Hello and welcome back to another year of Dynasty Deep Dives! With it being mid-August I’m sure the majority of fantasy gamers have already completed their drafts, but all of us will be wrapping up our draft season in the next couple of weeks. Let’s’ dive in like Antonio Brown dove into his cryogenic therapy. Here are a few rookie running backs that you should not have cold feet about drafting this year.
The Big 3
Miles Sanders is the rookie to own in both dynasty and re-draft leagues. The argument against him is that the Eagles HC loves to split carries and Sanders is sharing a backfield with the newly signed Jordan Howard. With the Eagles at the top of the list when it comes to analytical thinking, you can be sure that they are aware of the fact that the bell-cow back is becoming a thing of the past. Teams are opting for the running back by committee (RBBC) approach and it makes sense. The perfect example of this is the Todd Gurley situation. RB’s simply take too many hits and teams need them to be fresh down the playoff stretch. Fantasy gamers that exploit these new RBBC backfields are going to gain an edge on their league-mates, as backs like Sanders are being discounted. Sanders should be the 1.01 in all rookie drafts but I have seen him slip as far as 9. Don’t let this happen! Miles Sanders has league winning upside and is ownable in all formats.
Out of the top 3 backs to draft this summer, Montgomery finds himself in the most opportune landing spot. Montgomery has excellent hands which gives the Bears the option of having him out there on every down. David Montgomery is a paradox, he runs hard and can bowl you over, or just make you look silly as he slips by you. With his proven receiving skills Montgomery fits the mold for the type of RB I’m looking to draft. NFL teams (the good ones) are throwing to the running back early and more often. Dynasty RB’s are valuable and Montgomery should be drafted in the top 3 picks this year. In re-draft his ADP is fair as we are starting to see him slip into the back of the 5th round.
Jacobs rounds out the 3 “bust proof” running backs in this year’s draft class. Josh Jacobs has a great Dynasty floor and can contribute to your dynasty team Week 1. He finds himself in a great situation in Oakland. Being an average pass catcher, he will lose some work to Jaylen Richard on passing downs. His glaring issue, as is the case with most rookie RB’s, is his pass protection. Oakland’s pass protection heading into 2019 is questionable and if he makes too many mistakes Gruden may stick him on the bench for a couple of series. In dynasty it’s still wheels up for Jacobs, especially in such a weak rookie class, but in redraft his ADP is too inflated. As of now, you can still get Miles Sanders in re-draft a full three rounds later or more. Let you league mates pay for Jacobs while you take the savvy approach on Sanders.
Lesser Known But Must Own
These backs are going to be great options to round out your team in the later rounds. They are great stashes due to their upside and worth the spot on your bench. A couple of them are already playing behind backs with a long injury history, or nagging injuries heading into the 2019 season. Their path to bulk carries is less murky than it seems.
Ignore the depth charts that are coming out of Rams training camp. Before the season starts, these depth charts mean nothing. LA did not trade up to select Henderson only to have him occupy the 4th or 5th RB spot. Henderson has a 1st round ADP price tag in rookie drafts and for good reason. There is a ton of uncertainty about Gurley heading into 2019 and with Henderson still owning an ADP in the late 6th round of re-draft it’s clear that fantasy gamers are too optimistic about Gurley’s situation. Henderson is exactly the type of back that is taking the NFL by storm due to his pass catching ability. He’s a quality receiver that matches up perfectly in the McVay led offense.
Harris might be the sneakiest back out of this entire bunch. He’s available in the back of the 1st, early 2nd round in rookie drafts and with a re-draft ADP in round 10 he is great lottery ticket. We see it year after year with the Patriots backfield, they always manage to produce a top fantasy asset at the position. This year’s cheapest option is Damien Harris. Sure, there are a ton of names in this backfield, but the number 1 option Sony Michel is ailing from a knee injury which required a surgical clean-up. Damien Harris’ situation may improve sooner than later.
Dexter Williams is the back to own in Green Bay behind Aaron Jones. Dexter’s rookie draft ADP is at the back of the 2nd round. This is exactly where I grabbed him in my draft at 2.12. At an ADP of nearly 300 in re-draft and start-ups he’s basically free. In these leagues, your league mates draft the unexciting, zero upside, Jamaal Williams while you grab the superior Williams. Matt Lefluer loves to run the ball and you have to expect he will know who the better Williams is in the backfield. Topping things off, Aaron Jones is ailing from a hamstring injury heading into pre-season. Hamstring injuries linger, it’s not the type of injury you want your feature back to have as the season begins. Aaron Jones has a history of this and missed games in both 2017 and 2018 due to injuries and a suspension. We should expect to see Dexter on the field early this year.