In e-mail chatter for the FFToolbox.com June Experts Mock Draft, where Cory Bonini represents KFFL, Draft Sharks' Matt Schauf pointed out something I've been thinking for some time.
"I wonder if [LeGarrette Blount] might be turning underrated."
In that PPR affair, Blount was selected at 10.10, the 48th RB off the board. He was chastised by the fantasy community last year when many realized too late that since he isn't an effective pass blocker, he lost field time. In PPR, he's viewed as essentially another Shonn Greene in terms of week-to-week inconsistency. A lot of his damage came against vulnerable run defenses last year.
Though this could easily change, the battering ram has held off rookie first-rounder Doug Martin and is clinging to starter reps for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so far this offseason, while showing improvements in pass protection, ball security and toss catching.
I acknowledge the heavy likelihood of Greg Schiano wanting, at some point, to use Martin as the primary tailback in a manner similar to how he employed Ray Rice at Rutgers. The two toters have almost mirroring skill sets; Martin is a tad bigger.
Lest we forget the Bucs should run plenty, even with the acquisition of Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark to support Josh Freeman. Preserving time of possession sounds like a Schiano philosophy.
Blount's history of on-field fighting and general moodiness has characterized him as a bit of a hot head, yet he could benefit from getting a fire lit under his large posterior and, more importantly, this regime's increased discipline. He's already one of the better carriers in the league when it comes to breaking tackles and runs with palpable authority.
Michael Smith and Mossis Madu aren't legit touch threats yet. Maybe the chief pair offers an Ahmad Bradshaw-Brandon Jacobs arrangement. In its prime, that duo served well.
Sure, Blount isn't an ideal selection thanks to his still primarily one-dimensional game, and we'll see how this battle and his receiving ability play out as draft days creep closer. He ain't rubbish, though, and the rookie Martin isn't a sure thing. (Daniel Thomas, anyone?) Maybe Blount gets half a season as the starter before Martin takes over; that's still worth grabbing for the first eight or so weeks.
Expecting him to post third-round numbers, as many did last year, was lofty. In the middle rounds, keep an open mind, especially when it comes to collecting running backs. Even in complementary work, he's a goal line boon that could often serve as a money flex play that you likely probably snag as a fourth RB. And heck, maybe he'll be trade bait or they'll use him frequently, considering he's a restricted free agent after this season.
His undervaluation could be another example of fantasy football fickleness on which you can capitalize. As of this writing, I'm picturing him on a few of my benches. We'll see if that holds up come August.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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