One year ago today, Denver Broncos starting running back Travis Henry was leading the NFL in rushing yards. Indeed, a cocaine dealer was leading the league in rushing. Now he is in jail, and his replacement, a truly talented player, can be found on the waiver wire in numerous fantasy leagues, and Project Halo smells a buying opportunity.
That player’s name is Selvin Young. And despite being a more talented back than Henry, fantasy rookies and experts alike are selling Selvin four games into the season. Here's what those experts said this week:
Damon Hack from Sports Illustrated labeled Young one of this year's most disappointing fantasy players saying, "He's Denver's leading rusher, but Young has gotten the ball on a mere 35.6% of Denver's running plays this year, with Andre Hall taking away carries and, even worse, Michael Pittman stealing scores near the goal line."
CBS Sports wrote, "It seems the Broncos are just fine with a three-headed back and Young won't get goal-line carries, either. He still always has the chance to break a long run but he's looking like a weaker and weaker Fantasy option with each successive week."
During weeks 3-5, Project Halo recommends sifting through the players that the experts are downgrading and fellow owners are dumping in search of undervalued assets. In these early weeks, many fantasy players jump to conclusions despite a small sample size of games played, which provides opportunities for more rational fantasy players to exploit. But many players on a scrap heap are there for good reason, so while you are reviewing buying opportunities, ask the following questions:
1. Is the player's starting job in jeopardy?
2. What is this player's overall skill set?
3. How potent is the offensive system that he plays in?
4. Is he being put in a position to make big plays?
5. How good is this player's quarterback?
6. Is the player having off-the-field issues?
7. Is the player hurt or injured?
After asking these questions, it is understandable that fantasy owners would be putting Torry Holt (bad QB, bad offensive system), Plaxico Burress (off-the-field issues), Jeremy Shockey (injured hernia), Donald Driver (declining skills, hurt QB), Carson Palmer (bad elbow, impotent offense), Steven Jackson (bad QB, few big play opportunities), Chris Perry (job in jeopardy), or Darren McFadden (bad toe, bad QB, impotent offense) on the block.
Now let's take a look at Selvin Young through the prism of those 7 important questions:
1. He is in no in danger of losing his job, because he is better all-around and healthier than the alternatives. Michael Pittman is well past his prime; Andre Hall is less talented and currently has a bad wrist; Ryan Torain is not an overly talented athlete, evidenced by his 4.64 forty yard dash at the Combine. And like most rookies, Ryan is well behind the curve with pass protection and will be a non-factor this year.
2. Selvin Young is sporting an impressive 6.2 yards per carry this season. His speed is compared to Willie Parker, and his strength is compared to Thomas Jones. He has respectable hands and has improved his pass blocking. Texas coaches have commented that he was the more talented running back on the Longhorns, not Cedric Benson.
3. Denver is leading the NFL in total yards with 436 per game.
4. Denver has a good, but not great offensive line that runs screen and stretch plays very effectively, which provides Young with numerous opportunities to break runs and score touchdowns.
5. Jay Cutler currently ranks amongst the top 3 quarterbacks in the NFL.
6. Selvin has not experienced any off-the-field issues.
7. He is 100% healthy.
Given the data presented, Project Halo believes that Young is the best buying opportunity of the season. He can be acquired at this point in the season for close to nothing and will begin producing significant fantasy points in the near term. Run, don't walk, to your fellow owner or nearest waiver wire and grab a Selvin Young.