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I enjoy hearing a guy talk about his successful date the morning after. Even more enjoyable might be hearing about his epic failure. One of those epic failure favorites is my buddy who could have taken better advice from a 13-year-old, yet took his date to see the premiere of “And the Band Played On….”.

While he got nothing that night, my memories when I later saw it are much more positive. To this day, I love to analyze a situation, whether it is something during the regular course of my work day or if it is an NFL position battle, as laid out in that movie. I am referring to when Dr. Jim Curran, played by the legendary “That guy…” HOFer Saul Rubinek says “What do we know, what do we think, what can we prove?”

So, with that in mind and OTAs over, a few preseason thoughts on a handful of NFL position battles…

Tampa Bay Buccaneer RBs

I know….that a number of owners were burned, again, by Doug Martin last year and that is reflected in his current eighth round ADP. Given that both Bobby Rainey (averaged over four yards a rush and nearly 10 yards a catch last year) and popular second year back, Charles Simms, are still around, it is little surprise that a back with not even a “K” of rushing yards over the last two years combined is falling that low. After all, it is called a positional battle for a reason.

I think…that Martin will end up on a lot of my teams if I can snag him that late and I will be more than happy to have him as my potential RB3 or even RB4.

I can prove….that reports coming out of camp are going to make waiting until the eighth round very difficult including “dropping 5% body fat” and having the “best offseason in three years”.

http://tbo.com/sports/bucs/bucs-beat-plenty-of-intrigue-awaits-in-training-camp-20150620/

Arizona Cardinal WRs

I know….that Larry Fitzgerald had his lowest touchdown output of his career last year, crossing the stripe just twice in 2014.

I think…that John Brown and Michael Floyd will be the Arizona starting WRs next year, whether there is a traditional NFL positional battle or not. How many other 32-year-old-WRs due to get $11 million in 2016 will be suiting up for their current team in 2016?

I can prove…that Fitzgerald’s 2015 however, will see some kind of an improvement over his 2014. You think there’s any chance that Fitzgerald is eighth on his own team this year in yards per catch? I’ve included a chart below showing the results, but do I even need to? If Palmer stays healthy, Fitzgerald will bounce back….at least a little.

Player
Rec
Yds
Yds/Rec
Michael Floyd
47
841
17.9
Robert Hughes
8
140
17.5
John Brown
48
696
14.5
Rob Housler
9
129
14.3
Darren Fells
5
71
14.2
Ted Ginn
14
190
13.6
Troy Niklas
3
38
12.7
Larry Fitzgerald
63
784
12.4
John Carlson
33
350
10.6

Detroit Lions RBs

I know… that Joique Bell was a Top 15 RB last year

I think… that people are a little too excited about Ameer Abdullah and the prospects of him stealing playing time from Joique Bell. Even here on our site, Abdullah’s ranking is a little high for my taste.

I can prove… that Abdullah has had a fumbling problem.

Below is the career fumble rate for many of the running back prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft Class:

35.4 — Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
52.2 — Kenny Hilliard, LSU
54.4 — Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
62.2 — T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
62.6 — Jay Ajayi, Boise State
63.2 — Matt Jones, Florida
72.3 — Tevin Coleman, Indiana
74.5 — David Cobb, Minnesota
77.5 — David Johnson, Northern Iowa
80.0 — Javorius Allen, USC
85.0 — Duke Johnson, Miami (Fla.)

If Abdullah is ever going to be a feature NFL back, a fumble every 35 carries easily equates to double-digit fumbles. I didn’t even think it fair to include Todd Gurley, who some say is the best back in this draft, who had a rate of over 100. In this case, for Abdullah, NFL will mean not for long as opposed to other hyped players like David Cobb and Duke Johnson.

Speaking of Duke Johnson….

Cleveland Browns RBs

I know… that the Browns will play whoever is playing the best because they can’t afford not to, but also witness last year’s RB carousel. This might be the most interesting NFL positional battle there is, given that the passing game looks to be weak this year and Cleveland will be looking to lean on a RB.

I think… that RB will be Duke Johnson and with an ADP hovering around 110 currently, that is a steal.

I can prove… that OC offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has already said he’ll play the guy who is hot: http://espncleveland.com/common/more.php?m=49&action=blog&r=17&post_id=46661

So, let me know if you enjoy this format in the comment section below; I think that if you do, I will write more, and I can prove this is the start of a beautiful relationship….

Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg remembers making Jerry Rice his first round selection as well as taking a flyer on a young pitcher named Doug Drabek. His Fantasy analysis has spanned multiple sports including football, baseball, basketball, and even golf. A FSWA finalist, his fantasy analysis has been featured in various outlets including but not limited to SI.com, USA Today national magazines, Yahoo! and RotoExperts.

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