Remember this date: March 12, 2013. This marks the day that NFL Free Agency will begin, and no doubt will wreak havoc on whatever early off-season rankings you’ve compiled (if any). Glamour positions (QB, WR, RB) will be on the move. Big time playmakers will be switching teams and bumping potential sleepers up or down their depth charts. There will be roster cuts that make you cringe, and pickups that piss you off, but above all else, it will be entertaining. As moves are made, and the picture becomes clearer, we will let you know how some of these moves will impact the fantasy landscape. Until then, we want to take a look at a few intriguing backfield situations vacated by the recent releases of a few Runningbacks (RB) you’ve probably heard of before.
NY Giants Release Ahmad Bradshaw (2/6/13)
This is a particularly interesting situation. It’s no surprise that NY Giants cut ties with the oft injured Ahmad Bradshaw. They will miss his impact pass protection, but the rest of the production won’t be hard to replace. New York boasts one of the NFL‘s best young RB duos with David Wilson and Andre Brown. They are also unlikely to bring in a big name free agent RB, so this situation is easier to project, kind of… we’ll get to that later.
2012 32nd overall pick David Wilson’s rookie season had it’s ups and downs. Week 1 included a lost fumble, tears, and a subsequent benching. HC Tom Coughlin made him earn his spot, and earn it he did. Weeks 14-17 included a 5.7 YPC, 34 receiving yards, and 4 total TD. He also held down the Kickoff Returner role, a role he should reprise in 2013, which no doubt adds to his value. The talent here is undeniable. He is a game-breaker evidenced by 5 runs last year over 20 yards, and a 52 yard TD in week 14 (although it was against a historically awful New Orleans Saints Defense). He will be a very solid between the 20’s runner for Coughlin and Co. in 2013, pitching in a few receptions along the way, but the presence of Andre Brown will limit his goal line carries.
I have no doubt that the hype train will be thoroughly focused on Wilson this off season, which could make the real value here Brown (this is Contrarian thinking, and a very useful way to identify an undervalued commodity). Mucking up the situation is that Brown is a Restricted Free Agent, so we are not entirely sure if he will be retained, but he probably will be. If retained, he will be an important piece for the Giants. His health is an issue (what Runningback’s health isn’t), and he is currently recovering from a broken leg, but this is not a troublesome issue and likely won’t affect where we draft him. He is not a liability in pass protection (Wilson is), so that alone will earn him playtime. Andre Brown is not a plodder, and routinely displays surprising burst and speed, break tackle ability, balance, and eagle like vision. With a full plate of carries in Week 3 last season, he toted the rock 20 times for 113 yards and 2 rushing TD, to go with 2 receptions for 19 yards.
If Wilson goes down for an extended period of time, Brown is an RB1. If Brown goes down, Wilson and his big play ability are also an RB1, with a higher ceiling. As it stands right now, if they resign Brown and don’t bring in any big name free agent RB, a 60:40 touches split in favor of Wilson is likely, with Brown getting more of the touches around the Goal Line. The NY Giants offensive success has been consistent with Eli Manning at the helm, and they will likely remain successful. Both will, and should be, drafted in all league formats.
Coming Soon… STL, MIA, ATL