The first week of July is coming to a close and we find ourselves about 45-60 days from the peak of draft season. As is always the case this time of year the hype machine is spinning out of control. In some cases, the hype is harmless and based upon strong evidenced based reports from OTAs. In others, it feels like fanalysts are simply building upon each other’s work and creating a case for a player where it shouldn’t be made.
From a fantasy perspective, there is reason to be concerned that this is the case with David Wilson in New York. Of course, with Ahmad Bradshaw out of town there is cause for some excitement and he’ll almost certainly see an increase in workload heading into his sophomore season. With that said, at this juncture we really don’t know how the carries will split between Wilson and Andre Brown.
As of July 7, David Wilson was being selected an average of 16 spots above Andre Brown per fantasypros.com’s consensus ADP. Wilson, as the 17th back taken off the board is being drafted ahead of the likes of DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles. Of course, at that stage of the draft all backs have warts, but, each of these players has a much more clearly defined role than Wilson at this stage of the offseason. Brown, meanwhile, carries a much more palatable ADP as the 33rd back and 88th player off the board, carrying a round 6-8 price tag.
Their 2012 production, from a fantasy perspective, the players didn’t differ greatly. Brown crossed the chalk four more times and amassed roughly 100 more total yards on 12 more touches. Each impressed with a yards per carry greater than 5.0 (5.3>5.0; advantage Brown).
Wilson did not really get an opportunity early in the season (you’ll recall that he fumbled early in the season, drawing Tom Coughlin’s inappropriate ire and had to wait an excruciatingly long period to earn his next opportunity). Assuming that Brown has healed from the broken leg that derailed his 2012 campaign (those eight touchdowns came through just 10 games last year) he’s in line to be New York’s goal line back again this season. In addition, he should carve out a role between the 20s, providing a chance of pace to Wilson’s quick strike attack.
Between Wilson, Brown, and Bradshaw last season the Giants three primary backs carried the ball more than 375 times. Assuming even a 65-35 split (which again, is likely an exaggeration given their ill defined roles at this early date) Brown should still net 130 carries, a handful of receptions, and the majority if not all of the goal line goods. Another 8-10 touchdowns to go with 600-700 total yards is not at all outside the realm of possibility for Brown. Meanwhile, if Wilson is productive with his roughly 250 touches he could see impressive yardage totals, but, his TD ceiling is likely capped below Browns’.
If we assume a line somewhere in the realm of 1250 total yards and six scores for Wilson; we’re projecting 160 fantasy points on the campaign. That number is, give or take, enough to keep him ranked in the mid-late rb2 range where he is currently drafted. That said, with a modest projection of 700 yards and nine scores we’re pegging Brown at 125 points.
Simply put, the gap in ADP relative to anticipated production is much too large to justify taking Wilson at his position over Brown. If you’re hoping to turn a profit on draft day, the back with a nose for the endzone who could be in line for a significant workload with a Wilson injury or fumbling issue is the player to target. Wilson, though impressive at times and in particular late in the season last year, just hasn’t shown he can excel over a full season. His current price tag is too high.