Before we dive into the landing spots of this loaded crop of rookies at the running back position, let me first start by wishing you and your family a Happy Memorial Day weekend! With all of the mixed messaging regarding the COVID-19 virus, and people chomping at the bit to do something other than sit inside, this weekend will be a great opportunity to get outside, social distance with friends, and, if you live close enough, take a trip to the beach. Most of all, cherish this opportunity to do these activities with your family. You’ll be grateful for it when this is all over.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the gravy boat dinner – running back landing spots. Unlike real football, the running back position is the single-most valuable asset on any fantasy football roster.
Especially in Dynasty, you can give yourself the utmost advantage; not just week-to-week, but year-over-year if you’re stacked at the position. It’s why everyone will target one in the early rounds of any startup or redraft format. And if you hit on one, and are lucky enough, you’ll be in position to contend each year.
Now, with that being said, let me be upfront and advise that this piece will not include any running back named Taylor, Swift(see what I did there?!) Akers, or Edwards-Helaire. Much has been talked about with their landing spots that I felt it wouldn’t benefit to include them because we know they will be the consensus 1-4 in rookie drafts. Instead, I wanted to touch on the running backs in the tiers below the top guns. These are guys who were taken on day two or three and could provide a profit, both now and in the future, compared to their current ADP in rookie drafts.
So, without further ado, and to prevent me from rambling even more, let’s get into part two of this edition.
JK Dobbins – Baltimore Ravens (round 2/pick 55)
— Nic Mason (@British_Raven19) May 18, 2020
I decided to include Dobbins in this piece, because I have seen his value drop by almost four spots in the 1st round of rookie drafts. If he is there between the 1.06-1.08 of drafts, you should either make an offer to go get him, or smash the draft button if he falls to you. Let’s look at the facts. Mark Ingram is going on 31 years old and may have hit his final straw as an every-week RB1 in 2019. You just don’t see that kind of consistent production from a 30-year-old running back at that age. It just screams of regression and a passing-of-the-torch moment. Enter Dobbins.
Landing in Baltimore and their high-powered offense is a perfect fit for his traits. Not to mention, he will be tied to Lamar Jackson for the next four years. Enough said. He should contribute immediately and pay crazy dividends by 2021. I want all of the shares of this dude, and you should too. Draft him with confidence.
Darrynton Evans – Tennesse Titans (round 3/pick 93)
I like Evans a lot. If you fail to get Dobbins, or any of the other “Big 5”, Evans will be a nice pivot. The Titans are a run-heavy offense, centered around Derrick Henry, who will be a free agent in 2021 and most likely gone. He’s had a lot of work(804 carries, to be exact) in the first four years he has spent in Nashville. He’s entering the last year of his rookie contract and is at that prime age(26), where the production starts to taper and is no longer worth what you paid. Evans is already slated for third down work and change of pace duties and will step in as the next best option behind Henry. He is an injury away to Henry from having a workhorse role in 2020, or by 2021 at the earliest, once Henry leaves.
Anthony McFarland, Jr. – Pittsburgh Steelers (round 4/pick 124)
With rumors swirling amongst the Steelers beat that James Conner is a candidate to leave via free agency in 2021, McFarland is worth a gamble at his current price in rookie drafts. As just mentioned, Conner will be a free agent next season. He also battled injuries last year and there is no guarantee that he can stay healthy, or is even that much better than McFarland to outlast him this summer during training camp. Either way, McFarland enters Pittsburgh as the best running back behind Conner. The Steelers historically like to employ one guy as the lead dog in the backfield. If Conner leaves, or struggles to stay healthy again, look McFarland to seize the RB1 role and never look back. I like him in the late 2nd – early 3rd of rookie drafts.
Lamical Perine – New York Jets (round 4/pick 120)
Perine enters the Meadowlands as the direct backup behind Le’veon Bell immediately. That means he is one Bell injury away from having significant work. Consider, Bell had 245 rushing opportunities and 66 receptions. Not sure who the actual backup was for the Jets, but if it was Bilal Powell(according to pro football reference), then the stats showed he had a measly 59 rushes and 7 receptions. Perine is a good downhill runner and a capable receiver out of the backfield. He will position himself as a legitimate backup/replacement for Bell. The Jets have a potential out in his contract in 2021 for a cap hit at a very reasonable four million dollars. Perine sets up nicely as the candidate to step in as the Jets lead back if/when Le’Veon is gone. Also, he is going in the late 3rd – early/mid 4th of rookie drafts. Don’t pass him up.
Zack Moss – Buffalo Bills (round 3/pick 86)
— Prime-time Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) May 14, 2020
Finally, we end with the former Ute in Zack Moss. Moss was selected on day two by Buffalo and will step in to supplant Frank Gore as their power back. Bills GM Brandon Beane has already come out to say that he envisions Moss being used in that Gore role and as the top candidate for goal line work. If you own Devin Singletary – ouch. Moss is actually a more athletic Frank Gore at 223 pounds and is probably an underrated receiver. I think there is a chance he can steal some of those targets Singletary was slated to get before Moss entered Buffalo. This has the makings of a 1A/1B situation and it wouldn’t surprise me if Moss passes Singletary. Moss has been drafted steadily in the mid/late 2nd round of rookie drafts. If there’s no one else you like on the board, Moss isn’t a bad option.