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Is Joseph Addai Overrated in Fantasy Football Drafts?

I'm beginning to think that Joseph Addai might be an overrated first round fantasy pick for 2007. Now don't get me wrong, Addai is a great fantasy choice and a surefire first round fantasy choice. I'm not suggesting that he will be a bust. But people seem to be attributing SuperColts powers to the guy that I don't think he's shown he deserves (yet).

Addai has an average draft position of 6.46 in Sportsline drafts and 7.0 in ESPN drafts. That means he's being drafted - on average - before both Brian Westbrook and Willie Parker and for non point per reception (PPR) leagues I think that's too high. Both Westbrook and Parker are healthy and have proven themselves repeatedly. Addai is only in his second season and this will be the first year that he carries the burden of being the #1 running back.

Player Games with Avg less than 3.2 yds/rush Games with Avg between 3.2 - 5.0 yds/rush Games with Avg greater than 5.0 yds/rush
Addai 3 5 8
Parker 6 5 5
Westbrook 3 6 6

The stats above show that Addai had some great games last season, in fact he averaged more than 5 yards per carry in half his games last season. That's an impressive statistic but it's one that I don't think he's likely to repeat this season. Owners seem to be drafting him based on the assumption that he can continue to produce at that rate.

There's also the belief that with Dominic Rhodes removed to Oakland that Addai will pick up all his carries and rumble to Larry Johnson-style greatness. I don't know about that either. Adding together the total carries for Addai and Rhodes last season would give you 413 carries - which would be the second most in the history of the NFL for a season. Clearly he's not going to get that many carries.

Threshold Number of Players in 2006 Players
> 400 Carries 1 L. Johnson
399 - 350 Carries 0 N/A
349 - 325 Carries 6 Tomlinson, Barber, Jackson, Parker, R. Johnson, James
324 - 300 Carries 3 Gore, Taylor, Lewis

There was only one player who had 350 carries last season and he was clearly the exception. Addai will likely fall in the 325 - 349 carry tier this year and possibly in the tier below that. Expecting Addai to be a grinding back in the style of Jackson or Rudi Johnson just doesn't seem likely.

Addai may very well end up the seventh best back in fantasy this season, but there are a few questions with him that give me pause. I expect his yards per carry average to go down this year and I expect him to have only about 100 more carries than he had last season. That would put him firmly in the Rudi Johnson/Westbrook/Parker neighborhood but not necessarily above it.