Is Todd Gurley worth the hype?

gurlpeteWhen I started doing research for this piece, I was positive I knew how to data would look once compiled but the lines blurred once I saw it on paper. How can we truly evaluate a player who dominated college players as they transition to the NFL? How can we possibly rank or predict how they will perform compared to the current fantasy landscape? The simple answer: we can’t.

Not entirely.

Todd Gurley is being compared to Adrian Peterson, another 3 down work horse who is expected to put on a pro jersey and jam the ball down the throats of terrified defenders. Melvin Gordon, the consensus number two is obviously a step behind in terms of NFL readiness but is still seeing a lot of hype as we approach the NFL draft. But we’ve seen this before. Adrian Peterson came into the league in 2007, so my quest started there as I looked at the recent fantasy impact (or lack of) provided by first round RB selections. (2013 and 2014 didn’t feature a 1st round back, so we used the first back selected in the 2nd round for comarison purposes)

Only 3 backs were taken with a top 10 pick since Peterson was selected 7th Overall in 2007. They are Darren McFadden in 2008 (4th Overall), CJ Spiller in 2010 (9th Overall) and Trent Richardson in 2012 (3rd Overall). Believe it or not the only player to outperform their ADP was Richardson (+14*), and partly because McFadden (-74*) and Spiller (-154*) were such fantasy disappointments. Since then, Richardson has been a mega bust and Spiller and McFadden have teased but never approached the fantasy dominance we all expected.

Beyond those picks, there was a lot of flux, the largest return on investment was Chris Johnson who’s ADP of 101 was woefully under predected in 2008.

Here are your first round Draft Day winners:

  • 2007: Adrian Peterson (+36)
  • 2007: Marshawn Lynch (+10)
  • 2008: Jonathan Stewart (+7)
  • 2008: Chris Johnson (+77)
  • 2009: Knowshon Moreno (+16)
  • 2012: Trent Richardson (+14)
  • 2012: Doug Martin (+44)
  • 2013: Giovani Bernard** (+31)

Big Losers as follows:

  • 2008: Darren McFadden (-74)
  • 2008: Felix Jones (-111)
  • 2008: Rashard Mendenhall (-286)
  • 2009: Donald Brown (-154)
  • 2009: Beanie Wells (-2)
  • 2010: Ryan Mathews (-69)
  • 2010: Javhid Best (-19)
  • 2010: CJ Spiller (-154)
  • 2011: Mark Ingram (-11)
  • 2012: David Wilson (-71)
  • 2014: Bishop Sankey** (-88)

What can we gather from these numbers? It’s nearly a 50 / 50 coin flip on wether top RB talent pans out in year one, and for the players that finished above their ADP several of them regressed in year two (Martin, Moreno, Richardson, and Bernard). By contast, plus players generally finished just above their ADP with the exception of the flier picks like Johnson, while the minus players likely crippled fantasy owners due to how drastically they underperformed the value we heaped on them.

My advise is to temper your expectations in year one, Peterson is most likely more of an exception than the rule. Gurley will make a fine NFL back, and has the potential to be a huge win on draft day, but the potential is also there with his injury history to hamstring your fantasy team if he doesn’t work out. If you can get Gurley at or beyond wherever he’s projected come draft day, go for it, but I’d have a solid back up plan in case.

*+ or – numbers calculated by comparing avg ADP for said player with their final Fantasy impact. Standard rules for scoring. 

** No RB selected in the first round; player used was first RB selected for that draft year.

Advertisements

Posted on April 28, 2015, in Fantasy Football and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: