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Agility Scores, Zac Stacy, and Ray Rice


Dynasty owners with early picks in the upcoming rookie draft are facing an almost shocking dearth of talent. No running backs are projected to go in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and the only two wide receivers projected to go that early sport historically high levels of bust potential

As a result, any available edge is worth pursuing. A couple days ago, I introduced the Agility Score concept and suggested Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell would be a steal in both reality and fantasy formats. While Bell is starting to generate a little draft momentum, there’s another potentially even higher upside runner still floating below the radar.

One of the main uses of the Agility Score is to identify future third down backs like Darren Sproles. Players with elite lateral explosiveness often emerge as PPR dynamos down the line. Right now, however, we’re still trying to find potential three-down players. Therefore, we’re going to look at guys who are at least 195 pounds.

Here’s a list of players with mediocre Speed Scores (between 90-105) but elite Agility Scores (sub-10.95).

Name College College Yards College YPC College TD College Rec Weight (lbs) 40 Yard Speed Score Agility Score
Zac Stacy Vanderbilt 3143 5.4 30 46 216 4.55 100.8 10.87
Name College College Yards College YPC College TD College Rec Weight (lbs) 40 Yard Speed Score Agility Score
Ahmad Bradshaw Marshall 2982 5.3 31 87 198 4.55 92.4 10.79
Anthony Allen Georgia Tech 3036 5.6 33 33 228 4.56 105.5 10.85
Ray Rice Rutgers 4926 5.4 49 37 199 4.42 104.3 10.85
Jerome Harrison Washington State 2800 5.8 25 34 201 4.47 100.7 10.87
Doug Martin Boise State 3431 5.6 43 67 223 4.55 104.1 10.95
Kendall Hunter Oklahoma State 4181 5.9 37 63 199 4.46 100.6 10.95

Considering no one in this group has a forty time in the 4.3 range and none were selected in the first 30 picks of their respective drafts, this is pretty exclusive company. Ray Rice and Doug Martin are unqualified stars. Ahmad Bradshaw has performed like an elite starting running back when not crippled by nagging foot injuries. Jerome Harrison couldn’t maintain his career momentum but holds the third highest single-game rushing total in NFL history (286 yards). Kendall Hunter was averaging 5.2 yards per carry in 2012 before going down with an injury. He remains Frank Gore’s heir apparent in San Francisco.

Anthony Allen falls just over our soft cap of 105 in the Speed Score, but as the one potentially bad comp, I didn’t want it to look like the sample was cherry-picked. With only 19 NFL carries, he hasn’t been given a chance to show what he can do.

What does this mean for Zac Stacy?

As was the case for Le’Veon Bell, scouts are not excited about Stacy. Giovani Bernard is the back generating comparisons to Ray Rice, but Stacy offers more size, identical speed, and superior timed quickness. Stacy’s collegiate efficiency in terms of yards per carry perfectly mirrors that of Doug Martin, Ray Rice, and Ahmad Bradshaw, despite the fact that he faced a more difficult schedule.

My most popular historical Banana Stand article explains why NFL teams should completely avoid using early picks at RB. The flipside is also true. Once you move into the middle rounds where the expected value of draft picks plummets, teams should be targeting those positions where advanced analytics provide a significant edge in finding undervalued gems. (Lamar Miller is an excellent example of a back who bizarrely fell in 2012 and should have been snapped up earlier by a savvy squad.)

Update: Stacy continues to climb in rookie drafts, but he still isn’t going as early as he should. He came off the board at No. 11 in our RotoViz draft and is still underrated.

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