Welcome to the 4th and final guest post from Cris at Fantasyomatic.com. He's been taking a look at the 2010 schedule and developing a Fantasy Points Against score for each NFL team by position. I've posted his review of QBs, WRs and TEs, so now it's time for RBs. If you've been following along in this series you know that I post the top 3 teams here and you can find the rest on Fantasyomatic.com when it gets posted on Friday. So without further ado, enjoy this last article from Fantasyomatic.com.
Fantasyomatic Fantasy Points Against
Welcome to part four, the final installment in a series of draft prep articles leading up to training camp. This week the focus is on fantasy RBs with information on lots of running backs in the league, their offensive lines, their strength of schedules and where they stand in the depth charts. We ranked all 32 teams based on several factors called 'FPA Score'. We will break down each team and profile each RB candidate. You will also find helpful information on 2009 Yards Per Carry, 2009 Touches, 2009 Red Zone usage, 2010 Strength of Schedule, and 2010 Fantasy Playoff schedules. Don't worry about the Fantasy Points Against data just being grabbed from 2009; the engine used here has been hard at work cranking out "defensive ranking against fantasy position" projections all spring. The "FPA" values you see include 2010 adjustments for draft and free agency additions, coaching changes in the offseason, defensive scheme updates, daily fantasy news updates, and up to the day depth charts. In addition, the FPA values are also weighted against their strength of opponents in 2009 and then again against their strength of opponents in 2010.
What to look for: Players with high yards per pass attempt (YPA) and trends of low FPA ranks against especially during weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense = value. Also watch for mentions of a high red zone score percentage (RZS%), which denotes a TE that's involved in a lot of red zone scoring.
1. San Diego Chargers (FPA: 101.2)
Ryan Mathews (r) ADP: 17 - 50% of 63
Darren Sproles (YPC 3.6)Â ADP: 98 - 50% of 63 - 91 Touches
Rookie RB Ryan Mathews will be a popular sleeper in fantasy football this season, and while it's not good fantasy form to grab a rookie RB too high and expect big things from him, there are some pretty interesting factors that make Mathews look like he may be a solid top end RB2. First, he has a very impressive #1 overall SOS ranking in our proprietary database for all RBs. Chargers coach Norv Turner estimates that Ryan Mathews will have 290 carries and 40 catches this season. Based on that 290-touch prediction, Mathews will top 1,300 all-purpose yards if he averages a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry and 7.5 yards per catch. As a team, San Diego scored 17 rushing TDs in 2009 and averaged 3.4 ypc, so even a slight increase can make him gold. The reception total has been overly optimistic all along with Darren Sproles locked into third downs and Mathews catching only 19 passes the past two years at Fresno State. Mathews will have a tough hill to climb unless the Chargers' offensive line improves upon a 3.4 ypc average (worst in the NFL last season). Pro Bowl guard Kris Dielman and center Nick Hardwick are excellent, but as the contract dispute between left tackle Marcus McNeil and the front office rages on, a holdout appears likely. This is certainly something that could take some air out of this balloon. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune confirms that McNeill is next in line for a contract extension with Antonio Gates' out of the way. However as poor as L.T was last season, SD still credited 50% of their Red Zone TDs to their RBs in 63 appearances. If this play calling continues and the offensive line improves just a little bit, then you can expect good things from Mathews. Mathews has been rising rapidly in ADP ranks, starting at around 40 and now appearing as high as 17 overall in some expert drafts.
The reason we have SD ranked #1 is because they have only one matchup against the toughest 5 defenses against RBs, and although that comes in a critical week 15 game, their killer top 5 weakest matchups in weeks 14 and 16 make up for it. You can also expect an excellent start for the rookie (as long as he gets to camp on time) since 5 out of the first 8 weeks are matchups against the easiest 10 defenses against fantasy RBs! Then, after their bye week (and a nice late Week 10 bye to help counter the "rookie wall"), they revisit 4 of the weakest 10 teams again to finish the season. It really doesn't get better than this if you value RBs and SOS.
2. San Francisco 49ers (FPA score: 104.0)
Frank Gore (YPC 4.9)Â ADP: 5 -Â 30% of 50 - 206 Touches
Glenn Coffee / Anthony Dixon (r) ADP: 152 -30% of 50
The 49ers' offensive line is the headline story of their offseason after adding line coach Mike Solari and two solid first-round picks (Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati). While Davis is more of a project slotted to start at right tackle, Iupati has All-Pro potential as an interior lineman. The rookies figure to be part of the 49ers' battles for starting spots in training camp at right tackle and left guard, respectively. This depth is still huge for Frank Gore. Gore runs well in a zone scheme that Solari will bring to SF, yet he is also a huge impact receiver with over 400 yds and 3 TDs through the air in 2009. Gore has never played a full 16 game season, but if he does he is elite. For example, in 2009 Frank Gore averaged more fantasy points per game than MJD. Keep in mind that he has never missed more than 2 games in a season, so it is not an extreme concern, just expect that you will not have him for possibly 3 games (including the bye) and if you can live with that, he is a great value.
The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows does not believe rookie Anthony Dixon will unseat Glen Coffee for the primary backup job this summer. "At least not at the start of the season," said Barrows. Coffee is already adept at blitz pickup, so he'll have a sizable advantage on the No. 2 job in training camp, making Coffee a better use of a late-round fantasy pick than Dixon. Gore will jump out to a great start with all three of his first games against bottom 10 defenses against fantasy RBs. If you look closer, you will see that he actually faces the projected worst and 2nd worst teams against RBs in those first three weeks. Then, after a couple tough matchups, things settle down and eventually ease into an amazing weeks 14 and 16.
3. Denver Broncos (FPA score: 113.9)
Knowshon Moreno (YPC 3.8)Â ADP: 28 - 76% of 52 - 233 Touches
Correll Buckhalter (YPC 5.5)Â ADP: 144 - 76% of 52 - 114 Touches
Knowshon Moreno totalled 1160 total yards with 9 TDs in 2009, but he had a chance to do a lot more. He only averaged 3.8 ypc and also lost 4 fumbles. Keep in mind he missed training camp due to his hold out and suffered an MCL injury in the preseason. He also wore down quite a bit to 2.7 ypc over the last 4 games. Overall he had less than 250 carries as a rookie, but had 33 broken tackles and was active in the passing game. NFL Network's Michael Lombardi believes Knowshon Moreno could "set the league on fire this season" as long as he stays healthy. Lombardi is tight with Josh McDaniels, so he could be getting his optimistic outlook straight from the head coach. Much will depend on Demaryius Thomas emerging as a legit downfield threat to open up running lanes for Moreno. Beat writer Mike Klis has already issued a "fantasy alert" on Moreno, and McDaniels has predicted an "impact" role in the passing game. However, McDaniels likes using RBBCs so Correll Buckhalter will still see action, just not enough to carry him on your roster. Buckhalter actually made more with his opportunities last year with his 5.5 ypc. Despite this, he got only 3 goal line attempts while Moreno had 14. Keep in mind that Denver gave 76% of its Red Zone TDs to RBs in 2009 so if that continues, Moreno could benefit big time. In the past, Denver could plug anyone in at running back, or along the offensive line, and still have success because of the zone-blocking scheme. However, during the offseason Denver moved toward a man blocking "power" scheme which should be better for Moreno. Moreno will have a shot to get his legs under him with three top 10 matchups against soft defenses in the first 4 games. There is a wicked stretch of 3 out of 4 very bad matchups before Denver's week 9 bye. But if you are savvy, let Moreno owners in your league struggle through some poor performances weeks 5-8, then when they are looking for a RB2 replacement for Moreno during their Week 9 bye, offer them a trade for Moreno and enjoy an incredible bounce back late season schedule where his value may hit a season high going into the playoffs.