Week 1 of the preseason is just two games away from being in the books. What a ride it has been! That felt real right? Don’t worry, we are less than a month from meaningful win loss records. The football being played now IS meaningful. I wouldn’t be posting this if it wasn’t. There are always Easter eggs hidden in preseason games when it comes to position battles, snap shares, and performance. We also have to address a devastating injury so I’ll start there…

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What’s going on everyone, and welcome back to the second post in a series I will be doing over the next few weeks, where I’ll be taking a look at each position’s “busts” from the year before (comparing their finish in standard leagues to their pre-season ADP data), to help us figure out what went wrong last year, and to see if they can bounce-back in 2018.

Today I’ll be taking a look at four running back busts that finished lower than their preseason ADP data would indicate their finishing position at the end of the year.

There weren’t a lot of “busts” this past year at the position as it was the year of the running backs, with many different value options finishing in the Top 20. However, there were still some disappointments, so let’s go over those guys now.

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Well it’s been a little bit, hasn’t it? The last time I’ve put pen to paper for Razzball was all the way back in December! But I’m glad to be back writing once again.

But after a wild playoffs, a disappointing Super Bowl (for the Pats), I’m glad to be back to help recap some of the best (and worst) free agency moves from these past few weeks.

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Yesterday was the cut off for franchise tags which makes the free agency picture a little bit clearer. Free agency is coming up next week so I suppose we should talk about the players on the market. What teams plan on doing in the draft seems as relevant as ever when it comes to free agency this year. There are a lot of teams in need of a quarterback. If you’ve been paying attention to mock draft related things, you’re well aware that there is a good chance that 5-7 quarterbacks go in the first round. Of these 5-7, my guess is 3 see more than a handful of starts this season depending on their landing spots. That leaves a few teams who need starters from the free agency pool.

In this free agency running back class, I don’t see much more than running back by committee contributors. The running back class is very deep as far as this upcoming draft goes, so I’m doubting anyone makes a huge financial splash. Wide receiver is going to be interesting. There are a couple of big playmakers whose services are available. Speculating is all that we can really do here, so let’s run through some of the players and talk about ideal landing spots.

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I am back from my football blogging sabbatical and ready for the off season. I have no interest in this crumby Super Bowl, so I’m ready to dive right into the offseason. What better way to start than to review the 2017 season? There could have been stuff that you missed, you never know. Maybe something that you read in this will stick in your brain until your draft season in August. Will you remember which article you read it from? Probably not, It’s January.

I’m surprised you even clicked on this, you must be bored. What you will probably remember from my posts when your drafts roll around in August is my grotesque misunderstanding of English grammar. I’ll probably over use some commas, or not use enough commas. Do they teach 6th grade grammar at the local community college? Better yet, maybe you would prefer that I disperse of fantasy football knowledge through the use of emojis. That would be edgy, and no one has done it yet! (Simpsons did it!) Alright stop. I’m going to go through the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to let you know what stuck out to me this season. Today, let’s start with the quarterbacks and running backs.

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Well, that was certainly one of the busier NFL trade deadlines in my lifetime. A number of big names got traded, and for our purposes here the biggest name was Jay Ajayi going from the Miami Dolphins to the Philadelphia Eagles. The initial consensus was that this would boost his value, going from a struggling Miami offense to one of the more productive offenses in the league in Philadelphia. However, I’m not so sure.

While the Dolphins have been hot garbage this season, Ajayi at least had the benefit of being top dog. In Philadelphia, he joins a committee that currently features LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner. The Eagles have announced that Blount is, at least for now, still their starting running back. While Ajayi shouldn’t lose much time to the latter three once he gets assimilated into the offense, he will probably lose some touches to Blount, especially near the goal line.

The Eagles also love to throw the ball pretty often, despite the success they have had running the ball. Don’t expect just because they now have Ajayi that they are going to start running the ball 75% of the time. This is still a West Coast offense that runs the ball for the sake of balance rather than some kind of desire to actually run the ball. They like to pass for the lead and run things down when they can. Between that and Blount still being around, don’t expect Ajayi to get the ball 30 times a game.

He should still be a valuable back going forward, but I would be a little worried about starting him this week. Assuming he is active, the Eagles are probably going to have a package of plays for him and not ask him to do too much. They have a bye week next week and will probably wait until after that to fully unleash him.

On the Miami side of things, Damien Williams and Kenyon Drake are going to compete for touches. My money is on Williams getting first crack, but the Dolphins are probably going to split time and roll with the hot hand until (if?) someone takes the job. With how things have gone in Miami so far this year, I wouldn’t want to rely on either one until we see some kind of production.

Now, to the charts!

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Is there a better time to be a sports fan? Everyone rooting for the Astros to beat the Dodgers in the World Series, everyone overreacting to every NBA game, fantasy football owners starting to turn their attention to playoff season, the NHL still existing.

Up here in the northeast the leaves are starting to fall just like your fantasy playoff chances if you don’t use Razzball to get you over the hump. If you’ve got league-specific questions — post them below and I will get to them Saturday afternoon/evening.

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Adrian Peterson is free! On Tuesday, AP was traded from the New Orleans Saints (who seemingly never wanted him?) to the running back-desperate Arizona Cardinals. He is here to save the day for all fantasy owners who stashed him through the first few weeks or were able to submit a successful waiver claim for him after the trade. Our prayers are answered. All is right in the world. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Right?

Well, kind of. There is no doubt that getting traded from the pass-happy Saints, where Peterson was an odd fit from the second they signed him, to the Cardinal who lost David Johnson in Week 1 and have gotten zilch from the running back position in the weeks since, significantly improves Peterson’s fantasy value. The questions we have to answer now are: just how much has it improved? And what exactly can we expect going forward?

In the last few weeks, AP was not seeing regular touches, and his value was pretty much nonexistent. When he signed with the Saints in the offseason, you could hear a collective “huh?” from football fans and writers everywhere. We gave the Saints the benefit of the doubt and figured they knew what they were doing, but it turned out exactly how we all thought it would. Peterson was an odd fit for a Saints team that likes to pass the ball and likes to operate out of the shotgun, two things that don’t mess with Peterson’s style. Add to that the presence of Mark Ingram and youngster Alvin Kamara, and it is no surprise the team moved on from AP.

With the Cardinals, Peterson should get plenty of opportunities. Chris Johnson has not looked good in a couple years now, and he was a free agent until David Johnson got hurt. With Peterson entering the fold, the Cardinals did not even wait a week or two before cutting CJ. He got cut to make room for AP.

There are, however, a few reasons to roll our Peterson optimism back to “cautious optimism.” For starters, he is moving to a new team with a new playbook in the middle of a season. The complexity of NFL playbooks and schemes is why we don’t see a ton of in-season trading in the NFL. It is very difficult to fully learn everything while also preparing to play every week. To start out, they are going to have to feed him plays in bunches and get him acclimated a little bit more every week. Early playing time/snaps are question marks for Peterson right now.

Next, there is the issue of the Arizona offensive line. They’re bad. They’re really bad. They are particularly bad at run blocking, which is the primary reason the Cardinals have struggled so much on the ground this season. If they can’t open up some room for Peterson, he might have a fairly low ceiling in Arizona.

Lastly, the Cardinals are another team that likes to throw the ball. Carson Palmer currently leads the NFL in passing attempts. Part of that is likely because they have struggled to run the ball so much that they have been forced to pass, but they are not going to flip the script and decide to run the ball 60% of the time just because Adrian Peterson has arrived. Peterson is not much of a pass-catching back, so will he get enough touches to be valuable on a weekly basis for fantasy owners?

These are all valid questions that cause concern. Of course, the upside with Peterson is definitely worth taking the chance on him, even if just to stash him for a couple weeks while you see how he looks in that offense. Just don’t get your hopes up too high until we actually see him getting the ball with some space to work with.

Now, to the charts!

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