Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James – Fantasy Value

2012 model T-1000 KENDALL HUNTERThe San Francisco 49ers running back situation has been scaring off fantasy owners for a few months now and not without reason. Kendall Hunter looked to be the heir to the SF ground game, but GM Trent Baalke and Coach Harbaugh decided to draft LaMichael James during the offseason and pick up Brandon Jacobs (funny, they already had a horrible power back in Dixon). James is a nice addition to the NFL’s 4th ranked rushing offense, but it doesn’t do dynasty owners any favors. Frank Gore is sure to lose some touches and every update I’ve read says to expect fewer carries for Mr. Gore. That’s expected and not really anything that a Dynasty owner is losing sleep over. We want to know what happens AFTER Gore.

LaMichael James (5’8”, 194lbs) was taken in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Like most SF draft picks, he has been receiving praise from Harbaugh and Balke (who like to talk up their draft picks). Harbaugh said that James has 4 down potential, stating, “He’s proven he’s a multi-down back in our eyes.” James is fast. James was electric in college. But what in the world has he done to prove that he’s a multi-down back in the NFL? I like him as a prospect, but everyone is over-reacting to his signing and how it impacts the value of Kendall Hunter. James is a speed back who greatly benefited from the offensive scheme at Oregon. He will be valuable and he does have tremendous upside in PPR leagues, but let’s not forget about Hunter.

I’ve read comments in articles and on numerous forums that indicate owners are shying away from owning or trading for Hunter. NONSENSE! Kendall Hunter is going to be a great player and James isn’t going to take his place in the SF pecking order. As impressive as James’ college numbers are, they aren’t THAT much better than Hunter’s. Hunter finished up 4th all-time in rushing at Oklahoma State (not bad company, Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas), but he wasn’t the heralded draft pick that James was because he didn’t play in a new uniform every week and play in as many nationally televised games. Drafting James is NOT an indictment of Hunter’s ability, Hunter PROVED himself last year; it’s just a case of Harbaugh falling in love with a guy he knew a lot about and not being able to pass up the value. It was a good pick. James is valuable, but that doesn’t mean that Hunter is worthless.

Hunter was also dismissed because of his measureables, namely his 5’7” frame and 200lb check in at the combine. Most fantasy analysts doubted his ability to carry a full workload and labeled him as ‘change of pace back.’ Let me ask you something, does this guy look like he can’t handle a full workload? Hunter has almost identical measurements as Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew when they came out and is only about 8 pounds lighter than Jones-Drew. I’m not saying that Hunter is Ray Rice, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him reach that level at some point (Harbaugh has even compared Hunter to Rice). Baalke and Harbaugh are no strangers to heaping praise on their own picks and they gave Hunter the same treatment last year. Per Trent Baalke, “We’re not looking at him as a change-of-pace back. We think he’s a four-down back. He can run the power game, he can get to the edge, he can catch a ball out of the backfield, he can pass-protect.”  Sound familiar? There is a lot of noise that has to be filtered during the offseason and you have to take these camp reports with a grain of salt.  The next time you read a comment from Matt Maiocco saying that SF sees Hunter as a COP back, take a deep breath. This is the same guy who predicted that Hunter wouldn’t pass Dixon on the depth chart last year. Hunter’s 2011 carries? 112. Dixons? 29.

Kendall Hunter is going to continue benefiting from Frank Gore’s decreased workload and will serve as his eventual replacement. LaMichael James will have a role, but it won’t be as a lead back. Whatever RBBC eventually develops in SF, you can bet that Hunter will be the ‘primary’ back. Hunter is still very much a valuable dynasty asset. Those of you that are in rebuilding projects should attempt to acquire the Hunter/James duo. Thank me later.

Fantasy News and Reaction (07/26/12)

Peyton Manning– The Broncos are restricting how many throws PM can make during camp. Probably just a precaution, but I’m still skeptical about what we are going to see from him this year. I’m trying to move him in dynasty leagues. #CUTTHATMEAT

Maurice Jones-Drew is digging in his heals. MJD is going to play this year and you aren’t going to convince me otherwise. He has no leverage whatsoever and the Jags can start fining him 30k per day. He might get a small concession or two out of Kahn, but he isn’t going to miss any real games. Watch out for the sharks in your league. They’ll be trying to use this story as a way to get MJD on the cheap. Don’t let them.

Adrian Peterson, MIN RB- If anyone can come back from a devastating knee injury like the one AP suffered last year, It’s Little Purple Jesus. ESPN 1500 is reporting that the Vikes plan to stick him on the active/PUP list, but that doesn’t mean he’ll miss games. Toby Gerhart will do an excellent job filling in for him if he does.

Robert Turbin, SEA RB- Turbin is a BEAST. The ‘Hulk’ is already impressing SEA RB coach Sherman Smith with his power. Marshawn Lynch may avoid suspension from his latest arrest, but I think Turbin is going to end up on the field regardless. He’s a powerful runner with surprising speed. If he can work out a niche on short yardage, he’ll be able to let his game speak for itself and eventually find a bigger role. The Hulk is a stronger version of Lynch and he actually has a good head on his shoulders. He’s extremely motivated and unlike Lynch, the type of guy you want to succeed. His older sister died of Multiple Sclerosis when he was little and he has been helping to care for his other sister who has Cerebral Palsy since the third grade. He also has a brother who was shot and killed this February. If given an opportunity, you can bet that he’ll seize it and never look back.

Mikel Leshoure, DET RB- One of the top RB’s from last year’s draft class is still working his way back from season ending Achilles surgery. Coach Schwartz wasn’t very assuring when asked about his RB, “he has a surgically-repaired Achilles. Are you ever 100 percent? I don’t know.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Leshoure will NOT begin the season on the active/PUP list, so he should have every opportunity to take over the starting running back job. I’ll take my chances with Leshoure before Jahvid Best.

Jahvid Best, DET RB- Poor JB. The kid just can’t stay on the field. He is a fantastic PPR asset when healthy, but there just isn’t a high likelihood that he’ll ever be healthy for a long stretch. Best has been concussed numerous times and took this monster hit when he was at CAL. Best is meeting with doctors again to see if he can get cleared for camp. It’s been a LONG time since his last concussion. If he isn’t cleared, that could spell major trouble. If you’re a gambler and can get him for a future 2nd or 3rd rounder (depending on league size), he might be worth the risk. I’m staying away.

Ryan Broyles, DET WR- Old Schwartzy is optimistic about Broyles playing this year. That’s good news. Hopefully he can stay on the field for a while when he comes back. Broyles has a history of injuries from his days at Oklahoma, but he could be a great WR3 in PPR leagues if he comes back 100%.

Josh Gordon, CLE WR- 2nd round supplemental pick admitted to failing a drug test last year at Utah and lying about it. Gordon is a hot name on waiver wires and he’s probably already been picked up in your league. If your waiver wire resets on a weekly basis, he’s worth an add. If you use a season long waiver order that sends you to the end of the line after using your spot, I’d wait for someone better. He hasn’t played in a couple years and CLE WR’s aren’t exactly fantasy point machines.

Martellus Bennett, NYG TE- Bennett “made weight.”  *CLAP CLAP CLAP*

Joseph Addai, NE RB- Apparently Joseph quit his condition test for the Pats. Ya… that’s not a good sign. DROP.

-TDG

Fantasy News and Reaction (07/25/12)

Ryan Williams is going to have the Arizona backfield to himself for the start of camp. Beanie Wells is on the active/PUP list and this should allow Williams to take over the RB1 job. I loved Williams coming out of college last year, but I apparently jinxed him when I drafted him with the #6 rookie pick. Patellar tendon injuries aren’t anything to gloss over and there is a history of recurring ruptures or ruptures on the other knee. Patellar tendons don’t just rupture due to stress, twisting like ACL’s and MCL’s, there is usually an inherent weakness in the tendon and if there is a weakness in one, there’s probably weakness in the other (see: Williams, Caddilac). I’m pretty much a doctor, so you should just believe everything I just said (or you can just research PT injuries). I’m still holding out hope though, Williams at 90% is still 10% better than Beanie. Wells says he’ll be ready for camp… I’d say the same thing if I were him, but he’s not touching my roster. Not even if there is a FIRE.

ESPN says that David Wilson needs to work on his pass protection. Well, ok. It’s not necessarily news that a rookie running back needs to improve his pass protection skills, but it gives us a reason to talk about one of the more exciting rookie running backs not named Trent Richardson.  If you want to get hyped about your rookie draft, do yourself a favor and check out some of Wilson’s highlight videos on youtube. But while you are thinking about that, think about this.. Continue reading

2012 Fantasy Football Dynasty QB Rankings (07/23/12)

Welcome to The Dynasty Guy’s (Inaugural) QB Rankings for the 2012 season. These rankings assume 4 points per passing TD and are intended for dynasty leagues. While the upcoming season is taken into consideration, players are ranked on a 3+ year horizon. Act accordingly! If you want to know who is better this year, go look at redraft league projections.

I’m going to rank pretty deeply into the QB pool to accommodate those of you that play in larger leagues (32 team leagues are EPIC) and two start leagues.   Make sure to scroll all the way down for analysis/commentary. Continue reading