Ronnie Brown is the Miami Dolphins number one running back... At least on paper. But in the last five seasons, Brown has never cracked the Top 15 in fantasy scoring among running backs. In fact his best showing in his 5-year career came in 2008 when he made it to 17th. He's only broken 1000 yards rushing one time in his career. He misses at least a quarter of each season to injury, and starting 2010, you guessed it, he's coming off another injury that is still not fully healed. Last season he missed seven games and came in 35th in points. That's what Brown's done for you lately.
I tell you that, to tell you this. Last season, Brown's "back-up," Ricky Williams, turned in a top seven performance, and he only started the seven games Brown missed.
Not that I need to draw you a map, but since Brown has currently got an ADP of 24 and Williams is 37th, grab me a crayon and I'll show you why Williams is a smokin' steal of a sleeper pick.
Ricky Williams, RB - Miami Dolphins
ADP: 106th – 37th RB selected
By the numbers:
- Last season Williams racked up 1385 all purposes yards, and 13 TDs, 11 of which were rushing. More important, he was just as productive with Brown in the line up as he was without. Seven of his 13 TDs came before Brown went down.
- Prior to Ronnie Brown taking over as RB1, Williams put up Top 10 fantasy points for Miami his first two seasons with the team. Even in 2008 when Brown had his best season, Ricky still ended up at 36th in points.
- Williams will spend most if not all of 2010 as the Dolphins primary back, and could once again put up huge numbers, but hedging our bets I'll play it safe and say he lands somewhere just inside the twenty. I currently have him ranked at 17th.
- Ricky's ability to stay healthy makes him a more valuable asset than Brown is, and because of this he's likely see an increase in his workload in 2010.
- With Brown it's all hope and a hamstring, while Williams, at ADP 37 is pure upside. You could take him a dozen RBs sooner and still get a bargain this season.
Summary: Williams fantasy value going in to 2010 is solid for a top 25 pick regardless of whether Brown stays and plays healthy or not. However, Brown's inevitable injury bug is likely to help Williams at some point this season anyway. There is simply no downside to snagging the Rasta Rambler on the cheap and expecting RB2 production.