Drafting Running Backs and Blackjack

I love Blackjack. Nothing is more fun then hitting the casino with some buddies, ordering up some Jack and Cokes, and sitting down to play good old 21. That being said, blackjack and my bank account do not see eye to eye. Simply put, blackjack is a suckers game.

While once in a while I may get lucky and walk out a winner, the majority of the time I end up driving back on I-95 from Atlantic City wondering how I could have been so stupid.

Drafting Running Backs early in a draft, or paying an exorbitant amount at auction is in the same category of waste. Its a poor investment that may pay off once in a while, but in the long haul just doesn't make sense. The typical argument for most, is that NFL offenses have opened up the passing game more and more thus taking away value from running backs. Somebody on a different fanpost cited the ridiculous QB numbers from last season. Others argue that every team is instituting committees which are bringing down the overall value of running backs.

While these are all good arguments, I will be staying away from Running Backs early in the draft for a much different reason: they are injuries waiting to happen. Think about it like this: the typical QB on an average Sunday, takes about 5 hard hits over the course of a game. Of course there are games where a guy will get roughed up a little more, pressured more, knocked down. But overall, we are talking in the 5 hit range. Now look at WRs. There are WRs like Wes Welker, who go over the middle and take more hits, but overall, a WR will take 4-7 hard hits over the course of a game.

Having said all that, think about what an average running back goes through on a per game basis. Lets say he gets 15 carries per game. 80-90 percent of running plays end with a running back getting absolutely slammed by somebody. Then over a game there are usually at least 5 times where a running back is expected to step up and block a blitzing linebacker or safety. So on the conservative side, a running back is taking 16-20 HARD hits per game versus QBs and WRs taking around 5.

There is a reason why Running Backs have the shortest careers on average of any of the position players. Think about the good running backs from 2011 who missed games or had under 8 carries in a game because of injury.

Arian Foster, Ryan Matthews, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden, Steven Jackson, Fred Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Beanie Wells, Jahvid Best, Peyton Hillis.

And the list goes on........

Injuries happen to every position in such a violent game, but the sheer number of injured running backs is striking. Of course there are people who spend high picks on Ray Rice, and LeSean McCoy and get a full healthy season of great numbers. But then again, there are also some times when I hit with a 16 and I get that magic 5 to beat the dealer. Just doesn't happen very often......

So this year, just say no to running backs.

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