Not all dynasty acquisitions have to be of the blockbuster variety.
Depth at any position can be easily underrated and as the season wears on, can provide a major lift to your roster. Solid options at your RB2/Flex position can be the difference between winning and losing a match-up, especially at a high injury rate position like running back. In leagues that start two or more RBs, I’m targeting Chris Thompson and Shane Vereen. Both are cheap and can help in a pinch based on their roles in high-volume passing offenses.
Using our Dynasty ADP app, Thompson’s ADP has been relatively unchanged, around 200 overall, since March. In April he signed a one-year deal to remain in Washington and in May the Redskins selected Samaje Perine in the fourth round. The latter event seems to have had little impact on drafters. On the other hand, Vereen’s ADP has dropped around 40 spots since March. Paul Perkins is now the assumed starter and like their divisional foe, the Giants also drafted an RB in the fourth round, selecting Wayne Gallman. Either back is a sound pick after round 15.
If we plug Thompson and Vereen into the trade calculator, Thompson carries a value of five while Vereen’s is three. You could potentially acquire the pair for a mid-third round rookie pick; in the range of Carlos Henderson and Cooper Kupp.
Thompson and Vereen make for safe “floor” plays because of their roles in offenses that rely on the pass. Jay Gruden became the head coach of the Redskins in 2014 after serving as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati for three years. Passing attempts have increased each year under Gruden, starting at 547, increasing slightly to 555 in year two and leaping to 606 last season, seventh most in the league.
If you listened to the Washington Redskins Fantasy Preview, Mark Bullock reiterated that Thompson’s role in the offense is not changing, despite the addition of Perine. If we plug Thompson’s last three seasons into our Screener, it shows how valuable that can be. 2016 was the first season Thompson played all 16 games. In 2015, Thompson missed three games but still commanded the fifth most targets.
Similar to Gruden, Ben McAdoo was the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 2014 to 2015 and was promoted to head coach with the departure of Tom Coughlin. With McAdoo calling plays, the Giants have averaged 610 passing attempts per season. Vereen’s cheap price could also be explained by his 2016 season as he only played in five games due to a triceps injury, and left one game early due to a concussion. However, he played all 16 games in 2015 and was a vital piece of their passing attack. Vereen finished third in targets and receiving yards that year, trailing only Odell Beckham Jr. and Reuben Randle.
Despite rookie additions to both backfields, Thompson and Vereen have clear roles in fantasy friendly offenses. In the event of an injury, it’s difficult to see either taking over as the primary back. That limits their potential upside compared to other zero RB options. However, as late round startup picks they provide a safe floor compared to perceived “higher upside” players at a similar ADP. If trading for them, both should be easily attainable with trade calculator values around a mid to late third round rookie pick.