Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
While we watch and wait as NFL players and owners continue to battle each other instead of work with each other, we should not sit by idly doing nothing.
If, as Albert Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" then we must always go back over our previous year's performance to see where we can improve.
In today's investigation, we are going to look back at the 2010 Draft Day. Using RapidDraft's ADP lists from July 7th (before training camp) and August 31st (end of the exhibition season) we will evaluate those players who moved up or down significantly (10 points-or-more).
Who were the rising stars, why were they moving up and did they meet expectations? And we will also look at who was dropping, why and did they play better or worse than expectations?
Today we take up the running back position.
Jerome Harrison Cleveland/Philadelphia (July 7 ADP 69, August 31 ADP 79) - Harrison finished off 2009 in sterling fashion, with 561 yards over the final three games to earn a big contract. Still, the team drafted Montario Hardesty which kept expectations for Harrison to a middle-round level. Then Hardesty torn up his knee in an exhibition game and Harrison was a fashionable pick. It never happened as Peyton Hillis simply outplayed Harrison who was eventually traded to the Eagles where he was buried behind LeSean McCoy. Despite the obvious opportunity fantasy owners dropped Harrison's value from July to the end of August, apparently seeing Hillis as the better option and they were right.
Thomas Jones, Kansas City (July 7 ADP 111, August 31 ADP 127) - Despite a shared situation with the New York Jets in 2009, Jones posted 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in 16 games. Jones was released in the off-season and signed with the Chiefs where he would team up with Jamaal Charles. Fantasy owners saw this as a poorer situation than in New York and it turned out to be a correct evaluation. Jones played well early on, but disappeared after Week 11 and Charles got stronger. Again, fantasy owners were spot on in their analysis.
LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets (July 7 ADP 131, August 31 ADP 142) - Tomlinson was the Jets' replacement for Jones and he looked equally as good, for the first six weeks. Over the final nine games LT ran for just 424 yards and one touchdown. If you traded Tomlinson at mid-season, he would have been a good value, otherwise the drop in fantasy value was as owners expected.
Leon Washington, Seattle (July 7 ADP 138, August 31 ADP 162) - Washington was one of many backs in the Seahawks' training camp, but he never got much of a chance to show anything except as a special-team player. Fantasy owners obviously saw this and dropped Washington accordingly.
Arian Foster, Houston (July 7 ADP 151, August 31 ADP 104) - Foster finished the final two games of 2009 in solid fashion, but the team drafted highly thought of Ben Tate which along with Steve Slaton made for a crowded backfield. In mid-August Tate's season ended before it began with an ankle injury and it became a two-man race for the starting spot. Foster's better play and Slaton's tendency to fumble got the young Tennessee alum the first shot and after a monster Week 1 performance (231 yards rushing, 3 TDs) it was no contest. Foster finished the season as the No.1 fantasy running back after posting 1,616 yards rushing, 604 yards receiving and scoring 18 times. His rise from No.151 to No.104 and much higher in leagues that drafted closer to Opening Day, was a great indicator of things to come.
Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo/Seattle (July 7 ADP 164, August 31 ADP 180) - Lynch was coming off his worst season as a professional and was stuck in a three-man battle with steady Fred Jackson and exciting rookie C.J. Spiller. Fantasy owners buried him deep in the draft and in many leagues he wasn't drafted at all. With an ADP of 180 he was a small bargain after he was traded to Seattle.
As with the quarterback movers, fantasy owners were consistently correct in their analysis of the running back position. It appears that analyzing significant moves in ADP before you draft could become an important fantasy tool.