Thursday, October 9, 2008

Top 20 RBs Forward (5-9)

I want to remind everyone that this is not a list of absolutes and as teams play more and things change, so might this list. However with what has been seen so far, this is a basis from which we can keep track of where guys are and how they are doing.

Again, I will invite people to post in the comments what they think or email me at

To catch you up, here are the previous posts:
Top 20 RBs 10-14
Top 20 RBs 15-20

Once again, remember that the breakdown goes like this:

Remaining Schedule:Wk6, Wk7, Wk8,Wk9, Wk10, Wk11, Wk12, Wk13, Wk14, Wk15, Wk16 (bold is common fantasy playoff sched)
Analysis: This dude is good/bad and here is why....
Synopsis: example opportunity + good sched - injury worry - receptions = B+

Onto the next crop:

Matt Forte
Remaining Schedule: @ATL, MINN, BYE, DET, TENN, @GB, @STL, @MINN, JAX, NO, GB (good playoff sched)
Analysis: Now this may cause a ruckus, but I'll stand by it. My biggest worry with Forte is rookie wall syndrome. Will he hold up over a whole season? Good question - many rookies don't. Heck, there are Vets who don't either, come to it. Maybe you also get worried about Orton and the offense. Well, in my opinion, Orton had some sort of bell go off, as he has taken a huge step forward this season. He and Forte excel in part because of the impact they have on the offense. Forte is running well, he catches the ball and makes something happen when he does. And he's scoring TDs both on the ground and through the air. So the defense cannot just sit back and make Orton beat them, they have to respect the run. They can't just try to shut down the run though because Orton is making something out of not much through the air. Right now, the offense is hitting on all cylinders and I just don't see a change coming.

There are some rough patches on the schedule (Minny 2x and Tenn) but Jacksonville isn't as stout vs the run as they used to be, the Saints can be run on and the rams and Lions? Cake. As I have said a few times before, Green Bay seems to be worrying people but right now they are coughing up 161 ypg and have allowed 5 TDs to date and the secondary is banged up. Two games agains them seem pretty good matchups. The only thing I worry about is that rookie wall. We'll have to see if Forte is the guy to bash it down or not, but I'd be willing to risk it. They may even spell him a little with Kevin Jones going forward and while it will affect his numbers somewhat it would be a good thing for the rookie to get soem rest.
Synopsis: opportunity + ability + good oline + good schedule - rookie burnout worry - Kevin Jones = B+

Joseph Addai
Remaining Schedule:BAL, @GB, @TENN, NE, @PITT, HOU, @SD, @CLE, CIN, DET, @JAX (good playoff sched)
Analysis: Some tough games early for Addai, as they have been for the Colts offense as a whole. But I believe they will be bouncing back soon. Maybe not this week against a resurgent Baltimore D, but I think the Colts will be rising again. Green Bay and a weakened New England squad are places to start Addai early on, but the key to his value will be week 11 onward where he stops being more a matchups guy and becomes a consistent starter. All those remaining games are at least decent starts as they now stand - even Jacksonville is (as I have said numerous times) not what it was defensively.

I think Addai will peak right as you surge for the playoffs. Problem may be that he was a high pick for you and he may have killed you in the early season. But if you can make adjustements and hang on, Addai will come through for you when it counts most. We know he has ability. we know Manning will get the offense moving. The offensive line is almost all the way back. I don't think we have seen the full 2008 Addai. He is coming though - and hell comes with him! (little Thundering Humor there.... )
Synopsis: opportunity + usually dynamic offense + great oline - team injuries - tough early sched + good finishing sched = B+

Chris Johnson
Remaining Schedule:BYE, @KC, IND, GB, @CHI, @JAX, NYJ, @DET, CLE, PITT, @IND (good playoff sched)
Analysis: Another rookie? What? Yup, Chris Johnson may be a rookie, but like Forte he has a good chance to be a top back from here on out. He has a few tough matchups (the Bears and Steelers) but so much of this schedule is cake that despite the fact that he is in a RBBC (I lied when I said MJD was the only one) he's going to put up very good points down the stretch. Like Forte though, will he hit the rookie wall? I expect him to get more and more work over his RBBC partner LenDale White but he's already averaging between 15-20 carries as it is.

He has struggled the last two weeks against top defenses (44 yds vs Baltimore, 61 yards against Minny - though 2 Tds against the Vikes). But he only sees a handful of them the whole rest of the year. He has good speed, vision and hangs onto the ball well. They aren't even using him as a receiver much yet, something I expected the Titans to do a lot this season. Johnson faces a great schedule, certainly has the ability to take advantage of it and will be a workhorse for many teams down the stretch. If he can stay healthy and energized and avoid rookie overload, he could be a real stud by season's end. The opportunity is there.

Wow - imagine the Titans had a top flight WR to really keep the defense honest?
Synopsis: great sched + ability + opportunity - sub-par pass game - rookie burnout worry = B+

Frank Gore
Remaining Schedule:PHI, @NYG, SEA, BYE, @AZ, STL,@DAL, @BUF, NYJ, @MIA, @STL (middling playoff sched)
Analysis: There was a lot of discussion preseason as to whether or not Gore could play well in Martz's offense and with a sub-par oline. The answer to both is yes - though I would argue the oline is not really all that subpar. Still, Gore is a stud and should be a top 10 RB every draft until something happens to say otherwise. He has skills, no denying it. What he also has right now is a hit and miss schedule the rest of the way. PHI is on it's heels, but still a decent defense I think. The Giants and Dallas are tough as nails and Buffalo at home in the winter will be no easy chore. We'll see what the Jets really can do vs the run well before this game and Miami as well. There are some question mark run defenses here that I am not sure will bear out as they have. But for now, the matchups look ok, not great and not consistently. Gore is a talent to be sure - part of his problem is the occasional big hole the team gets into. But Gore has been busy in pass game and looks pretty good doing it and that helps his value even when his ground yards are not sturdy. The reception yards will fill them out.
Synopsis: opportunity + health + receptions - potentially tough schedule = B

LaDainian Tomlinson
Remaining Schedule:
NE, @BUF, @NO, BYE, KC, @PITT, IND, ATL, OAK, @KC, @TB (good playoff schedule)
Analysis: When I started this, little did I think LT would be on the far end of the top 10. But here he is and there are some big reasons why. First of all, his toe. It was getting better, but got stomped on last week and now here we are again with the injury a concern again. Hey, getting your hurt toe stepped on is an occupational hazard for a running back. It could - probably will - happen again. LT has two games that might be good matchups - New England has struggled against the run and Buffalo is right there with them. But if LT is not healthy he might not be very effective. And on top of it, they might utilize Sproles more to let him get a breather. And assuming he 1) doesn't reinjure the toe or 2) lose a lot of carries to Sproles, the offense itself is banged up and streaky.

Rivers was hot the first three games but now is on a bad two game skid. He looked a little lost against Miami. Antonio Gates is still hurting and Chris Chambers is now out for a week or two. If the pass game is nonexistent, it makes it easier to stop the run. Now LT has faced that before and played well anyway. But he was healthy then. He isn't now and may not be until after the bye week. The Chargers have to play him - they are in dire straits in the division and can't afford to not have him. So he will likely not be 100% until week 10, if then. At that point he has some good matchups (the Steelers are the only decnt run D on the schedule right now). But a healthy LT would be in a better place on this list. If he can get healthy soon (how I don't know) he'll crawl up it. For now, despite a good schedule, he resides at 9 which I am sure some might think is too far back.

Based on some conversations I have overheard, others might think it's not far enough back.
Synopsis: opportunity + good sched - injury worries - offensive struggles = B

The last bit will be posted tomorrow. Maybe not early as I have the Stampede as well as the appearence on ESPN 1230 but before my lunch if not sooner. Rankings will come after probably.


munchkin said...

It is a strange experience to see LT listed so low in the rankings given his long history of production. Clearly he is being affected by an injury of some sort. One has to wonder if he isn't pushing through something unnecessarily to prove his toughness after being criticized for pulling himself out of last year's playoffs.
The overall problems for San Diego are greater than LT health. He needs to get himself right.

Andrew Garda said...

I know and it was very hard to overcome my initial 'But he's LT!' to do it. That toe injury is only one reason the Chargers are struggling but it's had a huge impact. I agree he may be pressing when he ought not to and if he can get healthy with his schedule, he could vault a bunch of slots here. Until then though....