We here at Mocking the Draft put together a bracket to match up the top 32 rookie quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends drafted in April. Put simply, it's a NCAA tournament style bracket to help us decide which rookie will score the most fantasy points this coming season. If you want to see the updated bracket with the results of the first round, click here. Today's match up: Trent Richardson vs LaMichael James.
It's the match up of the running backs. The workhorse, every down back in Richardson against the versatile, change of pace, third down back in James.
Why vote for Richardson?
Richardson could arguably have been the number one seed had we ranked this differently. He looks every part of the classic franchise back. Drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson, Richardson should see a high number of touches in his rookie campaign. If he comes anywhere close to Peterson's rookie numbers (1341 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns) he'll be a great fantasy pick up. The Browns are likely to start rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden under center, which as I've stated in the last two match ups, means there's a fairly good chance of a run-heavy attack.
More after the jump.
Why vote against Richardson?
There's not much going against Richardson. He had minor knee injury surgery back in February, which caused him to miss on field drills at the combine and at the Alabama pro day. He held his own pro day 20 days later, so all appears to be fine on that front. But knee injuries are always a worry in the NFL, especially with running backs. The Browns were ranked 28th in rushing yards per game average, but its difficult to determine if that was an offensive line problem, a running back problem, or a combination of the two.
Why vote for James?
James is another explosive guy. He has the speed and playmaking ability to take any given play to the house. He has good enough hands that he can be a threat coming out of the backfield, giving fantasy owners double the chance of him making plays. He also flirted with the return game in his last year at Oregon, which could be another option for the 49ers should they require it. To give you some perspective on just how explosive he is, he ran for 1805 yards, averaging 7.3 yards per carry in his last season in college. He topped that off with 18 touchdowns. That's a great deal of fantasy points right there!
Why vote against James?
His size is always going to play into it. He's listed at 5'8", 194lbs. Add in the fact he's up against Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs and Kendall Hunter for playing time and he'll probably be limited to a third down back role at best. Even then, in short yardage situations, coach Harbaugh loves to make a statement and run the ball for the first down. This could severely limit his playing time and touches.