RB Sleeper Watch shift to Back Up RB Watch – week 6

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    10/16/2009 5:43 AM - 

    To date, the young 2009 NFL season has provided owners a temporary luxury by delaying the devastating IR injuries to the elite RBs. But owners should anticipate this to change within the next couple of weeks.

    Since the waiver wires are almost completely depleted of immediate impact talent, the RB sleeper watch should now be shifting to the backup RB watch. One of the biggest keys to success, in fantasy football, is the ability of owners to not only overcome but to also capitalize on the ”big” injury. No successful fantasy team ever starts out on day one of a new season and ends on the last day of that season with the exact same fantasy starting lineup.

    The best place to start the preparation, is to look at the RB3 for each NFL team. It is the fact that the RB3 is so gravely buried on the depth chart that deters most fantasy owners from using a roster spot on them. Voila’, an instant, untouched, hidden vault of sleepers. Once the IR injuries begin, these players will gain immediate value and in some cases, these are the players that will carry teams into the fantasy playoffs. As recent prime examples, look at how far NYG had to dig to find Bradshaw, GB to find R Grant, TB to find E Graham, NO to find Pierre Thomas, Balt to find McClain and Den to find Hillis. All provided significant sparks for their fantasy teams at some point.

    Here is a list of what I deem as the current NFL RB3 pool (some teams are unclear on distinct RB2-RB3-RB4 status according to NFL.com depth charts):

    Cin – Brian Leonard
    Bal – Leron McClain
    Pit – Mewelde Moore
    Cle – Chris Jennings (R)
    NYG – Danny Ware
    Dal – Tashard Choice
    Phi – Eldra Buckley (R)
    Was – Marcus Mason
    Atl – Jason Snelling
    StL – Samkon Gado
    SFO – Michael Robinson
    NOS – Mike Bell
    TBB – Earnest Graham
    GBP – DeShawn Wynn
    Min – Albert Young (R)
    Chi – Garrett Wolfe
    NYJ – Shonn Greene (R)
    Mia – Lex Hilliard (R)
    NEP – BenJarvis Green Ellis
    Jax – Rashard Jennings (R)
    Hou – Ryan Moats
    Ten – Javon Ringer (R)
    Car – Mike Goodson (R)
    Ind – Chad Simpson
    Sea – Justin Forsett
    Oak – Justin Fargas
    KCC – Kolby Smith
    SDC – Michael Bennett
    Den – Peyton Hillis
    Det – Aaron Brown (R)
    Buf – Xavier Omon
    Ari – Jason Wright

    Now we can break this group down into three groups of value. The high value likely unavailable group, the drafted/undrafted rookie group, and the players that have received high NFL reports at least once so far in their career.

    • Players like Choice, Fargas, E. Graham, M Moore, and Mike Bell obviously have value currently high enough that they may not be avail in most leagues. Each of these players are borderline RB2 but due to NFL team situation they have been pushed back into a RB3 role.
    • Next is the rookie group, both drafted and undrafted. Players like M Goodson, J Ringer, R Jennings, A Brown, and S Greene came via the NFL draft and thus carry bigger name notoriety. But it is just as important to also track the no names such as Chris Jennings, Eldra Buckley, Albert Young and Lex Hilliard. Remember that the bigger the surprise, the bigger the chance that player’s value was mistakingly underrated.  
    • Lastly take notice of players that have experienced success at some point in their NFL career but are now afterthoughts because of any odd reason imaginable. Players like McClain, Hillis, M Bennett, Moats, and Green-Ellis all could have fantasy value if the right situation befalls upon them.

    Players of special interest.
    Mike Goodson
    Based on preseason play, Goodson showed that he could compete on the NFL level. In fact, the only reason taht Goodson is not a fantasy factor at the moment is because he is a victim of being buried on a depth chart of really great RBs behind DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
    Marcus Mason
    Mason is a preseason monster. Last season he led all of the NFL RBs in preseason rushing.
    Brian Leonard
    Leonard has show a great ability to “leap” over defenders. He runs hard but his jets seem limited as a fast startup. Although he appears to make defenders miss, it usually looks more like a mistackle rather than an elite move on the part of Leonard.

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