One of the most common comments/compliments commented commonly to me is our reader’s love of the player comments in our rankings. I appreciate people taking notice because I think they are very often more helpful than the ranking itself. They do have a rather pesky length limitation, though. It was with that in mind that Mr. Dan Sainio and I set out to craft expanded comments for the top-10 quarterbacks and tight ends and top-20 running backs and wide receivers from our February startup ADP.
We each pitched in about 100 words per player to give you two different viewpoints. No notes were compared, so while some comments may be similar, there are plenty of differences as well. This series will be stretched out over six parts, with each pushing into the 2,000 word territory. While longer than most articles released here, we think the short, consumable, blurbish nature of the format will make it pretty easy to digest while still being very informational.
RB11 – Lamar Miller (ADP 36)
Jeff – Five months hence, the other Mr. Miller had an overall ADP of 18. After a disappointing 2016, he has fallen out of favor and down into the fourth round of mocks. While the dip in value is predictable, it may not be entirely his fault: Brock Osweiler was monumentally bad and Miller was dinged up from pillar to post. Considering their cap situation and commitment to Miller, it seems unlikely Houston will spend many resources on a back this off-season. He should once again see the bulk of the work, and if so, should at least repeat his 13.7 PPG from a year ago.
Dan – Miller is a guy I will forever be higher on than the consensus. The move to Houston was both a blessing and a curse, as he finally rid himself of a Dolphins team that refused to give him work and landed with the Texans. The curse in this equation is the seven foot tall Brock Osweiler, who is one of the worst quarterbacks I have ever seen. The passing game scared nobody, so Miller had virtually no chance. Yet he ran for over 1000 yards and five touchdowns. Impressive, considering all teams had to do was scheme to stop him. I’m buying aggressively at RB11 and look forward to his improved 2017.
RB12 Derrick Henry (ADP 40)
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Jeff – Henry’s year was a tale of two halves. The rookie increased his yards per carry, touches, and fantasy output during the back nine, pushing the productive DeMarco Murray for playing time. If you consider only the 14 games in which they both played (Henry missed weeks 9 and 11), Murray outscored him 21.4 PPG to four in the first seven, but only 14.6 to 11.1 the last seven. Considering the age and wear-and-tear difference between the two backs, it is wholly reasonable to expect that trend to carry into 2017. As such, Henry’s arrow is pointing straight up.
Dan – Henry is a physical freak, and a truly impressive north/south runner. But RB12? Seriously? I absolutely understand the play for potential here, but he’s stuck behind Murray for at least one more year and potentially longer as he the elder back is signed through 2019. The amount of time before he’ll see meaningful touches has to be taken into consideration. Slide him down into the mid RB2 range, and I’ll be much happier. Oh, and he’s about as agile as a sloth in quicksand. Had to get that in there.
RB13 LeSean McCoy (ADP 43)
Jeff – You will be hard pressed to find a back with more potential for production at a cheaper price than McCoy. His 19.8 PPG was fifth among qualifiers, trailing only the three guys you’d guess and Melvin Gordon. He also topped five YPC for the third time in a career that has seen him never fall below 4.1 in a season. Still, he will be 29 when week one kicks off, and the Bills quarterback situation is a huge question mark. As it sits, this is about right for McCoy in a startup draft, but championship contenders should see him as a guy who can help them win a league for relatively cheap.
Dan – 2016 Shady looked like the same guy we saw during the peak Philadelphia years. The TD production was a nice bounce back, and he set a career high in yards per carry (5.4). While I’m not entirely sure it was a sign of things to come, it was nice to see that he hasn’t fallen off and was able to stay mostly healthy. With an attractive price tag and limited competition (for now), McCoy should continue to out-produce this valuation for at least a couple more years.
RB14 Carlos Hyde (ADP 48)
Jeff – Hyde is one of those players whose ADP may not tell the full tale of his trade value. Most of his owners are pretty bullish, especially considering the 49ers’ addition of Kyle Shanahan. It isn’t just Lil’ Shanny that gives them hope, though. Hyde has looked special at times over the past two seasons and was a bright spot for a bad team in 2016. His 4.6 YPC and nine touchdowns operating within a putrid offense showed his upside. The main knock on Hyde is the 14 missed games in three years, and because of that, RB14 may be a hair optimistic.
Dan – Hyde seemingly hit the lottery this off-season, as the 49ers decided to do something good for the franchise and bring in Shanahan. Hyde doesn’t necessarily need the offensive guru, but it will certainly help. The concern with Hyde is his inability to stay healthy. Missing 14 of 48 possible games isn’t exactly a great thing. While healthy Hyde has looked very good. Running for just shy of 1000 yards and six touchdowns over 13 games in 2016, things look to be trending up for him. San Francisco has some real work to do, though. They need a quarterback and something that resembles a wide receiver core. Otherwise Hyde will be looking at stacked boxes, and we all know that doesn’t help. I have Hyde in this range, so I’m very comfortable with his current ADP.
RB15 Mark Ingram (ADP 49)
Jeff – As with most of the backs from RB8 to RB30 or so, a legitmate argument can be made that Ingram is a value at this ADP. To that point, he has averaged 4.7 YPC over his last four seasons and has a TD rate among the top-12 at the position. He has also caught 96 total passes the last two years. So why is he down here? It is a mix of injury fear (legitimate), usage fear (less legitimate since he has overcome that over and over), and memories of his first two seasons (illegitimate). I’m buying at this price. You should too.
Dan – Can someone call Sean Payton and ask him what his problem is with Mark Ingram? After Ingram’s fumble in week seven, the Saints decided it would be best if they split touches between Ingram and Tim Hightower for the remainder of the season. I’m not a big fan of turnovers either, but I’m not going to take the ball out of the hands of my playmakers. That’s bad football. Ingram had his first thousand yard rushing season in 2016, which also happened to be only his second 16 game season. The injury concerns are real, as he missed 18 games from 2011 to 2015, but when healthy, he produces at a nice rate and he can fall back on the explosive passing attack as he is an above average receiver.
RB16 Joe Mixon (ADP 55)
Jeff – It is hard to comment too much on the rookies until we know where they are going to end up. It is even harder with Mixon who hasn’t done any drills as of press time. To complicate matters further, Mixon, a first round talent, could fall all the way into day three of the draft due to that whole punching a woman thing. With all that in mind, this is probably a fair slot, but until I see his pro day and draft status, I’d be more comfortable with at least six or seven backs being taken after him.
Dan – Mixon is an elite talent with sky high potential, but he also happens to be a giant pile of… not great human being. With his future in question, as we don’t know where (or if) he’ll be drafted, it’s hard to peg him on the overall list. As far as rookies go, he should be in the conversation for RB1 with the understanding that his troubled past hurts his potential value immensely. In the end, I will likely have him much higher, but for now it’s very tough to place Mixon with all of the uncertainty around him.
RB17 C.J. Prosise (ADP 56)
Jeff – This is a tough one for me. I am avowed Thomas Rawls guy, but Prosise looked very good in his limited stint last season. As good as he was, some questions were raised, namely whether he can stay healthy. There were already concerns about whether he could be a volume guy, something three separate injuries to his hammy, wrist, and shoulder did nothing to quell. There is also a question about whether Seattle wants to use him in such a role anyway. The fact is, he is explosive enough to be a nice RB2 with ten or fewer touches. Expecting much more without evidence to support it may be a mistake, making his ADP awfully optimistic.
Dan – My knee jerk reaction to this is that it seems a bit high. I’m a big fan of Prosise and his potential, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a three down back. Seattle seems to have a great RBBC in place, though, so they may work best in tandem. Prosise strikes me as the passing down guy, with limited carries, but plenty of ability to carry solid RB2 upside. I see Rawls dominating the carries, but getting limited passing down work. Ham, meet egg. I’d have Prosise lower, but the upside is there. Let’s hope he can stay healthy.
RB18 Christian McCaffrey (ADP 60)
Jeff – McCaffrey had a really good combine, likely vaulting him past Mixon for many, and perhaps even into Dalvin Cook territory for those who put heavy stock into SPARQ scores and the like. Somewhat akin to Prosise, there are questions about Easy Ed’s son’s ability to be ‘The Guy’ for a team. There are no such worries about his athleticism or pass catching. Given the right landing spot, McCaffrey could end up pushing into the top-12 among RBs post-draft.
Dan – McCaffrey is a guy who strikes me more as a slot receiver than a running back. While I think he can still produce on limited touches from the backfield, he may be best used as a receiver. I don’t believe McCaffrey is built for a heavy workload in the NFL as it’s not exactly the PAC, but I’d be just fine being wrong about that. I anticipate McCaffrey to stay on the rise, especially if he gets a favorable landing spot. I have no issue with him as the RB18.
RB19 C.J. Anderson (ADP 64)
Jeff – As with another personal favorite, Mark Ingram, I am going to avoid soap boxing too much here. I guess I just get attached to underrated, really good NFL players who get knocked due to sup-par measureables (Keenan Allen is another torch I carry). You could probably write a book about why they get me in a froth, but that is a story for my shrink to author. To sum it up, CJA is a football player. He has great feel and excellent vision. When the Denver line is at least adequate, Anderson has been stellar. If they can do that in 2017 (and CJ can stay healthy), he will prove to be a steal at RB19.
Dan – Right off the bat I’ll tell you that this is far too low for CJA. I’ve got him as a low end RB1/high end RB2. He’s in a favorable spot in Denver, and as much as people want to like Devontae Booker, he isn’t strong competition. Like plenty of others on this list, Anderson’s value comes with his health. And with good health, we will hopefully see some volume. After averaging 10-12 touches per game in 2014 and 2015, Anderson finally saw an uptick in usage in 2016 before being lost for the season due to injury. If the Broncos can improve their offensive line, and Anderson can stay on the field, we should be looking at a great value here.
RB20 DeMarco Murray (ADP 66)
Jeff – You can take a lot about what I said about McCoy and cut and paste it here. One big difference between the two is Murray has totaled some 592 fewer career touches. That gulf caught me a bit by surprise and may cause a slight rankings adjustment, but the fact remains only one of these guys has Derrick Henry behind them. We can’t say for sure what this season will bring, but Murray is a risky bet at an ADP much higher than this. At RB20, though, he is worth a gamble.
Dan – After everyone thought he was washed up following his bogus season in Philly where they had no idea how to use him, Murray came back strong in 2016, rushing for 1287 yards, nine touchdowns, and a 53-377-3 line as a receiver. Yes, DeMarco just turned 29, but he is about to be three years removed from his 450 touch season and he looks as strong as ever. Murray is likely the ultimate win-now value back, and for this price we can’t really complain.
Jeff can be found on Twitter at @FFJeffM
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