Week 10 Crag Index

This week’s bye teams were Green Bay, Arizona, Cleveland and Washington. While those backs slept Arian Foster topped 100 in the Crag and still holds the reigns on this years charge to the finish line. Here’s how the running backs rank after ten weeks of play with last week’s rank in parenthesis:

  1. Arian Foster – 107.03         (1)
  2. Doug Martin – 85.14             (2)
  3. Ray Rice – 71.83                    (3)
  4. Marshawn Lynch – 63.21    (8)
  5. Adrian Peterson – 62.01       (4)
  6. Frank Gore – 58.40                (6)
  7. Trent Richardson – 51.11      (7)
  8. Ahmad Bradshaw – 50.93     (5)
  9. Willis McGahee – 50.43           (9)
  10. Shonn Greene – 45.67             (10)
  11. Andre Brown – 45.64              (13)
  12. Stevan Ridley – 44.26             (14)
  13. Mike Turner – 36.09                (11)
  14. Mikel LeShoure – 33.99         (12)
  15. C.J. Spiller – 31.75                  (16)
  16. Chris Johnson – 30.16           (21)
  17. Reggie Bush – 28.88               (15)
  18. Alfred Morris – 27.03           (17)
  19. Matt Forte – 24.40               (18)
  20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 22.29  (19)
  21. LeSean McCoy – 21.64           (20)
  22. Jamaal Charles – 18.86           (22)
  23. Felix Jones – 14.24                  (29)
  24. Fred Jackson – 13.95             (36)
  25. Chris Ivory – 13.30                 (38)
  26. Mike Bush – 12.73                   (23)
  27. Darren Sproles – 10.84          (24)
  28. Danny Woodhead – 10.21     (39)
  29. Jackie Battle – 9.91                  (25)
  30. Isaac Redman – 9.39                (28)
  31. Steve Jackson – 8.63               (46)
  32. Joique Bell – 8.25                    (27)
  33. Maurice Jones-Drew – 8.19    (31)
  34. Larod Stephens-Howling – 8.16    (32)
  35. Darren McFadden – 8.16              (26)
  36. DeAngelo Williams – 7.16            (30)
  37. Ryan Mathews – 6.52                    (33)
  38. Daniel Thomas – 6.38                      (49)
  39. Pierre Thomas – 5.87                      (34)
  40. Don Brown – 5.38                         (41)
  41. Vick Ballard – 5.11                      (43)
  42. Kendall Hunter – 4.93                (35)
  43. Demarco Murray – 4.28               (37)
  44. Kevin Smith – 4.15                      (40)
  45. Brandon Bolden – 4.13               (42)
  46. Jacquizz Rodgers – 3.77           (44)
  47. Mark Ingram – 3.66                   (51)
  48. Cedric Benson – 3.52                   (48)
  49. Ben Tate – 3.49                               (45)
  50. Jonathan Stewart – 3.16             (47)

If you drafted early on Darren McFadden, Demarco Murray or Maurice Jones-Drew it is distressing that this late in the season they are ranked among back up running backs on the index. You might get the ink ready for the official ‘BUST’ stamp.  The top seven have proved recession proof  with production against even some of the hardest match-ups. You’ve probably figured out by now they are must starts every week. The next group from 8-22 are solid second options for running backs and are consistent performers. Although they lack the big game that might win your whole week, like Doug Martin putting up over 50 in week 9, they should be started every week as well.  In the fortunate situation that you have three running backs with a Crag Index over 20, you might be in for some tough start/sit decisions. If your backs are all under 22, well you probably just missed the deadline for a trade and there’s nothing I can say that will help you now. Picking up a backup for a running back over 29 and hoping for the injury at this point might be your only hope.

Good luck in week 11!

Patriot’s 2012 – Re-branding Offense?

There has already been plenty of talk about what the Patriots have been able to do with a new hurry up offense. The side stories and conspiracies about Wes Welker not getting the ball in the first couple weeks have been swept well under the rug as Welker is now second to only Reggie Wayne in passing yards.  Rob Gronkowski just went American werewolf in London with 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ridley has held up as a top back and sits at 4th in rushing yards with 716 and a Crag Index continually in the top 15. There’s no surprise that this three headed monster fed by Tom Brady added to a stable of capable and hungry running backs as well as Brandon Lloyd coming on in recent weeks that the Patriots are leading the NFL in scoring per game at 32.8.

What might surprise you is a stat that isn’t often mentioned, that the Pats are averaging 76.625 plays per game.  Only four other teams, Detroit (72.57), New Orleans (71), Indianapolis (71) and Kansas City (70.43) are over 70.

The Patriots have separated from the best teams and are well above the league average of 64.81 plays per game. Interestingly these five teams have seven of the top fifteen targeted wide receivers on the season. It should go without saying that Welker, Lloyd, and Gronk are looking to be must plays along with Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Bowe from these teams. It’s unfortunate that Bowe doesn’t have a better quarterback as he has the lowest completion per target rate on this list.  Clearly the opportunity is there though with these guys.

The bottom five teams for plays are Jacksonville (58.57), Seattle (58.75), St. Louis (59.5), Carolina (59.714) and Tennessee (59.75) have only four receivers in the top fifty for targets. Those five teams are also in the bottom five for points per game but then again so are the Colts and Chiefs.

My favorite stat of the year though would be that the Chicago Bears defense has as many receptions for touchdowns as the Chiefs and one more than Dolphins and Panthers offenses. I know it’s a bit of non-sequitur but I just couldn’t resist pointing this out.

As a New England resident, I might just be another guy looking for a reason to like the home team, but if the Patriot’s defense can get in a rhythm and keep this pace on offense they will be tough to stop in the second half of the season.

Week 8 Crag Index

The only fantasy rating to add perspective to your running back concerns – the Crag Index. Week 8’s teams on the bye were Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Houston and their backs held at their previous index. Here are your top 50 backs through seven weeks with their rankings from last week in parenthesis:

  1. Arian Foster – 184.50       (1)
  2. A. Bradshaw – 55.47         (2)
  3. R. Rice – 53.70                     (4)
  4. F. Gore – 53.45                      (3)
  5. T. Richardson – 44.89        (8)
  6. W. McGahee – 43.79           (12)
  7. S. Greene – 43.43                  (5)
  8. D. Martin – 42.84                   (18)
  9. A. Peterson – 36.92             (7)
  10. S. Ridley – 36.50                     (14)
  11. M. Lynch – 35.68                  (11)
  12. A. Brown – 31.03                  (10)
  13. M. Turner – 30.71                (6)
  14. C.J. Spiller – 30.29              (9)
  15. A. Morris – 25.65                 (13)
  16. R. Bush – 23.77                     (15)
  17. L. McCoy – 20.90               (20)
  18. B. Green-Ellis – 19.04        (16)
  19. M. Forte – 15.91                 (26)
  20. C. Johnson – 13.64            (21)
  21. M. Bush – 13.53                 (17)
  22. D. Sproles – 13.05             (24)
  23. J. Charles – 12.94             (19)
  24. J. Battle – 11.75                  (22)
  25. D. McFadden – 11.66        (23)
  26. M. Jones-Drew – 8.77       (25)
  27. M. LeShoure – 8.55             (27)
  28. F. Jones – 8.37                     (41)
  29. R. Mathews – 7.60              (28)
  30. F. Jackson – 6.19                (30)
  31. K. Hunter – 6.12                  (29)
  32. P. Thomas – 5.82               (31)
  33. D. Thomas – 5.64              (49)
  34. D. Murray – 5.49             (32)
  35. D. Williams – 5.2              (33)
  36. D. Woodhead – 5.16       (38)
  37. D. Brown – 4.97               (35)
  38. L. Stephens-Howling – 4.88    (36)
  39. B. Bolden – 4.63                (37)
  40. B. Tate – 4.34                    (40)
  41. J. Rodgers – 4.06            (42)
  42. S. Jackson – 3.91            (39)
  43. C. Benson – 3.74            (43)
  44. L. Blount – 3.74             (45)
  45. I. Redman – 3.58           (44)
  46. J. Bell – 3.45                  (47)
  47. V. Ballard – 3.42          (NR)
  48. J. Stewart – 3.17           (46)
  49. S. Vereen – 2.70           (57)
  50. R. Mendenhall – 2.55     (48)

No one has come closer to 70 let alone nearing to Arian Foster.  Even without playing he stays a level above all the other backs.  It will be interesting to see Ray Rice come back from his bye and see if he can gain some ground with Gore going into his bye. Doug Martin had the biggest game of the week and climbed ten spots with an index increase of 26 points. When the Crag comes out early hopefully it can be followed by further analysis as the season rolls into it’s second half.  This is go time for fantasy you should be entering the final third of your fantasy season and maneuvers for playoff positioning are going to get intense.