In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
The running back class of 2020 carries immense upside. At least five running backs went in the first round of most rookie drafts this offseason, many of them landing with solid NFL teams. One rookie landed with the run-heaviest team in football, led by the reigning MVP. J.K. Dobbins made a statement in Week 1, and his usage could foreshadow exciting things to come.
Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins ran for two touchdowns against the Browns on Sunday. While the rookie’s seven rushes for 22 yards wasn’t the most impressive showing, his ability to get his number called inside the five-yard line should raise the eyebrows of fantasy managers. As expected, Mark Ingram II was involved. Still, his 29 yards off of 10 attempts may open the door for the second-round pick to become more involved from a volume standpoint moving ahead, with that trend potentially starting against the Texans in Week 2. Dobbins will undoubtedly be a popular waiver wire target throughout the week, especially for those in need of a back in deeper formats.
The New Addition To The Backfield
The Baltimore Ravens returned their core group of running backs from a season ago that saw them rush the ball 420 times for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. But the question all along has been: how soon will Dobbins take over? I attempted to answer this question over the summer when I tried to decode the Ravens backfield.
Dobbins’ production profile offers up an array of sims, most of which have experienced success at the professional level. However, it’s the Jamaal Charles comp near the top that brings the excitement.
Incumbent Mark Ingram is 30 years old, dealt with an injury late last season, and was a product of incredible efficiency. In Week 1, Ingram led the backfield in total carries, but he was far from the most impactful Ravens rusher.
A Legitimate League Winner
Madison Parkhill tabbed Dobbins as a potential league winner shortly after the NFL Draft this past spring. He highlighted the lack of investment in both Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, along with age/injury concerns for Ingram. Fast forward to this fall and Shawn Siegel labeled Dobbins as The Playoff Hammer and proceeded to slot him in as one of his top Zero-RB candidates.
In Week 1, the Ravens afforded 21 rushing attempts to their running backs. Hill wasn’t even active, which provided additional opportunities for Dobbins.
The touchdowns jump off the page. The lack of efficiency on a yards-per-attempt basis was evident across the board, but a closer look demonstrates just how much trust the Ravens put in Dobbins once they got into the red zone. Here are the running back stats from inside the five-yard line:
That’s it. Dobbins handled both carries inside the five-yard line and turned both into touchdowns. We may have caught a glimpse into how Dobbins will be used. He could pay off for fantasy owners sooner than expected. The cherry on top is the favorable schedule the Ravens running backs have over the next five matchups. Dobbins could soon become a weekly starter for fantasy.
Running Back Strength of Schedule – Weeks 2-6