We’ll take a deeper look at how my dynasty team did by focusing on the running backs. In the Zealots format you can start three running backs (bonus) but there is no PPR (boo). Heading into last offseason, I had the trio of Matt Forte/Ray Rice/DeMarco Murray but that didn’t prevent me from drafting Zac Stacy with rookie pick 1.11. Let’s look at the individuals:
Matt Forte (3rd in RB scoring, 19th overall)
I took Forte with the 5th pick in the legendary 2008 rookie draft (at least for RBs). He has been a solid RB2 at least for most of his career. This year, he moved up. What stands out is that he was so darn consistent. Forte had two single-digit scoring performances, and note that this isn’t PPR, the entire year. Sadly one of those stinkers was in Week 16, the season-low 5.4 points. He added insult to injury by scoring 34.7 in Week 17. As you’ll see, I have depth at the position so a potential offseason trade may be forthcoming.
DeMarco Murray (7th in RB scoring, 33rd overall)
I drafted Murray with the final pick in the first round (12th overall) in 2011. This performance was unexpected. Murray has been good to great when he plays, but he usually misses a lot of game. This year, he missed two games and had a five-point stinker the week after he returned from a knee sprain. Murray didn’t score below ten points from Week 11 all, including a nearly 20-point average during the playoffs, when the Cowboys didn’t even use him that much. He’s another guy who got the “trade high” light.
Joique Bell (16th RB, 66th overall)
After Cecil and Sig of the FBG Podcast wouldn’t shut up about the Wayne State product, I picked him up off waivers during the 2012 offseason. Bell proved himself with a great year and that continued in 2013. Bell had seven double-digit games, and those weren’t all because of Reggie Bush injuries. Bell held his backup role and was strong on third downs. He’s a free agent and I’d love the Titans to pair him up with Shonn Greene. I doubt I could get anything for him in trade.
Zac Stacy (18th RB, 78th overall)
Stacy’s 2013 finish is extra impressive because he had .4 fantasy points in the first four weeks of the season. I had room on my roster to sit him until he broke out. He’s a bit of a tough player to gauge in the future because while he looks like Jeff Fisher’s new Eddie George, facing the Seahawks, 49ers, and Cardinals six times a year is no fun. He scored his seven rushing TDs in the team’s final eight games, which is nice.
Ray Rice (29th RB, 169th overall)
It was hard to bench Rice early because he scored 13.1 points in Week 1. Rice had two 20-point efforts, one against the Bears that even the most jaded skeptic probably started him. Otherwise he was crap all year. The Ravens’ offensive line imploded. Besides his 131-yard rushing effort against the Bears, his second-highest line of the year was 27/74/2 (6/28 receiving) against the Dolphins. Rice had three games of 100 yards from scrimmage. In 2012, he had four 100-yard rushing games. He just turned 27, and with 1800 combined touches (900+ in college), he may be getting close to empty. I can’t see trading him the ninth pick in the 2008 rookie draft for much at this point.
Bilal Powell had a mini breakout with a couple of decent games before Chris Ivory took over. Powell is the Jets’ third-down back so he has bye-week
Jacquizz Rodgers also didn’t play poorly last year, although that had a lot to do with Steven Jackson’s injury. In Week 5 and 7 (6 was the bye), he had top-six RB finishes. Despite his relatively young age, I don’t have high hopes for anything other than a short-term fill-in.
Kendall Hunter had a couple of decent weeks as Frank Gore’s main backup. With LaMichael James and Marcus Lattimore still on the roster, I’m not feeling strong about Hunter ever making my starting lineup.
Michael Bush has been with my team since I took him in the first round of the 2007 rookie draft. It’s good to handcuff your starting RB in such a deep league but Bush didn’t do a thing for me this year. Turning 30 this year, I may have to let him go in free agency.
Lance Dunbar had the misfortune to get hurt at the same time as DeMarco Murray, so he didn’t completely own the backup RB job in Dallas. I think ultimately he will beat Randle and Tanner for the gig, so he’s a cheap handcuff who I picked up off waivers last summer.
Chris Thompson was my final rookie pick last year, 71st overall. His upside seems to be taking over Roy Helu’s third-down role, and that’s pretty low ceiling.
C.J. Anderson has some hope for future value, especially if Knowshon Moreno leaves in free agency. Montee Ball wasn’t as impressive as his college history and draft pedigree would suggest.
I like this group of running backs. I’m not sure if I want to give up on a position of strength by trading high on Forte/Stacy/Murray. Rice probably has one more bounce-back year in him. I won’t worry about the position in the rookie draft much, and RBs are mostly picked clean by the mid-third round and I don’t have a pick in the second.