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NFL Draft Fantasy Fallout - Felix Jones

It must be good to be the Dallas Cowboys these days.  Your team is so good, and has so few needs, that you can draft to your strengths on almost every pick.  That’s what brought Felix Jones (22nd overall) to Dallas, even though the Cowboys have (had) a rising star in  Marion Barber.

 I’ve already bitched about how I hate this pick from a fantasy perspective because it minimizes the fantasy value of  both Jones and Barber.  Since I’m just going to have to deal with it, (…grumble…) I’ll just go right into what we kind of fantasy performance we should expect from Felix.

 Felix Jones is a "speed" back – a fast runner who is better avoiding defenders than powering through them.  At Arkansas, his teammate Darren McFadden did the grinding work between the tackles while Jones blazed outside.  Jones even ran back kicks while in college – something he won’t do often in the NFL but it gives you an idea of the kind of speed and elusiveness he brings.

 Given that Marion Barber is the "power" back in Dallas,  this sets up the now-standard running back duo of one power back and one speed back, what was once called the "Thunder and Lightning" approach.  While not optimal for fantasy owners, this structure can work if the NFL team in question is dedicated to giving both players carries.  Let’s assume that the Cowboys will manage both backs the right way.

 In the past few years there have been three successful backs that came into the NFL with situations similar to Jones – in other words, "speed" backs drafted by teams that had established "power" backs.  Averaging the rookie season output of those three (Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew and Jerious Norwood) gives you totals of 713 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.  

 I would consider that a good estimate for Felix Jones’ production in 2008. The seven rushing touchdowns are a bit high (the average is skewed by Jones-Drew’s amazing 13 TDs) but if your league scores receiving TDs and/or return TDs then I could see Jones hit seven touchdowns overall.

 Felix Jones is a good place for production and should be drafted in all fantasy leagues.  Jones would make a very good RB3, especially if your league scores for running back receptions.