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Running Back Dissonance: Sorting Out Expert Disagreements


Fantasy Pros does a great job with their expert rankings. One of the things I like to do is look for players where there’s significant disagreement between rankers. In my opinion, the players about whom there is the least consensus provide the most opportunity for getting an advantage over your league mates. Everyone agrees that Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles are top-flight running backs for fantasy this year. There’s not much to be gained from the fact that expert rankers have them uniformly ranked.

For this exercise, I simply looked at players about whom the experts had the least consensus–as evidenced by the highest standard deviation–to see which I might want to target. Up first: RBs.

Bishop Sankey

ADP: RB20; Average Rank: 26.9; Standard Deviation: 8.9

I must be reading too much RotoViz. I didn’t expect so much disparity in the rankings for Sankey. His standard deviation (8.9) is over three times greater than the average standard deviation for the other top 20 running backs by ADP (2.6). RotoViz has a ton of Sankey content, but this one regarding his comparables and this one about his workhorse ability are two of the best. Meanwhile, Shonn Greene is more likely fighting for a roster spot than a starting gigVerdict: I’m Drafting.

Lamar Miller

ADP: RB33, Average Rank: RB31.3; Standard Deviation: 6.3

Miller’s ADP has risen throughout the summer, as Knowshon Moreno struggles to return from injury. Although we’ve written before about his talent, we’ve been more skeptical lately. Davis Mattek thought he might return value at a lower ADP, but now that his price has risen, the value proposition has gotten worse. The longer Moreno stays off the field, the better, from a usage/volume perspective. But even then, concerns about Miami’s remade offensive line probably offset whatever speculative hope a Chip Kelly-esque Bill Lazor offense might provide. Verdict: I’ll Pass.

Ahmad Bradshaw

ADP: RB51; Average Rank: RB53.9; Standard Deviation: 9.7

I get that the concerns about Bradshaw are real. He’s been injured a lot. But surprisingly, he might have a decent chance to make it through the season. With Vick Ballard once again lost for the season, Bradshaw should be locked in as the “backup” to Trent Richardson. He’s been an effective committee back before, and even if Richardson plays well, he could have a significant role in the offense. If Richardson struggles? Bradshaw is the next-most talented back on the roster and should get more work. He’s also really cheap to acquire, which limits the risk and makes him easy to cut if things don’t work out or he does get hurt again. DeAngelo Williams at RB44 ADP is the last clear starting running back. After that you’ve got Moreno, Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason, Lance Dunbar, and Knile Davis before you get to Bradshaw. Moreno can’t even walk normally yet, Hyde’s role is unclear barring an injury to Frank Gore. Mason will likely be blocked by Zac Stacy. Dunbar’s role is far from certain to be fantasy worthy. Verdict: I’m Drafting.


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