By: Seth Keller (Twitter: @FFTheatHomeDad)
A Running Back for Every Round 2.0
So let’s start the fun!
Last week Zeke-Pocalypse happened right after finishing Part 1 of this series, I feel Goodell is targeting me! So it’s only right to go back and revisit the ADPs through the first 5 rounds before adding on the next 5.
ROUND 1 – 6 RBs
Zeke took a full round hit due the uncertainty around his 6 game suspension. I expect Elliot’s appeal to go similar to Brady’s in that it becomes a legal battle that plays out for an entire year before any actual game time is lost. However, no one can be certain and that’s why I’m not arguing with people shying away from Zeke in the first round. I wouldn’t let him slip any further than the second round though and think he would be an absolute steal in the third. Zeke’s 185 standard points was the 3rd best RB numbers from weeks 8 to 16 and 6th best in any position. 185 points would have bested Ajayi’s 180 all season in 2016 and would have fallen just 2 points why of Jordan Howard.
Zeke dropping to the second did open the door for the other backs to slide up. McCoy moved up to 1.5 and Demarco Murray passed the turn into the first round. I’m still pretty happy to take any of these guys in the first.
Round 2 – 7 RBs
Aside from Zeke falling to the top of the second and Miller skirting the second/third turn there hasn’t been much movement here. Zeke is my guy to get here and part 1 of the series explained my concerns with the other guys in the second.
ROUND 3 – 5 RBs
Crowell is still my guy here but CMC and Cook are putting together preseason showings that make me want to spend. I just see way too much value in WRs in this same round that make it hard to pull the trigger on any of these guys.
ROUND 4 – 4 RBs
Mixon is tip-toeing the 3rd round border and will probably do it all preseason. Gillislee took a big hit with the congested Pats backfield listing Dion Lewis and Kevin White as starters preseason Week 1. Adrian Peterson is getting some love based solely on the speculation that New Orleans could be a perfect home for a once upon a time player like All Day.
ROUND 5 – 4 RBs
News that Blount might not make the 53-man roster will soon destroy his ADP, if it turns out true (I’m skeptical). I’m liking just about everyone else here. And really expect big things from CJA if only he can stay healthy.
ROUND 6 – 4 RBs
Perkins and Powell are my front runners in this round. Perkins has everything lined up for him to be the number one back for the G-men. The improved passing game in New York should pull the defense back some and open up some running lanes. However spotty O-line play could severely limit him once again. In 2016 behind the same Swiss cheese line, Perkins averaged 4 yards/carry. Now that Jennings is gone Perkins stands to gain a full workload.
Powell is interesting. And drafting him is similar to answering whether the glass is half full or half empty. Stacked against him being a great value is Forte controlling early down work, a below average offensive line, who knows at quarterback and an overall organization that seems intent on tanking this season. On the bright side, he is explosive, agile and great in space, he has proven that he can be a reliable receiving option and for a team that could set the record for most 3rd down plays in 2017 should see plenty of receiving opportunities. If I’m in a PPR league or really secure through the first 6 rounds, I’ll take Powell and a box of antacids for the impending nausea after drafting a Jets player.
Lacy is one of those guys I keep letting disappoint me because he was good to me once in the past. Lacy is not the premium back he once was, I and many others simply need to accept that fact. Most NFL backs only get a couple good seasons, Lacy got two really good ones. Aside from my feelings, Lacy also is competing against two younger backs, the scale and,oh yeah, he is playing behind pro football focus’ worst o-line in 2016.
Henry is one of those players I want to get behind. I just am not comfortable paying a 6th round pick for a guy that will only see consistent touches if another player gets injured. Although everyone says they don’t hope for players to get injured, drafting Henry in the 6th means that you are anticipating that injury to happen. In redraft leagues Henry is way too expensive in the 6th round, dynasty is something completely different. Don’t let your research for dynasty cloud your redraft judgement – pass on Henry until 2018.
ROUND 7 – 5 RBs
This is a round when I’m starting to really take shots. First and foremost is the ageless wonder Frank Gore. For years, people have expected Gore to slow down and stop putting up the 12th best fantasy RB numbers, but if you ever need to guess that’s always where he finishes. He doesn’t put up monster weeks and, unless you’re looking for a stable floor, should be avoided in best ball leagues. However, in standard redraft leagues you are getting a guy that will put up RB2 numbers week in and week out. I’ll spend a 7th round pick on that consistency every time.
Next up is another 30 plus runner, yes historically that is the age when running backs get put out to pasture. But, Woodhead brings the exact skill set that the Ravens need. Speedy and shifty with a nose for the end zone, Woodhead can take all the 3rd down work and provide a dynamic option in the red zone. His backfield mate West is now being drafted at the same time. Although I like Woodhead more I’d still be willing to take a stab at West. He is the 36th back off the board and volume alone could put him into that flex-start position. West should be able to control early down work as Woodhead will most likely be reserved for passing downs.
Tevin Coleman is going a few picks behind a very similar play in Derrick Henry. Although I like Coleman a lot more than Henry, I see 2016 as a statistical unicorn for Atlanta’s backfield. Coleman is worth drafting behind tge currently concussed Freeman, but i just can’t get behind using a 7th round pick on a back that is so similar to the other back ahead of him.
ROUND 8 – 4 RBs
Here you can see Run DMC’s 5-round jump. Personally, I think Zeke will play this year. If Brady was able to delay his suspension a year for flaccid balls, it should take more than a year to appeal something as serious as domestic violence. However if I’m drafting today, I would target McFadden here on the upside of 6 games behind a dominant O-line.
Rodgers aka the Quiz is another great play with a specific timeline. Quiz will most likely get the start while Doug Martin finishes the 3 games left on his suspension. Rodgers was a viable start when Martin was injured/suspended last year, has some familiarity with the offense and provides a dual threat as a pass catcher as well. There has been some talk Martin’s job will not be secure when he comes back from suspension. Im not buying that – Martin has looked good in preseason so far – unless Rodgers is on a set-the-world-on-fire pace and I just don’t see that happening.
Rawls is moving up rounds and could be a worthwhile steal if he stays in the 8th. Eddie Lacy was expected to establish himself as the dominant back but Rawls has been taking more of the first team reps. Lacy is going in the 6th round in most drafts more on name recognition but I’d rather take Rawls in the 8th or better yet Prosise in the 11th (more on him in Part 3). The bigger issue is with the run blocking of the Seahawks. If that doesn’t improve neither Rawls nor Lacy will do much this year.
ROUND 9 – 4 RBs
I’m most excited for the Jamaal’s in this round. Charles is another one of those backs that burned people (like myself) who drafted him with elation in the 2nd round last year and could nothing with him for 16 straight weeks. But that’s the reason I’ll draft him – he has a history of being a 1st round pick and putting up top RB numbers. Now, I’m not project a 300 fantasy point season for JC. He still plays without a good QB, the O-line isn’t impressive, he will fight to get carries from CJA and he will fight to stay healthy. But Jamaal Charles even as a fraction of his former self can put up great fantasy numbers making him well worth a 9th round pick.
Jamaal Williams has been creeping up the rankings ever since he was drafted by the Pack. And rightfully so, they are arguably the most dynamic offense in the league with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. Similar to the other Jamaal in this round, Williams will need to make a name for himself behind an already established “starter”. As a rookie he also has limited time with the team to make enough of an impact to get an early-in-the-year starting role.
The higher everyone gets on McCaffrey, the lower everyone gets on Stewart. And if he could just drop into the 10th, I’d take him. JStew is not exciting and I don’t think many people expect him to have a role (maybe not even a job) next year. Draft JStew with the expectation that he will provide a handful of serviceable weeks at the start of the season (before being surpassed by McCaffrey) with the hope that he maintains some early down and red zone work.
Perine has been unimpressive so far through the off season which has led to him falling 2 rounds in most drafts. I still think Perine will take over the Skins backfield but he will probably go to waivers before that happens (why it’s usually not worth handcuffing RBs). Unless you plan on locking up a roster spot for about 6 weeks I’d pass on Perine.
ROUND 10 – 4 RBs
As much as I could pass on all four of the RBs, I would also draft each one for their own respective purposes. Murray was brought to Minnesota to help a struggling rushing offense. But the problem was less with the back and more with terrible O-line play. I’m not expecting great things from Murray but a player that could get all of a team’s goal line work is worth a 10th round pick, especially in standard. And just for reference Matt Assiata, who Murray is replacing, had 1 more redzone carry in 2016.
Jeremy Hill is the counter narrative pick. Basically while everyone is hyping up the rookie Joe Mixon, Hill is sitting at a super valuable 10th round pick. If I’m looking for a guy that has had a huge year, granted it was two years ago, taking a swing on Hill isn’t a bad idea. If Mixon isn’t the second coming of Walter Payton as some Twitter followers believe, Hill could take over as a workhorse and be the value of the season. He also could be completely surpassed by Mixon which is why I’m only taking him late and if I feel I’m secure enough at RB to just draft upside at this point.
Matt Forte is in a similar situation as Hill. But instead of a rookie, Forte is battling against Bilal Powell. Powell has all the tools to be successful especially in ppr and on an offense that will need to pass A LOT to be even mildly successful. But Forte is the early down and short yardage guy who could end up getting a volume of touches trying to run the clock so the opposing team can’t just run up the score. Of all the guys in this round I could pass easiest on Forte but if I’m looking for a floor with some TD upside (although limited) I might take Forte here.
And lastly, Theo Riddick – he is a PPR machine when healthy which is boosted by the fact that the Lions pass a lot. He did just have surgery on his wrist which makes me a little nervous. But he is also playing behind Ameer Abdullah who is exactly the pinnacle of health. Either way Riddick could be on the receiving end of another 70 reception year. Even in standard leagues those receptions turn into yardage points that just boost his value.