Thursday, August 28, 2008

Discussion Topic: The Value of Rudi Johnson in Fantasy Football

Since its inception nearly two years ago, PHSports has been about improving upon past work. Often times, the contributors – Clement, Armin, Sum and myself – have had entertaining and well-informed discussions that have never reached the eyes of our readers. That sparked an idea. Every so often, we will post the discussions that we have to PHSports for our readers to enjoy, absorb and contribute to the marketplace of ideas.

That said, Sum recently had a draft in which he selected Rudi Johnson in the 9th round of a 12-team league. This led to an exchange of comments between Armin, Sum and me. Clement was too busy teaching the next batch of heathens scholars from Richmond, Virginia.

Armin: I really like the Rudi Johnson pick. Whether he gets traded or stays in Cincy (he’s staying in Cincy), he’s going to have a comeback year.

Pay: I don't know about Rudi. I don't think he'll ever be the 1400-yard back again. I liked him a lot out of Auburn, because he was underappreciated despite being a beast. Even in 2006 when he had 1309 yards and 12 TDs, he only averaged 3.8 ypc and 6 fumbles (only 2 lost). What kills me is that his longest run out of 341 tries was only 22 yards.

Armin: He was hurt all last year, and a power-back is going to be right there around 4ypc. LT spent 2 of his 1200-1300 yard seasons under the 4ypc mark...and I'll be damned if you ever made that statement about him.

Rudi: Fell from 1st-round to second half in fantasy drafts


Pay: One of those was his rookie year. He had 59 and 53 catches in those seasons. He also had longs of 42 and 54, which comparatively are weak in comparison to his portfolio. I'm aware that Rudi was hurt. Before he started hurting, his stats started dipping. Mind you, these stats started dipping despite having a full complement of skill position players in an offense that commonly uses 3 and 4-WR sets. LT did not have such a luxury, though Gates was awesome in 2004.

Also, outside of fantasy, even when LT isn't running well, he's an excellent pass blocker. Rudi is not and often gets replaced on passing downs. Time to get out of preseason form with the weak comparison.

Armin: You're getting into semantics. It's all about the fantasy performance and the numbers you put up, right?

Sum: I got Rudi in round 9 ... for that slot, I think that's a great grab, even if he "only" gets 1200 on 3.8 ypc ... esp since ypc isn't a fantasy stat. Also, comparing Rudi to LT is like comparing Jeff Garcia to Tom Brady. One is a serviceable player who should do just fine as a bye-week filler, the other is a beast.

Pay: You would like to grab Rudi, wouldn't you?

Armin: I'm just saying it's not a weak argument. All I was trying to say was, 3.8 yards for a powerback isn't hateful if he's serving his purpose. Hell, in Clement's league 24 carries for 54 yards is worth more than 2 for 54 (not seeing the point on breaking long ones, especially when you are comparing them with a goal-line back who gets their TDs). And the BEAST, LT has averaged 3.9 yards in one of his "beast" years and he's not exactly a "power back" (though I know he can play that role when needed)...he's more of a middle ground back who does a little of everything and has the ability to break one.

Yes, LT gets his receiving points....but LT is also a top pick. It shouldn't take a genius to figure out those differences (or that I'm not stupid enough to put Rudi and LT on the same EXACT level).

Back to the original point: "I really like the Rudi Johnson pick." (copied from earlier). If Pay doesn't think that's a good 9th round pick...then that speaks volumes of his weak "preseason-ish" analysis.

Pay: It was a low-risk, high-reward pick. I'd have opted for Selvin Young at the RB position in that round. I'll refrain from pulling the childish "how have your fantasy teams done" card, but all four of us know that my preseason fantasy analysis has been rock solid for at least the last 3 years.

Armin: Pull the card. I won 2 and finished in the championship in 3 of the 4 leagues I was in last year. And then there was Maria's team that won her a championship too. I think that speaks volumes again.


Pay: 2 for 3 in playoff championships. Very strong. Why wasn't it 3 for 3? :)

Armin: Bastej [sic] team didn't show up. But that wouldn't have mattered....I lost it by the first set of games because your team showed up.

Pay: Had your team showed up, it wouldn't have mattered. Dr. Acula was a wrecking crew in the playoffs.

Sum: [Selvin] Young was available, but given Shanahan's record, how long will Young actually play? Given my back and forth with Denver RBs the past season, I wasn't going to risk it.
And Pay, your preseason analysis has been rock solid. Just ask Tom Brady.

Armin: R U Serious?! Ok...agree with you (Pay) there. Would have taken Young over Johnson (which is why I asked if he was even there in the 9th). In fact...I took Young over Johnson in our draft (I think...unless Johnson went before him...but would have taken Young regardless just based on his potential in Denver...hell, any RB’s potential). But, anyway...if Johnson is healed....he's good for at least 1000 and ~10 (with a variance...or is it standard deviation....of 2).

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