Melvin Gordon and Other RBs with Uncertain 2017 ADP’s

Chargers Melvin Gordon

With the 2016 fantasy season in the books and the ball dropping in Times Square, 2017 is officially upon us. That means it is time to shift our focus and start to think about 2017 fantasy drafts. While for dynasty owners the season is never really over but redraft players should continue to think about upcoming season. Avoiding cramming in an off-season’s worth of information in August will go a long way to having a successful season. With that in mind let’s look at three running backs who have a ton of question marks about where their value will sit come draft day.

Melvin Gordon | RB | San Diego Chargers

Melvin Gordon entered his second NFL season with a ton of questions and confusion about what he could be as a NFL running back and fantasy option. He presumably would be splitting time with Danny Woodhead and running behind a poor offensive line. Oh, Gordon was also coming off an injury riddled and unproductive rookie season. Not only did Gordon return value for the late fifth/early sixth round ADP, but he exceeded that. He racked up 992 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He also displayed versatility catching 41 balls for 419 yards and two scores. All this production came in 12 games as unfortunately the injury bug crept up with Gordon again. He was hurt trying to recover a teammates fumble.

Looking ahead to 2017 drafts, this kind of production normally warrants a big bump in ADP. Players like C.J. Anderson, Jeremy Hill, and David Johnson have used highly productive seasons to vault into first rounds of fantasy drafts the future season. However with the late season injury, Gordon is not assured of the same thing despite the impressive performance. Those who owned Gordon 2016 likely have a bad taste in their mouth after the way this season ended. There is also going to be someone worthy of touches sharing time with Gordon with his injury riddled past. It can’t be assumed that its only third down work Gordon will lose with Danny Woodhead currently a free agent. It could be someone who cuts into Gordon’s first and second down work also. The passing attack will still be a factor with Keenan Allen coming back to join Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman who emerged down the stretch. I’ll be curious to see where the fantasy football community as a whole lands on Gordon heading into 2017 drafts.

LA Rams Todd Gurley

Jasen Vinlove – USA TODAY Sports

Todd Gurley | RB | Los Angeles Rams

Another running back who will be surrounded with questions and intrigue heading into drafts next season will be Todd Gurley. He entered 2016 as a sure fire first round pick typically coming off of the board in the top 5 of drafts. His rookie season was incredibly impressive putting up 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 13 games. He displayed big play explosion that would surely make him a star. His sophomore season however left a lot to be desired. He was only able to amass 885 yards and six touchdowns despite having 49 more carries and playing all 16 games. Not only did his total numbers fall off but his efficiency did too. Gurley saw his yards per carry fell off going from an impressive 4.8 to an underwhelming 3.2.

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For me the question with Gurley isn’t if but how far he will fall. Will he mimic DeMarco Murray who became a 5th round pick after a miserable season with the Eagles? Could it be like C.J. Anderson who only fell a round or two? Will it be a handful of picks knowing he’s the only guy in town on a team whose offense should improve under a new coaching staff? There is a ton of intrigue surround Gurley and the Rams. His awful offensive line will need to improve. As Cian Fahey points out Gurley had to work for every inch he got this season.

Jared Goff will need to make strides to force the defense to respect him and the passing game. If Gurley can get some help this offseason things could rebound for him, but if it’s much of the same it will be rough sledding again for Gurley. Perception will help dictate his draft day price. He will be either a draft day value or guy that will get too much momentum causing owners to overpay. It will interesting to see how drafters feel in 2017.

Bears Jordan Howard

Nam Y. Huh – AP

Jordan Howard | RB | Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears Jordan Howard was either a very late draft pick heading into the season, likely by Jeremy Langford owners or an in-season waiver wire add. Either way if he ended up on your team you were very happy. Howard finished 9th in fantasy points among running backs despite not getting a full workload until October. He produced 1,313 and 6 TDs in his 252 carries. Per Zach Zaidman, Howard joined Barry Sanders and Clinton Portis as the only rookie RBs in NFL history with 250 plus attempts and 5.2 yards per carry.

In 2017 the Bears will be a team in transition, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They will potential be without Alshon Jeffery, Jay Cutler, and more. The one thing that should be certain is Howard’s workload. The Bears will have a healthy Kyle Long and Josh Sitton to stabilize their offensive line. Howard fits the bill for a guy who should take a massive jump in ADP and approach top two round price tag come 2017 fantasy drafts. The question becomes whether owners will trust the numbers and take him as an RB1 or if they will be leery of the offensive shift and push him down a round or two. Owners should be doing backflips if they can grab him as an RB1 in a WR heavy start or an RB2 in a RB heavy start. Whether or not he will be sitting there remains to be seen.

Luckily for us there is plenty of time to get everything sorted out. MFL10’s will get started after the Super Bowl and be a good insight on how draft day prices may look. Stay tuned to Fake Pigskin to get set for your 2017 leagues.

For more Fantasy Football coverage check out Fake Pigskin’s Angle of Pursuit podcast on iTunes.

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