By: Robert Wykowski
August 7, 2017
It’s come to the point in the year that fantasy football drafts start to become a serious topic. Tonight, is your draft and you’re looking to draft an RB2 but can’t decide on Jay Ajayi, Demarco Murray, Jordan Howard, Todd Gurley, and Leonard Fournette. Who will you draft based on their Pros and Cons heading into the season?
• Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
Ajayi was able to run last season with fresh legs after playing in 9 games his rookie season. When Ajayi can stick his foot in the ground and run off the first cut helped result in multiple 20 plus yard carries last season. He can gain extra yards, since he isn’t afraid of contact and often runs falling forward. The Dolphins didn’t throw to him often but when they did he averaged 12.9 yards per receptions.
Jay Ajayi often wanted to bounce the plays outside the tackle when the play wasn’t written that way. Jay also needs to work on patience because he had too many 1- and 2- yard gains by just jamming the ball into the line. He lacks elusiveness and needs to learn how to make guys miss.
• Demarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
Murray has only missed one game in the past three seasons. He is a strong runner that consistently finishes runs and falls forward, which also makes him a good short yardage and red zone back. He is also an excellent receiver who can get big yards after catch due to size. Plays in a run first offense with a good offensive line.
Murray does not have the vision to find open lanes consistently. Runs a bit high and lacks power to get the more difficult yards. He also lacks ability to make first man miss and often forces the ball outside too soon. The Titans tend to rely on Marcus Mariota’s arm once they are in the red zone.
• Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
Howard has a great combination of balance, power, and pad level that dominates the line of scrimmage. Howard is a willing runner between the tackles keeping his legs churning, falls forward, and can get small in the hole even in small yardage situations. He also has good vision that he uses to follow the blockers and helps him makes good decisions while practicing patience.
Howard was not very involved in the passing game during his college career. He was also inconsistent while scoring touchdowns having three games with 2 or more touchdowns and four games without one.
• Todd Gurley, St Louis Rams
Gurley has the talent and combination of size, speed, vision, and work ethic. He has elite quickness and to run over, around, or through defenders. He has solid hands as he has been able to make an impact catching out of the backfield. He has great ability to see the cut back line and explode through it.
Can he stay healthy? His two injuries came when two big linemen rolled on him from different angles while he was moving at a high rate of speed. Did their line get any better? Did the Rams do enough to stop teams from stacking the box against Gurley?
• Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fournette has the speed to be a breakaway threat, his bulldozing ability running style is expected to wear down NFL defenses. With the speed to hit the edge, balance to remain upright and power to run between the tackles, Fournette displays a rare level of explosivness through the hole.
Fournette needs to prove he can stay on the field in the passing game. Fournette displayed soft hands when given the opportunity to catch the ball. He is a downhill, physical runner best suited to chew up yardage on first and second down. Plays on a team that tends to pass the ball often because they are losing. I personally would go with Demarco Murray. Murray had finished in the top 10 for fantasy points in 3 of the past 4 seasons. He can catch out of the back field and fight for the extra yards. Which of these running backs would you rather have as your RB2?