2010 Fantasy Football Preview: Jonathan Stewart's Value

Eric ThomasContributor IMay 19, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03:   Jonathan Stewart #28 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One of our favorite players to debate these days is Jonathan Stewart, the third-year running back for the Carolina Panthers (I need to find a way to write Caaar-ro-lina Paaan-thers like Chris Berman says it). I digress.

Anyway, I believe J-Stew is a beast, and while "stuck" in an ultra-productive platoon with a very talented DeAngelo Williams, he is gifted enough to produce another 1,000+ yard, 10 TD season in 2010. However, in another year, at the ripe ol' age of 24, he will be ready to assume a 1,600+ yards, 16 TD type of role for four to five years.

To support my position, I offer you the following age comparisons:

At 23.6 years old, J-Stew is YOUNGER than:

Chris Johnson, Age 25.0
AD Adrian Peterson, Age: 25.6
MJD Maurice Jones-Drew, Age: 25.6
Ray Rice, Age: 23.8
Jamaal Charles, Age: 23.9
Shonn Greene, Age: 25.1
Montario Hardesty, Age: 23.7 (rookie!)
Matt Forte, Age: 24.9
Steve Slaton, Age: 24.8

And is months older than:
Knowshon Moreno, Age: 23.2
Felix Jones, Age: 23.4
Ryan Matthews, Age: 23.4 (rookie!)
Rashard Mendenhall, Age 23.3
Darren McFadden, Age: 23.1
CJ Spiller, Age: 23.0 (rookie!)

What can we draw from these numbers? While Stewart has logged two full years in the league, he is essentially the same age as Matthews, Spiller, and Hardesty. Matthews and Spiller will be top four selections in most rookie drafts, and Hardesty is a sure-fire first-rounder.

I traded my 2010 Dynasty first-round pick last year (before the 2009 rookie draft) and LenDale White to acquire Stewart (along with a 2010 second-rounder.) That first round pick is now officially 1.05 this year. While I had hoped that pick would be worse (meaning I would have finished higher in the standings), I am still very happy with the trade. The big four in this draft - Dez Bryant, Jahvid Best, and the aforementioned Spiller and Matthews - will certainly be gone by the fifth pick. While there are some decent backs left (like Hardesty) at five, there is no talent or situation that matches Stewart's. I would still trade out of the number two rookie pick today to nab Stewart.

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