With the NFL season quickly approaching, just about every eager fantasy football owner is starving for knowledge and I am here to oblige. Leading up to Week one of the regular season I will be tackling the weekly running back risers and fallers for ADP (Average Draft Position). I will be using ESPN live draft ADP feature to fill everyone in on which running backs are increasing and decreasing in value as the preseason progresses.
To get things started we will take a look at the Top-seven fallers from the week of Aug. 13 to Aug. 19. The list includes Correll Buckhalter (-12.1), Michael Bush (-5.2), Fred Jackson (-4.6), Jonathan Stewart (-3.5), Fred Taylor (-2.9), Shonn Greene (-2.9) and Knowshon Moreno (-2.8). I will be breaking down these players and giving the reasoning of why I believe or don’t believe that the movement down the draft boards is justifiable.
1. Correll Buckhalter (Denver Broncos—Granted, Correll Buckhalter is a little banged up right now, but that is all that it is, banged up. If it were the regular season this would be nothing to worry about but since it’s the preseason teams will play it cautious. Buckhalter is a talented back that has never been given a solid opportunity to run with a starting gig and with Knowshon Moreno’s bad knee, there is at least an outside chance that Buckhalter will get some solid playing time to begin the season and possibly continue if he is impressive. The -12.1 ADP dip in the ESPN draft does not make sense to me. He is already a late round pick as it is and there is plenty of upside in this running back that will cost you very little. Do not pay attention at all to this trend.
2. Michael Bush (Oakland Raiders)—The drop of -5.2 ADP for Michael Bush is not surprising as the Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable has come out and said that he wants to get the pigskin into the hands of Darren McFadden 20+ times a game. But now with the incident in Oakland in where Cable was choking a subordinate you will want to keep an eye on how the NFL reacts to this incident. Now back to football, McFadden looks to be the man and Bush will be splitting what ever is left with Justin Fargas. He is no more than a RB4/RB5 and should only be drafted in the later rounds of your upcoming fantasy football draft.
3. Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills)—While Fred Jackson has been being drafted in the latter part of ESPN drafts, he somehow has slipped almost a half a round, with a -4.6 ADP over the last seven days. This makes no sense to me as he is going to start the Bills’ first three games because of an suspension to Marshawn Lynch. Granted two of those three games are against top rush defenses, but none-the-less some are starting to sour on Lynch in Buffalo and Jackson offers a possible solid payoff for a late round pick. He should not be slipping much more than he already has as he is one of the better late round RBs that has a very good shot at playing above his ADP.
4. Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)—A bad hamstring has Jonathan Stewart dipping in the fantasy football drafts, almost falling to the sixth round. While a -3.5 ADP is not a major drop, it still shows that people are starting to worry some about the injury. When healthy you can rely on Stewart to be a solid RB2 (low-end), and a great compliment to DeAngelo Williams for the Carolina Panthers. Keep a close eye on the hamstring though as that type of injury tends to linger.
5. Fred Taylor (New England Patriots)—This week Fred Taylor saw a -2.9 ADP drop in ESPN fantasy football leagues. The reasoning for this is probably more due to coincidence than people losing confidence in him. He is going in the later parts of the draft and has a shot at being at least a reliable RB4 with the potential for possibly even more depending on his workload. Taylor does find himself in a loaded backfield but this aging veteran may have just enough left in the tank to be useful this year. There really is no risk when drafting a guy late so continue to do so knowing that you might be able to catch a little magic in a bottle from the man we used to call “Fragile” Fred.
6. Shonn Greene (New York Jets)—The rookie running back from Iowa finds himself third on the depth chart behind Thomas Jones and Leon Washington for the New York Jets. This does not mean that he doesn’t deserve consideration for a late round roster spot in deeper leagues. In fact, an injury to either Jones or Washington will jump Greene’s value and make him an every week fantasy football option. He will enter ‘09 as a low-end RB4 or high-end RB5; but talent is there for him to outperform his ADP if given the touches. Don’t be scared off by his -2.9 ADP drop this past week and target hims as a handcuff to Jones’ or a good mid round sleeper.
7. Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos)—Drafted this year to become the Denver Broncos main back, he has been hampered with a sprained left knee. That has allowed his backups, primarily Correll Buckhalter to shine and impress the coaching staff. Moreno (-2.8 ADP) most likely will miss the remainder of the preseason games and is questionable to start the season healthy. Don’t expect much from this rookie running back this year if the knee injury lingers. In fact, with the depth that Denver has, don’t be surprised if the coaching staff protects him early on and decides to share the workload amongst multiple running backs.
Also Read: ADP Watch: Rising Running Backs (click to view)