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Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze? 

Darren McFadden– McFadden has frustrated many fantasy owners throughout his time in the NFL. The guy has an immense amount of talent and could easily be a top RB in the league if he can stay off the injury report in which he hasn’t been able to do yet in his NFL career. I think McFadden exemplifies this write up’s title “Is the juice worth the squeeze”.  If you look back at the first 6 games of the 2011 season when he was healthy he averaged an impressive 101 rushing yards, 5.4 ypc and 5 TD’s. Those stats alone show us McFadden has plenty of “juice” to offer fantasy owners. But the question remains, can he play a whole 16? Well I’m buying into McFadden one more time this season. With a current ADP of 12.3 and being the 5th RB off the board I find his upside to tempting not to pull the trigger on him. Depending on how your draft starts out I would start to consider RUN DMC as high as the 5th pick.

Maurice Jones-Drew– Jones-Drew was outstanding in 2011 and has been one of the most consistent RB’s in the NFL throughout his career. He led the league in rushing with an impressive 1606 yards in 2011, but what might have been more impressive is that he did that even though he was constantly facing 8 and 9 man fronts from defenses due to poor Jaguars passing attack. Coming into this season many fantasy owners were already throwing up red flags about MJD after he’s posted 3 straight 300 carry seasons and is coming off a career high 386 touches (rushes+ receptions) in 2011 but I was still on the MJD train. Well now we can add to that list of red flags, MJD is currently in the middle of a lengthy holdout and an end does not seem to be in sight as both agent & owner are both standing their ground. We’ve all seen in the past how missing training camps can affect a player’s performance and this holdout is starting to worry me. It pains me to say this but with his current ADP being 14.4 and him being the 7th RB off the board I would pass on MJD and let somebody else deal with this headache.

Ryan Mathews– Mathews was one of the hottest names coming into this fantasy football season after having an impressive second season in which he posted 1091 rushing yards and also added 50 receptions. His goal line vulture Mike Tolbert is gone and he was going to be the workhorse for the Chargers backfield. Many fantasy owners believed a HUGE season was in his horizon as was evident if you looked at his ADP at the time (6.3). Now after 1 carry in his first preseason game he finds himself with a broken clavicle and a plummeting ADP. He’s currently going off the board at 24.86 which puts him at the end of the 2nd to beginning of the 3rd round and is the 12th RB off the board. Before doing my research I had every intention to tell you to avoid Mathews but now his ADP intrigues me, I personally think if you get a player with Mathews talent at the end of the 2nd round even if he misses the first two weeks of the season it’s worth the risk. He has elite RB upside and could be the steal of the draft. I would consider taking him in the middle of the second round.

Adrian Peterson– No question Adrian Peterson has been nothing short of sensational since he entered the NFL in 2007. He only played in 12 games (really 10.5) in 2011 and still managed to rush for 973 yards and scored 13 TD’s. Now coming into 2012 he finds himself coming off major ACL/MCL surgery and way ahead of the normal recovery schedule. Reports are that he will be ready for week 1 of the NFL season, and I do think he will be (he’s an animal) but I would almost guarantee a limited amount of touches for much of the first half of the season. My reasoning for being lower on Peterson than Mathews is simple. Mathews did not incur an injury that will affect his explosiveness and ability to make cuts and AP did. I know there’s the argument that Wes Welker showed us a player can come back after such an injury and perform at a high level but again we’re talking apples and oranges with those two positions.  Peterson’s ADP is 22.8 which puts him at the end of the 2nd round and he’s currently the 9th RB off the board.  Personally I hope I’m back on the AP bandwagon next year but as for this year I’m staying away.

Ahmad BradshawBradshaw missed 4 games during the 2011 but if you look at his stat line (besides TD’s) it looks like he missed much more time. He averaged a career low 3.9ypc while and only rushing for 659 yards while dealing with knee and ankle problems.  With Brandon Jacobs now gone many people believed the Giants backfield duties would rest solely on the shoulders of Bradshaw but the Giants went out and spent a 1st round pick on the talented David Wilson. With the Giants relying more heavily on the pass and the seemingly inevitable toe/knee/ankle injuries that are slowing him down as are evident by his 2011 ypc. I see his touches being limited this season.  With a current ADP 38.65 and the 17th RB off the board I personally would pass on Bradshaw.

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