Earlier this summer Mr. Douche presented “The Shonn Greene All Stars.” He looked at RBs and on the same team with the biggest ADP gap between them. He found that the players with the biggest gap tended to outperform their ADP.
That got me thinking about handcuffs: which if any, make the most sense as draft targets? And does the ADP gap between a given RB and their handcuff tell us anything about the prospects of both?
I Like Big Gaps
I grabbed some 2012 ADP data from MyFantasyLeague, and figured out the average Gap (103 picks) between a team’s first and second-drafted RBs. This table shows the combos with larger than average differences between the first and second drafted RB. The final column shows the combo’s plus/minus vs. the average Gap.
P/M Ave Gap
McCoy, LeSean PHI RB
Lewis, Dion PHI RB
Johnson, Chris TEN RB
Ringer, Javon TEN RB*
Rice, Ray BAL RB
Pierce, Bernard BAL RB
McFadden, Darren OAK RB
Goodson, Mike OAK RB
Richardson, Trent CLE RB
Hardesty, Montario CLE RB
Mathews, Ryan SDC RB*
Brown, Ronnie SDC RB
Lynch, Marshawn SEA RB
Turbin, Robert SEA RB
Greene, Shonn NYJ RB
Powell, Bilal NYJ RB
Murray, DeMarco DAL RB
Jones, Felix DAL RB
Green-Ellis, BenJarvus CIN RB
Scott, Bernard CIN RB*
Jackson, Steven STL RB
Pead, Isaiah STL RB
Jones-Drew, Maurice JAC RB*
Jennings, Rashad JAC RB*
Brown, Donald IND RB*
Ballard, Vick IND RB
Gore, Frank SFO RB
Hunter, Kendall SFO RB*
Peterson, Adrian MIN RB
Gerhart, Toby MIN RB
Bush, Reggie MIA RB
Thomas, Daniel MIA RB*
Here are the 2012 combos with smaller than average ADP gaps. The final column shows the plus/minus vs. the average Gap.
P/M Ave Gap
Smith, Kevin DET RB
Best, Jahvid DET RB
Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB
Williams, DeAngelo CAR RB
Wells, Beanie ARI RB
Williams, Ryan ARI RB*
Benson, Cedric GBP RB*
Starks, James GBP RB
Redman, Isaac PIT RB
Mendenhall, Rashard PIT RB
Jackson, Fred BUF RB*
Spiller, C.J. BUF RB
Bradshaw, Ahmad NYG RB
Wilson, David NYG RB
Charles, Jamaal KCC RB
Hillis, Peyton KCC RB
Sproles, Darren NOS RB
Ingram, Mark NOS RB
Helu, Roy WAS RB*
Morris, Alfred WAS RB
McGahee, Willis DEN RB*
Hillman, Ronnie DEN RB
Ridley, Stevan NEP RB
Vereen, Shane NEP RB
Turner, Michael ATL RB
Rodgers, Jacquizz ATL RB
Foster, Arian HOU RB
Tate, Ben HOU RB
Martin, Doug TBB RB
Blount, LeGarrette TBB RB
Forte, Matt CHI RB
Bush, Michael CHI RB*
This is much more of a mixed bag; many more misses on the higher-drafted side (Smith, Stewart, Wells, Benson, Redman, Jackson, Helu) and really only two hits on the handcuff side (Spiller and Morris), though both hit big.
Mind the Gap
Before we get carried away, I only looked at 2012, and I didn’t do any sort of testing to see if there are predictive relationships or even correlations in these tables. There are no hard and fast rules here. But I do think we can take a few lessons from this data:
Drafting a handcuff is overrated; most didn’t do much.
In general, you’re better off drafting a known starter than a handcuff.
When you do draft a backup, take the back with the best talent and potential opportunity, regardless of team.
- Backfields with a smaller than average gap are more risky, whether you’re drafting the starter or the backup.
Bring it Back to 2013
Here are the RB combos for 2013, with their current ADP and Gaps, via Fantasy Pros. The average ADP gap is 118 spots.
P/M Ave Gap
B/U on Waivers?
First look at the starters (based on ADP) with the smallest ADP margin compared to their ADP-based backup. I see a whole lot of clusterfuckage. Given a choice, I’ll avoid all of these situations:
Gio vs. The Law Firm
Le’Veon’s Foot vs. Redman’s…whatever
DeGeriatric Williams vs. J-Stew’s broken feet
No-Catches Ridley vs. Zombie Vereen
At the bottom of the table we see the situations that presumably have the most clarity:
From Lacy down there’s no doubt about who’s the starter.
I wouldn’t bother with any of the backups from Robinson on down, in redraft.
Which Backups to Target
There are probably many lessons to be gleaned here, but remember that the biggest factor in RB success is opportunity, followed by talent. And of course we want the best value for our draft buck. That’s why I included the “On Waivers?” column: these backups have ADPs in the 14th round or later, so there’s a good chance they’re available for free.
Let’s look at the backups, sorted by ADP this time, with a comment for each.
B/U on Waivers?
A zombie. Take Daryl Richardson instead. Starter Mendenhall is cheaper and has a clearer usage situation, if his knee is okay.
Losing starter’s opportunity, but has value if CIN offense explodes. The only starting RBs going after him are Bell (Foot) and D-Willy (old). I like BJGE better than either, but would rather not take him.
Andre is injured. Again. Avoid.
It’s not too late for a breakout, but do you want to spend a 7th round pick to see if it happens? Potential target.
Ballard is a full-fledged sleeper whose closest comps include Montee Ball, but he’s 50 picks cheaper. He’s proven capable, and if Bradshaw misses time, he should be a top 30 RB. I’ll take him, despite the small ADP Gap.
Fontaine likes him, but given the small ADP Gap, general state of SD’s offense, and Mathews’ great preseason, I’ll probably skip him. I think it’s more likely Mathews is undervalued than it is that Woodhead is a good value.
Stewart may be finished. I think drafters are misreading the situation in CAR. D-Willy has some modest upside as the likely workhorse. I’d rather have neither.
Jacquizz is one of the head-liners in the How To Lose A League in 10 Picks Article. Nuff said.
This kills me. Joique Bell is the Reggie Bush backup, not Leshoure. Leshoure has little value right now. Bell not only has standalone value, but upside if Bush goes down.
Franklin has no redraft value at this point.
No, just, no. The small Gap and uncertain usage is a big problem. Dwyer sucking is another. There are better options later.
It’s time to buy on D-Rich, but not so much on Pead. Leave him be.
Greene managed to be productive last year in a horrible NYJ offense, so he could have value. Unless CJ?K goes down, I’m not sure what it is.
Bush could have some value if Forte misses time, but Forte has been pretty durable. Meh.
Ivory is an Injury risk which could make Powell useful. A mild target.
Do I really need to say anything?
Michael is definitely on my radar. Collectively we’re down on Lynch, and SEA’s offense offers a lot of RB opportunity if Michael gets playing time. More upside than the 5 backups ahead of him, and available on waivers. I like.
Our 15th ranked ROOKIE RB. Move along. If healthy, Dunbar is probably the Murray backup, though neither seems worth a redraft roster spot.
We’re probably sleeping too hard on Helu. May have standalone value and would have huge usage opportunity if Morris goes down. Look at Helu’s 2011, look at his profile, and explain why guys like Randle, Pead, Leshoure, etc. should be rostered ahead of him. Then go out and make a waiver claim for Helu.
Leave. Leonard. On. The. Waiver. Wire.
Knile has shown some ability in the preseason, and also some ball control issues. Would probably be the #1 if Charles goes down, but leave him on waivers for now.