Interesting view on Jerome Harrison ..
FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT 2011 - RB
By R.C. Fischer
Release Date: 7/25/2011
The Forgotten Free Agent RB for 2011 -- Jerome Harrison
Most of the 2011 Free Agent RB discussions, speculations, "hopes & dreams," have centered around DeAngelo Williams and Ahmad Bradshaw. Whether you're just a fan of an NFL team with a RB need, or you are a Fantasy Football GM...you are anxiously waiting to see where all the available RBs wind up. If either one of D. Williams or Bradshaw winds up with "the right team," like say the Miami Dolphins...their Fantasy Football value is going to rocket on the enthusiasm and "possibilities".
After Williams and Bradshaw, most people would say there is not a "difference-making" Free Agent RB available this year. However, we think a whole new wave of RBs is going to enter the pool to get people talking. We think Joseph Addai will not be retained by the Colts, nor Ronnie Brown by Miami...and possibly Cedric Benson is turned away by Cincy. If two or three of Addai, R. Brown and Benson hit the open market, there will be a renaissance/romanticized thought for them...and the exciting "possibilities" that they could bring to their new NFL teams. All three of them (to me) have a better stature/standing in the Fantasy Football community than their actual performance of late (and career-wise)...but the Fantasy Football reality is -- they will garner a lot of attention (hopeful or delusional) if/when they change teams via 2011 Free Agency.
In the quest for a great 2011 RB Free Agent signing, one available RB is being overlooked/virtually ignored...and that RB will be considerably cheaper (payroll-wise) than all the RBs mentioned above. That RB is Jerome Harrison. Not only will Harrison likely be inexpensive for an NFL team, he might also be potentially better than most of the aforementioned 2011 Free Agent RB options as well.
What if this was July 2010, and not 2011?
If this lockout period-in-time and subsequent frenzied Free Agency situation was all happening with Jerome Harrison heading to Free Agency coming off his actual 2009 season -- it's possible that Harrison may have been near/at the top of the list of available/desired Free Agent RBs. Which is a radical difference one year later, as now Harrison is barely mentioned by anyone with any enthusiasm (if he's mentioned at all).
Harrison finished the 2009 season with 3 amazing games 100+ yard rushing games -- tallying 187.0 rushing yards per game in that span, along with 5.3 yards per carry and 5 TDs in those three games. He also had the memorable/record-setting 286 rushing yards/3 TD game in Week-15 against Kansas City.
When Harrison "touched" (rush + rec) the ball 10+ times in 2009 (six games total), he had the productivity of a top-tier RB for Fantasy Football. Taking the six games in 2009 where he had 10+ touches, and extrapolating the numbers into a full 16-game season (based on 15.0 carries per game); Harrison's statistical output projected for a full season as:
* 1,146 rushing yards
* 56 receptions
* 421 receiving yards
* 12 TDs
* 1,567 total yards (rush + rec)
* 13.9 Fantasy Football PPG
* 17.4 Fantasy Football PPR for PPR scoring leagues
13.9 Fantasy Football PPG would make Harrison arguably a solid 2nd or 3rd-Round Fantasy Football draft pick value. As it is, Harrison is not on many Dynasty League rosters going into 2011...and barely is Harrison mentioned in any preseason 2011 publications (so far) for traditional Fantasy Football Drafts.
Of course, the 2009 season was a long, long, long time ago...like 2 whole seasons ago...
More fresh in our memories, is the fact that Harrison was a 3rd-5th Round Fantasy Football RB last preseason...and wound up as a major bust pick for 2010. What actually did happen to Harrison in 2010?
Harrison's 2010 disaster...
Harrison's 2010 started out slow, and then crashed quickly. He split time right away with Peyton Hillis in Game-1 against Tampa Bay, out-rushing Hillis 52-41 yards (both had just 9 carries). Harrison did show a flash of his breakaway ability, with a 39-yard run in the game. In Game-2 versus KC, Harrison took the bulk of the carries with 16-8 over Hillis, but Hillis out-rushed him 35-33 yards. Harrison did have 35 yards receiving in the game. After two games in 2010, Harrison was averaging 63.5 total yards per game (rush + rec)...a pace for 1,106 total yards in a 16-game season; which is kinda good but not great. Harrison was inactive in Week-3 with a thigh injury, and Hillis rushed for 100+ yards against the Ravens...and the rest was 2010 Cleveland Browns and Madden-12 cover history.
Harrison was later traded for peanuts (actually for Mike Bell) to the Eagles in Week-6 of 2010. Harrison actually had two games for the Eagles in which he had 10+ carries/touches (Weeks 10 & 17). In those two games, he had 109 yards and 99 yards rushing respectively.
When Harrison "touches" the ball 10+ times in a game...
Harrison has "touched" the ball 10+ times in 10 total games combined in 2009 and 2010. Harrison's performance averages per game in those 10 games:
* 106.2 yards rushing per game
* 4.9 yards per carry
* 0.6 rushing TDs per game, 0.8 total TDs per game
* 129.4 total yards per game (rush + rec)
* 3.1 receptions per game
* 17.1 Fantasy Football PPG (3 fumbles in that period as well)
* 20.2 Fantasy Football PPG in PPR league scoring
Less the monster 286-yard rushing game of 2009, Harrison still has a respectable 13.7 Fantasy Football PPG average with 10+ touches in the past 2 seasons (16.9 PPG for PPR scoring). When given the chance, Harrison has produced very well.
Our college statistical analysis of Harrison:
Harrison was a 5th-Round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, but he rated as our #2 RB overall in the 2006 RB class...behind only DeAngelo Williams, but ahead of Reggie Bush and Maurice Jones-Drew among others.
Harrison rushed for 1,900 yards in his Senior season for Washington State in 2005, and had another 206 yards gained receiving (2,106 total yards in 11 games). He also added 17 TDs that season as well. Harrison ran for 110+ yards in every game he played in that 2005 season -- including an amazing 4 games with 200+ yards rushing (vs. Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, and Washington).
Harrison also holds a Pac-10 record with 14 consecutive games with 100+ yards rushing. Harrison's 1,900 rushing yards in 2005 is the all-time single record at Washington State.
Harrison had 10+ carries/touches in his final 19 games at Washington State, and had amazing productivity in those 19 games. His average output in those final 19-games:
* 145.5 rushing yards per game
* 1.3 TDs per game
* five games with 200+ yards rushing
Not only did Harrison excel in our historical analysis based on his performance, and performance adjusted for strength of opponent...but he also posted high for physical measurables. Harrison ran a 4.47 40-yard dash with very top agility measurements, and an above-average bench press for RBs (19 reps) at the NFL Combine.
Why Harrison isn't in the Pro Football Hall-of Fame yet...
After re-reading the data above, I'm ready to draft Harrison with my #1 overall pick in Fantasy Football 2011...however, Harrison was just traded for Mike Bell last season...so what's "the catch" with Harrison?
1) Harrison appears to have some off-field issues. Various reports over the years have noted a lack of effort in practice. As well, Harrison has been somewhat injury prone, missing games for nagging injuries.
2) Harrison's isolated games of "greatness" over the past two seasons have mostly come late in the season. He's had a couple of great Week-17 games, a nice statistical game last year late in the Eagles blowout of the Redskins (the Vick 6-TD game). His 286-yard rushing game against KC, came in Week-15...against a bad KC team.
It is not crazy to question Harrison's performance as a late-season phenomena, playing on a bad Browns team against other porous teams. In Harrison's defense -- it is odd/intriguing that every time Harrison gets any type of opportunity, he usually punches up big numbers...going back as far as his college performance as well.
2011 Harrison prognosis:
We think Harrison is a talent, but we're also scarred by the ups and downs of the past 2 seasons.
Harrison's has had some huge NFL games statistically. He had terrific ratings in our system for incoming college RBs historically in 2006, rating as a potential future NFL elite. Unlike many other "hot" college rookies of 2011, Harrison has actually stepped onto an NFL field and tore up opponents...he has proven (to a degree) that he is worthy at the pro-level. 90%+ of the RBs drafted this season will probably not rush for as many yards in their career as Harrison has in his career right now.
There's a lot to like on Harrison, and I think the Eagles would love to keep him; as he is a perfect West-Coast RB...but Harrison has already stated that he wants to go somewhere where he can be a starter. It is doubtful Harrison is going to be signed to be a feature RB for any NFL team in the next few days/weeks, but there are some scenarios I think he could be brought into...and find his way into the starting lineup quickly. Best case scenarios for a quick impact:
Cincinnati Bengals -- should Cincy let Cedric Benson walk, this could be a spot where other RBs with better options don't want to play for the Bengals organization...but Harrison is a beggar who can't be a chooser.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- they have the power RB in LeGarrette Blount, but could use a nice speed/3rd down RB option. Harrison on Tampa Bay, I would move him way up our 2011 RB list...as I think Blount would be an easy target for Harrison to jump him on the depth chart/take the majority of the carries from (we're not "pro-Blount").
Seattle Seahawks -- Harrison is a former in-state/Washington State star, and could team with Marshawn Lynch and be the Seahawks speed-RB...and I could also see him becoming the main RB of the two.
Denver Broncos -- the Broncos are tracking over the new/proposed NFL salary cap already, and if they truly have Knowshon Moreno anxiety (as has been reported of late)...then Harrison could be a cheap look at an alternative RB by the Broncos.
I think it's more likely that Harrison signs with a weaker team with the opportunity to play (like the group above, yes I think TB is a weaker team), versus re-signing with Philly or some other contender like the Steelers, to become their insurance chip RB. If/when Harrison sneaks onto a team that gives him some potential opportunity upside, his value in the Fantasy Football world is going to jump.
I'm not pushing Harrison as the secret breakout star of 2011 that you must get at all costs. I would like to advance that he should be up for consideration as a cheap trade acquisition to squat on, or a late-round Dynasty Rookie draft pick if available...before he signs with his new mystery team for 2011. If Harrison signs with a Denver or Seattle (for example) today, then tomorrow his value is going to go from forgotten to "what if"...and he will be in some kind of demand again.
Harrison's forty time was 4.47 - enough to turn the corner easily .. Now that he is under consideration by the Rams, I hope they make him an offer. The one area not addressed in this article (which clearly has a "fantasy" slant), is how well (if at all), he can block blitzing linebackers and dbs. I'd still prefer Darren Sproles for a couple of years, but it probably would cost too much ..