Fred Taylor = Elijah Dukes

No Fred Taylor doesn't send his wife texts threatening to kill her or get fined for being late to practices while helping out America's youth, dawg. Just read on.

This year in our fantasy baseball draft, I touted Elijah Dukes as the huge sleeper for this year's baseball season, dawg. Now I based this mainly off of Baseball Prospectus' numbers (they also told me Ian Kinsler would have a high average, Garrett Atkins was worth my 5th round pick and be like a healthy A-Ram but with a better average, and Matt Wieters would actually make contact with the ball). Obviously I wasted my money on this shitty service and should have just done research myself (If you looked at Dukes' numbers in a small sample size, it made sense why BP and Matthew Berry touted him as a sleeper, but his past numbers looks pretty good in waivers now...whatever) Anyway, now it is colloquially known at GOI: Who is your Elijah Dukes this year? Obviously this is meant to be a sleeper that DOESN'T bust, but now that I have actually done research for myself, I can say my opinion with confidence this year. For fantasy football, my Elijah Dukes is: Fred Taylor

Taylor has a career 4.6 YPC. This ranks 8th out of all active RBs. Guys ahead of him: AP, Michael Turner, MJD, Brandon Jacobs, DeAngelo Williams, and Frank Gore. All are first or high second round draft picks. Out of all active RBs, Taylor has the 6th best yards per game and is 16th of all time. Taylor also gets plenty of attempts ranking 20th all time in rushing attempts.

Taylor is now bringing his great gifts to the highly talented Patriots offensive line. The Patriots had the third best rushing O-line last year and THE best line two years prior. Every RB the Patriots threw out there was effective- the problem was injuries/ lack of carries. The main Pats back to get significant carries was Sammy Morris and he was top 10 in DVOA and DYAR. I can also verify his fantasy impact because him and Pierre Thomas helped win me my fantasy football league last year. Kevin Faulk and Lamont Jordan played a significant amount last year, but not enough to qualify their numbers with the big boys. But out of guys between 20-99 rushes, Faulk ranked first and Jordan ranked 5th. So no matter who runs for the Patriots, they seem to be effective.

Now I will admit, I think Taylor is your #2 RB or your flex guy at best. I don't think he's a top tier back, but I do think he'll finish in the top 25 among backs (thus, your #2 guy). I can say with confidence that when Taylor plays, he will be great in real life, but sadly (and yes I realize this is a fantasy column) I am worried about how he performs fantasy wise. The realist in me says the Pats, with a healthy Brady, will throw more (and not to Taylor) and Maroney and Faulk will take carries away from him. But Maroney has never played more than 14 games in a season (13 and 3 consequtively the past two years) and Taylor is by far better than Faulk. However, in '06, when Maroney only played in 13 games and Brady threw for 50 TDs, he still was the 25th best fantasy back. And when MJD was taking TDs and carried away from Taylor, Taylor still was a top 20 RB. The cynic in me tells me that Taylor won't get enough carries or TDs to be productive in fantasy, but by looking at his past numbers, I find it hard to believe that a guy who has proven to be as good as Taylor on a team THAT good doesn't produce. And frankly I'll take the risk that Taylor gets the carries.

The most important thing to look at is where you can get Taylor. I got Taylor in the 13th round of a 15 round draft (and if I hadn't gotten him I'm not convinced he even would have been drafted). I'm not sure what his ADP is, but in Yahoo! leagues, he's ranked 56- out of all RBs! If you can get a guy who will be top 60 among all RBs and WRs (meaning worth at least the flex position) or even a guy who will be top 25 among all running backs (meaning worth a starting RB spot), why would you not take him!? Even if Taylor does performs like he did last year, who cares!? Chances are you're not going to start (or even keep) any player you drafted past the 12th round anyway (unless your smart and you drafted your sole K and DEF), so he's absolutely worth the risk.

Maybe I'm making excuses for Taylor because if I'm wrong like I was with Elijah Dukes, I gave myself an out, dawg. But there is absolutely no excuse why you don't draft/ pick up now in FA Fred Taylor.