5 Players Being Drafted Too High and Too Low (Too Low-RB Edition)
By: Brendan Coleman
July 14, 2016
5 RBs Being Drafted Too Low
Jamaal Charles, KC. ADP: 19.49 (RB8).
Charles can do it all. He is a true 3rd down back and in PPR leagues, he is a true difference maker. In my opinion he is one of the 10 or so elite fantasy players that can potentially take you to the playoffs by themselves. He is not being drafted like one. He’s going late 2nd round right now when he really should be going in the first round due to sheer volume alone. Add to that the fact that he is an elite talent at running back in the NFL and you should get an early first round pick. Maybe Charles coming off an injury should drop him down a little bit but not as far as the bottom of the second round. It seems like people have labeled him as injury prone but he really isn’t. In 8 seasons he’s missed more than one game in a season twice. I wouldn’t say his bones are made of steel but what running back doesn’t get hurt here and there. Bell, Gurley, and Peterson have all had major injuries in their careers so it’s not uncommon. The other guys being drafted above him have concerns too. Johnson, Elliott, Miller, and Freeman don’t have guaranteed or clearly defined volumes in their offenses. There is no running back that doesn’t have questions that come with him so the ones that have proven their fantasy worth time and time again should be valued at a premium.
2. LeSean McCoy, Buf. ADP: 34.89 (RB12).
It’s becoming clearer and clearer every day that McCoy is going to be the bell-cow in Buffalo. Karlos Williams is overweight and suspended for the first 4 games. Jonathan Williams isn’t showing the maturity he needs to. Not only is McCoy a very good running back, but he is their only running back showing that he wants the job. So what we have in McCoy is a very good running back that should get the lion’s share of touches, participates in the pass game, and is on the only team in the NFL that ran more than they passed last year. He honestly is in the perfect situation to be the number 1 RB at the end of the year. McCoy offers tremendous value where he’s being drafted, as an RB2. When you can get a guy with that kind of ceiling as your second RB, you take him. His ceiling is tremendous too. In this offense he could seriously push for the lead league in rushes and I personally would have him as my favorite to be that guy. Last year all McCoy would’ve needed to have the most rushes in the league is 65% of Buffalos rushes. I would be extremely surprised that in a healthy season, McCoy doesn’t exceed that percentage this year. With that ceiling and floor combination, McCoy should be easily picked as a top 10 RB at the very least.
3. Dion Lewis, NE. ADP: 41.52 (RB15).
It seems like everyone either loves or hates Lewis this year. You either buy into his enormous ceiling or are scared off by his rock bottom floor. Belichick showed all of last year that a pass catching running back has a vital role in their offense whether it was Dion Lewis or James White. It looks like Bill officially chose Lewis though, with him signing a two year extension last October. Let’s look at how Lewis and White would’ve fared when you combine their production; 76 catches (would’ve been 3rd in the league for RBs), 798 receiving yards (would’ve been the most in the league for RBs), and 6 receiving TDs (would’ve been tied for most in the league for RBs). Added to that would be the work that Lewis actually received in the run game, unlike White, and you have a pace of 468 rushing yards and 4 rushing TDs in a full 16 game season. So a healthy Dion Lewis last year could be expected to go for around 75 catches, 1,250 total yards, and 10 TDs. That’s good for about 260 PPR fantasy points…RB2. Wow. This is a lot of ifs and buts but really this just shows his expectable ceiling. You just absolutely can’t find that kind of potential from anyone else going that late. In fantasy football you draft to win, not to avoid losing. By drafting Dion Lewis you really put yourself in position to win.
4. Ryan Matthews, Phi. ADP: 62.45 (RB25).
DeMarco Murray is gone in Philadelphia. Darren Sproles is 33. All Kenjon Barner can do is run fast. The Eagles only spent a 5th round pick on an RB. It seems like new head coach Doug Pederson might actually like Ryan Matthews. It is understandable why as Matthews was extremely efficient in the limited touches he received last year. He ranked 4th in yards per carry and had Football Outsiders 3rd highest DVOA. What’s even better for Matthews is that Pederson likes to feature one back when he shows he can do it all like Matthews has shown. Just look at Jamaal Charles who was elite in fantasy for almost every year that Pederson was there barring his injury last year. Even with two backups in Kansas City, Pederson was able to propel West to a top 10 RB performance from week 7 on and Ware to a top 15 RB performance from week 11 on. Think of what he could do with Ryan Matthews getting most of the work behind PFFs 12th ranked oline who should improve with an offseason together. The injuries scare people a bit and they should. This guy gets injured a lot but he shouldn’t be going after pass catching specialists like Duke Johnson, Danny Woodhead, and Gio Bernard who have capped ceilings. The skies the limit for Matthews and at that ADP I’m all over him.
5. Jonathan Stewart, Car. ADP: 74.51 (RB29).
Stewart was a workhorse last year and finished 7th in carries without even playing the last 3 games. At the pace he was going he would’ve finished with the second most. You’re getting the guy who would’ve had the 2nd most rushes as the 29th RB off the board. How!? He may be the safest pick there is this year. He’s practically being drafted like he’s already guaranteed to miss time. Not to mention he should improve his 6 rushing TDs from last year. I don’t care that it’s Cam Newton; you can’t expect the QB to score more rushing TDs than the starting RB with the 7th most carries in the NFL. Get this. Even if Stewart would’ve rushed for 0 rushing TDs last year, he would’ve still finished at about RB29. Many people are worried that Cam vultures so many of his TDs clearly TDs are not where this guy gets his value. Stewart is all about the volume and after the Panthers added no RBs this offseason, I expect him to still get that volume.