By Luke Grilli, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @LGrilli88


In 2010, Chris Ivory saw himself go undrafted but eventually signed with the New Orleans Saints. At the time, the Saints featured a deep backfield led by Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Fortunately for Ivory, Thomas and Bush were oft-injured and head coach Sean Payton loves to rotate his running backs. As a rookie, Ivory played a large role in that Saints running back rotation and was able to tote the rock 137 times for 716 yards and 5 touchdowns in 12 games. The 2010 season would be his Ivory’s only solid season with the Saints as he only appeared in 12 games over the next two seasons in the Big Easy. In 2013, he was traded to the Jets for a 4th round pick and immediately signed a three-year $10 million contract with the Jets. At this point in his career, Ivory flashed back onto the fantasy radar running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league while also having limited competition for touches in the backfield — which was a far cry from what he was used to in New Orleans. Another positive outcome from the move to New York was his ability to keep the injury bug at bay. Though Ivory and his fantasy owners had to deal with nagging injuries, Ivory only missed two games in those three years as a Jet and he was a fantasy RB3 in his first two seasons, while enjoying his first 1,000 yard and fantasy RB2 season in 2015. Heading into free agency, it seemed like the Jets and Ivory would strike a deal quickly, but he commanded top dollar on the market and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 5-years $32 million with $10 million guaranteed. Looking at the structure of this deal and Ivory’s age (28), the Jags can probably get out of this deal unscathed after year three.



YearTeamGamesGames StartedRushRushYPCRushRecRec YdsRec TD
2015New York Jets15142471,0704.37302171
2014New York Jets16101988214.16181231
2013New York Jets1561828334.632100
2012New Orleans Saints62402175.422150
2011New Orleans Saints62793744.71000
2010New Orleans Saints1241377165.251170


18751542-standardThe bell cow running back continues to become an endangered species in today’s NFL. Before March 8, 2016, the Jets and Jaguars both featured runners who would dominate their respective backfields in touches and red zone opportunities in 2016. Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon were both set to be perhaps 3rd round picks in your redraft leagues and produce at a RB2 level. With this signing on March 8, 2016, however, we not only lost out on the production of TJ Yeldon, but also Chris Ivory as they formed yet another dreaded RBBC. Both backs should get 10-15 touches a game, with Ivory specializing in the red zone carries and Yeldon the passing downs, but neither will be a viable fantasy starter. I like this signing for the Jaguars, but hate it for Yeldon and Ivory’s fantasy value. I will be targeting both Ivory and Yeldon as a RB3 or RB4 in the 7th or 8th rounds this draft season. If they don’t drop that far to me, oh well. I’ll be able to find similar production on the waiver wire.


Not only does TJ Yeldon lose a ton of value with the Chris Ivory signing, but any hope of value for Denard “Shoelaces” Robinson and Toby Gerh…hahahahahahah…sorry, sorry. Just thinking back to Toby Gerhart’s 3-year $10.5 million contract that he signed with the Jags makes me buckle over with laughter. The Ivory signing made Gerhart expendable and he has since been cut, but Robinson is still hanging onto his spot on the Jaguars roster. Robinson took a step back last season, but he should stick with the Jags as a backup scat back and could get some work in on special teams as a punt or kick returner. Barring  a TJ Yeldon injury though, Robinson is not a player that should be drafted or heavily targeted this season.


A day after Chris Ivory left to sign with Jacksonville, the Jets announced a 3-year $12 million contract with long time Chicago Bear Matt Forte. The length and value of this contract is probably what the Jets were offering Chris Ivory and once he spurned them, they went after Forte as their backup plan. While I don’t mind the signing by the Jets, Forte is a much different running back than Chris Ivory. Ivory is a bruiser that can bang between the tackles and fight for the extra yard. Meanwhile, Forte is expected to be an every down back for the Jets, but really thrives as a receiver out of the backfield. Ask him to get the tough yards and he will get you a few, but not like Chris Ivory. Forte is also coming off an injury-plagued season where he only played 13 games and had the least amount of rushing yards and receptions in his 8-year career. Factoring in this down swing in production, the signing of Khiry Robinson to steal early down and goal line work and the re-signing of Bilal Powell to steal work on passing downs and I believe this will be the 2nd-year in a row that Matt Forte fails to reach 1,000 rushing yards and will be a fantasy disappointment.