THE DO NOT DRAFT LIST: Running Back Edition
I’ve already ranked the top 100 fantasy running backs in the NFL, but let’s be honest…a couple pieces of news, a couple preseason games in, and the ADPs have shifted around on us a bit. It’s time to let the people know just how overvalued some players have become. Welcome to THE DO NOT DRAFT LIST!!! (*play some very serious music in your head, please*)
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Do Not Draft These Running Backs
I have Saquon ranked as my RB20 this year. I’m not budging from that. Now that he’s been activated from the PUP list, ADPs have skyrocketed back into the first round. Analysts are saying he’s back, he’ll win you a league in the second half of the season. Blah, blah, blah (that was rude, but I’m making a point here). Since when do we draft players in the first round to only make their contributions in the last few games of the season? How happy would CMC owners have been last year if they found out CMC was going to be in a timeshare for the first few games of the season, and ease his way into workload? The answer is not very happy, at all!
The Giants made a humongous bet on Barkley with where they drafted him. They’re also likely to sign him to a new contract (Christian McCaffrey type of deal). That said, the Giants are going to protect their investment. I’m thinking a RB by committee is likely for the Giants (Booker is his handcuff), especially while they ease him into the offense. On top of that, Barkley has always been a home-run type of runner. Those long runs will come fewer and further between in his first year back. He’s coming back from an ACL tear. That’s not a sprained ankle. With the exception of Adrian Peterson, nobody comes back better than they were the following year. It usually takes two years for a player to regain form. I expect flashes of his talents and plenty of goal-line opportunities, but to draft Barkley with your first-round pick will leave you disappointed.
Don’t do this to yourself. Please don’t do this to yourself. I know he’s a big name. I know he was great in college. Heck, he was great last year too. But with an ADP in the 15-ish range, trust me, you don’t want the headache that will come with J.K. Dobbins.
Make no mistake about it. Lamar Jackson is both the QB1 and the RB1 of the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t mean that in a tongue-in-cheek way, either. He literally was the RB1 last year. Lamar ran for over 1,000 yards last year, while J.K. Dobbins finished with 800 yards rushing, and Edwards wasn’t far behind with 700 yards. Every year we hear the coach of a mobile quarterback say that they will run less this year, and it really never happens. Players play the way they play. The way that gives them the best chance to win. Lamar is at his best when he’s a threat on the ground. So are the Ravens. That won’t stop.
That said, J.K. Dobbins led the Ravens in rushing TDs with 9 last year, while Edwards wasn’t far behind with 7 TDs. The Ravens are a running team that leans on their defense. They will beat you by controlling the clock and keeping your offense off of the field. Further, the Ravens didn’t just fork over a new contract to Gus Edwards because he’s a nice guy. Edwards will have plenty of opportunities to vulture TDs from Dobbins because he’s a starting-caliber running back, on his own. The Ravens are loaded. Please, don’t do it to yourself.
He was over 1,000 yards last year but ceded receiving touches to Kareem Hunt. You may be thinking to yourself, Brad, why does that make him a DO NOT DRAFT candidate. Well, I worry about two things for Chubb’s value: It’s a contract year for Baker Mayfield, so I anticipate we see him flash more of his arm talent because if they can win with a replacement-level QB, they likely will try to, rather than pay Mayfield nine figures. The second thing is that Nick Chubb just got paid. He also signed a contract amount that pays him through the age of 29. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. At the age of 30, running backs get discarded in the NFL. Their values in the eyes of the league take a hit. Nobody wants to pay a RB anymore. You especially don’t pay that RB when you have Kareem Hunt as the backup for cheap. When two players are equally capable, and one is less expensive, the money starts to matter. He has the lowest floor in my top 10 projections. Further, drafting is all about value. I like Travis Kelce a lot, but not if I have to draft him No. 1 overall. I wouldn’t draft Chubb in the first three rounds this year, and I think he’ll be long gone by then.
For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
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