Dynasty Rookie Running Backs: Players to Target

Dynasty Rookie Running Backs: Players to Target

 

By: Adam Cook (@fantasy_schnerd)

 

What up, what up everyone. I know everyone is super excited for their rookie drafts as the fantasy football fever is kicking in 3 months out from the preseason. We are going to break down some running back prospects that you should be targeting in the late 1st/2nd rounds of dynasty football rookie drafts. Listen, everyone knows Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Joe Mixon are awesome. They will be gone in the top 6 picks. Let’s dive into some players to target once variance starts kicking in around pick 7 of rookie drafts.

Target Em’

Alvin Kamara- New Orleans Saints: Target Range: 6th-8th overall pick

When you think of perfect landing spots, like Ezekiel Elliott landing with Dallas last year, Kamara hit the jack pot. The way he will be used in New Orleans fits Kamara’s skill set perfectly and he could become a PPR top 20 running back right off the bat. His main weakness is that he lacks good interior vision, but Sean Payton has enough self-awareness to not utilize him in an every down role. Kamara has smooth hands and excels at catching the ball without breaking stride. He has extremely nimble feet and is a nightmare to bring down in the open field. The Saints had 2 running backs in the top 20 in targets last year, Mark Ingram was 12th (58) and Travaris Cadet was 17th (54). This leads to the potential Kamara sees anywhere from 75-100 targets as a rookie which could lead to potentially around 60 receptions. Throw in a few rushing statistics and Kamara deserves to be the 6th overall pick in PPR dynasty leagues over Mike Williams who has plenty of competition for targets in San Diego.

Kareem Hunt- Kansas City Chiefs: Target Range: 9th-13th overall pick

I like Spencer Ware very much, which makes recommending Kareem Hunt as a dynasty target very hard. The talent Hunt displays is just too hard to deny and Ware proved last year that he may not be built to carry the load over a full season. Kareem Hunt reminds me of a young Frank Gore. I compare the two players because the balance they display is top notch and they both lack the necessary long speed to finish breakaway runs. The lack of long speed means Hunt will never be a top 5 fantasy running back in his career, but could have a long career being in the RB 8-20 range. I watched Hunt’s Draft Breakdown film for the Western Michigan and Senior Bowl games and consistently noticed it takes more than one player to bring Hunt down and it takes more than arm tackles to stop his progress. I like Hunt as a late 1st-early 2nd round pick and needs to be reached for in the late 1st for Spencer Ware owners.

Jamaal Williams- Green Bay Packers: Target Range: 13th-19th overall pick

This recommendation won’t be for everyone, especially those in the metrics community. I watched William’s games against Mississippi State, Utah, and West Virginia and came away impressed with his overall skill set for what he had to work with. Williams was a one-man offense at many times this year and faced a lot of 8 man boxes due to a horrible passing game. Jamaal had to run through more traffic than if he was racing on Toad’s Turnpike. He has a good combination of shiftiness and power and noticed he had very good interior vision. He won’t be big in the PPR community, but has major touchdown upside in a high powered Green Bay offense. Answer a question for me. How does the weather get come October until the end of year? It isn’t pretty. Eddie Lacy routinely had slow September’s and then would thrive once the weather turned. I expect the same trajectory for Williams. If you aren’t able to grab him early round 2, he will be a great buy low candidate after the 1st month of the season. He could mold into a Jordan Howard type running back.

Joe Williams- San Francisco 49ers: Target Range: 10th-20th overall pick

I want to save the best for last! I am so ready to plant my flag on Williams and hope you will with me. When Kyle Shanahan bangs the table for a running back, I will surely listen. The main negative is William’s commitment to football, but from what I have read him leaving the team temporarily was not as bad as it seemed. His burst and elusiveness are elite and he consistently beats defensive backs to turn the edge. We all know he has great speed, but when I watched him play Washington I was surprised at how he could also run with good power as well. He needs to work on his patience, but that can be learned. I compare him to a better version of Tevin Coleman. Many were high on Devontae Booker last year and comparing William’s to him makes Booker look like he runs in quick sand. Carlos Hyde is a good running back, but not very durable. Once Williams get a chance, I wouldn’t expect him to relinquish the starting job back. I will be “reaching” for Williams.

Ignore Em’

Samaje Perine- Washington Redskins: Target Range: 14th-20th overall pick

I have seen Perine go in the 1st round of rookie drafts and that is just a little too rich for my blood. I understand he has a weak depth chart to overcome, a good offensive line to run behind, and has muscles coming out of muscles. Don’t let the muscles fool you though, the way he runs will lead to serious durability questions. What I don’t like about Perine is I don’t see a high ceiling worthwhile of spending a 1st round rookie pick on. I think Perine has good patience following his blockers and has good initial quickness to hit the hole. What I don’t like is he isn’t very creative as a runner and lacks the acceleration to get to the outside. He won’t ever be anything more than an early down banger. Maybe I just can’t reach for the positives because watching him next to Joe Mixon is like night and day. Mixon has a high ceiling, Perine doesn’t. I’ll pass unless he makes it to the mid-2nd round.

Wayne Gallman- New York Giants: Target Range: 20th-26th overall pick

Gallman falls into the name game trap where owners move him up draft boards because of his “name brand” and not his talent level. Where I think Gallman could be a producer is the fact that the Giants depth chart isn’t overwhelming and it should be an easy adjustment to the Giants offense as Gallman is used to running out of spread shotgun formations. What impressed me the most about Gallman for those that like him is that he has an awesome jump cut that brings him great success in eluding the 1st defender. Wayne is a high floor low ceiling player and I don’t target those guys on my dynasty rosters. He will be a reliable backup running back in this league, but I don’t see him even surpassing Paul Perkins.

Marlon Mack- Indianapolis Colts: Target Range: 24thd-30th overall pick

For all my baseball folks out there, Marlon Mack reminds me of Joey Gallo. If you can deal with a low average of positive runs, you can sometimes catch a home run. I hate when I watched Mack bounce runs too often and not run for much power for a guy his size. South Florida used him a good amount on jet sweeps and less of a traditional role as a true workhorse running back. Mack doesn’t break too many tackles which is a shame as he wasn’t playing in a powerhouse conference. Now what Mack does well, is he has very good long speed. That makes him a good compliment to Frank Gore. He is good in space and will have a small role initially in the Colts offense. I don’t envision Mack every being an every down back and is a player who could get drafted over as soon as 2018. Imagine Saquon Barkley in that Colts offense next year!

Aaron Jones- Green Bay Packers: Target Range: 36th-44th overall pick

You already know I am a Jamaal Williams fan, so naturally I am on the other end of the Aaron Jones versus Jamaal Williams spectrum. Why I am on the other end of the Aaron Jones truthers is that what does he do to compliment the better running back in Ty Montgomery? Jones is more of a direct backup to him where Williams can directly compliment him. I didn’t like what I saw from Jones versus Arkansas and Texas. He ran with little power between the tackles and did not show as much wiggle for a guy in his role. He had some good statistical games that were misleading as he broke a few long runs in garbage time. I see little room for Jones to ever creep into the RB2 territory in his career.

Late 2nd Round Sleepers

Jeremy McNichols- Tampa Bay Bucs: Target Range: 24th-28th overall pick

I really wish Jeremy landed in a more positive environment like with the Giants than the situation in Tampa Bay. If we are focusing on the positives, Doug Martin is starting the year suspended which could ruin any momentum he builds and Charles Sims is nothing special. I’m trying not to do a lazy analysis, but in uniform he is built like a small sturdy running back in the Doug Martin mold. He is a willing north-south runner and runs low to avoid big hits. Where McNichols excels is in the passing game and is a mid-2nd round pick in PPR formats. He is a true hands catcher and doesn’t break stride when receiving the football. He may already be a better pass catcher than Charles Sims. With Doug Martin missing time, the risk of injury increases with that much time away from football. McNichols could be looking at a full-time backfield role in 2017 and has the upside you should be targeting out of running backs in the late 2nd round.

Elijah McGuire- New York Jets: Target Range: 28th-34th overall pick

While everyone is sipping the Bilal Powell juice, let me provide a little Elijah McGuire juice as a chaser. The dynasty community was really high on Kenneth Dixon coming out of Louisiana Tech last year and McGuire reminds me so much of him. The Jets situation is not as rosy as it seems on the outside as Bilal Powell has not shown he can be a feature back for more than 5 games at a time and Matt Forte is one year away from retirement. McGuire shows good vision between the tackles and makes quick cuts without any wasted movements. He lacks the power of a feature back, but there is hope he can develop some strength in a NFL training program. McGuire is super elusive and I watched him break guys’ ankles in a phone booth versus Southern Mississippi in their bowl game. I am a fan of McGuire’s game and will be selecting him in the early 3rd rounds of rookie drafts.

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