Fantasy Football 2011: Late-Round RB Steals (Updated Aug. 30th)
Hey Early Birds!
What the heck are you reading this for? Lockout is still in session! Doesn't matter. If you love fantasy football, your head is in the game while others are snoozing. Well here is a little food for thought to chew on as you wait for the lockout to end and the season to begin.
For the purpose of this slide show, Late Rounds will be considered Rounds 10-15.
This will be useful analysis, so I won't be recommending Mendenhall in Round 15 (though I suspect if he keeps twittering and tweeting, this may become a reality). I'm assuming most players on your team passed the third grade, so they know to pick up Charles & McCoy before Round 10.
This slide show is for picking those RB diamonds after all your roster slots have been filled. If a former undrafted backup last season can produce 2,220 total yards and 18 TDs, anything's possible right?
Let's start with RBs who almost made the cut.
You Ain't Stealin' These Young Bucks
These guys almost made the cut but are too good or popular to make it to the late, late rounds.
James Starks: Starks made sparks fly in the playoffs. Even with Ryan Grant back on the turf, Starks is often the favorite to take over the reigns in the Packers' high octane offense. Everybody knows about this "wide awake" sleeper, so don't expect him in Round 10. Update:Still a decent late round gamble, but there's still better picks in the later rounds, such as Jerome Harrison. Read on for more.
Daniel Thomas: Dolphins are tired of worn-out RBs! Time for some new "fish." Get it? Fish? Well the word is definitely out on D. Thomas. He'll be a popular pick for the mid-rounds but don't expect him in the wee hours of Round 10. Update: Even though he won't go in the late rounds, Reggie sours my outlook on him. His pre-season hasn't been spectacular either. Avoid in the midround.
Ryan Williams: With Beanie & Hightower stinkin' up the joint, all eyes will be on Ryan. A little less popular than Daniel Thomas, but he'll escape Round 10. Update: Out for the season. He's off the table, undraftable.
Roy Helu (Update: Tim Hightower)
I like Ryan Torain. When he plays, he produces great stats for your team. But his body gets tenderized more than choice steaks at a fourth of July barbecue. The man is injury-prone. Coach Shanahan and the Redskins know this, so instead of slapping a "Caution: Fragile" sticker on his helmet, they chose to have Helu as his replaceme-....as his backup.
Last season, with legendary QB Donovan McNabb throwing high flying bombs, the Redskins still pounded the ball. With McNabb out, what do you think they're gonna do this year? Helu will have the opportunity to shine this season. If he produces, he'll transition from a RB3 to a respectable RB2.
As long as Torain is slotted as the feature back, pick up Helu on the cheap and be a genius in October.
Update: Well, Torain was injured sooner than I thought. Good grief, he couldn't even make it to the pre-season games! That said with Hightower being picked up and running like Brandon Marshall runs away from a Michi-sponsored knife convention, I expect him to hold the position the entire season as long as he doesn't fumble the ball. Helu may have to wait his turn next season? Who knows?
Mikel Leshoure (Update: Jerome Harrison)
You may be noticing a pattern. Backup RBs to breakable RBs.
Well Mikel Leshoure will already have goal line duties, but it wouldn't be a stretch for him to become a first and second-down RB with how fragile Best is. With the Lions offense pumping on all cylinders this season, Leshoure is "shoure" to make a splash.
With Jahvid Best hogging the RB spotlight, he is sure to be all but forgotten by everyone but the Best owner, who figures to pick him up Round 11 or 12. You be the greasy weasel that picks him up Round 10. Laugh when he curses. Laugh again when Best runs for 200 yards and 2 TDs in Game 3, but injures his hamstring or toe turf or whatever. Or you can just laugh at my jokes, which are supremely funny (tongue in cheek).
Update: Leshoure's out before Best. That's a Dickens novel twist. Well, Jerome Harrison looks to be the replacement, and I think he will capitalize on this opportunity in a bigger way than Leshoure will because of that ungraspable factor in RB production - motivation. I've written a whole section on him in my latest article "2011 Fantasy Football: Best of the Best of the Late-Round Sleepers". Check it out if you have the time, since I included some WRs to boot!
Well....just because he's Lynch, the football pirate could easily slip to the later rounds with his forgettable season of 20 carries for 20 yards. He opened our eyes in the playoffs so he's worth the gamble, but don't go reaching before Round 10 unless you really don't have anything better to snag.
Again, Lynch is high stakes poker, but so was McFadden last year who produced didley squat consistently for two years prior. You just never know.
Update: Nothing's changed here except where you can pick him up. He's moved up quite a few rounds since I wrote this article. After Felix, Wells, & Hightower are gone, you can go the safe route with Fred Jackson or Cedric Benson in Round 6/7 or you can take a gamble with an Ingram or Lynch RB committee type. Lynch is still viable only after certain workhorses have left the stable. Pick him as a boom or bust RB3/4 only. Makes a great flex option.
Say what? The law firm is going out of business? Well I'm here to tell you friend, only unprofitable businesses go out of business, and business is good business at BJGE & Associates. Yeah, most people avoid New England RBs like the plague. Their backfield is more crowded than a mob of tween girls at a Justin Bieber mall signing. But when the Patriots cruised to the playoffs, their RB committee was working just fine. Why shake it up with an unproven newbie just to be different?
People are so up in arms about NE adding two new RBs that they forget Benjarvus averaged 4.4 ypc with NO FUMBLES. Emphasis on the no fumbles part. He had a timeshare with Woodhead and still managed 1093 total yards and 13 TDs.
As long as other players moan, groan and focus on all the "possible" RB timeshare in NE, you just might snag BJGE in Round 10.
He makes a great RB3 and could work in a pinch when your other RBs are facing the Steelers or the Jets or whatever.
That's it for me folks. When the dust settles and training camp is finished, I'll bring you more commentary and analysis for your drafts. See you in August!
Update: August is here! I can admit to being wrong on this one! Avoid Green-Ellis! Woodhead & Ridley are picking up steam! Oops, ran out of exclamation points.
Check out my latest article "2011 Fantasy Football: The Best of the Best of the Late-Round Sleepers". Happy Drafting
About Me, Wendell "Papa Smurf" Gaymon
I’m not really a little blue hairless, half-naked leprechaun who lives in a decked out mushroom. I’m an average Joe like you, who spends his eight hours of sleep obsessing over this game we call fantasy football. You’ll find I’m a bit off-kilter with my picks, but I think that’s how you win best, picking the best players with the best matchups.