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NFL Fantasy: Time to sell Ahmad Bradshaw high

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Given the proliferation of running back committees and the extra reliance on the pass in the modern NFL a stud fantasy running back is a commodity of rare value. There is a reason why the first three picks of your NFL draft were likely (in some order) Adrian Peterson, Jaamal Charles, LeSean McCoy. As the season progresses though new names rise to prominence. One of the more surprising names is Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

Surprise Package

Before the season started the injury prone Bradshaw was the number two running back in Indianapolis, albeit behind Trent Richardson. Furthermore, with Andrew Luck leading the offense it seemed unlikely that Bradshaw as the number two back
would get enough carries to be relevant in fantasy terms.

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As things transpired though none of this mattered to Ahmad Bradshaw and his fantasy value. After seven weeks of fantasy and NFL football Bradshaw is the sixth highest coring running back in ESPN standard scoring with 87 fantasy points. Richardson is the 19th highest scoring with 58 points.

That's a difference of 13 places in the running back rankings and 29 points. With figures like that you would expect to see Bradshaw way ahead of Richardson in the relevant stats. The story however, is not quite so simple.

Bradshaw v Richardson

Firstly, despite being the more impressive running back (Trent Richardson is at best an average NFL RB) Bradshaw is not getting more work then Richardson. Trent
Richardson has had more rushing carries than Bradshaw in every match save week five's win over the Baltimore Ravens. Furthermore, Richardson has rushed for slightly more yards, 358, to Bradshaws 336. Richardson also has two rushing touchdowns to Bradshaw's single effort.

The reason why Bradshaw is rated much more highly than Richardson is Bradshaw's yards per carry average. It is much better than Richardson's. Bradshaw averages 4.8 yards per carry whilst Richardson's average is a full 1.3 yards lower at 3.5. In fantasy terms though the difference between the pair is negliable in terms of rushing points. In fact Richardson has the slight edge.

Okay, you might say but this just means that Bradshaw must be kicking Richardson derrière in receiving yards. As it transpires this is not really the case either save in
one crucial area.

In the passing game Bradshaw has 24 receptions for 212 yards at an average of 8.8 yards per receptions. Richardson by contrast has 19 receptions for 173 yards at a slightly better 9.1 yards per carry.

Unpredictable scoring

39 receiving yards however, doesn't account for the difference in scoring between the pair. The difference between Richardson and Bradshaw comes from receiving touchdowns. Richardson has none so far this season. Bradshaw by contrast has six. Two in week two and one each in weeks 3,4 6 and 7.

Bradshaw's receiving touchdowns are what have made him a top 10 fantasy running back. The problem however, is that receiving touchdowns from a running back are inherently unpredictable.

Would anyone really be surprised if Bradshaw was to go the rest of the season without getting another one at all? The bigger shock is that he has managed to get so many in the first place. Prior to this season in eight seasons in the league Bradshaw has only managed three receiving touchdowns.

Couple this fluky stat with his injury history and Ahmad Bradshaw owners would be wise to sell high. Bradshaw's value is at its zenith right now and the decline in
fantasy production could be precipitous.

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Andrew Luck
Indianapolis Colts

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