With the 2019 NFL Draft come and gone, it’s time to re-evaluate and readjust our positions on some of our most-prized prospects by taking a look at three rookie running backs to fade in dynasty drafts.
This class has neither the ceiling nor the depth of the 2018 class, which should push up RBs who found themselves drafted into situations where they might be able to produce as rookies.
Considering that you’ll have to pay a premium to draft several of the RBs currently on top of our rookie rankings, I’ll take you through several RBs I’m presently fading.1
Here are three of the most expensive rookie RBs I am avoiding in dynasty drafts unless their draft price corrects.
In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and Josh Jacobs being drafted as the first RB in the 2019 NFL Draft. We knew that Jacobs’ draft slot was going to be incredibly important for his post-draft evaluation, and even though the Raiders spent the 24th overall pick on him, Jacobs’ comparables via the RotoViz Box Score Scout indicate that he’s not a first-round talent.
Jacobs joins Michael Bennett and Willis McGahee in becoming one of three RBs to be drafted in the first-round with fewer than 3,000 yards from scrimmage. Looking at Jacobs’ closest NFL comparable players, we can see that Kenyan Drake is ostensibly the best comp. However, as Shawn Siegele as pointed out, Drake was likely over-drafted based on his scouting profile, and it’s possible that Jacobs is as well. Jacobs’ inadequate Pro-Day testing and lack of athleticism are well-worn topics here at RotoViz, so check those two posts for additional information.
Despite Jacobs’ numerous red flags, there’s plenty of reason for optimism. Blair Andrews’ research has shown that age 21 RBs who are selected within the top-100 selections of the NFL Draft are quite likely to go on to post a top-24 PPR season. It’s likely that teams try and justify their early RB selections by giving them plenty of opportunities until it becomes self-evident that they can no longer afford to do so.
On the other hand, Jacobs landed in an ideal spot and should easily find himself taking over as the primary RB in this offense. He’s one of two rookie RBs who should see a significant chunk of opportunity this season, and he stands alone in Curtis Patrick’s post-draft rookie rankings. For those of you looking to add Jacobs to your squad, be prepared to spend a top-3 rookie pick. Unfortunately, Jacobs’ rookie draft price is far to steep for me. I’d rather have N’Keal Harry at the top of the draft and wouldn’t mind looking to trade down if he’s is gone.
Note: Since publishing, Isaiah Crowell has torn his Achilles. This injury might raise Jacobs’ price, but it is unlikely to have a huge effect on his opportunity. Everything I wrote still applies.
RotoViz’s recently crowned rookie RB tournament champion lands in ostensibly the worst spot. This is why we can’t have nice things. Henderson’s young breakout age coupled with his strong production history results in some very intriguing NFL comparable players.
Unfortunately, Henderson lands in a backfield that Todd Gurley has dominated over the last few years. Gurley has reportedly been dealing with arthritis in his knee, but it’s difficult to project him losing out on the lion’s share of rushing and receiving work in the Rams’ backfield. In a best-case scenario, Henderson earns usage as a change-of-pace RB such as Tevin Coleman or Duke Johnson. Given Henderson’s receiving chops2 coupled with his ability to deliver splash plays, he could provide standalone value. However, several names generated by the Box Score Scout3 coupled with his rookie-year age should give us some pause with regard to Henderson’s low floor.
Henderson is undoubtedly an intriguing name to consider during dynasty drafts, considering we saw what C.J. Anderson was able to do down the stretch as Gurley’s backup. Our rankers have Henderson as the 13th best player in this class, but opinions on his post-draft rank span a wide range. I’d consider Henderson around the middle of the second round in rookie drafts, but it’s likely he’s long gone by then.4
Of all the landing spots on all the teams in the NFL, Singletary lands on the Bills.5 Singletary broke out at a young age, is an early declare for the NFL Draft and was incredibly productive during his three seasons at Florida Atlantic. He posted a 33-TD, 2,100-yard season in 2017 and a strong NFL combine could’ve allayed all concerns about his diminutive stature. Unfortunately, Singletary’s combine results were nothing short of a disaster.
Per the RotoViz Combine Explorer, Singletary’s closest athletic comparable players include Marques Hagans, KaDeem Carey, and Eldra Buckley. However, if we factor in Singletary’s productive college resume and his final draft position, the Box Score Scout generates a significantly better list of comparable players.
Several names pop in Singletary’s list of comparables, namely Jamaal Williams and T.J. Yeldon. Unfortunately, Singletary’s lack of receiving skills is cause for some concern, as it’s unlikely that the Bills will utilize Singletary in passing-down situations. Additionally, Singletary landed in a crowded RB room in Buffalo, as LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and Yeldon should all be ahead of him on the depth chart.
Singletary’s landing spot should depress his rookie draft cost, but I’m unwilling to draft him until the late-second/early-third round.6 It’s entirely possible that the currently crowded depth chart won’t look so crowded during the NFL season, but there’s plenty of other players to consider in the same draft range as Singletary.
- Note that if you’re particularly needy at the RB-position, this advice may not apply to you. (back)
- He caught 68 passes with eight receiving TDs. (back)
- Tre Mason, David Wilson, and Paul Perkins (back)
- It behooves those who own Gurley in the league to wildly overdraft him, especially if they’re looking to avoid losing out on production from the Rams’ backfield. (back)
- I reached harder for that Casablanca reference than your fellow drafters will for Singletary. (back)
- Ideally in the 2.11-3.02 range (back)