Quarterbacks are obviously the most valuable position in football, not just in the hobby, but overall. When things go right, its usually the quarterback that gets the credit. Same thing if things go wrong. As a result, running backs have taken a secondary role, both in terms of their value and in the leash they get if performance doesn’t get going quickly. Right now, after week 2 there are three guys who are leading the league in rushing yards, all of which are guys cast aside by the hobby because of lack of performance early on in their career. Now that things have gotten better, their value is coming around too.
CJ Spiller – 292 Total Rushing Yards, 10+ yards per attempt, 4 TDs
I don’t think anyone expected Spiller to have the type of turnaround he has had over the last two weeks. With Fred Jackson going down for at least a month, Spiller has come on ridiculously strong to help out a stagnant passing offense in both of the games he played. Its crazy to believe that the hobby already gave up on him after less than 2 years, but that’s what happens with guys like him. Since that time, Spiller’s value has skyrocketed from very little to a respectable amount for a running back. I think that as long as he continues to perform, he will continue to see bumps in his value, but one bad game and who knows. However, if the guy wins the starting job, even upon Jackson’s return, it might be a sustainable price for his cards.
Here are some examples:
Reggie Bush – 241 Total Rushing Yards, 120 yards per game, 2 TDs
Ahh, the wound left by Bush’s drop off during his career since 2006 is still fresh for some people in this hobby, and now that he has had two really nice performances to start the year, his cards have started to creep back up. Bush is a popular athlete, regardless of his performance, and that means a bigger spike when he actually does something worthwhile on the field. He is the guy in Miami for the rest of the year, which might not be a good thing considering how bad the offense has looked at times. However, he has shown some major promise in an offense like theirs, especially now that he has the reigns to perform as he will without fear. Again, its risky to invest in guys like this, especially when his career is technically half over by most RB standards. Today’s players are of a different breed, so he might be looking like a better pull these days.
Marshawn Lynch – 207 yards, 1 TD
Known for his personality more than his production, Lynch finally has some reason to be happy in Seattle. Not only have the Seahawks come within an eyelash of being 2-0, they already beat a top team in Dallas yesterday. Lynch has found a home in Seattle after off the field issues and performance bought him a ticket out of Buffalo. With personality comes better value, and Seattle does have rabid fans despite their AWFUL team branding under the new Nike contract. Russell Wilson hasn’t shown that he is ready to be a primetime player QUITE yet, but he is getting there. That means more pressure will be taken off the running game. Lynch’s long TD run against the Saints in the playoffs a few years ago still carries a great memory for Seattle fans, and he might be able to win over new ones if he keeps it up.
Again, the position has shown to be expendable in a lot of cases, and the recent draft pick of Trent Richardson at 3 is not the rule. As running backs continue to be less than valuable commodities in the league, they will remain as such in the hobby as well. Do we take 2 great performances from rejects and use that as the basis for collecting? I say no, but the recent values show that my mentality is not what most collectors have for their own.