DynastyFootball

Finding the Next Joique Bell and Pierre Thomas Before Your Leaguemates

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“I see it all. I see your uniform number. I see the details in your hairstyle. That’s when I really feel I’m in tune with what my offensive linemen are doing and I can just see holes opening.” — Priest Holmes

Yesterday I looked at five guys who could be the next Priest Holmes. Of course, it’s not likely any of them will reach that level. From 2002 to 2004 Holmes averaged 1.73 touchdowns per game, and he could see the details in your hairstyle.

But if not Holmes himself, the next Joique Bell, Pierre Thomas, or Khiry Robinson is just waiting to be discovered. This offseason we’ve tried to locate the best sleeper running backs to fit with Zero RB and the deep sleepers you should be rostering while they’re still free. Now it’s time to select the 2014 rookie sleepers in Round 7 of your rookie draft or add them to your taxi squad right after the draft concludes.

How Do We Find These Types of Players Before Anyone Else?

Jonathan Bales has suggested we start with small school backs. The guys we’re going to look at today hail from UAB, Toledo, and Colorado State.

We also want to find players with solid RotoViz projections, and I did that by applying the same basic logic we used to find the RotoViz Reach basket of receivers.  Find the metrics with predictive value and then focus on the players who excel in those areas.

Our comparison group contained high profile collegiate stars like Carlos Hyde, Ka’Deem Carey, Devonta Freeman, Charles Sims, and Isaiah Crowell.

This is what we learned.

1) The No Name basket was younger.
2) The No Name basket was just as athletic.
3) The No Name basket was slightly more explosive.
4) The No Name basket caught more passes.
5) The No Name basket had a better RotoViz projection.

The star from our No Name group was Fresno State’s Tim Cornett. The RotoViz transaction engine spit out an encouraging 65 when his name was run through the running back projection algorithm, and his comps included Cadillac Williams, Giovani Bernard, Shane Vereen, and David Wilson.

With the draft only one day away, I wanted to take a quick look at our three other low profile targets.

Darrin Reaves, UAB

Name Weight 40 Agility Score Vert RuAtt RuYds RuTDs Rec RecYds RecTDs YPC
Darrin Reaves 209 4.54 11.61 39 202 934 12 29 294 2 4.6
Average 212 4.59 11.60 34 206 1100 9.5 21 207 1.5 5.4
Name Weight 40 Agility Score Vert RuAtt RuYds RuTDs Rec RecYds RecTDs YPC
Glen Coffee 209 4.5 11.86 36 233 1383 10 16 118 1 5.9
Domanick Davis 213 4.58 11.79 32.5 193 931 7 16 130 0 4.8
Joseph Addai 204 4.63 11.58 38.5 187 911 9 20 180 1 4.9
Marshawn Lynch 215 4.46 11.67 35.5 223 1356 11 34 328 4 6.1
Bobby Purify 212 4.67 11.39 33.5 231 1097 9 20 206 0 4.7
Chris Polk 215 4.57 11.34 31.5 293 1488 12 31 332 4 5.1
Mark Ingram 215 4.62 11.75 31.5 158 875 13 21 282 1 5.5
Pierre Thomas 209 4.65 11.43 35.5 131 755 5 12 79 1 5.8

The Lynch comp is probably optimistic here, but it’s not unrealistic to see Reaves as a small school version of Joseph Addai, Chris Polk, or Mark Ingram. Pierre Thomas has helped win so many fantasy titles over the years, he got his name in the headline. Reaves’ potential explosiveness shouldn’t be overlooked. His 39-inch vertical dwarfed the comp average. He also caught 41 passes in 2012. Those attributes help explain why his RotoViz fantasy projection tied with my favorite big back Jeremy Hill and red flag candidate Ka’Deem Carey.

David Fluellen, Toledo

I used the statistics from Fluellen’s junior season to give a fuller picture since he missed three games last year.
Name Weight  40 Agility Score Vert RuAtt RuYds RuTDs Rec RecYds YPC
David Fluellen 224 4.67 11.11 36.5 259 1498 13 32 246 5.8
Average 223 4.63 11.15 34.7 277 1458 15 22 208 5.4
Name Weight  40 Agility Score Vert  RuAtt RuYds RuTDs Rec RecYds YPC
Steven Jackson 231 4.55 11.12 37.5 350 1545 19 44 470 4.4
Doug Martin 223 4.55 10.95 36 263 1299 16 28 255 4.9
Le’Veon Bell 230 4.6 10.99 31.5 382 1793 12 32 167 4.7
Joique Bell 220 4.68 11.01 36.5 326 2084 29 23 293 6.4
Alfred Morris 219 4.67 11.2 35.5 235 1186 9 15 139 5
Ennis Haywood 218 4.76 11.22 35 258 1169 14 20 138 4.5
Vick Ballard 219 4.65 11.22 33 193 1189 10 20 187 6.2
Mikel Leshoure 227 4.56 11.22 38 281 1697 17 17 196 6
C.J. Anderson 224 4.6 11.27 32 126 790 4 15 164 6.3
Montee Ball 214 4.66 11.28 32 356 1830 22 10 72 5.1

You should discount the Steven Jackson comp. Jackson finished with a perfect 100 in FD’s final projection system, a far cry from Fluellen’s 51. But if you want a pretty decent knock-off, it’s worth noting their similarities in Agility Score and vertical leap, not to mention the receiving prowess both demonstrated.

The closest comp is probably Joique Bell. The two are mirror images in size, speed, agility, and vertical leap. We’re big fans of Bell at RotoViz – especially the Intersect – and Fluellen could easily be worth that kind of value a couple of years down the road. Nobody in your league will buy this, but you could even claim the Toledo product is a slightly superior talent to the two men who will battle for the Denver starting job: Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson.

Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State

Name Weight 40 Agility Score Vert RuAtt RuYds Total TD Rec RecYds YPC
Kapri Bibbs 212 4.67 12.11 29 281 1741 31 8 59 6.2
Average 222 4.64 11.87 32 288 1594 18 23 215 5.2
Name Weight 40 Agility Score Vert RuAtt RuYds Total TD Rec RecYds YPC
Mark Ingram 215 4.62 11.75 36 271 1658 20 32 334 6.1
Jonathan Dwyer 229 4.64 12.23 33.5 235 1395 15 5 37 4.2
Stepfan Taylor 214 4.76 11.63 30 322 1530 15 41 287 4.8
Anthony Thomas 229 4.58 11.92 29.5 287 1551 17 13 239 4.4
Cedric Benson 222 4.62 11.8 31 326 1834 21 22 179 6.3

Bibbs trampled defenses in 2013, but his athletic numbers are almost impossibly bad. I could only find five players who were even remotely similar. The closest would appear to be Jonathan Dwyer, although Anthony Thomas is right there as well. After doing this analysis, I’d recommend staying away from Bibbs, but those 31 touchdowns do stand out. I used Mark Ingram’s Heisman-winning campaign in order to help the comp group keep up in production.

 

If you liked this article, you’ll love the preseason and in-season content as well as the suite of league-destroying apps. For expanded player comps on the runners featured in this article, try Part 2: Finding the Next Pierre Thomas or Joique Bell.

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By Shawn Siegele | @ff_contrarian | Archive

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