A personal goal of mine for the upcoming fantasy offseason and the subsequent season is to do a better job of aggressively attacking values within my tiers. The tier-based ranking approach has become much more popular in recent years. It allows savvy fantasy managers to exploit value during single-season drafts, dynasty startups, and offseason trades as they work within the confines of a larger tier. This has enabled those managers to profit in the form of future draft capital and/or younger assets. It’s an excellent method to keep your dynasty team in a win-now mode consistently.
There are likely several players who are valued at or near the top of their respective tier that you could look to flip for profit, and I will try to highlight a few of those throughout this offseason. First, I want to take a closer look at rookie running back J.K. Dobbins of the Baltimore Ravens. The impressive tailback posted a strong inaugural campaign on the back of a strong second half and elite efficiency down the stretch. However, I think his perceived value is at a point where an intuitive dynasty manager could profit with a few deft moves.
We enjoy players who are efficient, who make the most of every opportunity that comes their way. It’s relatively predictive of future success, which is why fantasy managers are often encouraged to chase young players’ efficiency. At the same time, it’s essential to take a more holistic view of how the efficiency occurred and if there are enough supporting reasons in play to predict the same degree of success in the future. To narrow my research, I focused on everything after the Ravens Week 7 bye week. For Dobbins, this break in the season proved to be the start of an incredible run that continued into the playoffs.
As a quick refresher, Dobbins was a mega-producer in college and flashed the pass-catching ability you want to see out of an elite prospect at the running back position. He was efficient and durable, and had a nose for the end zone.
Round 2 draft capital to a run-first team was all fantasy managers needed to further their excitement and anticipation. His season started a bit rocky, which shouldn’t have been all that surprising given the uneven nature of the offseason for the incoming rookie class. Toss in the presence of quarterback Lamar Jackson and running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, and it’s easy to see why Dobbins didn’t come in and take the job outright from the first day.
However, as the season progressed, Dobbins earned himself more and more opportunities. I mentioned using the bye week as the basis for my research on Dobbins, as that is when he took a definitive step forward in his overall growth and development as a running back. His opportunities jumped, and his fantasy production followed suit. The efficiency continued to be there as well, which only heightened the excitement surrounding Dobbins. He was truly becoming the playoff hammer that Shawn Siegele predicted earlier in the season.
How Dobbins’ Efficiency Stacks Up
Here is where I uncovered a few interesting notes about his efficiency. Using the filter of Weeks 8-17, which is the period following Dobbins’ bye week, I wanted to see how his rushing efficiency during that stretch stacked up against other rookie running backs over the last 10 weeks of their inaugural season. The results were surprising.