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Running Back ADP Trends for PPR Leagues

If you were wondering when ‘crunch time’ was, it’s now. The NFL regular season opens next week on Thursday, September 5th and leagues are in full-on draft mode right now. We’ve watched summer min-camps, OTAs, training camp practices and now three weeks of preseason games. The fourth week is usually where NFL teams are merely rounding out their final rosters, so the games are filled with scrubs and borderline role players while the starters sit on the sidelines having already established their roles within their respective teams. Sure, there are a few position battles to keep an eye on, but for the most part, we’re set and ready to go. It’s time for those who have yet to draft to start making their final strategy decisions and start figuring out who to take and where to take them. Time is running out.

We’ve done a lot of standard league ADP analysis lately, and just switched up to some more PPR league work with the wide receivers. It’s time to look at the running backs again and see what kind of changes we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. We’ve got two sets of lists for you to look at today – the first is a look at which running backs have suddenly appeared on draft boards after not having been given a thought just a few short weeks ago and then the second is a list of all the rest, organized by who has seen the biggest rise in ADP rank versus who has dropped. Not everyone is going to be 100-percent relevant for your league as it all varies based on how many or how few teams you have, but even if you play in a shallow, eight-team league, many are going to be key waiver adds as the season progresses.

So let’s just take a look…
New Arrivals

Player Team Current ADP Change 1 Wk Ago Change 2 Wks Ago Overall Trend
Christine Michael SEA 194.13
-NR-
-NR- ++
Joique Bell DET 197.56 5.30% 208.06
-NR- ++
Jonathan Dwyer PIT 199.38
-NR-
-NR- ++
Knowshon Moreno DEN 203.88
-NR-
-NR- ++
Roy Helu WAS 203.94
-NR-
-NR- ++
Rashad Jennings OAK 206.94
-NR-
-NR- ++
Mike Goodson NYJ 207.25
-NR-
-NR- ++
Robert Turbin SEA 208.38
-NR-
-NR- ++
Knile Davis KC 210.31
-NR-
-NR- ++

We’ve got a number of handcuffs appearing here over these last two weeks, but not only are many of these guys the primary back-ups, but they also have an increased value in PPR leagues due to their pass-catching abilities and their added third down work. Detroit’s Joique Bell seems to be the best example of that as we’ve seen him take a significant amount of passing work away from Lion’s backs over the last two seasons. That may change a little this year as Reggie Bush is a better pass-catcher than the Lions have had in the backfield in previous seasons, but given the chronic health concerns, grabbing Bell is definitely a wise move late in your draft.

Both Knowshon Moreno and Jonathan Dwyer burst onto the scene as the probable number one back in their respective systems, but before you go jumping at that, understand that Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman have now spent Monday and Tuesday each with the first-team offense while Isaac Redman was actually named the starter over Dwyer. The Steelers say that Le'Veon Bell will be back before their Week 5 bye so Redman will be the one to keep his spot warm. Neither Moreno nor Dwyer should see a whole improvement in ADP if these situations stay as they are.

Out of the rest, I like the Christine Michael handcuff to Marshawn Lynch a lot more than the Robert Turning handcuff, especially in PPR leagues. Not to knock Turbin, but I think the upside with Michael , who is also a better pass-catcher, is a lot greater.

Running Back ADP Trends
Player Team Current ADP Change 1 Wk Ago Change 2 Wks Ago Overall Trend
Ben Tate HOU 115.44 10.40% 127.42 12.20% 142.94 23.80%
Frank Gore SF 39.81 2.10% 40.64 12.90% 45.88 15.20%
Matt Forte CHI 17.94 2.80% 18.44 8.80% 20.06 11.80%
C.J. Spiller BUF 3.31 14.20% 3.78 -2.40% 3.69 11.50%
Eddie Lacy GB 66.13 2.20% 67.56 8.60% 73.38 11.00%
David Wilson NYG 30.31 6.70% 32.33 1.20% 32.72 8.00%
Pierre Thomas NO 181.63 4.90% 190.53 2.70% 195.72 7.80%
Daryl Richardson STL 92.13 0.30% 92.44 6.50% 98.44 6.80%
Mikel Leshoure DET 127.13 10.30% 140.22 -3.70% 135.09 6.30%
Bernard Pierce BAL 153.94 3.90% 159.97 1.80% 162.91 5.80%
Alfred Morris WAS 16.25 9.70% 17.83 -3.90% 17.13 5.40%
DeAngelo Williams CAR 137.56 -7.10% 127.86 13.20% 144.78 5.20%
Ray Rice BAL 7.38 1.60% 7.50 3.30% 7.75 5.00%
Ryan Mathews SD 53.81 2.30% 55.03 2.70% 56.50 5.00%
Bryce Brown PHI 110.88 4.10% 115.39 0.90% 116.41 5.00%
Fred Jackson BUF 179.13 4.20% 186.67 0.70% 187.97 4.90%
Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 24.13 -5.10% 22.89 9.90% 25.16 4.30%
Johnathan Franklin GB 151.25 9.10% 165.08 -4.60% 157.56 4.20%
Zac Stacy STL 188.00 5.50% 198.36 -1.30% 195.72 4.10%
DeMarco Murray DAL 37.81 1.50% 38.36 2.30% 39.25 3.80%
Shane Vereen NE 67.81 -2.80% 65.94 5.90% 69.84 3.00%
Michael Bush CHI 167.38 1.90% 170.61 0.90% 172.16 2.90%
Shonn Greene TEN 204.00 0.10% 204.19 2.10% 208.47 2.20%
Reggie Bush DET 35.06 -3.70% 33.78 5.70% 35.72 1.90%
Ronnie Hillman DEN 190.44 -6.30% 178.50 8.20% 193.22 1.50%
Stevan Ridley NE 26.94 -0.80% 26.72 2.20% 27.31 1.40%
Mark Ingram NO 79.63 1.20% 80.56 0.30% 80.78 1.40%
Darren McFadden OAK 35.63 -0.10% 35.61 1.10% 36.00 1.00%
Ahmad Bradshaw IND 59.63 3.40% 61.67 -2.30% 60.25 1.00%
Giovani Bernard CIN 83.94 -4.80% 79.89 6.00% 84.66 0.90%
Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 184.88 1.20% 187.11 -0.70% 185.84 0.50%
Joseph Randle DAL 201.75 1.60% 205.06 -1.10% 202.84 0.50%
Andre Brown NYG 78.50 1.00% 79.25 -0.60% 78.81 0.40%
Isaiah Pead STL 165.44 -1.80% 162.50 2.10% 165.88 0.30%
Adrian Peterson MIN 1.00 6.00% 1.06 -5.70% 1.00 0.00%
Doug Martin TB 2.25 11.10% 2.50 -10.00% 2.25 0.00%
Danny Woodhead SD 172.81 -4.10% 165.67 3.80% 171.91 -0.50%
LeSean McCoy PHI 12.13 -14.80% 10.33 16.70% 12.06 -0.60%
BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN 94.69 -0.90% 93.86 0.20% 94.09 -0.60%
Rashard Mendenhall ARI 69.94 0.20% 70.06 -0.90% 69.41 -0.80%
Chris Johnson TEN 20.31 0.50% 20.42 -1.40% 20.13 -0.90%
LaMichael James SF 107.94 -0.50% 107.39 -1.30% 106.03 -1.80%
Darren Sproles NO 60.94 -8.90% 55.53 6.60% 59.22 -2.80%
Trent Richardson CLE 9.63 -8.00% 8.86 5.40% 9.34 -3.00%
Jonathan Stewart CAR 113.94 -1.60% 112.17 -1.90% 110.03 -3.40%
Montee Ball DEN 45.44 4.40% 47.42 -7.90% 43.66 -3.90%
Vick Ballard IND 170.69 -6.20% 160.14 2.20% 163.66 -4.10%
Lamar Miller MIA 40.38 -3.10% 39.11 -1.20% 38.63 -4.30%
Steven Jackson ATL 26.13 -6.20% 24.50 1.90% 24.97 -4.40%
Marshawn Lynch SEA 10.25 3.50% 10.61 -9.90% 9.56 -6.70%
Chris Ivory NYJ 110.13 -6.70% 102.72 -2.10% 100.56 -8.70%
Jamaal Charles KC 5.31 -2.60% 5.17 -6.40% 4.84 -8.90%
Arian Foster HOU 6.63 -21.70% 5.19 13.30% 5.88 -11.30%
LeVeon Bell PIT 68.06 -18.70% 55.31 -5.40% 52.34 -23.10%


Risers

Ben Tate, HOU (+23.80%) -- The concerns for Arian Foster’s health have been quite apparent based on his steady drop in ADP (which we’ll hit in the Fallers section), but even more so when you see the increase Tate’s ADP has taken over the last two weeks. We’re talking about a jump of nearly 30 picks; going from roughly the early 12th round to maybe the late ninth. You can’t really blame fantasy owners here really as Foster’s been dealing with the back issue and did you see the way Tate was running on Sunday? He looks good out there and would be a worthwhile option if he’s running with the first-team.

Frank Gore, SF (+15.2%) – A little surprising considering the age (30) and the presence of other backs like Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, but Gore’s ADP continues to climb, putting him at an early third-round pick. In truth though, he hasn’t really showed any signs of slowing down as the last two seasons he’s had the same number of touchdowns and virtually the same yardage. The only difference was that he actually had a better YPC in 2012 (4.71) than he did in 2011 (4.29).

Matt Forte, CHI (+11.80%) – Forte is one of those backs who holds a bit more value in PPR leagues than he does in standard play due to his pass-catching abilities. He’s always been a good safety valve in the passing game and his pass-blocking and ability to pick up the blitz is solid. Not to mention, once he gets out into space he can easily shake a tackle or two…or three or four. His 17.94 ADP would see a bit of an increase if not for the presence of Michael Bush.

C.J. Spiller, BUF (+11.50%) – Spiller’s ADP isn’t really fluctuating out of the third or fourth pick range, but it should be interesting to see if there is any growing concern given the Bills disastrous quarterback situation. Right now, Jeff Tuel is slated to start the first game of the season. In know, right? Eight men in the box on defense, coming right up!

Eddie Lacy, GB (+11.00%) – Though the data is only reflecting a slight increase in ADP for Lacy, likely due to just the speculation that he’ll be the lead back for the Packers this year, the news that DuJuan Harris is now out for the entire season should push that up even more. He’ll still have Johnathan Franklin taking complementary touches and/or some third down work, but Lacy looks like his value is on the rise.

Fallers

Le’Veon Bell, PIT (-23.10%) – The steady drop continues, and while I won’t recommend using anything more than a late draft pick to grab him and stash him, there have been some encouraging reports and as I said earlier, the team says that they are hoping to have him back before the Week 5 bye. But we’ve all seen how troublesome these foot sprains can be, particularly for running backs, so you can’t get ahead of yourself just yet. His value doesn’t see an increase in PPR play though as a lot of the pass-catching is probably headed LaRod Stephens-Howling’s way.

Arian Foster  HOU (-11.30%) – You’ve got the back problem, the calf issue and the heart ailment just for starters. He hasn’t been a full-participant in practice for more than just a few days and apparently will not play in any of the final preseason game. He’s a big risk/reward guy, but again, keep in mind that if you draft him, you better make sure you pick up Tate as well.

Jamaal Charles, KC (-8,90%) – The drop for Charles is somewhat expected in PPR leagues when so many people go after Spiller, Foster and even Ray Rice. It’s not a knock on him as much as it is a plus for the others as pass-catchers. So long as he stays healthy, Charles should have a strong season with an improved passing game to help open things up for him and should maintain his current ADP ranking.

Chris Ivory, NYJ (-8.70%) – Ivory had some sleeper potential going for him at one point. He was slated to be the lead back of a team with little or no passing game and was expected to see a substantial number of touches. But an ankle injury kept him out of a substantial amount of the preseason and that left the door open for Bilal Powell to carve out a bigger role in the offense. Ivory will take the early downs and short-yardage situations while Powell will take the passing downs. And given the state of the Jets’ offense, that could mean a lot of work for Powell.

Marshawn Lynch, SEA (-6.70%) – The drop here is fairly insignificant but still one that has me scratching my head. Lynch is a beast and though he’s not the greatest pass-catcher out there, he’s still pretty darn good and will own the lead role in Seattle all year. If you’re picking between fourth and 10th in any league and you pass him up in the first round, in my opinion, you’re crazy.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

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