the qb have a deep arm and/or speed receivers who can draw pass interference down field? 

Does the qb or other rb vulture touchdowns? 

Are the head coach and offensive coordinator likely to be in place for at least this year and next?   

Is the organization itself stable?   

Those are all strong positive indicators that a guy will have an opportunity to establish himself.  Obviously if the guy sucks, it doesn't matter,  but I don't think the bar for success is nearly as high as you guys seem to.  

 

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