If you selected Zac Stacy in your football draft in 2013 you were a wise owner indeed. With an average draft position of 214, Stacy came off the board as the #56 RB selected. With the St. Louis backfield a question mark heading into the season, Stacy eventually took the reigns beginning in week 5. For the season, he carried the ball 250 times for 973 yards and 7 scores. He added 35 receptions (not too shabby) for another 141 yards and a score. Most importantly to owners, he produced 4 100+ yard rushing games, scored rushing TDs in 6 games, and failed to rush for more than 50 yards just twice (once in the final week against Seattle and against Arizona where he still managed to find the endzone). Stacy ended 2013 as a top 20 RB, and should be selected as a top 10 RB in 2014. So, who is this year’s Zac Stacy?
I am going with Ahmad Bradshaw in Indianapolis. Bradshaw, just inked to a one-year deal, is looking to come back and have another productive season. He is a RB who can give you 200 carries, 30 receptions and 6-8 scores, with the potential for more. Let’s look at the Colts offense and see why Bradshaw could be a sleeper reward this year. First, let’s look at Andrew Luck. Luck is entering his 3rd season in the NFL and coming off a very solid sophomore year. He completed more passes in year 2, yet threw 57 less balls. He connected for 23 TD’s and most importantly, only 9 INTs. Luck also ran the ball well, keeping defenses off-balance. Secondly, let’s look at the receiving weapons Luck has. TY Hilton blossomed into a true deep threat in 2013. With the ageless Reggie Wayne and potential bounce back WR Hakeem Nicks, the Colts have 3 solid WR options. Add in Coby Fleener and defenses have to be aware of the Colts passing game. Thirdly, when we look at the Colts backfield, there is not much production for Bradshaw to worry about. Put simply, Trent Richardson was awful once he arrived. Indianapolis did have success in running the football in 2013. While they were middle to bottom of the pack in the NFL is attempts (409), rushing yards per game (108.9) and average per carry (4.3 yards), these were improvements from 2012 (440 carries, 104.4 yards/game, 3.8 yards per carry). The Colts ran the ball 21.5% of the time on first down, so they are still a pass first offense, as is the majority of the NFL. They finished 10th in the NFL with 15 rushing TDs.
So long as Bradshaw can prove capable of moving the chains with his legs, I anticipate he will take over as the feature back early in the year. Is a 1,000-yard campaign possible? Certainly, though 850 yards is more likely. If he can reproduce his carries from 2013 (41 for 186 yards), take on the majority of Donald Brown’s role (102 carries for 537 yards), and steal a few of Trent Richardson’s awful runs (157 carries for 458 yards, 2.9 average), Bradshaw will be a productive back. Bradshaw has been a productive back. His career average yard per carry is 4.6. Since 2009 when he started taking on a larger role in the Giants offense, he has had 50 games with 10+ carries. In those games, he has failed to rush for 50 yards 14 times, or 28% of the time. He has scored a TD in 25 games over that time. In 2014 drafts he is worth a late round selection and could reward owners with a top 20 RB season.