Through 3 weeks of the 2010 fantasy season, I am able to look back and get an idea of how draft hype pumped up certain rookies, almost to a fault. Three in-particular, C.J. Spiller, Jahvid Best and Ryan Mathews, shot up the draft board as the season drew closer and closer. Is the high draft pick to get any of these three RB’s worth using on a unproven rookie or better served going to a first year starter who has been in the league? As a great comparison, I use Arian Foster, 1st year starter for the Houston Texans.
Best has started the season being very inconsistent and injured. With only 124 rushing yards in three games, he has the second most rushing yards through three games of the 3 mentioned starting players. To his credit, he also has 183 receiving and 5 total TDs. With 75% of his yards and 60% of his TDs coming in one game, it makes you wonder how much you can depend on him week to week. Also, being his first year, his body isn’t used to the banging in the NFL, leading to a toe injury.
C.J. Spiller is the only non-starter in this group, but was drafted among the same rounds as the others. His issue is with the coaches. They have decided not to use him as much as a rookie and save him for the future. With 79 total yards (not including return yards as most fantasy leagues don’t count this) and 1 TD, Spiller has been a 4th to 6th round bust. With his carries from the last 2 weeks less than his carries from week 1, his outlook isn’t getting any better.
Ryan Mathews was drafted the highest among all four and was expected to have a huge year. Injury limited him to 5 carries in the last two weeks, and he only has 135 total yards with 0 TDs. He is coming back this week but will he continue to get the same load with Tolbert holding his own? With being drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round in most leagues, Mathews has left a lot of owners weeping for a quick death.
Arian Foster, who had two great games to end 2009 for the Texans, earned the starting spot for 2010. He has 406 yards rushing, 96 yards receiving and 3 TDs. Don’t pull out your calculators, I’ll do the hard work for you. Foster has just 19 yards fewer than the other three combined. Being drafted in the middle of the other three on average, he was the best deal by far.
Hopefully I haven’t lost you through all the statistics, because frankly I almost lost myself, but my point comes through very clearly. Drafting a player who has never played in the NFL, is a huge risk no matter what type of talent was shown in college. Could you hit a home run with the young guys? Sure but it is far from a smart pick. Arian had 2 wonderful games to end last year and the starting job lined up on an explosive offense. When selecting starters, and the first 7 rounds generally are, stick with the sure things. Don’t go out on a limb and hope college numbers cross over to the pros. It just isn’t a solid strategy to winning.
And if you’re playing me this week, Be Afraid.