Overrated Shame-Maker: Zac Stacy
The fifth round rookie out of Vanderbilt looked very good last season, but did he do enough to justify the level of love he is receiving in early ranks (an RB1 being drafted in the back-end of the first round)?
In my opinion, running backs in fantasy football drafts are being overvalued in the same fashion that quarterbacks are in the NFL draft, and Stacy is the prime example of rankers getting too cute. Yes, he’s talented, but I’m not as sold on 2013 being as big of a “breakout” campaign as others.
A simple look at his game log and you’ll notice that he had two big games (42 touches for 240 yards and two scores) against two of the bottom five defenses in terms of yards per carry (New Orleans and Chicago) – two defenses he will not face in 2014. On the flipside, he managed just one touchdown and 3.14 yards per touch in his games within the NFC West, three teams he will play twice a year as long as he is a member of the Rams.
I typically don’t read too much into the schedule, but St. Louis’ 2014 projects about as bad as it gets for a “stud” running back. They have a Week 4 bye, a red flag as the regular season winds down and the fantasy postseason heats up.
Included in that stretch of 13 games in 13 weeks, is an absolutely brutal month-long stretch starting in the middle of October. The Rams host the 49ers and Seahawks before going on a three-game road trip where they visit the Chiefs, 49ers, and Cardinals. Think he is going to be a little beat up after those five consecutive games?
St. Louis’ offensive line graded out as the eighth worst run-blocking unit in the NFL last season, a trend that is worrisome given the physical nature of this division. The blocking troubles can be attributed in part to the lack of respect shown for Sam Bradford, a trend that isn’t going to change after last season.
Bradford ranked 18th in the league, behind the likes of the benched Mike Vick and Ryan Fitzpatrick, in PFF’s Acc%, a metric that excludes drops and un-aimed passes from the equation.
In an offense like this, the “Adrian Peterson” approach would work best: pound the ball into the line for minimal gains time and time again until he is able to break a long run, but by finishing 24th in Elusive Rating (behind Stevan Ridley) and 17th in Breakaway Percentage (behind Lamar Miller), that isn’t a safe way to build your fantasy team.
If you’re going to gamble early on a running back, something I don’t have a big issue with if you draft a second RB early and another high-upside RB late, I prefer Montee Ball or Giovani Bernard in 2014.
Other Overrated Shame-Makers:
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our new Mock and Companion Draft Tool. Utilizing our updated player projections, run a quick mock draft and see where this year’s crop of free agents are coming off the board in early fantasy football drafts.
Fantasy questions for me? I’m on Twitter @unSOPable23 and willing to help you build a fantasy champion in 2014.