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Can you smell it? The smell of the gridiron. No, of course none of us will go near a football field anytime soon. We like to play it safe, indoors, where we can’t get injured. Thus, the gods have bestowed upon us a brand new season of FANTASY FOOTBALL!!! Is the game dramatic enough to warrant me putting it’s name in all capital letters? Hell yes it is!
With football leagues already up and running, the time has come to start your draft day planning. We all know LaDainian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson will be the #1 pick. We all know who the major players are. However, every year we all have the same thought: “I swear I won’t draft him again”. Usually this quote varies from person to person (mine has a lot of expletives), but the message is always consistent. Owners are constantly betrayed by a high draft pick and forever cast their once cherished player into the unknown, never wanting to see them again. I have graciously decided to let you in on my own experience and let you know one player I will be avoiding by all means on draft day. I just hope that you listen to me. If you don’t, then I have no sympathy for you.
Edgerrin James has not been his old self since leaving Indianapolis for the warm climate of Arizona. OK, lets be honest, James is useless as a fantasy running back. A former Pro Bowl selection and former lock for double digit touchdowns is now at best a bench player on your fantasy squad.
In seven seasons as a Colt, James averaged 4.2 yards per carry and 96.1 yards per game. He also averaged 51 receptions per season. On four occasions, he scored 10+ rushing TD’s and on four occasions rushed for more than 1500 yds.
Since moving to Arizona, James is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry and a dismal 74.4 yards per game. As for receptions per season, where he used to average 51 per year, James only has 62 catches total in his two years as a Cardinal. In his two seasons, James has 13 rushing TD’s which equals his total from his last season as a Colt in 2005.
Another reason to hate on James is Arizona’s defense. The Cardinal defense allowed over 330 yards per game in 2007 and it allowed opposing teams to score 399 total points in 16 games (almost 25 per game). With those numbers, that means the Cardinals will most likely be falling behind in games and will not have the need to run the ball but instead just throw up a prayer.
James teased me last season when during Week 2 he rushed 24 times for 128 yards and a TD. The next week he only had 10 carries but ran for 57 yards, a 5.7 avg. I thought this was a good sign. But what do I know? His yards per carry would go like this over the next few weeks: 3.7, 3.4, 3.7, 3.1, 1.7, 3.3, and 2.4. James would pick things up at the end of the season with a good game against the Browns in Week 13 (114 yds) and finally in Week 17 against the Rams (102 yds). Don’t let those numbers fool you, Cleveland gave up 129.5 yds per game to running backs last season and St. Louis didn’t fare much better giving up 115.3 yds per game to running backs.
Bottom line is, unless it is a last resort, let James slip by in your draft. If it’s the fourth round and you need to fill the position, then draft him. Don’t be like me last season and take him in Round 2. The only thing you can do is hope James is traded back to Indy. Cross your fingers people.
Pete’s Prediction: 344 carries, 1192 yds, 6 TD