Dynasty ADP – Most Overdrafted RB’s in 2017
(- RB’s that outperformed their December ADP, and a few that didn’t live up to expectations -)
This article is a comparison of actual production to ADP. Rather than hand picking my favorites, I have simply found the players that represent the largest difference between production, in terms of RB1 (top 12) and RB2 production and December dynasty ADP from DLF. I used this approach so that a year spent consistently producing RB3 numbers is not over inflated by yearly totals of yards or fantasy points. The Underdrafted RB’s out produced their ADP neighbors. The Overdrafted produced less than those selected near them. In some cases there are good reasons. Others represent opportunities to buy underpriced production. And, a few are coasting on what we hoped they might be.
– Underdrafted RB’s –
In the middle of the season, the Dolphins did something we very seldom see. They traded away their work-horse running back creating an opportunity vacuum in their offense. After taking over in Week 9, Drake was an RB1 5 out of 8 games, and added an RB2 week to sweeten the pot. The only other RB’s that were producing at that level, over that period of time, were Kamara, Bell, and Gurley. He was a top 10 back on the season in Juke Rate, Breakaway Run Rate, and Yards Per carry. The production was most certainly there.
The long term concerns with Drake are that he may or may not have this job. His team came into the season with him on the roster, but not named as the starter. Even after the Dolphins traded Ajayi away Drake was splitting touches with Damien Williams. But, it wasn’t long until Williams was injured and the load was Drake’s alone. And, to his credit, he shined in the opportunity. But, we have to wonder, what happens when Williams is healthy? What will his team do in a RB heavy draft? Every year there are incumbents whose jobs come into question and as a result they are discounted. And then the season starts, the dust clears, and they’re still the incumbent.
ADP shows the result of this doubt, and in December Drake was drafted after Matt Breida, and just a handful of picks ahead of CJ Prosise. None of those players have produced the way Drake did. I’m more than happy to select Kenyan Drake ahead of players like that.
One of the biggest surprises of 2018, I clearly remember taking Thompson in the late rounds of a draft where I also took David Johnson. Guess who I was starting after Week 1. Chris Thompson went from being a guy you drafted in case of a bye week pinch to a guy you were just damn glad you drafted. Through week 11 Thompson was an RB1 4 out of 10 games. He was an RB2 in two additional games. Thompson was North to 10 PPR games in 70% of the games he played in. On a per touch basis Thompson was #4 in the NFL in Production Premium (playerprofiler.com). He was by far the most efficient and productive Washington RB.
The question, again, is about role. This year the Redskins’ WR core was a bit of a disaster especially in the first 11 Weeks. Jamison Crowder, the team’s only significant returning player was not 100% early on. He did later contribute, but I think it’s worth noting that in Week 8 when Jamison posted a career game, Thompson was also an RB1. Still, if the Redskins add WR talent, it’s possible that Thompson would not be getting the same target share. Jordan Reed only played in a handful of games in 2017. In 2016, when Pierre Garcon was on campus and Jordan Reed was healthy, Thompson was not utilized to nearly such an extent. However, when he was given the opportunity (in 2016) he was still the 7th most productive player per touch, again by Production Premium. Whether the WR picture changes or not, the Redskins RB picture may be the bigger issue. It seems to me that the Redskins have too many other issues to spend high draft capital at RB. It seems likely they will enter the 2018 season with Perine and Thompson, and I think his talent will shine again.
Of course, the biggest issue of all is the QB issue. For me to feel confident in Thompson, Washington needs to either find a way to retain Cousins or bring in similar talent. If Colt McCoy is leading the squad it will be a bit of a rain cloud over the Chris Thompson parade.
The Green Bay backfield just had one of the most tumultuous years in memory. They started the year with TyMo dominating opportunity share and posting 19.3, 29, and 13 fantasy points in the first 3 weeks. Then Aaron Jones saw an increase in workload and was an RB1 in weeks 5 & 7. When he was injured it was finally time for Jamaal to carry the load and in weeks 11-14 he was no less than an RB2, posting 3 RB1 weeks.
I think there are reasons to be concerned that Jamaal doesn’t hold on to this job. He’s a less impressive athlete than Aaron Jones in basically every measurable way. He was less effective with the touches he received than Aaron Jones, posting a -3.3 production premium to Jones’ +6.5. But, at Jamaal’s ADP of pick 148 you’re able to get him after guys like Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon needs to land in the right place, and basically has no hope outside of injury of maintaining the workload with his current team. Jamaal at least has a chance. You’re also getting him after James White, who is completely confined to his role as a pass catching back in New England who posted only 2 RB1 weeks playing all year. The appropriate discount is being given for Jamaal’s risk profile.
The definition of truther is: If news broke on player X, drastically improving his opportunity, I would do nothing because that player is already on all of my rosters. I was close on Jerick, and added him in places where I didn’t have him. When the unfortunate news broke on Cook’s injury, it certainly seemed that McKinnon was in for a big increase in carries. He hit the ground running posting RB1 numbers in weeks 5,6, and 8. And then the unthinkable happened. Latavius “suboptimal” Murray seemed to be the favorite for a team that was mostly ahead and needed a big back to keep the offense on schedule in short yardage. Nevertheless, Jerick McKinnon managed to post 4 RB1 weeks and an RB2 week in the weeks that followed. In the eye’s of many he proved himself to be a bonafide NFL talent who just needs a workload.
There are very big questions about workload for McKinnon. Number one, “Where is he playing next year?’. I am of the opinion that the job will be Dalvin Cook’s just as soon as he is healthy. If McKinnon stays in Minnesota it’s likely that he will disappear back into the abyss and out of fantasy relevance. He needs to land well. Number two,”Why couldn’t he keep Latavius Murray at bay?’. He may just be confined to the satellite role, and never really become the “satellite back plus” type that can really dominate an opportunity share.
To put it in a nutshell, down the stretch having Collins was basically the same as Lesean McCoy or Melvin Gordon. Around week 6 the Ravens seemed to have decided it was in their best interest for Collins to touch the ball between 12 and 20 times a game. He was then an RB1 in 5 of the 6 next weeks and was above 15 PPR points in 4 of those games. The secret about the Ravens is that what used to be the pass heaviest offense in the NFL is now a run first team. Over the course of the season the Ravens ran the ball 461 times, ranking 7th. Collins is regularly getting 15 carries or more a game in this offense. In addition he had 3 games with more than 5 targets.
The Ravens are likely to retain a pass catching back. However, while Danny Woodhead may still be effective in small doses I don’t think anyone would advocate for him getting even 10 touches a game. This team has also been extremely reluctant to ever give Javorious Allen much of a leash and at this point I just can’t see him consuming a significant share of the opportunity.
The real issue looming on the horizon would be the return of Kenneth Dixon, who is not only a better athlete, but was more effective on a touch by touch basis. It will be interesting to see how the team handles this backfield in the offseason.
Again while there are questions, Alex Collins was an invaluable asset for those who had him to close out the season. And again, he is being drafted among players who at best need an ideal landing spot to match his production. Latavius Murray or Alex Collins? Demarco Murray of Alex Collins? Doug Martin or Alex Collins? I’m taking Collins ahead of all of those.
We are all too familiar with the nightmare that is playing a member of the New England backfield. But Rex makes me want to roll the dice. To put it simply, in games where Burkhead received 10 or more carries, he was an RB1. The New England backfield just has too much potential for us to wash our hands of it and give up. Rex Burkhead is bigger than Dion Lewis, although not as evasive. And, he is clearly a capable pass catcher. There are just too many ways for the unforeseen to break in the favor of Rex Burkhead. If any member of this backfield should be unable to continue, he is the next man up.
– Overdrafted RB’s –
My criticism of Mixon isn’t about opportunity share. Easing a rookie in, especially when you have another back like Giovanni Bernard, makes enough sense to me. But once Mixon was given the reigns the backfield I didn’t really see the emergence of an unstoppable force that you hope for when spending a top 5 rookie pick. Playing behind an average O-line, 18th in run-blocking efficiency per Playerprofiler.com, Mixon managed only one game of more than 14 PPR points. For reference, that’s similar production to Tarik Cohen. In games where Mixon received an ample workload, he seemed no more likely to produce. As evidence, Week 3 against Green Bay, 18 carries 3 receptions, and the result was RB19. Week 4 against Cleveland, 17 carries and 4 receptions, a result of RB36. Week 11 against Denver, 20 carries and 2 receptions, and that yields RB38. And to be fair, the crown jewel, Week 12 against Cleveland, 23 carries and 3 receptions, RB4.
Mixon does have some qualities that the aforementioned Underdrafted RB’s do not. The job is pretty secure. His only competitor for touches is Giovanni Bernard. Gio is no slouch, but that is objectively better than competing with both James White and Dion Lewis. The problem, besides inefficient production, is price. While producing like a Tarik Cohen whose usage was lamented by many, Mixon will cost you about the same as Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard, and Derrick Henry. I couldn’t consider him, personally, until we get to the realm of Tevin Coleman. And, in Tevin’s defense, when he gets the workload he produces. The Lamar Miller price range is the range where a player like Mixon becomes an option for me.
A preseason favorite, if you held onto Perine all year you’re probably a little disappointed. He seemed primed for success behind one of the most pedestrian NFL RB’s in Rob Kelley. Stubbornly, Kelley held on until about Week 9 before seceding his position mostly as a result of an MCL sprain in Week 10. About the same time Chris Thompson fractured his fibula, and the table seemed to be set for Perine. In Weeks 11 and 12 he delivered, giving RB1 performances. However after that point he never again reached 20 carries, or posted numbers above RB3.
A role for Perine may remain in this offense. But, it is sure to be the type of role that is the most game script and touchdown dependent. We saw that even in the absence of Thompson to close the season. I would expect Chris Thompson’s role to be far more valuable and consistent. And, guess who’s being drafted first? Hint: it’s not Chris Thompson.
Unlike other players on this list, I’m giving Abdullah a little it of a pass for his production this year. He gets an “Incomplete” instead of a “Fail”. Most of the conditions we’d like to see present for an RB to succeed are just not there in Detroit. As a run blocking unit, the 2017 Lions ranked 29th in efficiency (playerprofiler.com). Besides having a poor line, they also didn’t provide a lot of running volume. How can you when you know you can’t block? The team ran 361 running plays, ranking 31st. And to top it all off, Ameer is only getting about half of the below average opportunity in the Detriot run game. It’s just not there.
The Lions have hired a new coach, and that creates some hope. But what I’d really like to see are offensive line improvements and something suggesting that this team would like to feed Abdullah. As long as Riddick is there it’s going to be hard for Ameer to assume the kind of versatile role that would make him a consistent, every week contributor. In short, Abdullah either needs a new home or a major remodel.
There was a time when Isaiah Crowell was getting a lot of hype. The Browns had made some upgrades to the offensive line. They had drafted a QB. There seemed to be cause for optimism. All of that optimism resulted in surprisingly little. Owners got one game above 20 PPR points and 2 more above 15.
So what was the problem? It wasn’t the offensive line, who was in the top half of the league in run blocking efficiency. The problems were that 1, the Browns RB’s had to endure the worst game scripts in the NFL. And 2, like Ameer and Samaje, when you are not a versatile pass catching back (or at least not used in that fashion) and rely on game scripts that don’t materialize, neither do the fantasy points. Isaiah Crowell is not completely incapable of catching a football. In the two games where he was targeted 6 times, he converted 4 into receptions. The problem is that the pass catching role is more effectively inhabited by one Mr. Duke Johnson. And Duke happens to be a lot more productive with those touches than Crowell. Duke Johnson’s Production Premium of +46.6 is a number that dwarfs almost all of the NFL.
Unlike Chris Thompson, Duke is being taken ahead of his less productive team mate. However, scrolling past Isaiah Crowell we see other names on this list like Alex Collins, Kenyan Drake, and Dion Lewis. There are questions with all of those players, but the same can be said for Crowell. There is also the possibility that Crowell improves his opportunity in free agency. But, he would need to land on a very productive offense that can provide an ample, reliable supply of high value touches.
RB 1 and 2 Weeks
Dynasty RB ADP per DLF.com (December)
- Points For Free
- Fantasy Crock-Pot
- Hate or Wait
Latest posts by Josh Crocker (see all)
- Dynasty ADP – Most Overdrafted RB’s in 2017 - January 18, 2018
- Dynasty ADP – Most Overdrafted QB’s in 2017 - January 10, 2018
- Adjusting Expectations: Fantasy Football PPR Lineup Tool Week 10 - November 11, 2017