Spotlight - RB Corey Dillon, New England Patriots
Posted 8/22 by Jason Wood and Cecil Lammey,
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Jason Wood's Thoughts
There are certain rules of fantasy football we like to consider iron clad. One such rule, that RBs over the age of 30 are a bad investment was put through its paces a season ago in no small part to Corey Dillon. Dillon, along with Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis, found the fountain of youth last year and not only produced, but far surpassed preseason expectations.
Dillon had a dream season last year. After toiling in Cincinnati for years, Dillon was traded to New England of all places. He ended up setting career highs in carries (345), yards (1,635), rushing TDs (12) and, oh yeah, he won a Super Bowl title too.
A year ago we didn't know if Dillon would fit in with Belichick and the Patriots, nor did we know how much of the workload he would be asked to shoulder. This year, we've got the answers to both and that mitigates much of the risk.
If healthy, Dillon is going to have fantastic numbers the old fashioned way. He's going to get 20+ carries, grind out 100+ yards on the ground and throw in a TD more times than not. What he WON'T do is catch a ton of balls, which does discount his value somewhat in leagues that award points per reception (as most of my personal leagues and the WCOFF do).
Bill Belichick chose not to replace departed OC Charlie Weis. While it will be hard to imagine the Patriots offense running as efficiently without Weis; there is no question that Belichick's intent is to maintain the status quo (i.e., if it ain't broke, don't fix it). That should mean a heavy dose of Dillon week in, week out.
Now back to the "over 30" thing. I was a bit cavalier earlier, but despite what Dillon, Bettis and Martin accomplished last year, history has not been kind to backs over 30 with the kind of workload these guys have undertaken. You really can't discount that when deciding whether Dillon is the right fit in the first round or two of your draft. Personally, I believe he's too compelling to ignore in the late 1st, early 2nd round; but I wouldn't fault anyone who disagreed either.
- Dillon was the perfect fit the a Patriots offense starved for consistency from the running game
- Dillon, even at 30 (he'll be 31 mid season), is in great shape and unquestionably one of the most talented pure runners in the league
- The Patriots offense is a well oiled machine, and while Weis' departure may have a long-term impact, the 2005 team is veteran and experienced so it should be a marginal concern, at worst
- Dillon has never been a prolific receiver, and this does lower his value in leagues that give points for receptions
- The Patriots have undergone more change this season than at any time during the SB era, with the loss of OC Weis, OG Joe Andruzzi and WR David Patten
- Dillon has missed time in four of eight seasons, and has the age (31 in October) and workload 2,210 career rushes to start worrying
In traditional leagues, Dillon's production as a pure runner is far too compelling to ignore in the late 1st or (better yet) early 2nd round of 12-team leagues. That said, if you're in a league that rewards points per reception, Dillon then becomes a 2nd rounder and someone you probably don't want to draft as your top RB (but still a solid RB2). Draft accordingly.
Cecil Lammey's Thoughts
Corey Dillon had a dream season in 2004. He finally escaped Cincinnati and made the playoffs for the first time in his career. Not only that, he won a Super Bowl ring and was an integral part of the Patriots run to a 3rd championship. Dillon has always been a consistent runner, and in his first year with New England he did not disappoint. He had a career high in carries, yardage and touchdowns in 2004. He was the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL and posted nine 100 yard games, with several more games that were close to the 100 yard mark (98, 94, 89, 88, 86). Thereís very little reason to think Corey canít have a repeat performance in 2005.
Sure, Charlie Weis is gone as offensive coordinator. This will leave Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to call the plays. Corey Dillon is the centerpiece of this offense. Utilizing him to his maximum potential helps everything else in the offense run smoothly. Look for Belichick to still lean on Dillon, and perhaps mix in some more receptions for Corey.
Corey Dillon is a great red zone back as well. Only one other back in the league got more carries inside the 20ís as Dillon did in 2004. The Patriots offense can rack up some good yardage, and Dillon will see plenty of opportunities inside the 20ís again this year.
Dillon only had 15 receptions in 2004, but there is a chance that he could have double that in 2005. It wouldnít be out of the question to see Corey have 25-30 receptions, with the Patriots using him on screen plays more often.
- Dillon is very consistent
- He is a bruising runner that wears defenses down
- The Patriots signed him to a lucrative long term deal
- Has tasted success and wonít want to regress
- Is on the other side of 30
- Has amassed over 2,400 carries for his career
- Doesnít catch as many passes as one would like
Corey Dillon is all about consistency and thatís what fantasy owners can expect from him in the upcoming season. He had career highs in several categories this last year, and some are calling for a drop off in production. Barring injury there is no reason that Corey couldnít have another great season. He might not get 345 carries again, as the Patriots will look to keep him healthy. But he may get more receptions, and his red zone presence is among the top in the league. Corey Dillon doesnít catch enough passes to be considered in the upper echelon of the NFL, but based on his past performance and model of consistency Dillonís place is at the top of the 2nd level RBís. If thereís any way he drops to the 2nd round he would be a great value pick.
Quotations from the Message Board Thread
To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there),
Corey Dillon was Mr. Consistency last year.
Dillon was the #3 rusher in the NFL
Dillon had the 2nd highest yards per game rushing average (108)
Dillon had the 2nd most redzone carries, averaging over 5 per game.
With Belichick running the O my guess is that Dillon will only see more action. It would be nice if he caught a few more passes but who can argue with 100 yards per game and a TD most weeks. Not me.
Corey Dillon has always surpassed 1000 yards like its nothing and has regularly gone much farther than that. I expect his role in the running game to decrease as Cedric Cobbs gains more experience but I do think that this will be offset with an increased role in the passing game.
Cory Dillon brought something to New England last year that they have not had since Curtis Martin, a true "Stud" running back. If he plays all 16 games he is good for 1550 and 12, numbers worthy of a top 10 RB. With that being said, Dillon won't be on many of my teams this year. The touches are starting to add up, as he is well over 2,400 for his career. Add in that he is now 31, and I see a moderate risk factor at hand.
Corey Dillon Projections
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