Friday, July 29, 2005

SI vs. Kevin Jones

In the most recent Sports Illustrated (or at least the last one I received), Lions running back Kevin Jones is rated as the 24th best running back (not 24th best player) in their Fantasy Football preview. Among the people that he's rated behind are Tatum Bell, Cadillac Williams, Clinton Portis, J.J. Arrington, Cedric Benson, Warrick Dunn, Marshall Faulk, Ronnie Brown, and Lamont Jordan.

Since I'm not getting paid to speak on KJ's behalf, nor have I been given permission to do so, I'm essentially K. Jones' public defender. I'll do what I can but my budget is far less than that of Sports Illustrated's high-priced defense team.

Ok, I could simply proclaim that K. Jones deserves to be rated much higher but that wouldn't be fun. I could also say that Yahoo! has K. Jones rated as the 24th best player in the whole league but that wouldn't be fun either. I could even point out that the K. Jones had a very good rookie season with a crappy offense and that for the first time in years, the Lions passing game should take pressure off of the running game. I could also remind everyone that Mooch is one of the most conservative coaches in football who single handily resurrected Garrison Hearst's career.

Instead, I'll have a pretend, one-sided conversation with SI.

"Tatum Bell plays for Denver. What do we know about Denver's running back situation? There are four guys in the running every year. Someone inevitably gets hurt. Mike Anderson is always one injury away from getting a chance to add to his one 1,500 yard season. Quentin Griffin will get carries. Maurice Clarett will somehow be worked in the mix. They even signed Ron Dayne. Let me just ask this question, does anyone feel safe picking Tatum Bell in the first round of their draft? If I ended up with Tatum Bell in the first round, I think I'd start crying. I'm not kidding.

Cadillac Williams is a rookie. Not only is he a rookie, but he's coming into a situation where the incumbent from last season, Michael Pittman, had a career year. Pittman was a huge pickup for many fantasy owners last year. Even if Cadillac is a good rb, do you really think Jon Gruden will give him enough carries to make him worth taking ahead of Kevin Jones? Williams and Pittman will split carries. Like Bell, if I took Cadillac Williams in the first round, I'd probably light myself on fire.

Clinton Portis? Did SI even pay attention to last season? The Redskins had no offense whatsoever. No passing game. No running game. Portis is a shifty runner. Joe Gibbs has a pound-it-out offensive philosophy. That's like oil and water. They just don't mix. I took Portis pretty high last year and I'll probably get over it sometime next year.

J.J. Arrington. Ok, now we're just getting silly. I like Arrington. He was a good pick for the Cardinals. Yes, the Cardinals. That's the team that's never had anyone good in the history of the franchise. I was in middle school when Buddy Ryan became the head coach of the Cardinals. I loved the Eagles "46" defense so I immediately became a Cardinals fan. They had Eric Swan and Clyde Simmons. A bunch of guys came over from Philly. I thought the Arizona Cardinals era had begun. So, I bought a hat. I still own this hat and I have to look at it everyday. I swear it laughs at me everytime I walk by. FYI-The best player that has ever played for the Cardinals was Rod Tidwell. Tidwell of course is really Cuban Gooding Jr. Yes, the greatest player in Arizona Cardinal history is from a movie. So, go ahead and take Arrington in the first or second round, I dare you!

Cedric Benson. Take everything I said about Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman and apply it here. Benson is good. So is Thomas Jones. Both will get carries. I guess what I'm learning here is that SI prefers running back by committee situations over a bonified starting running back.

Warrick Dunn. Dude. This is just getting absurd. Dunn and Duckett. Running back by committee? For the what seems like the tenth straight year, Dunn will "supposedly" be the feature back. And for the tenth straight year, I'm going to stop eating at so many buffets.

Marshall Faulk. Ok, now we're bypassing the whole running back by committee thing and putting BACKUPS in front of Kevin Jones. Stephen Jackson will get the bulk of the carries in St. Louis. Faulk has accepted a lesser role in the offense. Even worse than K. Jones being 24th, S. Jackson is 28th! SI has St. Louis' backup running back ranked ahead of St. Louis' starting running back. I like SI. They have interesting articles that delve into subjects most sports enterprises don't want to cover. However, I feel that this fantasy preview is stealing brain cells from me.

Ronnie Brown. Ricky Williams? Here's my question, did SI put all these names in a hat and pick at random?

Lamont Jordan. I like Lamont Jordan. He's a good, hard runner. How many years has he been a primary back? Here's a hint, it's the same amount of years I've played in the NFL.

So, anyone who's planning on using SI's fantasy football guide for their draft, I've got a league I'm starting up that I'd like you to join."

I'm sure one or two of these guys will have a breakout season and do more than anyone expected. That's no justification for slighting a very talented running back on a very talented offense playing for a run first coach. KJ is easily a top 15 fantasy back and I'd even put him in the top 12. However, he's not even the worst rated running back on the list. SI has Brian Westbrook rated 26th!!!! Westbrook had over 1,500 total yards and nine touchdowns last year. He also had 73 receptions! Are there really 25 running backs in the league that are better than that? Like I said, I like SI but now I'm expecting them to have Chris Dudley as the #3 center in the NBA preview (yes, Dudley retired).

3 comments:

Tony said...

The only knock against Jones coming out of school was his lack of a great timed speed. Though in an era when we have workout warriors that go out and amaze scouts, and turn out to be bad players, Kevin Jones is an instance where the opposite is true. He has true game speed, evident in all the game film and the fact that he has the ability to bust open a 74 yard run, a distance only about 5 of the top 20 rb's last year were able to accomplish. He also had the third highest yard per carry rate amongst those with enough carries to compare. Apparantly leading the league in yards over the second half of the year, while busting long runs, and getting good yardage on each carry isn't enough to rank him above backups or split carry backs.

This is a joke.

He has the prototypical feature back size, and won't be spliting carries, both of which assure him of being on the field for the first three downs, and enough touches to merit something higher than 24th best back! Plus with Rogers, Roy, Williams, and Kevin Johnson, the team should always have a good set of wr's to keep pressure on the defense, limiting a stacked 8 man box. Even with a down Joey year, he won't be worse than last year (and I expect a nice step forward) and everything should be opened up for Jones. Demulling will help sure up the middle of the offensive line, helping him get some holes to run between. The only real question is if Kelly Butler will be a run blocker like McDougal, but Stockar never developed into the beast we all expected, and I have to assume the teams lack of urgency to replace Butler signifies a strong support for the second year tackle.

All in all, SI is apparantly smoking something, and by the sounds of it, it wasn't very good and they better go talk to that kid that sold them those pencil shavings and ask for their money back. It's SI, I'm sure they can afford better stuff! If I'm drafting near the middle to bottom of the first round, Kevin Jones is on my radar to be picked. Only the likes of LT, Shalex, and the Priest are assured to be guys to be counted on. That second group of Edge, Deuce, Jamal Lewis, Dillon, and McGahee, could easily be joined by Kevin Jones, and by next year, KJ's name could be up there with that first group.

Hwood said...

With the way that list went, I'm surprised that Adrian Peterson wasn't thought of as a better fantasy RB than KJ. Yes, I am aware that Peterson won't be in the league until 2007.

As it stands right now, July 30th of 05, Jones is clearly the best back of the 2004 draft, and to consider him anything less than a top 10 back league-wide is absurd.

Lombaowski said...

If Adrian Peterson was a rookie this year he'd be in the top ten for RBs. He is the best college RB I've ever seen outside of Bo Jackson.

KJ is top 15 to me and I do know my fantasy. The biggest surprise to me is that Jake actually quoted SI the scurge of sports information (well ESPN is quickly catching up with all their Disney crap).

KJ could be top ten if Harrington can find some open receivers which will create big holes for a talented guy to run through.

 

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