Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Nov 2007

ESPN: Alexander's Decline Easily Predictable

Due to the Writers Guild of America strike, this week's ESPN.com Monday Night Football column is a bit of a re-run.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 10 Nov 2007

16 comments, Last at 13 Nov 2007, 9:21pm by Brian


by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 1:45am

Linked in my name is a thread on the FO fantasy board questioning Alexander's crazy projection. I gave six reasons to justify it. (I haven't always been right in defending FO projections. I defended the Gore uberprojection too, although I took LT 1st overall the league where I had that pick. I did remain wary of the really bizarre ones, like Muhsin Muhammad being useful.)

Anyway, here's my post:

"#1. 370 carry problem.
#2. He's old
#3. He's been injured recently
#4. His offensive line is far, far, far worse than it was two years ago, when it was astonishingly good.
#5. Mack Strong used to be incredible, but now he's well below-average as a fullback.
#6. Shaun was awful last year when he did play.

It's not KUBIAK's fault that most fantasy "experts" choose to ignore these facts and draft him in the top five anyway."

Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? The declines of LJ and Shaun were pretty much written on their foreheads.

(On the other hand, I feel sorry for the people who got killed on legitimate fantasy 1st-rounders like Jackson and Gore.)

by Snowglare (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 1:57am

Hear, hear! The only reason to draft SA at all was because he'd get carries, and that paid off for a short time before the curse got its claws fully in him. I made sure to stay away from SA and LJ in my draft. Not that I had to try hard; I took Addai at #5, and LJ and SA went 6th and 7th.

I predict the same thing happening next year. SA will probably retire, but LJ will stick around and people will try to insist he can still play because he had two great seasons. "2007 was an off year" they'll say, as though it's something he just has to bounce back from.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 2:13am

I'm not convinced LJ should be written off for the rest of his career yet. He seems young and ubertalented enough that he could rebound if he were in a good situation. (He probably won't be.)

by Mystyc (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 6:29am

3: I hope you're right, because Willie Parker looks to be following in LJ's footsteps one year back. Just like Johnson last year, Parker will accumulate a ghastly amount of carries right before a Pro-Bowler leaves his offensive line for the second year in a row.

by sam (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 11:27am

RE: Fred Taylor's lack of TDs... I'm not sure he's really had an opportunity yet. They get near the goal line and it's all Maurice Jones-Drew and Greg Jones with the occasional LaBrandon Toefield.

by Gus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 1:10pm

3: LJ probably did the right thing by getting hurt this year. It'll allow him to avoid getting 500 carries.

PS: has anyone else looked at the Herm Edwards quotes video on nfl.com? Hilarious.

by dmb (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 5:18pm

1: Mack Strong isn't just a "below-average" fullback; he produces less than any back in the league. That's what happens when you retire. Nitpicking aside, however, I have to agree with those points.

by Joe in Seattle (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 5:30pm

Alexander could be out for the Monday Night game.

Obviously I don't wish injury on anybody, but I am somewhat excited to see the Hawks ground attack with Morris and Weaver.

by David (not verified) :: Sat, 11/10/2007 - 9:31pm

7 - yeah, but he said that on August 28th (if you follow the link in his name) which was well before the retirement, IIRC.

by OU812 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/11/2007 - 5:00am

I actually think this article is wrong. Alexander does have a burst through the hole and can turn the corner-I've seen it the last two games. The problem has been too many "stretch" plays that the Hawks can't run anymore. Holmgren finally realized this bread and butter play of 2004-2006 is dead and got away from it the last couple of weeks.

I am not a fan of Alexander at all, but to me he doesn't look like he's lost a step, just that he hasn't realized that his style doesn't fit this sluggish O-line. He can't wait and cut back because the O-line isn't getting to the LBs. He has to run them over or juke and stop the falling down on contact trash he's done for the last 4 years.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Mon, 11/12/2007 - 12:19pm

Larry Johnson really isn't that good. His production was 75% a product of the crazy-good Kansas City offensive line, which is now gone.

Look up Derrick Blaylock. Particularly note his Chiefs numbers, and then note his Jets numbers. Note also how Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and Derrick Blaylock all produced pretty much the same in Kansas City when running the ball.

Look, I've watched Larry Johnson all the way from high school (at State College, PA, a team my high school team played against) through college at Penn State through the NFL. At the NFL level, he's a decent but not great running back.

by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 11/12/2007 - 2:06pm

Who cares about Alexander? Explain Gore to me. Gore and Harrison 1-2. After the draft I'm loving my team. Now I've got Tom Brady and no one else.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 11/12/2007 - 8:23pm

#11: I agree. And with the Chiefs several years and a QB away from contending (at least), they should definitely trade LJ now, in my opinion.

What do you think they could get for him? I'm guessing a low first or high second round pick (sort of like when Corey Dillon was traded to the Pats, except LJ is slightly better). That would work for the Chiefs, and might be enough for a good team (Bears?) to become a contender.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/12/2007 - 10:20pm

This isn't really a bad year to have Brady and no one else.

Of course, if you had Brady and one other player, you'd probably be set.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2007 - 2:40pm

I have Brady, LT, McGahee, MB3, and Welker. Yes, you can all shoot me now.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2007 - 9:21pm

Good idea, but LJ just got a HUGE payday. Who's going to want to pick up that check?