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03 Jul 2009

FOA 2009 Preview: Running Backs

The release of Football Outsiders Almanac 2009 is just around the corner, and to get people excited, we've decided to release some sample material from the book.

Our final sample is the first four pages of running backs from the "skill players" section, complete with KUBIAK fantasy football projections. For those who haven't seen our book before, this gives you a good idea of what you'll see for every quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end who played a significant role in 2008 or is likely to play a significant role in 2009. That includes comments and full-season "what if" projections for the top two quarterbacks on every team, even if one of those quarterbacks is named "Caleb Hanie."

Download the Running Back sample here.

If you would like to look at the two previous samples:

Pricing for FOA 2009 will be as follows:

  • $12 for the PDF download
  • $20 for the print-to-order book
  • $30 for a package that includes the KUBIAK fantasy projections workbook along with the PDF download
  • $60 for the PDF download, KUBIAK workbook, and a year subscription to Football Outsiders Premium -- since Premium is normally $40 and KUBIAK is normally $20, this essentially means you get Football Outsiders Almanac 2009 for free.

It looks like we'll have the PDF version of FOA 2009 as well as the KUBIAK fantasy football projection spreadsheet available sometime around July 8. The KUBIAK workbook will have all the functionality of past years, plus auction values and a new "fantasy playoffs" feature that will let you re-order the values based on slightly different strength of schedule adjustments that count Week 14-16 double and remove Week 17.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Jul 2009

63 comments, Last at 09 Jul 2009, 1:20pm by Dan


by Mr Shush :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 7:53am

I don't think I'd say that Chris Brown was in a competition with Ryan Moats to be the #2 running back in Houston. I'd say that Moats was pretty much a lock to be the RB3, thanks to his combination of quality special teams play, good blitz pick-up, and total inability to run the ball effectively. Brown is the man in possession of the #2 spot, but he will face competition from UDFA Arian Foster (who I hope gets the job), UDFA Jeremiah Johnson (who I think will land on the practice squad), and some-back-the-Broncos-cut-in-camp (who I think will get the job).

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 8:23am

Agree! It's completely a waste of time speculating in Houston RBs until McDaniels has picked his guy(s). I guess you can say this about a lot of teams, since Denver pretty much have a monopoly on backup-caliber RBs.

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 9:53am

Good blitz pick up? He could never get on the field with the Eagles maily because he stunk at picking up the blitz.

by dsouten :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 11:42am

I posted this on the Giants sample chapter, but it was way, way deep in the comments so I'm going to throw it out there once more even though I feel almost no one on earth agrees with me:

One of the few complaints I've had about PFP, and again about this Almanac sample, is that the blurbs for the skill positions players are consolidated and listed alphabetically rather than included in the team chapters. I always end up reading to the end of a team chapter, and then having to flip through the QB, RB, WR, and TE sections to get the "complete story" on that team. The only reason to organize them by position would be if this were a fantasy football guide, but this is a REALITY football guide and the teams should be the focus. I am an avid fantasy player and all that - but if people want fantasy guidance from FO they can download the sortable KUBIAK excels, or look up the KUBIAK projections in each team's chapter.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 12:38pm

yeah but what if player is with Giants now and Giants trade him in August. now player is in wrong srection in book. at least if all Rbs are together they say togeter

by dsouten :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 1:10pm

That can still happen with the non-"skill" position players. And even the skill guys would be referenced in the text of the chapter, so there would still be inconsistencies. That's part of the cost of doing business with any season preview publication. Hell, they've already had to write the Vikings chapter not knowing if Favre would be there.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 2:26pm

cant wait to read what books says about C Schillens (veryt athletic receiver)), R Moss (starting to be crappy again like when with Raiders, Patriots fans going ,,,to find out what its like when Moss steals money) and some others

by pahtaytom (not verified) :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 2:29pm

say what?

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 12:47am

I think he means that if Moss is dogging it on the field, he's stealing money from the club.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 2:28pm

yes that is what was meant

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 5:09pm

Moss on the downshide. not coutning season with Brady he hasn't been good since with Vikings.

by Sregarhc (not verified) :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 9:08pm

I'm new to the Prospectus/Kubiak. Can anyone tell me their experience with KUBIAK. Is it worth $20??

by Sergio :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 10:30pm


I've consistently used it to get to the playoffs in every one of my leagues. And every year I've had it (three, IIRC) it's pointed out a fantastic steal that no one else (in my leagues, at least) saw coming. Midseason, it helps you out in picking substitutes of make trades, and in the playoffs... well, so far I've had just terrible luck in the playoffs. Can't blame it on KUBIAK, though.

I'd recommend it.

-- Go Phins!

by anotherpatsfan :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 1:12am

If you buy a fantasy magazine every year in August and just use it at your draft, it's probably not worth the money.

If you do some research/know something about fantasy, it is a great tool in your arsenal for not much money in the overall scheme of things. The sortable/smart worksheets are very flexible, and you can customize for most scoring systems. Once you buy it, it is updated quite often until the season starts (these updates are free to buyers), and then usually in mid-season there is another update. The spreadsheets are geared for and can be very helpful if you do any type of value-based drafting analysis (ranking players on predicted points scored versus some baseline player at thair position), and while not infallible (no fantasy tool is),it can help confirm your thoughts on overvalued/undervalued players. Also, every year if does identify some potential breakout players.

Well worth the money imo.

by thestar5 :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 12:41pm

"If you buy a fantasy magazine every year in August and just use it at your draft, it's probably not worth the money. If you do some research/know something about fantasy, it is a great tool in your arsenal for not much money in the overall scheme of things."

I am interested in KUBIAK and I have never bought it before (have gotten the book though). But could you clarify what this means? I'm a bit confused on what you were trying to say here.

by anotherpatsfan :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 2:46pm

Some people are "serious" about fantasy, some not so much -- KUBIAK probably not very helpful for the "casual" player. If you are into fantasy, KUBIAK is a neat evaluation tool for pretty short money.

The 3 leagues I play in are 12 team face-to-face draft leagues. Each of these leagues has about two guys that are into it and do a lot of their own thinking about famtasy issues/strategy, as well as players (under/overvalued),position issues and projections. Half or more of the fantasy coaches in these leagues just buy a magazine printed in June and use the cheat sheets from that magazine without putting must thought into it, and that is reflected in their drafting. The rest fall somewhere in the middle of these preparation extremes (I presume that several of you may play in leagues like this). If a person is the draft-from-the-outdated-magazine type (and if they are, they are probably not on this website), then KUBIAK is probably a waste of money, because that person may be a yearly donor to the prize pool in their league in any event. Having said that, if that person just bought KUBIAK and drafted from it they may be way ahead of where they'd be using their ordinary method.

If you are someone who puts in time to prepare for your fantasy draft, and you look at a lot of sources for fantasy/player information (some of which you may or may not pay for),then KUBIAK could be a helful tool for you to add to your set of fantasy evaluation tools. You can customize the player projections for your scoring system, and the spreadsheet you get are very flexible/sortable and useful (particularly if you are familiar with/regularly use spreadsheets. You can make your own guesses as to playing time and adjust projections for players. It is updated at least weekly until the season starts.

As for the 20 bucks, I really enjoy fantasy football (particularly the drafting part), so paying 20 bucks for a good evaluation tool works for me. Although it may be coincidence, I've historically made money playing fantasy, but I've been very successful in each of the three leagues I play in for the last three years, which is when I added KUBIAK to the mix (it is also when I went to value/baseline based drafting, which is a feature of KUBIAK). I paid about 20 bucks for two fantasy mags at the airport recently, and they are just to tide me over until August when I start preparing for my drafts, so by that comparison KUBIAK (which I will spend hours fiddling with) is a good value.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 10:56am

I also agree that its worth it. While its obviously not 100% accurate, it's generally good at pointing out a few players that are huge steals or huge risks. Last year it had Larry Johnson as an incredibly risky proposition, and it had Tony Romo significantly below nearly all other fantasy QB ratings. It has some stuff that you first just scratch your head and go "Why so down on this guy compared to everyone else", but it's right more often than not.

In the late rounds, it helps because it can point out the guys that are being severely underrated by traditional numbers - it had Chris Johnson being far better than expected, Bernard Berrian being a pretty solid fantasy receiver, and the Raven's D bouncing back pretty strongly - these were late round picks in most leagues and good to great players through most of the season in FF.

by Arkaein :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 11:14pm

I'd say definitely.

The best part is that the FO ratings are listed in comparison with the ESPN and other web ratings that most of your league members will use for their picks, so not only will you be able to make better picks in terms of draft position value, but you will be able to get a few high value picks cheap because other draft boards don't have the players highly rated.

Case in point, last year KUBIAK had Chris Johnson as something like late 2nd or maybe early 3rd round value in my 12 person league. I got him in the 9th round, boosting a RB corps that started a bit weak since I took Moss with my 1st round pick.

Of course I also tried to milk late round value at the QB position, and ended up letting Aaron Rodgers slip and getting stuck with the twin disasters of Bulger and Leftwich. My season (ending in an eventual championship) was ultimately saved with a free agent pickup of Kyle Orton, but that's another story.

by Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 1:06am

Any word on when the print-to-order book version will be ready for me to place an order?

Thanks and the RB sample was great. I can't wait to get my teeth into that book!

by Key19 :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 1:43am

Seconded. Great preview reads so far, but I couldn't imagine having my entire Almanac on the computer. Way too hard to navigate and much more inconvenient.

by Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 10:49am

I've been thinking a bit about the way KUBIAK sets up its projections and have been wondering if maybe there could be an added feature besides the great results it already gives.

Something I've begun to see advertised elsewhere is dynamic value based drafting. Right now, KUBIAK offers a real nice static base that does not change throughout the draft. The benefit of dynamic value based drafting is in question. I am not sure if it is better or not. But I am wondering about it. It seems like it could give better recommendations.

For example, if I am the 8th pick in the draft in a 10 team league I can look at the odd numbered rounds and look at the teams 9 and 10 and figure out what positions they need. Suppose they already have their QBs but I don't yet. I could take a QB, or I could delay my QB pick until the even numbered round and still get the same QB since I see the other two teams probably do not need one and therefore won't pick another QB yet. However, I could pick someone in another position before those next 4 picks get a chance to swipe him. Thus, not only would I be getting a better talent at the position I next want to draft beyond QB, but I still won't proably take a hit at the quality of QB I could draft. Thus, what I am seeing advertised, is dynamic value based drafting that centers on opportunity cost and taking into account what each team already has and needs live throughout the draft. What I would love to see is the % that I can forgo a certain player and still see him available next round/pick. A high % would make the player likely to be available my next pick, while a low % one is a player that would likely be drafted by other teams before my next pick. Make sense? It is dynamic and live rather than just static. It might be easy for teams (in a 10 team league) in draft picks 2, 3, 8, and 9 to do this but teams drafting in the middle or at the ends are going to have a much harder time figuring out who will be most likely available to them. This also takes into account supply and demand. If the supply of top tier WRs is small then the demand may be very high for those players too. I have no idea how to do this in excel but it makes me wonder if this would be a helpful tool to consider adding to KUBIAK. Make sense?

by youngbob12 (not verified) :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 10:05pm

It's called boxing and it works really well if you are at the #2 or #9 positions in a 10 team draft. IMO, there are too many variables to make it effective from the 8th spot.

by Temo :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 11:32am

You're pretty kind to Barber. My overall view of his performance last year is that he's a role player who was paid to be a star. The injuries certainly didn't help (he was fighting bruised ribs from the first game onwards, by the way); but I'm still not convinced he's a 20-carry a game guy.

Thankfully, the Cowboys have a trio of talented backs they can use, though Garrett seemed reluctant last year to go to a running-back-by-committee approach.

by mawbrew :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 12:19pm

They were certainly kinder to Barber than they were to Cedric Benson. The QB excuse offered for Barber's performance last year applies even more dramatically to Benson, but there's no mention of the "Fitzpatrick effect". Not to say that I think Benson will light it up this year (I don't). But if Palmer is healthy and returns to form, Benson figures to benefit.

by bird jam :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 12:52pm

I will be buying it regardless, but can you tell us a little more about this year's KUBIAK's auction tools? Will it just be a list of values for standard roster/scoring systems or will there be some interactivity (i.e., you input your league's parameters and it will spit out figures)?

Also, this is probably asking for too much, but my hope is that KUBIAK will be a tool we can use during auction drafts that will change values on the fly, based upon players being over- and under-valued at each position as the draft goes on. That would be an extremely valuable tool to me.

by pahtaytom (not verified) :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 1:57pm

Will we be able to not count weeks 14-16 as double, but still remove week 17?

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 1:32pm

The differences from doing that just aren't large enough to be worth the effort.

by ktismael :: Mon, 07/06/2009 - 6:31pm

Also strongly considering picking up the KUBIAK this year, mostly because I don't have the time or feel like creating my own spreadsheet doing something similar (although far less complex and comprehensive). My main question, does the KUBIAK sheet have an easy way to facilitate VONA drafting? I can just do the math in my head, but it would be nice if there were some existing tools to make it easier (and my selection time shorter).

by krugerindustria... :: Tue, 07/07/2009 - 4:39pm

Is there a place where I can get old versions of Kubiak to see what it is all about (i.e. if my small brain can figure out how to use it)?

by seahawk10 (not verified) :: Tue, 07/07/2009 - 5:09pm

Where do I place my order? Or can I not order until July 8th?

by Howard Turkster (not verified) :: Tue, 07/07/2009 - 8:03pm

What is normally included in the premium content?

by John Q Public (not verified) :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 9:36am

OK, it is July 8th, where is the almanac?

Underpromise and overdeliver.

by krugerindustria... :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 10:14am

no kidding. I think my refresh button is worn out. Throw us a bone here, if it isn't coming out today then tell us when and let me get on with my day.

by Pahtaytom (not verified) :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 11:00am


by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 11:38am

I'm guessing it was the "sometime around" part.

by krugerindustria... :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 11:53am

ever seen a pregnant mom "sometime around the due date"? I imagine it feels something like this. Or better still, imagine if christmas was "sometime around Dec 25" each year and the kids rushed downstairs every morning for a week to see if this was the day. You'd be a little antsy too if this was how you related.

by oddsonalways :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 11:56am

Please don't leave us hangin, is the book coming out today? Looking forward to it!

by Bill (not verified) :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 12:23pm

C'mon. Give us an update. Anything.

by E :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 1:03pm

There is an update! And 2009 KUBIAK! Go to http://www.footballoutsiders.com/store/2009-kubiak

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 6:20pm

Got it. Woo hoo!

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 1:34pm

Heh. I was wondering who would find it first. The PDF version of the Almanac should be ready later today. Please don't use these threads to talk about either -- we'll be setting up separate KUBIAK and Football Outsiders Almanac forums in the discussion forums.

by Pahtaytom (not verified) :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 1:38pm

Kubiak later today too?

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 1:45pm

Or earlier.

by prestigetgs :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 2:15pm

yea ive purchased but see no download link for kubiak

by E :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 1:48pm

so what's my prize? free KUBIAK?

just kidding, can't wait for the Almanac as your Giants prediction -NFC East Champs- has me really excited.

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:06pm

Aaron -

Do you know why when I purchased KUBIAK it took me to an (apparently) Asian PayPal site? Is that normal? I went ahead and made the purchase and it seems legit, but I get nervous when all I see is Asian characters I can't read...


bird jam

by madigan :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:20pm

The Kubiak ratings will be for Asian Federation of American Football, instead of the NFL.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:31pm

The method for purchasing products on our website is the same as it has been the last three years, so I have no idea what's wrong with your computer. You may need to do a virus check of some sort.

In the meantime, let me point out that discussion threads on individual posts are a really bad place to ask questions about your store purchases or other technical issues. That's why we have the contact form.

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:39pm

Really? Would I have gotten a better answer that way? ;-)

by oddsonalways :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:38pm

So is the book officially NOT coming out today? Possibly tomorrow?

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:51pm

Officially not today, and officially definitely tomorrow.

by oddsonalways :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:59pm

Thanks for the quick response, I sent you an email if you don't mind checking it out.

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 5:03pm

Has anyone gotten the KUBIAK download to actually work? Looking into it, I didn't pay by PayPal e-check so that shouldn't be the reason it is not showing up for me. I wanted to ask and make sure I wasn't the only one without the link yet before I bugged Aaron et al, though.

by oddsonalways :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 5:29pm

Having the same issues...paid with Visa, not seeing download button anywhere.

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 5:35pm

OK, I guess I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'm not really impatient - I just want to make sure I haven't done something wrong.

I mean, of course I'm excited to see KUBIAK, but it's early July. I can wait.

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 5:47pm

Then I wish I hadn't gone ahead and bought it. I would not have done so had I known I would not be able to see it until after the Almanac was available too.

I was willing to forego the combination discount and pay a little extra to see KUBIAK today rather than tomorrow. If I am not going to see KUBIAK today anyway, then I wish I could have taken advantage of the discount.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 6:02pm

If you have purchased KUBIAK, look in the "My Files" area on the left side of the page (assuming you are logged in). Click there and KUBIAK should be available.

by bird jam :: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 6:19pm

And there it is. Voila.

Outstanding. Thank you, Aaron.

by Joe the Plummer (not verified) :: Thu, 07/09/2009 - 11:12am

I'm clicking the refresh button like a mouse in a Skinner Box and frothing at the sides of my mouth like Pavlov's dogs. When will my animalistic urges be quenched?

by John Walt :: Thu, 07/09/2009 - 11:42am

I am in the same boat!!! Gosh Darn left Coast and their "morning" speak. It's almost lunch time here!!!!


by oddsonalways :: Thu, 07/09/2009 - 12:32pm

I thought you guys were out of Boston, and therefore its already not morning there.

by krugerindustria... :: Thu, 07/09/2009 - 1:09pm

and morning has officially come and gone in the good old CST. Do any of the rest of you think that Aaron et al. must be having one really crappy day so far? nothing like finding issues on deadline day.

by Dan :: Thu, 07/09/2009 - 1:20pm

First! It's now available in the store - I've bought & downloaded it.