Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fantasy Football Update - Running Back

Here is a look at my running back situation in the Trash Talking is a Must league.

RUNNING BACKS -

DRAFTED:

Ronnie Brown (MIA); Warrick Dunn (ATL); Mike Bell (DEN); Deuce McAllister (NO); Brandon Jacobs (NYG); Jerious Norwood (ATL)

WHAT I SAID IN AUGUST:
"I got Ronnie Brown with my first pick and I'm pretty happy with the choice. This is a running back heavy league so I picked another with my second choice in Warrick Dunn. I'm not so happy with that pick but at least I know what I'm getting with Dunn as opposed to the other guys that were available there like Chester Taylor and Rueben Droughens. I was later able to handcuff Dunn to his backup Jerious Norwood (which is good fantasy strategy) so I'm happy about that. I got good value with the rest of my RB's. Mike Bell is the opening day starter in Denver and Mike Shanahan just loves using unheralded backs in his system so I should be good to go there. I also picked up Deuce McAllister in the middle rounds - he's looked great in the preseason and will likely share the load with Reggie Bush to start the year. I also scooped Tiki Barber's backup in New York, Brandon Jacobs. This is a good pick just because of the fact that Jacobs gets most of the goalline carries in New York and will likely score at least 6 touchdowns this year. I'm really happy overall with my backs."

CURRENTLY ON TEAM:
Ronnie Brown (MIA); Warrick Dunn (ATL); Mike Bell (DEN); Deuce McAllister (NO); Brandon Jacobs (NYG); Jerious Norwood (ATL)

I've made no changes to my running backs all season and to be honest, I'm a bit disappointed with my results. Most of the disappointment lies with the performance of my first pick, Ronnie Brown. I had the 10th pick in the draft and was REALLY hoping that Steven Jackson would fall to me but he went a couple picks earlier. Brown was the best option but I really felt he'd be a force both running and receiving. That hasn't really been the case. He's the 11th best running back in our league right now, picking up 148.2 points (13.47 average) and that's not really great for a 10th overall pick. The offensive coordinator in Miami, Mike Mularkey, hasn't done me any favours with his shady playcalling either.

With Dunn, my second round pick, I knew that I wouldn't be getting many touchdowns and it looked like the pick was going to turn out great after a scolding hot start. However, the Falcons have been going through an identity crisis for most of the year and it has resulted in Dunn getting fewer carries than usual. Dunn is my third best back and ranked 18th in fantasy football at his position with 127.3 points (11.57 average), not good enough for where he was drafted.

My third back chosen and fifth round selection was Denver's Mike Bell, who impressed in camp and was Shanahan's choice to start the season. Bell had a solid first week but really stumbled in week two and that's all it took to get in the coach's doghouse. I was forced to put Bell on the bench and almost dropped him but he's had a few huge starts in the past five weeks - unfortunately, he was on my bench both of those weeks so I didn't benefit from the 20+ point performances. He's only been in my lineup for three weeks this year and was only productive in the first week so needless to say, Bell has disappointed.

However, I made up for the Bell miscue with my next back: the Saints Deuce McAllister. The other GM's must have been scared off by his injury from the year before and the drafting of 'the Franchise' in Reggie Bush. I was able to scoop Deuce in the 8th round and hoped he could build on a great preseason. Indeed, Deuce has received the majority of carries in the Saints backfield and is the main man in short yardage situations, which has resulted in an impressive 9 touchdowns through 11 games. With 145.8 points (13.25 average), he's ranked 12th in fantasy football at the position and is about to become my top running back with the injury to Ronnie Brown. This was a great pick for me.

Brandon Jacobs and Jarious Norwood were depth selections and neither has been able to crack my lineup even once this year. Jacobs has actually exceeded my expectations, garnering an impressive 8 touchdowns in 11 games (I guessed six in the preseason) as Tiki Barber's backup and the Giants go-to guy in short yardage situations. However, he only sees about 5-8 carries a game and can't be relied on as any more than a flex-option. I will give him a look this week, however, with Brown out of my lineup. He has compiled 94.8 points (8.62 average) and is probably one of the better backups in the league. Norwood was selected as insurance against Dunn going down but the little guy has proven to be resilient this year and Norwood, while spectacular in spots, has been a non-factor for most of the year.

I have 3 of the top 18 backs in fantasy, so it's not all bad. However, none of my guys are true #1's and it has hurt me this year, especially in the middle portion of the season during bye weeks.

Up next will be my wide receiver report.

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