The fantasy football season is still about a month away before things become crazy, but that hasn’t prevented plenty from taking part in mock - and even some real - fantasy league football drafts so far this summer.
One player who continues to surprise me is Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant, along with his average draft position of 36th overall. With all things considered, selecting him near the tail-end of third round should be a steal. Grant has gone as early as 20th overall, and as late as 47th overall. If I can have him that late, sign me up any time!
I recently snagged him at 4:02 in KFFL.com’s Fantasy Football Analysis Draft as my No. 2 fantasy back and am quite excited he fell to me. Even with last season being a bad year, Grant did rush for 1,203 yards!
What troubles me the most is an ADP of 36th overall currently places him as the NFL&sheet=RB" target="_blank">19th best fantasy back. With the vast amount of time shares in the NFL today, that’s too far to let Grant slide even though it still makes him a starting fantasy back in standard 12-team leagues. I think many are missing the boat on him.
Join me on KFFL.com’s time machine for a quick trip back:
In 2007, between Weeks 9 and 16, Grant was the fourth-best fantasy scoring back in standard scoring methods. That, in turn, had many look at him as the next great running back entering 2008. However, it didn’t materialize and many seem to now be casting him to the side.
Between Weeks 1 and 8 of the 2008 season, Grant was the 36th best fantasy back in the same scoring. He rushed 137 times for 464 yards, a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. Along the way, he scored just one rushing touchdown. Yuck! It’s easy to just look at those numbers and his overall and simply look at another option.
You need to dig deeper!
From Weeks 9 through 16, Grant picked up his game. He was the league’s 13th rated fantasy back during this period, managing 633 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns while clipping along at a rate of 4.1 yards-per-carry. I’m omitting Week 17, which typically is meaningless for fantasy football leagues, but he rushed for 106 yards and 5.6 yards-per-carry that week.
Entering last year, Grant had a hamstring injury that hampered what he was able to do on the field. This came after a brief holdout over his contract, which also cost him time during training camp.
Furthermore, Grant, as you may remember, did not join the Packers in 2007 until Sept. 1, a month after training camp kicked off. Last year, as noted, he missed about a week of time due to his holdout. Less than a week after signing his new deal, Grant suffered the hamstring injury and missed considerable time over the next month. Despite being able to play in Week 1, he wasn’t the same back due to the injury.
One key item to also pay attention to: Despite playing two seasons in Green Bay, Grant has yet to go through a training camp from start to finish with the Pack.
All right, let’s zip back to present day in KFFL.com’s handy, dandy time machine. Damn, I love having that as a perk. Jump out, watch your step and remember to pick up any trash you left on the floor. Thank you.
In present day, Grant is healthy.
He said he has explosion in his now-strong legs. He is able to do whatever he wants training wise, another positive entering training camp. Contract squabbles are behind him and this will be Grant’s first full training camp with the Packers.
Never underestimate how valuable training camp can be for a player preparing for the season!
A healthy Grant will allow him to show what he did before the hamstring problem got in his way was not a fluke.
In 2007, he was able to break longer runs. He had scoring runs of 30-, 62-, 66- and 27-yards.
In 2008, he had a long of 57-yards in Week 1 and never had a carry longer than 17 yards again until Week 11, when he had a long of 35 yards. After that, he had long carries beyond 20-yards just twice the rest of the season. In 2007, for comparison, he had longs of 23-yards or better in all but one contest after he became the feature back.
Breaking long runs, by the way, is a goal for Grant this year. He showed he could do it in the second half of 2007 and, barring any injury setbacks, he appears poised to return close to that form again this season.
Oh, and I’d get flamed with comments if I failed to mention he also has one of the league’s best passing games to work with, too! Quarterback Aaron Rodgers playing catch with receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver is more than enough to keep defenses honest, preventing defenses from overloading the box to shut down Grant. Yes, just one more reason to like Grant even more this season.
He may have an ADP of 36th overall now, but don’t be shocked to see that creep up as training camp begins and fantasy football fanatics start noticing Grant will be much closer to his 2007 form this year than his 2008 form.
Don’t let Grant sneak by you this year or you’ll regret it.