Fantasy RBs That Slid Out Of The First Round
In 2013, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller, Trent Richardson were most likely finding their names on most fantasy draft boards in the first round, if not the very early second. This year, the story is quite different. Each of those players have seen their 2014 draft day value plummet for a variety of reasons. Let's take a look at the latest on each player (as of July 31, 2014) and what we can expect from them in 2014.
Marshawn Lynch (current ADP: 22) has been generating quite a lot of buzz as a result of his current training camp holdout, which is costing him tons of money. Football.com's Geoff Freamo wrote an extensive article about Lynch specifically, so I won't bother going too in depth. Current reports state that "Beast Mode" will likely end the holdout without a contract change. Also, sources say Robert Turbin will likely be the starter in a committee with appearances from Christine Michael in the unlikely event that Lynch does continue his holdout. Definitely keep an eye on this one. I don't think Lynch should slide any later than early second round (approximately 12th overall). Update (August 4): Lynch's holdout ended a few days ago, and everything seems to be in order. Draft him as you normally would, but be aware of his age and carry totals.
Doug Martin (current ADP: 25) tore his labrum in Week 7 last year, and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The fantasy community is split on the "Muscle Hamster." Proponents say that we saw his talent his rookie season, he's well-rested, and the offense should open up opportunities for him. Opponents say that almost half his points came from three games his rookie season, he's coming off an injury, the coaching staff is leaning towards a committee, and, frankly, he looked pretty bad last year. The Martin situation is tough, and our own Jake Ciely points out that rookie running back Charles Sims could easily become a significant part of the Tampa Bay offense. I think Martin's ADP is about right, but make sure you snag Charles Sims just in case (but I shouldn't have to tell you that because everyone gets their handcuffs, right?!)
C.J. Spiller (current ADP: 35) blatantly broke my heart last season. I went all in on him. He was my number one pick in all four of my leagues (going everywhere from 2nd overall to 9th overall), and I still cry about it. I grabbed Eddie Lacy and Gio Bernard most of the time though, so I survived. Anyway, the Bills just extended Fred Jackson and brought in Bryce Brown in the offseason, so Spiller doesn't look like the greatest pick right now. He's still a playmaker and should still start, but don't expect 20 carries a game from him, and don't expect goal-line carries. As a result of the Jackson extension, Spiller has been included in trade rumors. As always, keep an eye on the situation in case his next team impacts his draft stock. I think Spiller's current ADP is reasonable, but I would be more comfortable with 5-10 picks later. Update (August 4): During the Hall of Fame Game last night, Spiller had a whopping one carry for two yards. Understandably, he didn't get many touches, but Bryce Brown looked good and recorded 40 yards on 7 carries. I was really hoping that Spiller would look great, and the others would look...worse. That wasn't the case, so we'll continue to try to guess how many touches Spiller will end up with regularly. On a less technical note, I just had a dream about Spiller, and he went second overall. Fantasy gods trying to tell me something?
Trent Richardson (current ADP: 57) had a mind-numbing 2.9 yards per attempt last season, which made the Browns look like a bunch of psychic gypsy wizards when they dealt him to the Colts for a first-rounder earlier in the season. Richardson was very pedestrian last season, which justifies his plummeting draft stock. Vick Ballard just tore his Achilles and is out for the season (good for Richardson), but starting guard Donald Thomas tore his quad and is also out for the season (bad for Richardson). T-Rich still has to compete with Ahmad Bradshaw, but I expect Richardson to take the starting role, and he should get the goal-line carries. I honestly think Richardson may go later than 57th, and I have no problem taking a chance on him at his current ADP or a little bit later.
The doubts about these four are well known and well publicized. Make sure you grab their handcuffs. Keep in mind that they wouldn't have been first round picks last year if they didn't prove themselves at one point. If you're a believer in any of them, they may pay dividends. They could, however, disappoint...again. That's the fun of the game, isn't it?