This post is part of a series of articles where various RotoViz writers name their favorite buy low for dynasty fantasy football, with a look at the 2016 NFL season and beyond. At the conclusion of the series, the authors will get together to rank the various nominations in one final post. In this installment, Justin Winn discusses his pick, Dion Lewis.
- Let’s start with the production. Lewis was the overall RB5 in PPR points per game in 2015, good for an average of 17.5 FPG. He actually scored less than that average in Week 1 when LeGarrette Blount was suspended. If you remove his last game where he tore his ACL, his average shoots up to 18.8 FPG. That would have put him behind only Devonta Freeman, Jamaal Charles, and Arian Foster, and right ahead of Le’Veon Bell.1
- Is Dion Lewis even a buy low, bro? Yes, he is. According to a startup dynasty mock I’m participating in and our own Dynasty ADP App, Lewis is currently worth around a fifth or sixth round startup pick. He would certainly be worth more had he stayed healthy and produced for the rest of the season, removing some of the skepticism surrounding him. Speaking of that skepticism…
- Lewis isn’t “just a guy,” he was an elite prospect from an age-adjusted production standpoint. That may seem like a stretch. I understand why people would be skeptical since he didn’t make an impact in the NFL until his fifth season. But it’s true. In fact, as a prospect it wouldn’t be entirely unfair to have compared his production to Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson, Ray Rice, and arguably the top RB in this year’s draft class, Ezekiel Elliot. To prove my point, I’d like to show you a table from an article Jon Moore wrote about Elliot back in September:
|RB||Season||School||Draft Pick||Age||Rush Yards/G||Age-Adj Rush Score|
|Steven Jackson||2002||Oregon St||24||19.4||130.0||2.03|
|Ryan Williams||2009||Virginia Tech||38||19.7||127.3||1.94|
|Ezekiel Elliott||2014||Ohio St||19.4||125.2||1.91|
|Chris Wells||2007||Ohio State||31||19.4||123.8||1.88|
|TJ Duckett||2000||Michigan St||18||19.9||123.0||1.81|
That table is based on how the RBs did in their age 19 season. Not only did Lewis make the list, he came in second overall since 1999, behind only Adrian Peterson. The list includes all-time what-could-have-been RB candidates like Jahvid Best and Ryan Williams. It also includes future high-profile prospects like Nick Chubb, Samaje Perine, and James Conner. Lewis has his limitations – he’s only 5 feet 7 inches tall, for instance. But dude has shown a unique ability to ball at both the college and NFL level.
If you’re still skeptical, consider that the Patriots aren’t. They signed him to an extension after Week 3, an extension that goes through 2017. That doesn’t suggest skepticism on the Patriots’ part. It suggests excitement.
- In fairness, they all exited games with injury as well, but this is still an incredible cohort to be lumped in with. (back)