The Backfield Report: Week 10, Adrian Peterson and “The End”
Since the season started I’ve done Tuesday rundowns of all the NFL backfield situations. I’m doing the same thing this week. Also, since I’m not omniscient, check out RotoViz’s Buy Low Machine and RB GLSP Projections. Here we go.
Adrian Peterson did his thing in Week 10, and yet, if Christian Ponder’s shoulder injury causes him to miss games, I’m a little worried about what Peterson will do sans Christian. I know that my worry about AD (and the phrase “sans Christian”) sounds stupid, but Samantha’s husband has averaged 16.6 pts/g played in 2013, which means he’s basically Alex Smith—and that’s a lot better than Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. But what does this really mean? Nothing. If you have AD, you’re always starting him. If you want more self-indulgent non-actionable pseudo-analysis on other RBs, read on.
Week 10 is the thorn on Matt Forte’s rose. He’s not bad for a power ballad.
Week 10 is the thorn on Trent Richardson’s flowerless stem. He’s not even a power ballad.
Do you remember, at the beginning of the season, when people were saying things like “Look, Eddie Lacy is not Trent Richardson”—remember that? 1) They were right: Lacy is not T-Rich. 2) Then again, Lacy’s Week 10 line of 84 yards on 26 touches is downright T-Richardsonian ca. 2012. I love Lacy, but are we sure that he’s not going to turn into T-Rich?
Reggie Bush: “He’s almost too good-looking. That would be my main deterrent in, you know, considering a relationship.” We tried to tell you he’d be good. We tried here, here, here, and here.
Better Than Bad: 1) The title of the first album (yet to be released) by my imaginary Michael Jackson cover band. I play air guitar and invisible triangle. 2) Maurice Jones-Drew’s recent performances.
Side note: What’s the point of naming Denard Robinson the #2 RB if Jordan Todman is going to get the goal-line carry in MJD’s absence? I used to believe in Jordan Todman. Then I didn’t. Now I don’t know what to believe.
Andre Brown’s not really an NFL player. That’s just what he does when he’s taking a break from his real job. In actuality, he’s a professional get-hurt-er. And he’s really good at it. He may be healthy now, but don’t worry—that’s just a temporary thing.
“The Wingo ate’ch your baby!”
Le’Veon Bell didn’t look great this weekend . . . [insert clever comment about how he got the job done because he touched a lot of balls] . . . [pregnant pause] . . . just like your mother.
He’s not Barry Sanders, but Giovani Bernard is a smaller version of LeSean McCoy. Nothing wrong with that. The sooner BenJarvus Green-Ellis retires, clearing the way for Gio to be a workhorse and Rex Burkhead to be a perfectly competent backup, the better.
Through 9 games, Frank Gore has 8 double-digit performances. The single-digit performance? At Seattle in Week 2. If you started him that week, that’s on you, not him. He’s the same ol’ old Frank Gore, even in a week when SF’s offense sucks.
I guess I don’t hate all small RBs. Regardless of whatever Ryan Mathews does, Danny Woodhead is a consistent producer, good for a minimum of 4 catches per game, and his involvement in the passing game ensures that he’s always a solid flex option. No receiving RB means more to his QB than Woodhead means to Philip Rivers. By the way, for at least Weeks 1-10, I was right.
I used to think that Knowshon Moreno was the Dr. Evil of RBs. Now I believe him to be the NFL’s Darth L. Jackson. And what’s my foundation for this belief? Peyton Manning is the Galactic Emperor. Can’t you just picture him with a Sith hood?
Week 10 was Mark Ingram’s “Emmitt Smith” moment. For 14 glorious carries, he looked like the runner to whom he was most compared when he entered the league—and I say this as a Cowboys fan who grew up idolizing Smith. Of course, it helps that Ingram was running through holes the size of . . . the holes that Emmitt used to run through. Anyway, here’s what strikes me: On the best night of Ingram’s professional career, he was still perhaps only the third-best RB on his team. That’s sad. If you think Ingram sucks, now is the time to sell high. If you think Ingram is just a guy who has been slowed by injuries and Bountygate, then perhaps his Week 10 performance gives you some confidence.
What do I think? In the summer of 2011, in the dynasty league about which I care the most, I maneuvered myself into position to draft Mark Ingram with the 3rd rookie pick. He was the one player I had to have. Since then, I’ve started him maybe twice, and as I won the league championship last year he was on my bench. At the beginning of this season, I tentatively pursued the possibility of trading him—and no one wanted him, not even for a conditional pick based on his future performance: Everyone thought (in a 12-team dynasty league with 30 roster spots) that the opportunity cost of rostering Ingram was too high. Multiple times in the last 2 months, I’ve almost dropped him so that I could pick up a backup TE—to my backup TE. I want Ingram to transform himself into a useful fantasy player, but I don’t think it’ll happen. If I’m wrong, I’ll be thrilled—because he’ll still be on my team: Really, no one else wants him.
For just one week, Mark Ingram made DeMarco Murray jealous.
I don’t know if you noticed this in Week 10’s game tape, but before giving Alfred Morris’ should-be one-yard TD to Logan Paulson via the pass, RG3 faked the ball to Darrel Young and then to Roy Helu, and then he almost ran for a score before deciding to let the blocking TE get some of the TD fun. OK, I exaggerate, but you get the point. For a month now, lots of ALF’s should-be TDs have gone to other players. It sucks, but ALF is still a low-end RB1 who’s getting lots of yards and still pacing for about 10 TDs. If you can pry him from a disappointed owner, do it. Eventually, some of those goal-line touches ALF hasn’t gotten recently will come back to him. Even hairy little puppet aliens need to eat.
And just like that, this became the Rainey-Leonard show. No matter where he goes, Bobby Rainey seems to engender backfield mediocrity in those around him. He has the Midas touch—for suckiness.
Lamar Miller followed up the best game of his career with perhaps his worst. And, somehow, Daniel Thomas was worse than Miller. And no one cares, because no one was starting either of these guys anyway.
“The rest is silence.”
The Jets were on bye in Week 10, but here’s what I said in Week 5, in case you’re a first-time reader: “I once interviewed for a book project a guy who repeatedly used this construction: ‘It made me want to vomit. It made me want to vomit on my vomit’—as in, ‘That band sucked so much it made me want to vomit. It made me want to vomit on my vomit.’” Fair warning—I’m going to make a self-referential and probably bad joke next week about the Jets RBs using this information. It’s my standard gag.
For about three-and-a-half short years, both guys were rock stars—and then they died—and everybody saw it coming. Arian’s 2010 season was his magnum opus, but, sadly, “This is the end.”
Interested in WRs? Here’s my Week 10 WR Report.