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Scouting Notebook: August observations

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

Typically, you get my fantasy notes here before the ink is dry on the football week every Sunday night. But there were no games that mattered this week. So let's instead go to the virtual notebook from the month of August via my Twitter feed (@MichaelSalfino).

No one knows what Adrian Peterson is going to be tho post-ACL, or when.

Looks like 2007 was ground zero for running back committees. From 2000-2006, 17.1 RB/year with 250-plus carries. Since, 11.4. So don't expect more than 12 backs this year to have 250-plus carries. It's clearly not just injuries but due to the new design of the modern running game. Don't think AP will be one of them.

I'll fade Fred Jackson at his ADP because the list of running backs productive at age 31 is very, very short. Also do not like projecting a heavy workload on a 31-year-old back who hasn't had one before.

I don't know if the Chiefs offense is going to be productive enough to support one fantasy running back, never mind two.

The bad August stats don't worry me as much as the new West Coast system in Oakland. That seems to be a bad fit for Carson Palmer, whose strength is downfield passing. Fade the Raiders passing game.

Similarly, do the Steelers really want quick throws with Ben Roethlisberger? He's always been just average in the pocket.

If you draft Antonio Brown at his current ADP consider that since 1990, there have been 58 seasons where a 5-foot-10 or shorter WR had 70-plus receptions. Only six had 10 or more scores. Average is 6.3 TDs, or one every 13.5 receptions.

If a receiver is bigger and faster and more productive on a per-target basis, he's better. So Mike Wallace over Antonio Brown just like Jordy Nelson over Greg Jennings.

The Saints ran 1.19 yards worse per rush with Mark Ingram than with everyone else. But a lot of third and one runs, right? On first down runs, Ingram's relative Saints average was minus-1.39 yards per rush. A supposed power runner, Ingram broke half as many tackles per carry as Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.

Sproles is way overrated in PPR. I'll take Reggie Bush over Sproles. The Dolphins are bad and you generally want backs on good teams. However, in PPR, being on a bad team is okay as long as you are the third-down guy because you get lots of three-yard receptions on 3rd and 8, especially from rookie QBs looking to bail out of a play. Pierre Thomas, by the way, is starting, actually, and is way underrated in PPR as one of the most efficient per-touch backs in recent NFL history.

What can't Ben Tate do? Led NFL in yards after contact and averaged a yard more per carry than Arian Foster. So Tate is too good not to get eight-to-10 carries per week even if Foster is healthy.

Brandon Pettigrew's 6.2 yards per target is beyond awful. So the 126 targets to him were mostly wasted. He may be the most overrated player relative to proven ability in the fantasy game today. But other "why throw to him TEs" (targets/YPT) include Greg Olsen (89/6.1) and Jermaine Gresham (92/6.5).

What do we do about Malcom Floyd? 12.2 yards per target and probably No. 1 WR. Yes, he has an injury history. But he had five 15-point games in non-PPR the last eight weeks versus nine for Megatron all year.

David Wilson will finish the year as a top 20-to-25 back. Ahmad Bradshaw is not built to get a lot of touches. He's only had six career games with 20-plus carries and still ends every year needing another foot surgery.

Maybe Sean Payton built the car and gassed it up and now someone drives it no problem. But what if there's a need to get under the hood? Then what?

The Redskin backs should get about a half yard per carry boost with running threat at QB forcing edge defenders to play halfway. But who will it be? My bet today is Alfred Morris and I understand that can look very foolish. Mike Shanahan likes converted fullbacks like Morris – Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson come to mind.

Kenny Britt is officially a clown. Plus he's always hurt. How many bad headlines does he need to make before he pays a serious ADP price? Same, by the way, with Dez Bryant.

Cedric Benson to me is still a RB4 in that Packers offense. I like Alex Green there in the medium term and think Green opens the year with about half the carries on his way to 75 percent. James Starks's turf toe looks like it's a year-long issue plus he had his chance.

I'm a little worried about the Pats O-line as it relates to Tom Brady this year. But Brady should put up pinball numbers again with Josh McDaniels given the weapons.

Many experts: Vick injury shows why you need a good backup when you draft him. Me: it shows why you don't draft Vick.

Most overrated current fantasy player: Julio Jones. Not saying Jones isn't good or won't be great. But Matt Ryan is not good enough and the Falcons aren't bad enough to feed two WRs at WR1 levels and I'm pretty confident that Roddy White will get more targets. So you need Jones to be Randy Moss to White's Cris Carter – unlikely.

Normally, I'd avoid 30-year-old RBs, but Michael Turner was No. 1 last year in elusiveness rating according to the great ProFootballFocus.com site. Yes, I'm contradicting myself a little with Fred Jackson. But Turner is a year younger and a round, maybe two cheaper. Plus he's held up to high workloads before.

Lame: "I'm comfortable with tight ends picked later." Be comfortable when Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are kicking your ass as top 10 WRs. Maybe top 5. The gap between Megatron and the other receivers is not as great as the gap between Gronk/Graham and other TEs.
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