To Hell With RBBC

To Hell With RBBC by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

 

I have addressed the vile F_____subject of “Running Back By Committee” before, but every year the dialogue changes a little or a lot, so here is my 2016 profanity-laced tirade on “RBBC”….( and if you’re sensitive, you may want to skip this piece….as I will likely be forced to contribute to the “Swear Jar” many times, before this is over! )

Hopefully you have been following the joint endeavor between the Dynasty Football Factory and Utter-Fantasy called “1st and 10″, the weekly segment of Q & A that canvasses some of the hot button topics in the NFL landscape.

In Week 8, I was asked the following question:

DFF- “Play devil’s advocate here and make the argument that a premier wide receiver should not be taken 1.01 across all formats. Convince me that going running back heavy in the first round is still the right strategy.”

My response, in short, was ” With fewer teams than ever before featuring a one-back offense, I think RBs Todd Gurley, LeVeon Bell and Adrian Peterson can easily be argued as selections #1, #2 and #3 in drafts” – See entire response here- LINK

Or, to be even more succinct, I could have simply responded….“Yes, grab a RB and F_____ RBBC!”

And that is the F____ing WORST part of RBBC. Fantasy football owners don’t have man-crushes on Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson or Arizona’s David Johnson! They have man-crushes on WRs Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr and DeAndre Hopkins. Because of F____ers like DET HC Caldwell ( who rotates RBs every other play) we almost have to draft a RB from a one-back offense in Round One, and miss out on those elite wide outs. Maybe you won’t, but I F____ing will because honestly, I’d rather start out in a draft with Todd Gurley and Mike Evans, than one with OBJ and Eddie Lacy.

I count only 6 teams that we are all fairly certain will run a one-back featured offense, those being Arizona, Dallas, LA Rams, Minnesota, Houston and Pittsburgh ( although I think Pittsburgh will use RB DeAngelo Williams more than some fantasy football owners think they will.) The New York Jets, Seattle, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Indianapolis and perhaps KC, are on the fringe of being one-back offenses, but not so certain that you should miss out on an elite wide receiver in Round One.

This may be interesting……not only are most of the NFL teams pissing us off with their F____ ing RBBC, but it’s not helping them win either. Good! Below is a look at the NFL Playoffs for 2015. See anything that they all have in common, at least for most of them? A solid running game with a featured back. Except for New England( who you can’t trust F_____ anyway), you can name the featured back on all of these teams in 2015. Most do have a complimentary back, but we can live with that.

2015 Playoffs

So “To Hell With RBBC” and when drafting in September, I understand wanting to get elite WRs early, but especially in large leagues, I do not think you can afford to have a SH_____y stable of running backs. The NFL WR corps is deeper than ever, so do not ignore getting strong #1 RB(s) early if you can, then stockpile a SH___load of wide outs later.

OK….let’s see…paying the F_____swear jar. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen…..I owe thirteen F____ bucks. D___ it….F______ fourteen bucks.  D___ it!!

Los Angeles Rams Team Profile 2016

Los Angeles Rams Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

The NFL football team now known as the Los Angeles Rams played in St. Louis, Missouri as the St. Louis Rams from the 1995 through the 2015 seasons. Although it seems like Jeff Fisher has been head coach for the Rams for a long time, it’s really only been since 2012. Fisher did not have one winning season in any of the 4 years in St. Louis, so maybe the change of scenery will be welcomed.

2016 Team Outlook –
Unfortunately for Fisher and the Rams, they didn’t change divisions, just cities. They still have to contend with Arizona and Seattle in the NFC West. Fisher isn’t worried about the San Francisco 49ers. Arizona won the NFC West in 2015, with a 13-3 record. Seattle was close behind with a winning record as well…..10-6. For the Rams, it’ll be tough to compete…..as of now, they don’t even know who their starting quarterback will be.

UPDATE: Rams acquired the No. 1, No. 113 and No. 177 overall picks of the 2016 draft from the Titans in exchange for picks Nos. 15, 43, 45 and 76 in this year’s draft as well as 1st- and 3rd-round picks next year.


2016 Fantasy Football Outlook –

QB– The Rams have QBs Case Keenun, Nick Foles and Sean Mannion on their roster. (Nick Foles came over from Philly in the san Bradford trade and started the 2015 season.) Los Angeles has restricted free agent Case Keenum atop their depth chart, so for now he’s projected to be the starter.” Keenum became the starting QB halfway through last season when the Rams lost faith in QB Foles. The Rams currently have the 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Moving up to get one of the top quarterback prospects is expensive and risky. Less than 50% of quarterbacks drafted in the 1st round, ever pan out to be successful NFL QBs…..( just ask the Cleveland Browns, if you don’t believe me.)

RB–
In the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, two selections in particular ( by two different teams) had me trying to figure out what the heck those teams were thinking. 1) Indianapolis selecting a T Y Hilton-clone WR Philip Dorsett……and 2) St. Louis’s pick of RB Todd Gurley.  The Colt’s pick is still a mystery, but after watching Gurley last year, I get it. I knew he was crazy talented, but at the time… he was injured, and at the time, the Rams were stock piled with running backs. When Gurley was drafted, the Rams already had 3 talented RBs….Tre Mason, Zac Stacy, and Benny Cunningham. In 2015, Gurley was the #5 running back in the NFL, playing in only 13 games.

WRs– In 2015, St. Louis was loaded with young, talented wide receivers. The Rams had Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Kenny Britt, Austin Pettis and Chris Givens. Not 1 of them ended 2015 ranking in the top 50 of wide receivers in the NFL. The Rams were a mess last year at quarterback, when Foles didn’t work out, and Case Keenum had to take over. (Foles had more INTs than TDs in his 11 starts – Keenum only had 4 TD passes in his 5 starts.) On November 9, 2015, the St. Louis Rams signed Welker to a one-year, but he won’t be back. Brian Quick is a free agent. UPDATE: Brian Quick re-signed a 1-year, $1.75M deal with LAR.

TEs– 6’5″ Jared Cook led the St. Louis Rams in 2015 with 481 yards and 0 TDs. ( the Ram’s wideouts weren’t the only position to have a rough 2015 season) Lance Kendricks only had 281 yards receiving, but hauled in 2 TD receptions last season. On Feb. 19th, 2016, the Rams released TE Jared Cook. Lance Kendricks could have a bigger role following Cook’s release, but Los Angeles needs a quarterback, before we start expected good things from any Rams’ tight end.

K– Unlike a nice bottle of wine, place kicker Greg Zuerlein isn’t getting better with time. Free agent Zuerlein was a Ram 6th Round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Zuerlein started his career strong, but was a liability for the Rams especially  last season. In 2015, “Legatron” made only 66.7 % of his field goal attempts ( 20 of 30) which was dead last in the NFL. He has 6 months to turn it around if he wants to be employed in Week 1.

DEF–
If you’re going to play with the tough kids on the playground, you had better be pretty tough yourself. The NFC West has some pretty tough defenses playing in it, namely Arizona and Seattle. The Rams can say that they held there own in 2015, with the #7 defense in the NFL. The Rams were 8th vs the pass, 7th vs the run last year. FYI- Of the top 12 defenses in the NFL from 2015, all went into the post-season….except the NY Jets (#5) and the STL Rams (#7).


2015 St. Louis Fantasy Surprises –
WR Tavon Austin did not have a spectacular receiving year in 2015 as compared with other NFL wideouts, but he was rather spectacular rushing the ball. Austin had 52 rushing attempts last year, totaling 434 yards Austin with 4 turning into touchdowns. He became the first player to score at least five receiving touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and a punt return touchdown in a single season since Gale Sayers did so for the Chicago Bears in 1965. RB Todd Gurley is a special talent, so his 1108 rushing yards and 10 TDs isn’t surprising, but he did so playing in only 13 games, following rehab from a torn ACL.


2016 Free Agents that St. Louis Needs to Address –
QB Case Keenum (RFA), RB Benny Cunningham (RFA), WR Brian Quick, DE Eugene Sims, WR Wes Welker, K Greg Zuerlein, FB Cory Harkey, C Tim Barnes, CB Janoris Jenkins, DT Nick Fairley, CB Trumaine Johnson, DE William Hayes, LB/S Mark Barron, FS Rodney McLeod,

2016 NFL Draft –
The immediate needs of Los Angeles is getting a center and guards for their O-Line, a quarterback and they desperately need defensive backs. If the Rams lose FS Rodney Mcleod, that leaves a hole at free safety as well. The Rams have one of smallest receiving corps in the NFL. Most are 5’10”, except for Kenny Britt, so Fisher might grab a receiver with some height.- ST LOUIS’ 2015 DRAFT

Did You Know – In one of the most unique trades in professional sports history, 1971 saw Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom trade his entire franchise to Rams owner Robert Irsay. Essentially the two owners swapped complete organizations. No players or other personnel changed teams in the transaction.

Team Home Page: www.therams.com/

All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

 

Mock Fantasy Drafts from 2015 and 2016

Mock Fantasy Drafts from 2015 and 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Oh, if we only knew then….what we now now!

Of course, that wouldn’t be fair, and that would take the fun out of fantasy football……( but if we all are being honest, we’d all probably win a bunch a championships first, then go back to not knowing!)

One of my favorite websites to see completed mock drafts and to participate in a mock draft is at http://fantasyfootballcalculator.com …8-10-12- even 14 team mock drafts are available.

Below are 9 Rounds of Mock Football Drafts from 2015 to 2016, one from September 2015, and one from mid-January, 2016.
Let’s look at the September 2015 first and see what brilliant picks were made, and some horrific mistakes as well. This fantasy football draft is an excellent example of who was being drafted where, back in the fall.

September fantasy Football Draft

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly-

The Good- The Top 5 Wide Receivers ( Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Demaryius Thomas, and A.J. Green…along with TE GRONK/MINN RB Adrian Peterson) were the safest bets. You have to figure that more running backs will have season ending injuries, than wide receivers, so maybe we learn from this.

The Bad- First, I warned about DeMarco Murray in August that he was a product of a great Dallas O-Line ( and he was splitting time in Philly w/ 3 other backs) – in my article “Caution Drafting These Fantasy Players” -LINK-    Second- Many running backs simply didn’t produce in 2015, like RBs WASH Alfred Morris, SD Melvin Gordon, JACK TJ Yeldon and DET Joique Bell, but doesn’t mean that they were terrible draft picks necessarily. That’s just how fantasy football runs. Third- Aging receivers however, like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Roddy White proved to be liabilities, and fantasy owners need to be better about drafting smart….rather than drafting big names.

The Ugly- 4 QBs were selected by Round 5 from this draft, and none of them even ending up ranking in the top 10 of 2015 fantasy football quarterbacks . Someday fantasy football owners will listen to me, and wait to draft a QB. If you weren’t able to draft TEs GRONK or Greg Olsen ( I warned about drafting TE Jimmy Graham too early in July of 2105- “My Peek At A Fantasy Mock Draft” -LINK- ) panicking and grabbing one too early was costly. Look at the players passed up for TEs Graham, Kelce and Bennett…..names like WRs E Sanders, B Cooks, B Marshall and Sammy Watkins!

Now the Fantasy Football Draft from mid-January, 2016…

Fantasy Football Draft January 2016

Clearly the biggest Fantasy Football Mover is STL RB Todd Gurley, and I agree. In the 2015 draft, 11 running backs were selected in the 1st 2 rounds. In the 2016 draft, only 8 were. These fantasy football owners put a premium on a few trustworthy RBs, then went straight for star wide receivers. ( I personally will be waiting a round or two longer before drafting RBs Doug Martin and  LeSean McCoy)

Guilty of being redundant, but in Sept. 2015….4 QBs were drafted by Round 5. In the later draft, 6 were. JACK Blake Bortles won’t go this high, and will be a steal in Rounds 6 and 7, as will QBs Drew Brees and Carson Palmer.

KC TE T Kelce’s stock dropped as he should, in the conservative KC offense (that won’t change either). The panic run on tight ends in Round 8 is a perfect opportunity to get quality players that went later and TEs Ertz, Barnidge or Witten are still available.

Finally, Round 7 is too early for a defense in my opinion and CHI WR rookie Kevin White ( the last selection in Round 9 ) would have to have had one spectacular pre-season before I ever drafted him before proven fantasy wide receivers that I already trust.

The 2015 NFL season isn’t even over yet, and can’t wait to starting draft again, (sadly a long 8-9 months away)….but it’s never too early to start studying!