The Tricks of the Trade - Rags To Riches - RB Edition - Clock Dodgers
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The Tricks of the Trade – Rags To Riches – RB Edition

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The Tricks of the Trade with @TradeMastaur

– Rags To Riches Edition –



I’ve been playing fantasy football for 14 years now, and up until 2 years ago I thought I would just never learn. Each year someone I drafted would find a way to burn me when I was either counting on him to be a stud or expecting him to begin their break out in the NFL, swearing them off the following year. Well, I think we’ve all been there watching the TV with your jaw dropped or spit flying laced with a new curse word tailored for each individual player you denounced as they have either returned to form or have finally broken out 1 year later. Don’t let this happen to you, we’re smarter than that right?

Let’s get to why we’re here now and it’s all about value. Drafting is all about finding the sleeper or the value in the draft from year to year even if you don’t want to believe it, and that’s what I’m hear to help you do. This edition of the TOTT is aptly named Rags to Riches, and it’s just that. The guy you’ve confronted on Twitter for destroying your fantasy team is probably on this list below, but its time to get unblocked and re-connect. These players are guys who had seasons last year that heavily disappointed and I’m going to tell you why to believe in them again. Here’s hoping I don’t lose half of you along the way, so let’s get going.


– Rags To Riches: RUNNING BACKS –

*ADP Data is based on ranks from 2016 and end of year position is from based in PPR scoring format also from 2016

Todd Gurley- 2016 ADP for RB’s: 2  / End of Year Position Ranking: 15

This is the exact situation that I like to capitalize in fantasy. We are one year removed from Gurley becoming a perennial top 5 pick in standard or PPR until we were halted by a Jeff Fisher offense so inefficient it lost him his job. Bringing in the youth of McVay at the helm could be what this lethargic offense needs to bring Gurley back to that first round value. But first let’s get into what we had last year with Gurley.

The main misconception from disappointed Gurley owners was that he was a bust to the point of not being able to start him in 2016 like Eddie Lacy. Truth is he was very consistent all year, he just didn’t have many 20+ runs and his TD’s were limited to 6. He did very quietly pull in 43 passes as well which helped keep his floor at a usable rate. Gurley will be an early 2nd round pick this year which means you can go ahead with confidence and get your AJ Green or Mike Evans in the first and happily select your stud RB1 in the 2nd round. Gurley is the one of the main reasons I like the back half of the snake this year. Let those who selected him in the 3-6 overall slots last year hate on him until their hearts content and rest easy that you got your bell cow RB1 at pick 15 – 18.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range Early 2nd  to Late 2nd

Lamar Miller- 2016 ADP for RB’s: 4  / End of Year Position Ranking: 20

I know what you’re thinking, “If he tries to sell me on Lamar Miller too then screw this guy I’m done”. Well thanks for stopping by because that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

An almost mirror situation to Todd Gurley with one stark difference between the two. We may not know yet if Jared Goff is a QB that can produce at the pro level, but we are well aware that Osweiler isn’t cut out for this league. Miller had the touches to support a top 10 season but simply didn’t get the production. With Osweiler’s historically bad season the first round Miller just couldn’t get moving. I don’t have data to back my claim of Osweiler being historically bad, but I do have two eyeballs and that’s enough for me.

I’m stealing from my article last year here about Miller but no coach has ran the ball more than Bill O’Brien since he’s been in the league. D’Onta Foreman being added to the fold will add another back to shoulder some of the load, but I’m not worried about Miller losing the job in the immediate future. We as a community love to fall in love with these rookies and where they get drafted, but if there is one thing that will always reign true in the NFL, it’s you produce or you don’t play. On paper some rookies get our attention and we forget all about the incumbent that’s now hungrier than ever to prove this is his team and young buck needs to wait his turn. I’ll go into detail about DeShaun Watson and what he means to this offense in the WR section under a Texans WR that I believe will return to the top 5-10 once again.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range Late 2nd  to 3rd  Round

Jamaal Charles- 2016 ADP for RB’s: 8  / End of Year Ranking: 115

When Charles first came on my radar he was still a free agent, I just liked the idea of the ADP being bottom of the barrel pricing for a player that could have one more resurging season before it’s all said and done. As I write this we now know that Charles has inked a deal with the rival Denver Broncos.

I’ve made it quite clear my opinions on CJA and the Denver running game on the Fantasy Life App, but for those not on the app, I hate it. Anderson is a guy who’s hanging his entire hype on about 12-13 games of strong fantasy production, with a majority of them being standing behind Peyton Manning’s (actual) historic offensive season in 2015. Devontae Booker underwhelmed during his golden opportunity last year that drained so many fantasy players FAAB in one fell swoop. So the door appears to be wide open for a dynamic pass catching back to attain some fantasy meaning in this offense, but let’s pump the brakes just a bit. If his ADP starts to jump into the 5th 6th 7th round territory I think I’m out. I want Charles from the 8th round on and I think you have cashed in on an opportunity at a back who can be very meaningful for your fantasy season. I am not telling you Charles even has RB1 potential at this point in his career but I do think he can be a valuable fantasy asset as you’re trying to maneuver your way through bye weeks, injuries, and trends. Just keep a keen eye on how his injury rehab is coming in the coming weeks.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range 8th to 10th Round

Christine Michael- 2016 ADP for RB’s: Too High / End of Season Ranking: Too Low

Haha, just kidding. Let’s move on.

Danny Woodhead- 2016 ADP for RB’s: 22 / End of Season Ranking: I stopped scrolling

Recency bias is going to have Danny gone and forgotten this year. New team on an offense that is desperate for some sort of action feels like at least an opportunity at production. Bake into that assessment that Dixon is suspended 4 games, Woodhead feels like a guy who could be a very reliable RB2 for the first quarter of the season.

Let’s not forget what I’m all about here too, trade value. I’ve heard plenty of times you don’t draft to trade, but you also should maybe bend a rule from time to time. Woodhead will be the perfect kind of guy you can flip to those RBZero truthers who missed on their mid round RB before a slight decline hit on Dixon’s return. Woodhead’s ADP prediction feels a little shaky right now. I think he’s going to be in the same kind of range of Charles but maybe just a touch sooner. He’s going to be those aforementioned RBZero guys targets, but I don’t mind snagging him as your RB3 and then dangling him out there for the desperate who load up on WR’s.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range 7th – 9th Round

Ameer Abdullah- 2016 ADP for RB’s: 33 / End of Year Ranking: 96

It’s finally time for the, um, post-post hype sleeper to emerge as the back we’ve been waiting for in 2017. I hope, maybe, probably, why not, right? Wait, he’s not a sleeper again? He’s being drafted where? Higher than last year?!?! Ok, let’s slow down and get some perspective.

When I first wanted to write about Abdullah back in early May when I was brain storming some guys, Abdullah didn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar. It just seems the hype cannot be killed for this guy. He’s already emerging as a player who may start jumping up the ranks into a territory where it just doesn’t make sense, but he’s not quite there yet.

This may be because 2 weeks ago Lions beat reporter Tim Twentyman reported that Abdullah will be returning as the “featured” back in Detroit. Pair that with the fact that they did not add a back in the off-season, the only threats to the job are Zach Zenner and Theo Riddick and the hype train is running on way more than steam. Riddick is hot off of surgery on both wrists and will have to show again that he can be productive in that backfield. Abdullah has first shot but his ADP per is already into the mid 6th. That’s right around where I’d take a shot on him, but don’t let the hype take you much past that range. The NFL changes every single week, but I still like the idea of getting a featured back in the 6th round this year.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range late 5th – 7th Round


The Wrap Up

With that, Rags To Riches Running Backs Edition is in the books. Trusting players who burned you is almost certainly out of your comfort zone, but when it’s running backs they’re usually the first ones that make the black list. However, the running back position is the most volatile in football and if there is going to be a turnover from year to year it’s going to be the ball carriers. There is a good chance the back you draft with confidence is the one that let’s you down, so why not take a shot on someone that no one else is counting on?

Look out for more Rags To Riches articles coming soon including Wide Receivers and a double Quarterback/Tight End edition to follow. I’ll be dropping new Tricks of the Trade articles on all season so I’m looking forward to hearing from everybody as we get deeper entrenched into fantasy football this year. You can find me on the Fantasy Life App as @trademastaur and let me know your thoughts anytime. I always believe that we get better at fantasy by talking about it with each other and debating. The more data, more perspectives, and more strategies you learn the better you’ll be prepared when the draft and season come along. So pop into Clock Dodgers chat and give me your worst, I can take it.

From the little man and me, until next time.

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Tyler Coulter
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Tyler Coulter

Writer - The Tricks of the Trade

Chat with me on the Fantasy Life App @trademastaur
Tyler Coulter
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