NYG RB David Wilson is named the 2013 FFToolbox Breakout Player
Fantasy football writers attempt to be subtle with their language. Since we are in the business of predicting the future, we tend to avoid definitive, explicit language. See, I did it right there: "tend to avoid."
Arian Foster SHOULD have a great season. Mike Wallace MIGHT do big things down in South Beach. Ryan Broyles COULD be an excellent deep sleeper.
Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to break away from the herd. In fact, many of us at FFToolbox are in agreement that New York Giants running back David Wilson WILL be a breakout stud in 2013. Sure, anything is possible. He could break his foot getting out of his car tomorrow and this article would mean nothing. More accurately, with as much vim and vigor one man can feel about making an educated guess, I assert that Wilson really is as good as the hype that surrounds him.
Not that it adds to my credibility, but I'm a graduate of Virginia Tech. I've seen the young man play even going back to his high school days when VT was recruiting him. He's been one of my favorite Hokies in recent years.
One thing worth pointing out is that singular moment in Wilson's career thus far: the oft-referenced fumble which came on New York's second possession of the season. It put him in the dog house, they said. I disagree. What put Wilson in the dog house was his reaction to it. On the sideline, he was visibly shaken. He cried.
I'm not trying to tease him for reacting this way. If Tom Coughlin even looked at me angrily, I'd probably get a lump in my throat and my gaze would be averted. It is only to highlight his emotion and passion for being the best at his craft. There's a video floating around on YouTube where Wilson is giving a locker room speech during the IFAF Championships, think of them like the youth football world championships. He isn't even in college yet, still a teenager and he was the leader of that team. Watch that video and tell me you don't love this kid's intensity.
Now, some of you don't want an emotional appeal on Wilson's behalf. You want the hard numbers. You deal with facts and figures. There's nothing wrong with that.
In Weeks 1 to 13, Wilson played four snaps per game. In the final four weeks of the season, his snap count per game jumped up to 20. Across that same four game span, he averaged 10.8 rushing attempts, 62 yards which equals a 5.7 yards per carry average. For even more hard numbers, check out an article written by Evan Silva over at Rotoworld.com about Wilson's boom-or-bust style of play. Silva charted all of Wilson's touches and noted that 32 out of 75 (or 42.7-percent) gained two yards or fewer. When watching Wilson in the first half of 2012, he often looked to bounce outside for big plays and gambled too often by going against the grain. Here is an example of that while from his days at Virginia Tech.
Although towards the end of his rookie campaign, Wilson was much more disciplined as a runner; this progression is natural for any speed back that had grown accustomed to simply being a better athlete than his competitors. Since he has settled in, he took fewer risks, but old habits die hard. Wilson must continue to improve his discipline and stay on assignment to have a productive second season.
Like any high-upside running back, playing time is the key. Buffalo's C.J. Spiller is a comparable talent who forfeited a lot of playing time earlier in his career to Fred Jackson. Spiller and Wilson both have freak-of-nature speed and athleticism. What separates the pair is Wilson's incredible lower body strength and balance. He can absorb contact and bounce off would-be tacklers with ease. The second-year runner is a more natural running back who will require less grooming than Spiller, but took a few seasons to come into his own. Head-to-head, Wilson's skill-set is better; however nothing is a given in the NFL. If the Giants opt to use Andre Brown frequently, Wilson has little chance to break into RB1 territory.
In any league format, Wilson is a solid RB2 assuming he carves out a significant role in New York's offense. His ceiling is even higher too. If there's one young running back that can significantly outperform his average draft position (3.08 according to Fantasy Football Calculator), it's Wilson.
CURRENT ADP - 3.7 - Pick 31
PROJECTED SEPTEMBER ADP 2.4 - Pick 16