Player Points - Joseph Addai
By Chase Stuart
July 27th, 2010

Generally, people look at rushing yards, rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns when they talk about a team's success on the ground. But I also like to look at how many rushing first downs a team has -- great rushing teams are able to consistently move the chains on the ground. Last year, the Colts ranked dead last in the league in rushing first downs. That didn't matter too much, considering how incredible their passing game was. In fact, the '09 the Colts became the first team in league history to gain 170 more first downs through the air than on the ground. The table below shows last year's numbers:

Team
Rush
Pass
Diff
Indianapolis Colts
69
241
172
San Diego Chargers
80
222
142
Houston Texans
93
231
138
Arizona Cardinals
77
215
138
Minnesota Vikings
99
220
121
Washington Redskins
72
191
119
Pittsburgh Steelers
96
210
114
New England Patriots
114
222
108
Seattle Seahawks
80
184
104
New Orleans Saints
115
215
100
Green Bay Packers
102
201
99
Chicago Bears
71
170
99
Philadelphia Eagles
87
182
95
Dallas Cowboys
110
203
93
New York Giants
103
194
91
Denver Broncos
95
186
91
Atlanta Falcons
105
192
87
Detroit Lions
82
168
86
St. Louis Rams
79
159
80
Baltimore Ravens
115
187
72
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
80
148
68
San Francisco 49ers
77
137
60
Miami Dolphins
129
188
59
Jacksonville Jaguars
114
170
56
Cincinnati Bengals
109
159
50
Oakland Raiders
81
131
50
Kansas City Chiefs
91
139
48
Buffalo Bills
81
126
45
Tennessee Titans
115
154
39
Carolina Panthers
123
152
29
Cleveland Browns
102
118
16
New York Jets
132
131
-1

Joseph Addai had 44 of those rushing first downs. Donald Brown chipped in with 14, Chad Simpson had five, Mike Hart had four, and Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon each had one. One of the keys to a good running game is to make big gains on first down. Few running backs were less effective in first-and-ten situations last season than Addai:

Player
Rush
Yards
YPC
Jamaal Charles
80
515
6.44
Willis McGahee
53
338
6.38
Felix Jones
67
401
5.99
Michael Bush
57
322
5.65
Ahmad Bradshaw
76
428
5.63
Correll Buckhalter
69
387
5.61
Frank Gore
102
559
5.48
Ronnie Brown
65
340
5.23
Rashard Mendenhall
129
672
5.21
Pierre Thomas
77
398
5.17
Adrian Peterson
157
807
5.14
Maurice Morris
50
256
5.12
Chris Wells
105
536
5.10
Jason Snelling
63
318
5.05
Justin Forsett
43
216
5.02
Ray Rice
136
681
5.01
Clinton Portis
69
342
4.96
Ryan Grant
160
793
4.96
Ricky Williams
113
560
4.96
Chris Johnson
178
880
4.94
Maurice Jones-Drew
142
694
4.89
DeAngelo Williams
103
501
4.86
Justin Fargas
58
277
4.78
Marion Barber
100
471
4.71
Shonn Greene
59
272
4.61
Tim Hightower
75
341
4.55
Jerome Harrison
103
468
4.54
Jonathan Stewart
104
471
4.53
Steven Jackson
188
843
4.48
Fred Jackson
116
515
4.44
Cedric Benson
138
610
4.42
Brandon Jacobs
96
412
4.29
LeSean McCoy
77
330
4.29
Ryan Moats
51
216
4.24
Thomas Jones
162
681
4.20
Marshawn Lynch
64
269
4.20
Michael Turner
100
420
4.20
Julius Jones
90
374
4.16
Cadillac Williams
94
390
4.15
Mike Bell
86
353
4.10
Donald Brown
41
168
4.10
Jamal Lewis
72
290
4.03
LaDainian Tomlinson
124
485
3.91
Willie Parker
53
205
3.87
Knowshon Moreno
142
549
3.87
Joseph Addai
127
491
3.87
Darren McFadden
52
199
3.83
Kevin Smith
108
410
3.80
Laurence Maroney
100
375
3.75
Derrick Ward
56
192
3.43
Steve Slaton
70
238
3.40
Matt Forte
112
380
3.39
Darren Sproles
43
140
3.26
Larry Johnson
98
308
3.14
Glen Coffee
44
114
2.59

I'm not sure if Donald Brown's the answer. His 4.10 YPC average on 1st-and-10 isn't particularly impressive, although his average was 4.59 before Peyton Manning came out of the Colts week 16 game against the Jets. Brown's rookie season can be best described as mediocre, but that doesn't mean he's not going to make a good pro. And it certainly wouldn't surprise me to see him steal the job from Addai as soon as this year.

The Colts won nearly every game they played last season, and it's easy to think that there's no need to tinker with their current formula, especially on offense. Indianapolis is a pass-heavy team, and they don't ask for much out of their running game. But that doesn't mean they won't upgrade when they see fit. And no team had a worse running game than the Colts in 2009. Addai is a good receiver and a skilled blocker, but he's a mediocre runner. He's got good fantasy value (especially in PPR leagues) because he plays for Indianapolis, but I'm not planning on drafting Addai for any of my teams this year. I can handle passing on Addai and seeing him slightly outperform his ADP; I can't stomach drafting him and watching him get benched, with these many signs on the wall.

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

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