There once was a time that I was a believer in drafting running backs early and often. In fact, I wanted to draft a running back with my first, second, and third pick, even in points per reception (PPR) formats. My goal was to always come away with at least three running backs after my fifth pick. However, as I was prepping for draft season (last spring), I noticed a consistent trend … Once the fourth round came around, I found myself seeing a nice size group of running backs just sitting there. The ability to load up on a more consistent and higher scoring position like wide receiver and the added ability to get a huge advantage at tight end with the likes of Jimmy Graham or Julius Thomas starting looking attractive. All while, you could wait and pluck between two-to-three running backs in the fourth through eight round of any draft. I had a lot of fun (outside the box drafting), and it didn’t hurt to mix in some success with this game plan.

After diving into the game log for Jonathan Stewart, I expected to see a few missed games (check). He actually ended up missing a total of three games from week four through six. I then started my normal search for a pattern of any kind, and by golly I found one. It started in week 10 vs the Philadelphia Eagles and did not stop till the Carolina Panthers season ended. In his final seven regular season games, he gained 91.4 total yards, with two catches and found the end zone 0.3 total touchdowns per game. Those numbers gave fantasy owners 13 fantasy points per game in a PPR format. That’s quality RB1 production (PPR) during this stretch. His best PPR game came in week 16 vs the Cleveland Browns. In this game, he rushed for 122 yards (5.1 yards per carry), hauled in two passes, and one of those was a touchdown. Delving a little deeper, you will see that in four of these games, he rushed for at least 73 yards and caught two or more passes. I would also like to note that he hauled in 82% of his total targets over the seven games. (I can’t forget to add in his two playoff games. As he rushed for 193 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, and one touchdown. He did this against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.)

So we fast forward to now and I see a player (Stewart) that had a terrific finish to his season (nine games). The Panthers moved on from his backfield mate DeAngelo Williams (Now a Pittsburgh Steeler). Yet, I see Stewart available in the early parts of the fourth round (PPR). It’s value like this that has my expectations and hopes up that this will be even a better year to implement the wait and pluck approach at running back in 2015.



You can follow Dase on Twitter @F_w_DaseorDays.

  1. Gio says:

    Good analysis on Stewart, I think many will forget about him this year.

    Going back to a convo that we have had in a different chat…. I was presented with an offer in the 14-team keeper (orb, 3wr, no flex). I would pick the #2 draft slot and then trade it for a later pick in 1st round #9-13 in return for Alfred Morris (14th round keeper, last year of keeper eligibility) and kelce (8th round keeper, would have for 3 years). I am asking because Im not high on Morris but I do think he is a legitimate starter for this year. Beyond that, I do not see him sticking in Wash with Jones in town now. Flip side, Morris at 14th round value in a 14 teamer to me is unreal. In addition I see Kelce as a top 4-5 TE this season and beyond.

    Basically trade comes down to….

    Give: 2nd overall pick
    Receive: Late 1st round pick, Morris-14th and Kelce-8th.

    My keepers going in would be (keeper replaces draft pick in the round listed):

    Blount-7th rounder
    Kelce- 8th rounder
    Morris- 14th rounder

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:

      @Gio: I’m glad you found the post to be insightful and thanks for taking time to read it!

      Being that it’s a PPR format, it is expected that Morris does see a slight (not huge) hit in value. I mean the guy has caught a total of 37 passes (.8 per game) over his three seasons (yikes). But he did catch 17 passes last season and that almost equalled his total of year one and two. I would also note he has finished now lower then #18 among players at his position in those three years for PPR. I was hoping that with Helu now in Oakland. We would get to see more of Morris in pass catching situations. That does not seem to be the case with a report not long ago that Jones will fill that void.

      I really like Kelce to build off of what he did the final seven games of last year. He was on the field for 32% more of the offensive snaps. I clearly have Gronk in a Tier all by himself, but Kelce has the opportunity to be the number two TE in all formats for 2015.

      I would hit the accept or email back that you accept this trade. I would push for the ninth or 10th pick in the first round. Make it seem and feel like that’s the only way you accept trade.

      You are setup very nicely to go WR early and often with no pressure or rush of drafting RBs. Let the value fall to you and the just pluck away.

  2. Coach Mike says:

    Always enjoy your articles while everyone else is concentrating on baseball. Keep them coming!

    JStew should be a good value pick this season. Just not enough “sizzle” for many .

    I know things could/will change but for now in a 12 team keeper, which 3 of these players would you keep – and if you have the time/inclination, a brief reason why. (Round I would get them)

    E. Lacy (1st round)
    D Thomas (1st round)
    F. Gore (4th Round)
    D. Hopkins (7 Round)
    L. Murray (12th Round)

    Thanks in advance.

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:

      @Coach Mike: I first want to say thank you for taking the time to not only read this post but my previous ones as well. I’m pumped to know that you are enjoying and finding them insightful. The only use I have for Baseball (fake and real) is to let me know how much closer we are to the better fantasy and real sport

      Alright, I’m going to assume that it’s a standard (non-PPR) scoring format.

      The first keeper is D. Thomas. Over his last three seasons, he has placed in the five for his position.

      The second keeper is E. Lacey. He has placed in the top eight for points per game at his position in each of his first two seasons.

      The third keeper is D. Hopkins. Even with the mess that was the Houston Texans quarterback situaiton and Andre Johnson as the opposite wide receiver. We saw a top 15 fantasy season from Hopkins.

      I would say that this will set you up very nicely to go ahead and attack the RB spot early and often in your draft. You have possible the number WR (Thomas) and another that is top of line WR2 option (Hopkins). This will allow you to wait till the middle rounds and snag the overlooked veterans like (Fitz, Boldin, Colston and Smith).

  3. S.H says:

    Dase, in a forever keeper league 12 team 32 man roster, with two starting running back slots, I have Knile Davis and Ben Tate, I can draft either Gordon or Gurley but I am still one back short. Would you deal E.Sanders for Forsett, or would you demand A.Foster instead, I have two second round picks I could grab two WR then. OR should I hold on to Sanders thanks.

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:

      @S.H: Is this PPR or non-PPR? In PPR, I am holding onto Sanders. In non-PPR, I am stressing that I will only trade Sanders for Foster. You hold out on that for as long as you can. If that eventually does not pan out, I would trade Sanders for Forsett (but do not rush going to that option).

      • S.H says:

        @Fantasy with Dase or Days:

        Thanks for the tip, Yes you get a point for a catch.

        Who would you draft first Gordon or Gurley. Also in the first year player draft who would be a solid pick at the 13 spot.

        Thanks again

        • Fantasy with Dase or Days

          Fantasy with Dase or Days says:

          @S.H: Your welcome! As you know anything time you got a question on anything I’m available.

          If it was me I would go with a WR with my first pick and that would be A. Cooper. But if you are firmly set on going RB, I would go Gordon.

          I’m not at informed enough to give you any advice for that 13th pick. I don’t know anything about who would be available or what to expect being as I’ve never taken part in a real draft with just first year players. All I can say is that as you know by now I’m always looking WR over RB. You will have plenty of chances to pluck a RB via injury, trade or being signed by a team before, during or after training camp/preseason. Then of course injuries are going to come up during the season and that’s another golden opportunity to pounce.

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