Over the next few months, I’ll be writing profiles for the Jets and Giants skill position players. Before I begin my fantasy series, I want to stress one major thing about fantasy football—know your scoring system. It’s pretty easy to read columns by Matthew Berry and Eric Karabell and live/die by their opinions. Typically, these guys will write their columns based on ESPN’s standard, non-point per reception leagues. These columns will give our readers a general overview of the player and my thoughts as we enter the 2012 drafting season. Without further delay, here is the first profile on Giants’ running back, Ahmad Bradshaw.
During the off-season, the Giants let Brandon Jacobs walk, effectively handing the keys over to Ahmad Bradshaw. While this was more of technically, Bradshaw was the Giants’ primary ball carrier last season. Bradshaw out-carried Jacobs, 171 to 152 and was more active in the passing game, hauling in 34 passes. Bradshaw is an excellent dual-threat running back that thrives in pass protection.
While no one will dispute Bradshaw’s talent, injuries have been a big concern. Since 2007, Bradshaw has only played one full 16 game schedule and has been hampered by chronic foot issues. Given Bradshaw’s injury-riddled past, the Giants used their first round draft pick to nab David Wilson. Wilson reminds me of Tiki Barber, a smaller running back that can make some explosive plays in open space. Wilson will likely spell Bradshaw and presents an interesting fantasy option should Bradshaw go down to an injury.
Without Jacobs in the fold, Bradshaw is clearly the lead dog. When healthy, Bradshaw is an absolutely dynamic fantasy player. In PPR leagues, Bradshaw can give his owners a boost with a few receptions per game. In addition, Bradshaw has averaged an outstanding 4.6 yards per carry for his career. Given Wilson’s inexperience, it’s really tough to imagine him taking many of Jacobs’ vacant carries. Finally, the Giants’ offensive line is finally healthy. Left tackle, Will Beatty missed the entire second half and post-season run. Having him back will allow David Diehl to slide back to his natural left guard position.
The injury concerns have already been mentioned, but they clearly present some downside when projecting Bradshaw’s season. In addition, the Giants have been relying more and more on their aerial attack. Since 2009, Eli Manning’s attempts have shot up from 509 to a career high 589 attempts last season. The Giants have the best duo of wide receivers in the league and the Giants will want to get them involved early and often. In addition, the Giants ranked dead last in rushing yards per game during the regular season. The addition of another dual-threat running back doesn’t scream smash mouth football and ample running plays.
The Giants also play the league’s toughest schedule this year, facing six tough division games and games against the tough San Francisco, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh defenses. As Ken Singleton says, ‘Look Out!’
According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Bradshaw currently has an average draft position of 4.03 in 10-team, standard leagues and a 3.04 ADP in 10-team, PPR leagues. Given the Giants’ emphasis on the passing game and Bradshaw’s annual injuries, this price seems a little too high for my liking. Fantasy football is all about uncovering value picks and Bradshaw would have to play a full 16 game slate to warrant this pick.
Ultimately, Bradshaw will likely present a great value early on in the season. As we’ve seen, Bradshaw tends to wear down as the season goes on. I was a Bradshaw owner last season and he gave me constant headaches in the second half. I won’t own Bradshaw on any of my teams this year, but he’ll provide great value for owners if he can stay healthy for all sixteen games.
2012 Projection: (14 games) 220 carries, 900 yards, 35 receptions, 250 yards, 8 total TDs