Buy/Sell Fantasy RBs (08/09/13)

By John Ewing
LeSean McCoy, Chris Johnson, and MJD: buying and selling three fantasy running backs that have slipped in 2013 drafts.



Fantasy football players (and humans in general) are terrible at assessing risk. This is evident by recency bias in fantasy football drafts. Recency bias is the tendency for people to look at only the most recent events while disregarding older but equally important pieces of information. If you fall prey to it, recency bias will be detrimental to your fantasy team.
 
Luckily, the Predictalator is able to account for all of the statistical contributions of a player without including our natural human bias. As such, we are able to tell you which players that are currently experiencing the effects of recency bias should be taken earlier in drafts than their current ADP (average draft position) commands and which players to avoid.
 
Below we buy or sell three running backs that were drafted in the top 10 last season but are currently going in the second round or later in standard ten-team leagues. The 2012 and 2013 ADP rankings are per ESPN and are for standard scoring leagues.
 
For all of our 2013 fantasy football rankings click here.
 
LeSean McCoy
2012 ADP: Overall - 3, RB 3
2013 ADP: Overall - 13, RB 10
 
McCoy rocketed up draft boards in 2012 after scoring 20 touchdowns in 2011. Last year, McCoy disappointed his owners reaching the end zone only 5 times (2 rushing, 3 receiving). The poor production was due in large part to injury (concussion) and the emergence of Bryce Brown.
 
PredictionMachine.com’s 2013 Projection:
1,069 rush yards, 9 rush TDs, 370 receiving yards, 3 rec. TDs
While Shady McCoy will not reach the lofty heights of 2011, we still expect him to be a quality RB1. Chip Kelly is expected to emphasize the running game more than previous coach Andy Reid. We are projecting Philadelphia to be a top 5 rushing team.
 
Verdict: Buy
 
Chris Johnson
2012 ADP: Overall - 5, RB 4
2013 ADP: Overall - 24, RB 15
 
Johnson started 2012 slow; he totaled 4, 17, and 24 rushing yards in the first three games. In eight games last season, Johnson failed to rush for more than 60 yards. He only scored touchdowns in five games. In the offseason, the Titans added former Jet Shonn Green. Johnson’s inconsistent performance last season coupled with the threat of Green stealing goal line carries has sent CJ2K tumbling in drafts.
 
PredictionMachine.com’s 2013 Projection:
1,284 rush yards, 7 rush TDs, 214 receiving yards, 1 rec. TDs
The current iteration of Johnson is more of a boom or bust running back than he was in 2010 and 2011. However, if you remove the first three games of last season Johnson scored double-digit fantasy points in 9 of the last 13 games. Shonn Green may vulture some goal line carries but not enough to hurt Johnson’s fantasy value.  
 
Verdict: Buy
 
Maurice Jones-Drew
2012 ADP: Overall - 9, RB 5
2013 ADP: Overall - 28, RB 16
 
MJD slid in last year’s draft, after leading the league in rushing in 2011, with concerns about his contract holdout. Those fears proved unfounded as Jones-Drew played in the season opener looking like his normal self. A foot injury during Week 6 ended his season early, yet he still led the team in rushing with 414 yards (sad for the Jaguars).
 
PredictionMachine.com’s 2013 Projection:
824 rush yards, 5 rush TDs, 209 receiving yards, 1 rec. TDs
Why you should draft MJD higher: this is a contract year for him (will play harder or so the theory goes) and he was a top 10 back when he was healthy from 2009-2011. However, a potential bad wheel (the Lisfranc injury) and the addition of Justin Forsett (projection: 463 yards, 2 TDs) could keep him from producing at levels seen in the past. Our biggest concern is the quarterback situation, Chad Henne/Blaine Gabbert. These signal callers combined last year to complete only 55% of their passes for 20 TDs and 17 INTs. The Jaguars’ offense is inept, last season they ranked 29th in yards/game and 31st time of possession/game. 
 
Verdict: Sell