Dynasty

Christine Michael and the Hype

Michael

Spend any time on a fantasy football message board and you’ll quickly find Christine Michael is arguably the most polarizing fantasy-relevant player in the NFL today.

His supporters believe he has a great chance to be the next big thing at running back, while his detractors point out he’s never had a huge workload, that he sustained a couple of injuries, was suspended at Texas A&M, and was a late second round pick who was inactive for most of the 2013 season.

Latching onto either one of those positions in isolation is a mistake:  i.e. Michael might be the next big thing AND he came into the NFL with some fairly obvious drawbacks.

First, let’s address why Michael is seen as such an outstanding prospect – especially by those in the “metrics” community.

My own running back model has evolved some since I wrote it up prior to last year, and now incorporates a more refined notion of size and includes better measures of both explosion and agility, but it’s still fairly similar overall.

The central idea in my model remains that in order to be successful as a long-term starting back in the NFL, virtually all backs will either be big, fast or agile – defined as the threshold at which an NFL back can be successful possessing any one of those characteristics.  That idea along with the concept of a specific measurables threshold for each of the types is what defines the models.  The variables are not continuous and cumulative below the threshold, at least as it relates to finding true NFL #1 backs.

Again, those definitions have morphed some in the last 18 months – since I described them in detail – but the central concept has not changed.  In addition:

  • Explosion is best thought of as complementary, but still highly desirable, trait.
  • Vision is accounted for separately, and acts as a filter.  Good backs need both a specific combination of physical tools and vision/football skill/field awareness (whatever you want to call it).
  • Medical, character and work ethic are another series of filters but we generally have much less information about those as outsiders and we can only get at how the NFL might perceive those risks indirectly (more on that below).

Regardless of the details though, anyone who’s looking at running back prospects by the numbers would come up with something similar to what follows below.

What I love about Christine Michael is he qualifies as big, fast, agile and explosive and, per his NCAA statistics, has enough vision to be successful in the NFL.  The number of backs who can say the same thing is an extremely small set.  How small, you ask?

LaDainian Tomlinson

That’s it.  And Michael’s measurables are identical or slightly better than LT’s across the board.

Not only that, if we relax all of the criteria one at a time the backs who are almost as good from a measurables standpoint are still exceptional.  (Using listed playing weights, not combine weights.)

  • All of the above, except Explosive:  Doug Martin and DeAngelo Williams
  • All of the above, except Agile:  Jonathan Stewart, Deuce McAllister
  • All of the above, except Fast:  None
  • All of the above, except Big:  Edgerrin James, Ahman Green(?), Clinton Portis(?) Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden, LaMichael James(?), Jerick McKinnon
  • All of the above, except Vision:  Ben Tate, Jackie Battle

So, that’s the starting place for why some people like Michael.  His measurables are absolutely top notch.  The only thing that’s somewhat weak is his receiving measurement (interestingly it’s still much better than LT’s was entering the league).

But, wait!  If Michael is that good, why wasn’t he a first round choice?

It’s a good question.  Leaving aside the fact that the NFL Draft has does have arbitrage opportunities (which may be closing now), they don’t typically miss on guys like Michael.

The answer is that Draft Position = Talent + Risk.

In Michael’s case, we don’t have to look very far to find obvious risks that could have affected his draft stock.  His NCAA volume was low for one.  Even elite players (such as Demaryius Thomas) will be drafted later if there’s a small body of work at the collegiate level.  For Christine Michael, my estimate is that having fewer carries (in this case due to injury) resulted in his draft stock being dinged by around 35 spots.  Obviously that’s just an all-else-equal estimate based on the average of many low volume prospects, but the general relationship is unambiguous.

Additionally, given Michael’s difficult relationship with A&M’s current coach, the comments of A&M’s former coach, the fact Michael was suspended once and racked up a DNP, coach’s decision in his final game as a senior, there are also some potential character concerns.  It’s not really possible to estimate those quantitatively except to look at Michael’s prospect peers and back into a guess.  In this case, my own take is that Michael saw his draft position fall by 15-20 spots, similar to someone like Dez Bryant, as a result of character concerns.

You don’t have to buy the specific estimates to agree with the general idea that maybe Michael’s draft position isn’t completely a reflection of his talent level — the injuries and character concerns are facts after all — and take a common sense approach that those things might have affected how he was considered by NFL drafters.

As mentioned in the 2012 article above,  these types of players offer exceptional value in fantasy football since our risk profile is very different from the risk profile of an NFL team (that will lose huge sums of money when they’re wrong about a highly-drafted prospect).

So, that’s a very long winded way of suggesting Michael offered value a year ago.  Getting him for a late first or early second round pick was a steal since draft picks are the most easily replaced resource. After all, you get them every year without giving up anything other than league fees.

Furthermore, if you believed in him a year ago for quantitative reasons, absolutely nothing that’s happened since then would suggest you were wrong to do so.  He hasn’t been in trouble.  He hasn’t been injured.  Raves from his coaches and camp observers and video of his limited on-field exploits all subjectively support that notion.

If you think being inactive behind Lynch in a year that the Seahawks won the Super Bowl undoes all of the above, more power to you — don’t roster Michael.  I understand the argument, but disagree and enough said about that.

What about today though?

Has the “hype” added enough risk to offset the potential reward?  Only if you don’t buy into the quantitative measure of Michael in the first place.  Which, again, more power to you — don’t roster Michael. Career value in fantasy football is a pretty steep curve at the high end and players who might be way out on that curve don’t need a particularly high chance of panning out to justify a high price.

But if you do buy the metric-driven case, as the 15th-20th back off the boards in the ~5th round of startups, he still represents value.  Without doing anything formal, I’d guess that Michael needs maybe a 20-30% chance of hitting to justify the price.  Because in the event that he does pan out to his full potential he offers upside that’s many multiples of the guys currently being similarly drafted.

This isn’t intended to convince anyone, just to explain why some of the people who are high on Michael believe he’s a great prospect.

If you don’t buy the arguments here — well, that’s what makes the game fun.  If we all felt the same way about every player we’d all be similarly good at fantasy football, there’d be no room for trades or clever working of the draft and waiver wire and winning and losing would be entirely luck-based.

 

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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Chris R.

    June 18, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Great piece. I feel even better about trading a future 1 for Michael last year after seeing these crops of RBs. He was my #1 RB last year and this year, and I had him over Lacy and Bell last year even with lack of touches early on.

    But I do think It’s funny that a majority of people knocked Michael down for his landing spot. There were even a ton of rankings here saying he had his stock crushed by that spot. Now a year later that same spot is what is so attractive to people. I had seen enough when Seattle spent a 2nd rounder. A team with no need for a RB spending a premium pick on 1 meant a lot to me, and it was a team who usually got the most out of guys with character issues.

    Still never will understand the crowd who took Marcus Lattimore over him.

    • SJ

      June 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

      Nice take on it, but I’ll just say if you had Michael as your #1 Rookie RB coming out last year, I think its safe to say you’re definitely in the minority on that.

      A lot of great RB’s last year that are now sitting in the top at their position. Bernard, Bell, Ball, Stacy, Lacy, all are drawing a lot more value in return than Michael.

      But that’s why Michael is not for the faint of heart.

      • T

        June 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        I had him at #4 after Bernard, Ball, and Lacey. Owners who took him understood the wait was going to be at least 2 years and if they didn’t that is their fault. That timeline seems to be 100% accurate with the Lynch saga playing out as many predicted it would. I also had the luxury to wait with McCoy, Spiller, and the serviceable Pierre Thomas holding down the position until he gets his shot. Let’s be honest, most rookie picks are lottery tickets after the top players are gone anyway so rolling the dice at 1.10 for a player that has the look of a dynamic player was an easy pick for me.

      • Justin

        June 19, 2014 at 5:55 am

        From a talent perspective, there’s no question for me that Michael has a higher ceiling than fellow classmates like Gio, Lacy, Ball, and Bell.

        What made those guys higher picks in drafts last year was their much greater near-term value in comparison to Michael, and in the case of Gio and Lacy, a moderately higher floor.

        Michael last year was the most savvy, risk-reward investment at RB for those willing to be patient.

    • T

      June 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      That happened in my league last year. Lattimore went 1.9 before I took CM at 1.10. Without say, I was stoked. I could have gone a number of different ways with that pick – Keenan Allen, Jordan Cameron or Justin Hunter but I went with Michaels. His college tape is solid and his limited NFL game tape from last season has promise imo. He hits the hole and drives piles ala Lynch but with more speed. He is going to be the real deal when his time comes.

      • Shortie

        June 19, 2014 at 4:02 am

        I only had a 2nd and 3rd last year and somehow ended up with Justin Hunter and C Michael., likely due to the team that drafted them. Jackpot for me.

  2. PV

    June 18, 2014 at 6:35 am

    I REALLY don’t understand why the Lynch owners, seeing the end of the Lynch era, aren’t all over this guy. He’s the clear cut successor and you already know when SEA cuts Lynch the price is an arm and a leg. Yet, the Lynch owners complain about the price of just the arm. Anyone else getting flack from Lynch owners about this?

    • J2

      June 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

      I’m a Lynch owner in two leagues and I drafted Michael in the 1st round last year. I am a believer in SEA front office and they leaked he was the #1 player on their board last year so that tells me plenty. I’ve only been approached for Michael in only one league (which I have Lynch) and half the league wanted him. I’ve been offered Carlos Hyde in an even swap then I was offered 2 picks and a player for Michael. All in all I gave him the value of a starting RB and will not accept less. I took the risk and made the investment so unless I get full price now is not the time to move him in my eyes.

      • Kriko

        June 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        J2, did Seattle have him rated number one OVERALL or as the number one remaining player available when they drafted him? I had not heard they had him number one overall , did anyone else get wind of this?

  3. Fred

    June 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I have him in 2 leagues, and receive more offers on him than all of the others combined. So far all have been low-ball offers, explaining to me why I should take their generous offers to take him off my hands and open up a spot on my bench for a player who could contribute……….

  4. SJ

    June 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Future/current bust.

    Too overhyped in dynasty to equal his past, current and possible future production. A relative handcuff in redraft thats likely to go higher than desired for Lynch owners. There’s no value here.

    Upside – Will he put it all together? Sure, possibly for a year or two. But Michael has too many red-flags to ever consider him a long-term lock for steady RB1 production.

  5. Rob

    June 18, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Trade Michael for the 1.1 (Watkins)?

    • Cdizz

      June 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

      In a heartbeat

      • sixshooter

        June 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

        Yup

  6. ericanadian

    June 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

    How is Adrian Peterson not on any of those lists? Same with Trent Richardson.

  7. Joe

    June 18, 2014 at 9:31 am

    So why didnt he get touches over Robert Turbin last season? How does Turbin compare in the “metrics”?

    • Julio

      June 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Turbin is considered a 3rd down / COP back (believe it or not) by Seattle. Michael was a special teams liability so there was no need for Seattle to activate him unless Lynch got hurt. It is/was believed that if Lynch got injured, Michael would step in for Lynch’s role and Turbin would remain in the role he currently has. That is why many consider Michael to be Lynch’s handcuff, not Turbin.

      • SJ

        June 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm

        So if Lynch doesnt get hurt this year, everyone expects Michael to be inactive every game, again? Michael still doesnt play special teams, so they still wouldnt have a spot for him on game days.

        I dont know. This seems more of an excuse than the reality.

        • Julio

          June 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

          Excuse? Hardly. Seattle drafted Michael with their first pick in the 2nd round. Is Seattle making excuses? No. With Lynch playing at top form in 2013 and Turbin filling in competently in between, they simply didn’t need Michael in 2013. Michael is weak in pass protection and special teams…this is a known fact by Seattle coaching staff as well as MOST fantasy football afficianados. Turbin is good in pass protection and special teams. Why roster Michael every Sunday when the team didn’t need him in any capacity in 2013? He doesn’t play special teams, so Seattle rostered other players on game day where they felt they needed and/or could use depth. They didn’t need it at RB, therefore, Michael hardly played in 2013. Reports out of Seattle are that this will change in 2014 according to both OC Darrell Bevell and Pete Carrol. Carrol stated that Michael had the most to learn last year and has made the most improvement of any player this year with effusive praise of him. Coach speak? Who knows? But Carrol has stated specifically that Michael will get “a ton of work this year”. Obviously last year the coaching staff didn’t feel Michael was ready as a rookie in all the facets of the position that the Seahawks needed, so they didn’t use him. News out of Seattle in 2014 from the coaching staff is quite a different story.

          http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000354266/article/pete-carroll-christine-michael-to-get-a-ton-of-work

          http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/2014/06/09/seahawks-otas-christine-michael-korey-toomer-stand-out/#24140101=0

        • Jason

          June 20, 2014 at 10:04 am

          I’m not so sure it was a special teams liability issue as much as it was a blitz pickup/pass blocking issue. Reports out of camps and OTAs say he has improved drastically – this according to Pete Carroll. He will get carries to spell Lynch, and Turbin will continue in his role. I doubt Michael gets more than 80-90 carries this year though unless Lynch gets hurt.

  8. Rob Pitzer

    June 18, 2014 at 9:40 am

    “Agile” has a specific meaning… and neither AP nor Richardson qualify.

    As for Turbin, I believe he’s the 3rd down back. YMMV. That’s definitely the argument the anti-metric, anti-Michael folks hang their hat on.

    • Rob Pitzer

      June 18, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Also… my current thinking on Turbin’s comps are that he’s most similar to Knile Davis, Bernard Pierce and Rashard Mendenhall, but Turbin is funny shaped so I’m not sure they completely apply. He may be a rung down from them.

    • Joe

      June 18, 2014 at 10:26 am

      I don’t think I am either anti-metrics or anti-Michael. I don’t own any SEA RB. I just don’t share the love for Michael. He smells like Bryce Brown to me.

      For the record, in 2013 Michael vs Turbin by downs:
      1st – 11 vs 50
      2nd – 5 vs 28
      3rd – 2 vs 10

      Beast Mode is a 3 down back, Turbin gets an odd series when Lynch need fuel, Michael gets the crumbs. Turbin isn’t used like a “3rd down back”.

      • Joe

        June 18, 2014 at 10:32 am

        Hmmm… maybe I am anti-Michael? I didn’t think so until i read my last post.

        I still don’t think Seattle’s usage of their RB’s supports the level of dynasty love Michael gets in the fantasy world.

        • J2

          June 18, 2014 at 11:25 am

          That has a lot to do with it for sure. As a person that owns SEA’s entire backfield in 3 leagues my thinking is when Lynch leaves if Michael can carry the full-time load they will let him. Turbin isn’t built to carry the full load. He got carries over Michael because of pass protection.

      • Steve

        June 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        Is smelling like Bryce Brown supposed to be a bad thing???

  9. BPP

    June 18, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Remember LaMont Jordan?

    • Joe

      June 18, 2014 at 10:28 am

      LaMont Jordan should have been Arian Foster except for the bad back.

      • J2

        June 18, 2014 at 11:26 am

        Went to Jr. High with him. He was dunking and huge in the 9th grade.

  10. Cw4499

    June 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Why wasn’t it Blaylock who took over for Priest Holmes, rather than Larry Johnson. After all it was Blaylock who was the #2 back to Priest Holmes in LJ’s rookie season. LJ was lucky to get any crumbs.

    It wasn’t Blaylock who became the next Priest Holmes, and it isn’t Turbin who takes over for Lynch regardless of How Turbin is used

    • Wet Blanket

      June 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Blaylock got 22 carries in 2003 while Larry Johnson, a rookie, got 20. Not exactly the most valid comparison IMO. Perhaps Maurice Morris (former 2nd round pick) staying behind Shaun Alexander forever and never really getting his shot to start would be better as a side-by-side.

      Anyways, as long as we’re playing the anecdotal evidence game, there are lots of talented uber-metric RBs without college production (like Michael) who never panned out: Chris Henry and Eric Shelton, for example.

      Heck, there are a lot who DID have college production that never panned out: JJ Arrington, Montario Hardesty, Donald Brown…

      Or the ones who were super studs but just couldn’t physically handle the rigors of being an NFL RB: JStew, McFadden, David Wilson, Ryan Williams…

      Christine Michael might live up to the hype but it just feels like we’ve been down this road a few too many times.

      • Cw4499

        June 19, 2014 at 10:27 pm

        Yes but Blaylock played in just about every game, while LJ played in only 5 or 6.

        Your point that some RB’s bust is not exactly big news, and surely no reason to believe getting rid of the guy and trading him for some other draft pick is the solution, because other draft picks also bust on occasion.

        We have been down the road many times and every guy who wants to pick him up cheap because he didn’t play much last year whines about the players who never made it.

        Michael may be a bust, If you are afraid of risk, don’t try to get him. But there is reason for Hype, just as there is reason Sammy is being hyped.
        That’s part of the game.

  11. shanker

    June 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

    “For Christine Michael, my estimate is that having fewer carries (in this case due to injury) resulted in his draft stock being dinged by around 35 spots.”

    I don’t think attributing his low carry number exclusively to injury is accurate.

  12. jncy

    June 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Michael vs Turbin metric from the combine…

    Player 1
    5′ 10″ 222, 40 (4.50), bench (28 reps), vertical (36 in), broad (122 in), 3 cone (7.16), 20 yd shuffle (4.31)

    Player 2
    5′ 10″ 220, 40 (4.54), bench (27 reps), vertical (43 in), broad (125 in), 3 cone (6.69), 20 yd shuffle (4.02)

    I see two very similar players. Player 2 is Michael who looks to be more explosive, but not by nearly enough for me to see the hype he’s receiving.

    • Chris R.

      June 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Why is the entire coaching more excited about Michael then Turbin? I know we can point to fantasy owners excitement but to me it appears Seattle is just as excited to unleash their weapon.

      The GM called him and Harvin the most explosive players on the offense. I’ve yet to hear him say anything along those lines with Turbin even though I think he’s a good back in his own right. Then you also read what most people say about Michael when they watch him play, practice or pre season. I’m just reading tea leaves here but Seattle seems to be the excited ones.

      That said everyone can be a bust, but I still don’t think Michael’s value will peak until Lynch leaves next year. His value is just going to creep up, he’ll do just enough this year to show flashes in a few limited carries but any RB with elite measurables in that offense is a fantasy stud match.

      • SJ

        June 18, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        Im not falling for the GM/Coach speak that always comes out in the offseason. Seattles front office is notorious for hyping up its players to create a positive environment and atmosphere. Thats what their paid to do – get player effort.

        Every coach/GM has positive praise for their players. That is hardly concrete evidence.

        • Chris R.

          June 21, 2014 at 8:34 am

          So I guess you’re not falling for Louis Riddick who called him the most gifted RB in the last 5 years, or the Texas A&M strength coach who worked with both him and Adrian Peterson said their athletic explosiveness is on equal grounds.

          Not really sure why everyone wants to just shrug off these types of comments. There is a difference between the usual “he looks great we are excites about him” run of the mill comments, and bold ones like these. Reminds me of when Josh Gordon came out and a personnel guy made a Randy Moss comparison and everyone flipped out over it, then 2 years later he had 1600 yards in 14 games.

          You all can convince yourselves that Michael is just an ordinary player that is getting the usual coach hype in the off season but that’s basically covering your eyes to the situation that is unfolding.

      • sixshooter

        June 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        Well I guess this time of year you hear about how all the younger players are performing well including Turbin. For example, Harbaugh is impressed with Gabbert or Stacy is not the gauranteed starter with Mason on the roster, etc, etc, etc. This is why we each need to weed out the fluff and develop our own opinions which are not always right nor are they always wrong which I believe Rob did a good job of explaining in the article.

        I am now feeling that I underestimated Michael in the rookie draft but still not sure I would have ended up with different results as I still would not have spent a 1st round pick on him but I could very easily be proven wrong. Not sure I can be disappointed with Ellington though!!!

        On another note regarding that rookie draft, I just read where the Packers are worried that Jonathan Franklin’s neck injury may be career threatening!!!

  13. Rob Pitzer

    June 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I use the times listed at NFL Draft Scout. Hopefully using a single-source gives more consistency across time.

    Michael’s 40 is listed at 4.43, his 10-yard split is 1.49 (to 1.57) and those shuttle and cone times you list are basically closer to the best and worst scores than they are to each other.

    • sixshooter

      June 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      I honestly don’t put much weight into any of those times because when it is all said and done…..it is what they do in pads that makes the difference!!! Terrell Davis (4.72 forty) or Frank Gore (4.65 forty) are great examples of that!!!

  14. someguyindlf

    June 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve got Michael in (2) dynasty leagues and I haven’t even got as much as a sniff from another owner. I own Lynch in one of those leagues, but no one has even asked about his availability. I can’t tell if I am competing in a league of zombies or dummies, but it likely doesn’t matter as I’ve been rosterbating over CMike ever since I landed him.

    • BadgerGuy

      June 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      A lot of owners are expecting trades equivalent to what you would trade for AP, LT, and Emmitt (all 3 at once) in their prime.

      I offered a 1.10 rookie pick to a Michael owner in one of my leagues and got countered with Michael for Gordon, the 1.1, the 1.2, and a ’15 first. I stopped sending out offers for him in all my leagues after that. I have him in 2 or 3 leagues as well.

      He may be good, but the Hype train is miles out of control on this one

      • Rob Pitzer

        June 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Looks more like a ‘go away’ offer than anything serious. No one’s expecting Gordon and three firsts.

  15. Mac

    June 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I had 5 RBs go in front of CM in our auction dynasty league, and I got him. For me, he looked explosive when he touched the ball in college and passed the eye ball test. I hope they put him on the field this year and gives me a glimpse of what I have.

  16. Earl Campbell

    June 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    A 6.69 3 cone!!!! That is crazy for a player his size (220)

    Does that rank as one of the best ever?

  17. Earl Campbell

    June 20, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Top RB 3-Cone scores of players over 209 LBs since 2006 Combine

    4. Roy Helu 219 6.67 (40- 4.77 @ combine)
    5. Christine Michael 220 6.69 (40- 4.54 @ combine)
    7. Zac Stacy 216 6.70 (40- 4.55 @ combine)
    9. Kevin Smith 212 6.74 (40- 4.5-4.69?)
    11.Le’Veon Bell 230 6.75 (40- 4.60 @ combine)
    11.Bishop Sankey 209 6.75 (40- 4.49 @ combine)

    I usually could care less about 40 times for RB’s, but I love the 3-cone and think it’s says alot about RB success in the NFL, especially for bigger backs with decent speed. Ray Rice, Ahmad Bradshaw and Jahvid Best are also in the top 10, but at around 200 LBs. I think Michael has a bright future

  18. Will

    June 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    So who are guys this year that follow the “Talent + Risk” Model?

    • Rob Pitzer

      June 21, 2014 at 8:05 am

      This year was a bonanza, there were a bunch of guys that fell further than they should have (in FF drafts) because they went to smaller schools. 2014 was easily my favorite rookie draft since I started playing FF.

      Garoppolo
      West, McKinnon, Archer
      Janis

      IMO two or three of those guys will be front line FF starters sooner or later and Archer might have some RB3 type value (which counts for a lot in start-24 or start-28 leagues).

      I suspect the NFL downgrades them due to the salary cap implications of having to roster someone who needs an extra year or two to make the small-school-to-NFL jump, but since we don’t have that concern (a roster spot in FF is a lot cheaper) smaller school players are often gold.

      Grabbing those guys with 2nd-3rd-4th round rookie picks is a fantastic bet — super low risk even if they don’t pan out.

      In general, most of my rosters are packed with guys who fit the small-school, low-volume, high character risk profiles — C Michael, CJ Anderson, Demaryius Thomas, Garcon, VJax, C Shorts, Marlon Brown, Charles Johnson, Charles Clay, Lad Green and now the five rookies listed above.

      They don’t all work out — Stephen Hill, Felix Jones, Alex Green come to mind right away in terms of guys I actually paid for — but the ones that do are so valuable relative to cost that the approach is a huge winner. Especially the small school guys — who are lower long-term risk than the other types.

      I’m blanking on low-volume or high-character risk guys in this draft right now though. I tend to stay away from guys who were actually kicked out of school in college though — so Crowell was out for me. Especially where he was being drafted I think the risk/reward mix was completely out of whack. Like Da’Rick Rogers last year. A guy with NFL-level talent has to be an enormous problem child for his college team for them to flat out cut him.

    • Chris R.

      June 21, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Isiaih Crowell easily.

      • Rob Pitzer

        June 21, 2014 at 9:16 am

        If you were a college coach whose job depends on winning and you had a player with NFL-level talent on your roster, how big of an idiot would he have to be for you to kick him off the team?

        The history of guys like that in the NFL is absolutely dismal.

  19. mike h.

    June 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    1. any “metric” that uses the word “agile” and doesn’t include ADP is a joke. he is one the most fluid runners the nfl has ever seen.

    2. the OC and coach talk have already backtracked. michael isn’t going to get more then 80-90 carries this year unless lynch gets hurt. if you expect him to produce, it’s not going to be until at least 2015.

    3. The front office knows Lynch wants a new deal. they are talking up michael for negotiating tactics with lynch. We already have your replacement see.

    4. saying he will be better then gio or lacy who have proven something at the NFL is a stretch and a big one at that.

    5. I think he has talent, but people are going crazy overboard on the hype.

  20. Lenny Pappano

    July 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Fantastic article (and comments!)…

    Ok, I’ve never heard Michael compared to LaDanian Tomlinson in terms of physical skill set — but I’ll now have to go back and take a closer look. Saw Tomlinson at Senior Bowl practices back in the day, and thought he was the best back I’d ever seen live. Incredible.

    I know guy’s are high on him for dynasty, but Michael’s re-draft ADP is 9.11. Too low for a player with his upside playing behind a RB who has averaged 300 carries the past 3 seasons (not to mention the postseason). You’d think he’s a no-brainer in the late 9th round.

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