Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Let the draft begin!

I'm starting my first draft for the season in just a few hours (it's an e-mail style organized by KFFL.com) and I'll be drafting from the #1 overall spot. It's a PPR league so I'm debating the benefits of AP vs MJD. I'll keep you posted on my decision...but I'm leaning MJD right now.

In the meantime, I only have 3.5 more work days left so I'm desperately trying to get projects wrapped up and touch base with folks before I head out. So this is bound to be a pretty quick post - my apologies!

All for now!


Matt Calvey said...

I have seen many people arguing back and forth with themselves about Maurice Jones Drew as a possible #1 overall pick. I have never bought it, and I will try to summarize my feelings here. I freely admit this is going out on a limb, and if you take my advice, I apologize if he blows up.

My issues with MJD come down to what I perceive are a couple of salient points.

1) Declining YPC.
MJD's YPC have declined in each of his three seasons since entering the league. As a rookie, he averaged a Jim Brown-esque 5.7 YPC. In his second season, that declined to 4.6 YPC. Last season, that number was 4.2 YPC.
Now I am not going to go out and say that he will average 3.8 YPC this season, but assuming that he only matches what he did last seasons, and given three hundred carries, he will run for 1,260 yards. Good numbers, but not #1 overall good.

2) Limited usage history.
There are really two points baked in here. The first is that we don't know if MJD can handle the increased workload that will be required of him to make him worth a pick in the first round. I tend to think this concern is greatly overblown by other MJD "haters", but let's be realistic about the prospect of a man weighing 208 pounds slamming into defensive lineman three hundred-plus times this season.
The more important part, for me, of the limited usage, is the issue of sample size. Simply said, it is easier for a running back to average 10 YPC on one carry than on one hundred, and easier to average it on one hundred carries than three hundred carries. MJD has never had more than two hundred carries in a season. This small sample size allows a couple of 30-40 yard runs to greatly cloud his statistics. I understand that these runs need to be counted, but big plays are not as consistent or predictable as the guy that can carve good production all day (get it, All-Day?). AP is a boom and bust type runner, but he is averaging a similar YPC with a much higher workload.

3) MJD's touchdown rate.
As they say in stock prospectuses (prospecti?), past performance is not a guarantee of future results. MJD averages one rushing touchdown every 15.58 carries. If you extrapolate this to three hundred carries, he checks in at 19-20 touchdowns on the ground alone. This is the basis of many calculations about his production this season. However, what if his TD production regresses to a more historical mean, say once every 30-40 carries. That puts his RTD total around 7-10, which again is good, but not worth #1 overall.
I have harped repeatedly on this site, of the inconsistency of touchdowns from season to season. MJD derives an outsized amount of his value from his ability to get into the end-zone. I would worry if that "ability" is diminished this season.

He has been, so far in his career, a PPR beast, due to his high TD and reception counts. The possibility also exists that if he is the full time starter, he will no longer serve as a third-down back, and his reception opportunities may be limited. I have NO statistics to back up this last argument, so I wouldn't hang my hat on it, but it lingers in the back of my mind.

There are many reasons to consider MJD as a pick in the first round, however, I think if you "simulated" this upcoming season a thousand times, AP would outproduce MJD on the whole, and on that basis, I would select him over MJD first overall.

Good luck this season Librarian!

Peter said...

Great points, Matt. I too believe in the flukiness of TD totals, and I don't think AP will have a mere 10 (or that DeAngelo will have 20 again). If we did, DeAng would be everyone's number one. Why isn't he? No one expects him to repeat that stat.

Peterson MIGHT have a lower ceiling if MJD can keep up the average pace of the last two season over 350 touches this year, but Peterson represents less risk to me. I concur, and am jealous of the Librarian's number 1 pick.

Good luck with your draft!

Lee @ Football Jabber said...

I had a draft start the other day that has 1 pt. per reception, making MJD and Matt Forte attractive options at the #3 position. A couple other websites agreed and they were gone so I had to settle with Adrian Peterson at #3.

One thing I have found in all the mock drafts leading up to this draft that I did is that you can still get a couple solid choices when at the top of the draft when it comes back around at round 2 and 3.

Matt Calvey said...

I don't want to sound like I am dumping on MJD. I think, on a per carry basis, he is one of the best players in the NFL. My concerns with him are more around the extent of his workload and his ability to handle the workload that would be commensurate with his value as a potential #1 overall pick.
If my team were "stuck" having to pick MJD, I certainly wouldn't lose too much sleep.
Who else did you consider at the #3 spot? I like Steven Jackson this year, particularly in a PPR league, and I also like LT and Gore, but I don't know if I would pick them at #3, or over MJD.
And let's not forget that AP, in his rookie season, averaged over 14 yards per catch, with a catch rate of 70%. It seems that his low reception totals are schematic, rather than a reflection on a lack of pass-catching skill from AP.

Peter said...


I wonder what AP's yards-per-catch would've been without the 60 yard dump pass against a horrible falcons team in week one.

But yes, you're right: AP's low reception numbers are schematic. It's becasue he's not as good at reading defenses and picking up blitzes as Chester Taylor is. Taylor does this extremely well, so he sees a lot of 3rd down plays in passing situations. Thus he gets his fair share of catches and receiving yards (400 last year) despite playing on the same team as the greatest back in the league.