Player Points - Ryan Grant
By Chase Stuart
June 22nd, 2010

Ryan Grant had a strong fantasy season in 2009: he rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns, and chipped in with 197 yards as a receiver. But I get the feeling that his ceiling is a little bit higher than that. Grant had "only" 282 carries, but he had nearly all of the major carries given to Packers running backs. The table below shows what percentage of team carries by running backs were handled by the leading ballcarrier for each team:

Running Back
Team
Rsh
TmRsh
Perc
Maurice Jones-Drew
JAX
312
357
87.4%
Steven Jackson
STL
325
379
85.8%
Chris Johnson
TEN
358
431
83.1%
Matt Forte
CHI
258
327
78.9%
Ryan Grant
GNB
282
374
75.4%
Adrian Peterson
MIN
315
423
74.5%
Frank Gore
SFO
229
326
70.2%
Cedric Benson
CIN
301
452
66.6%
Joseph Addai
IND
219
338
64.8%
Fred Jackson
BUF
238
368
64.7%
Rashard Mendenhall
PIT
242
377
64.2%
Thomas Jones
NYJ
331
533
62.1%
Kevin Smith
DET
217
352
61.6%
Knowshon Moreno
DEN
247
405
61.0%
Ray Rice
BAL
254
418
60.8%
Cadillac Williams
TAM
209
344
60.8%
LaDainian Tomlinson
SDG
223
385
57.9%
Brandon Jacobs
NYG
224
400
56.0%
Marion Barber
DAL
214
394
54.3%
Chris Wells
ARI
176
328
53.7%
Ricky Williams
MIA
241
455
53.0%
LeSean McCoy
PHI
155
301
51.5%
Jamaal Charles
KAN
190
371
51.2%
Julius Jones
SEA
177
349
50.7%
Jerome Harrison
CLE
194
409
47.4%
Laurence Maroney
NWE
194
418
46.4%
Jonathan Stewart
CAR
221
491
45.0%
Michael Turner
ATL
178
405
44.0%
Mike Bell
NOR
172
431
39.9%
Clinton Portis
WAS
124
338
36.7%
Steve Slaton
HOU
131
365
35.9%
Justin Fargas
OAK
129
360
35.8%

Grant played on one of the best offenses in the NFL last season, but the Packers did not rush very frequently. Part of the reason was that their passing game was so dominant; another issue was that Aaron Rodgers took 50+ carries himself, although some of those came on designed pass plays. The other issue was that Green Bay didn't have anyone to spell Grant, and therefore passing became the alternative option to handing the ball off to Grant. That's made even more clear when you realize that excluding the meaningless week 17 game against the Cardinals, Grant handled 78.6% of all Packers running back carries.

Looking back on Grant's career, he was an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. He became the Packers starter following their week seven bye in 2007; over the next 12 games, including the post-season, he rushed for 1,159 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.22 yards per carry. Then a long holdout and a hamstring injury made his 2008 season forgettable; last year, he bounced back with very solid numbers, but I can't help but wonder if his ceiling isn't a bit higher. If the Packers look to run the ball more often in 2010, Grant seems likely to be the recipient of those additional carries. Grant, slowed with his hamstring injury in '08, already showed he can handle 300+ carries; it stands to reason that, at least in non-PPR leagues, Grant might have a higher ceiling and a lower floor than anyone outside of the big 4 of Johnson, Peterson, Jones-Drew, and Rice. He plays on an elite offense, is the unquestioned main running back, and has a proven track record of production. The Green Bay offense can easily support a 325-carry, 12-touchdown running back, and Grant has the talent to hit those marks. More importantly, he has little competition for carries. Grant may not be a sexy pick, but he seems to be a very strong one in fantasy drafts in 2010. He has an ADP of RB12, which means someone is going to get a potential top-five running back in the second round of their draft.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.