Navigating Running Back Fantasy Baggage

The way my mind works, there’s nothing more appealing on television than game shows. Maybe you’ve seen some of my posts about classics like Guts and Legends of the Hidden Temple, but game shows mix the thrill of competition and the unusual satisfaction of occasionally knowing something that people on TV don’t in a way that makes me excited. That means I watch a lot of Game Show Network.

One of my new favorites on GSN is a show called Baggage. It’s a dating show hosted by Jerry Springer where the contestant is faced with three potential dates who all have embarrassing or difficult personality traits or experiences – their baggage. Our contestant gets to see a small, medium and large piece of baggage for each and then picks the one with the least offensive collection of information and the grand prize is an all-expenses-paid date on some romantic getaway.

What kind of “baggage” are we talking about? Some of my personal favorites include people who still wet the bed or have a an unreasonable number of cats or refuse to let go ridiculous habits. If you still don’t get it. try this clip on for size:

What’s the point of all of this? Fantasy football, of course. As I said multiple times in our running backs podcast, I think the majority of fantasy leagues this year will be won by the owner who correctly navigates the troubled waters of the second-tier running backs. Is Steven Jackson too old? Is Darren McFadden ever healthy? Does Peyton Hillis make Jamaal Charles less attractive? After the first three backs are off the board, there isn’t a sure thing left. You’re basically just picking the backs who have the best bad news. Sounds like Baggage to me.

For most fantasy leagues, this weekend is the big draft day. After the first handful of picks in most leagues, fantasy owners will be deciphering the floors, ceilings, boom-potential, bust-potential and “baggage” for the second-tier fantasy running backs to make a run at their league championship. After Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice are taken, it’s just one big game of Baggage for the rest of the owners. Maybe Rodgers, Brees and Brady can sneak into that first round. Calvin Johnson and maybe even some tight ends sneak in there, but inevitably, someone will have the take the fourth running back.

Imagine this: each member of your fantasy league lines up on stage next to Jerry Springer and a sea of running backs in front of you, each one with an open suitcase revealing their weakness. Here’s what you see:

Who has the most acceptable baggage? Here’s your guide:

  1. Jamaal Charles
  2. Darren McFadden
  3. Steven Jackson
  4. Fred Jackson
  5. Adrian Peterson
  6. Maurice Jones-Drew
  7. Marshawn Lynch
  8. Chris Johnson
  9. DeMarco Murray

Happy Drafting.