Sleepers Part II: Running Backs
With the graduation of a deep running back class in 2007, we are going to see a lot of new faces emerge as fantasy producers at the running back spot in 2008. In this week’s sleeper edition we attempt to uncover some of those names.
Because of the amount of turnover at running back and the opportunity for freshmen to play right away, the running back sleeper list is longer than it probably should be.
It is also filled with names that are no surprise to most of you college fantasy football junkies. We are simply covering all the bases for those just joining us.
Ryan McCants has been rocketing up draft boards in the off-season (guilty as charged) and appears to be the people’s choice as the top newcomer running back in 2008. It’s tough to call McCants a sleeper. By the definition of ‘a no-name last year making a big splash this year’ the term certainly applies. However he is certainly not an unknown. Expect to pay a premium for guys like McCants, Jahvid Best and Chris Rainey on draft day.
A few other high profile sleepers (yes I realize this is an oxymoron, but we are simply covering all the bases) that we’ve beaten to death on here are Michael Smith of Arkansas and LeGarrette Blount of Oregon.
Instead of continuing to rehash these dudes and their sleeper potential, I’ll focus on two true sleeper picks that are high on our draft board (and even higher on my personal draft board) but flying a bit further under the radar: Frank Goodin of Louisiana-Monroe and Andre Anderson of Tulane.
Goodin is particularly intriguing as he already has a few carries under his belt, 116 of them to be exact. All thse carries while playing behind ULM’s all-time leading rusher, Calvin Dawson, as a true freshman. Obviously Goodin has some talent if he is commanding that many touches as a wide-eyed newcomer running behind a proven vet. Add in the fact that ULM has a veteran cast returning and this spells plenty of scoring opportunities for Frank.
Anderson will take over for the Matt Forte’ who toted the rock a ridiculous 361 times in 2007. That is an absurd amount of carries and reason enough to consider Anderson. Anderson has less wiggle than Forte’ but carries more bulk. Now before you start banking on 200+ carries and 1200 yards for the Green Wave back, keep in mind Forte’ was the first Tulane running back to crack 200 carries and 1000 yards rushing since Melwelde Moore in 2002. But that was also before Bob Toledo took over. Potential exists with Anderson, but he is no sure thing.
While most seem to be attaching themselves to incoming prep schooler Enrique Davis over at Ole Miss, I’m still strongly in the Cordera Eason camp. You cannot place a value on experience and Eason seems to have ‘clicked’ with the new coaching staff and system. Barring injury, Eason will be the man for the Running Rebs and a legit fantasy performer in 2008. If not, I simply will delete all references to Eason and my new found love of the Ole Miss offense and deny ever mentioning his name. Because of the love for Enrique and Ole Miss’ mediocrity the last few years, you should be able to pick up Eason at a value in the late rounds.
Like Best and Rainey, Caleb King takes a second turn on our sleeper list. All three were on our list in 2007 and all three had something that held them back. With King it was the emergence of Knowshon Moreno. This year, King gets to play the part of Knowshon as his real value may only be seen if the budding superstar Moreno goes down.
Virginia Tech running backs and college fantasy football have gone hand in hand for a number of years. Tech is a running back factory. However, offensive line woes, injuries and poor judgments may be taking its toll on the ol Tech assembly line.
I’m still going to be looking for value in the late rounds with either redshirt freshman Darren Evans, incoming freshman Ryan Williams and even Kenny Lewis, who by recent accounts is on track to return for fall camp after having shoulder surgery this spring. I don’t have a crystal ball here, but this could turn out to Mike Imoh/Cedric Humes circa 2004. Still I’ll take a shot at the end of the draft on one of these guys. Obviously you want to pay close attention to fall camp.
One more to take a late round stab at: Alexander Robinson, Iowa State. I know…I know…Iowa State? Fair question. However, Robinson came on strong in the latter portion of the year, scoring touchdowns in each of the final four games as a starter. With the Cyclones not having much else to lean on, we expect Robinson to get 25-30 touches a game.
More freshmen with potential in 2008
Darrell Scott is the top rated incoming running back in the class of 2008 and stepping into a situation where he should see immediate playing time. If you are in a keeper league, Scott certainly needs to be bumped up a number of pegs. Like McCants and the others, plan on paying a high price on draft day.
It is tough to pick a number two freshman behind Scott. Josh Haden is already being penciled in as a starter at BC, but I’m not sold on a big year for Haden.
A couple of names that could slide into that #2 spot are De’Anthony Curtis and Aundre Dean…and have I mentioned Mark Ingram yet? All have the skill set and likely opportunity to make an impact. We’ll have to wait and see how they fare when they go up against the big boys in August.
Two Big East backs that will probably fly below the radar but could be stepping into good situations this fall are Isaiah Pead and Averin Collier.
Three JUCOs to put on the early Waiver Wire list
I’m not if this is standard practice by most of you or if I am truly demented. My potential waiver wire list starts taking form the second draft day is over. With that in mind there are three JUCO backs that will be high on that list: Beau Johnson, Jocques Crawford and Terence Kerns.
Johnson was on campus early for the Cowboys and is already drawing attention from the coaching staff. Kerns is still awaiting official clearance from the NCAA clearinghouse, but it seems like a formality. Crawford will be counted on to be the compliment to Jake Sharp for the Jayhawks.
|26||RB||Ryan McCants||ORST |
|27||RB||Michael Smith||ARK |
|33||RB||Frank Goodin||LAMO |
|34||RB||Chris Rainey||FLA |
|35||RB||LeGarrette Blount||ORE |
|36||RB||Dajuane Collins||TOL |
|37||RB||Andre Anderson||TUL |
|39||RB||Kendall Hunter||OKST |
|40||RB||Darrell Scott||COL |
|43||RB||Cordera Eason||MISS |
|50||RB||Alexander Robinson||IWST |
|80||RB||Caleb King||GA |
|89||RB||Darren Evans||VATC |
|90||RB||Jocques Crawford||KAN |
|93||RB||Stephfon Green||PSU |
|99||RB||Terence Kerns||WVU |
|100||RB||Beau Johnson||OKST |
|106||RB||Jeff Smith||BC |
|108||RB||Ryan Williams||VATC |
|110||RB||Terrell Jackson||UTEP |
|123||RB||MiQuale Lewis||BLST |
|124||RB||Mark Ingram||ALA |
|139||RB||Aundre Dean||UCLA |
|149||RB||Josh Haden||BC |
|154||RB||De'Anthony Curtis||ARK |
|159||RB||Averin Collier||SYR |
|160||RB||Isaiah Pead||CIN |
|215||RB||Sam McGuffie||MICH |
|221||RB||Jeffrey Demps||FLA |
| || || || |
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