Fantasy Football RB Preview: Post-Draft Stock Changes
Justin Vreeland takes a look at the running back landscape following the NFL Draft.
Welcome to the sixth edition of the RB previews! Last week we previewed the rookie RB class and what each of their landing spots meant for their fantasy value. This week we are going to take a look at the incumbent backs around the league and whose stocks are up or down post-draft. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) – With all of the trade rumors that have been surrounding Fournette, many expected the Jags to look for their next running back somewhat early in the draft. Not only did they not take one early, they didn’t take one at all. Jacksonville has already declined the fifth-year option on Fournette, likely making this his final season on the team, but it appears that they will use him as their workhorse back once again this season. This is great news for his fantasy stock, as you can expect another season with 300-plus touches from your second round pick. He is coming off his best season as a pro, rushing for 1152 yards and hauling in 76 passes for an additional 522 yards. Finding the end zone a bit more than three times would be a huge boost.
Todd Gurley (Falcons) – Atlanta didn’t add any running backs to their roster in the draft and that is great news for Gurley. He is coming off a very disappointing season and he still has those bad knees, but the change of scenery could do him some good and he doesn’t have a whole lot of competition for touches. I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to the 50-reception mark that he surpassed in back-to-back seasons prior to last year. That being said, it’s still very difficult to envision Gurley returning to anything near the level of player he was in 2017 and 2018. While the draft didn’t hurt his fantasy stock for this year, it also didn’t fix his knees.
David Montgomery (Bears) – Montgomery was very hyped up by many (including myself – unfortunately) heading into 2019 and it was a big swing and a miss. He let everyone down. He finished his rookie season with 889 rushing yards, seven total touchdowns, 25 receptions, and 185 receiving yards. Not great; however, the Bears didn’t draft any running backs this year and are committed to Monty. He is their starter and he will get the majority of the touches, with Cohen mixing in and getting most of the receiving work. The Bears were a bottom-five offense last season and there really isn’t anywhere to go but up. He could provide the season that we were all hoping for last season this season and at a cheaper price tag (he has zero hype now).
Jordan Howard (Dolphins) – The Dolphins did not draft a running back this year, but they did add Matt Breida via a trade. That is great news for Howard, as he looks locked into a heavy role this year. Breida is a change-of-pace back with durability issues. Howard should get a ton of early down work and he will likely get the majority of the goal line touches as well. His fantasy upside isn’t overly high, as he probably won’t catch too many passes, but he should be a factor this season and is a great value in standard leagues. Miami hasn’t had a back rush for at least 750 yards since 2016, a streak that I believe Howard will end this season.
Devin Singletary (Bills) – Just as we all are getting excited for a post-Gore big sophomore season breakout for Singletary, the Bills go and draft Moss in the third round of the draft. Singletary is still locked in as the starter and he should get at least 60-percent of the RB touches, but his volume is now likely far less than originally projected pre-draft. Personally, I like how this has lowered his ADP, as I still have high hopes for him this season and he will be a frequent target of mine in fantasy drafts (his ADP has dropped from 27 pre-draft to 35 post-draft).
Mark Ingram (Ravens) – If you caught the rookie preview piece from last week, you know I don’t care for Dobbins’ fantasy value with the Ravens. Well, I also hate it for Ingram’s value as well. While Dobbins is a good fit for the Ravens in real life, it is bad news for his and Ingram’s fantasy value. We are likely looking at a timeshare that also gives a handful of carries to Gus Edwards , while Lamar Jackson also runs the ball a bunch. There are only so many touches to go around and with so many mouths to feed, it’s hard to envision Ingram rushing for 1000 yards or 10 touchdowns again this season (like he did last year in his first year with Baltimore).
Damien Williams (Chiefs) – The Chiefs can call Williams their starter all they want, but you don’t select a running back in the first round of the draft if you don’t plan on using him heavily. Williams has had durability issues and he is in the final year of his contract with the Chiefs. He will still have a big role this season with KC, but expecting anything more than a timeshare by mid-season wouldn’t be wise for fantasy purposes; Edwards-Helaire will get plenty of work and it will grow as the season goes. His ADP has dropped from 48 pre-draft to 76 post-draft (as much as I like CEH, Williams at 76 is a pretty good value).
Marlon Mack (Colts) – I like Mack and the numbers show he is a rock solid running back who warrants being a starter, but the Colts went ahead and drafted Taylor in the second round anyways. Very bad news for Mack. He will perform well for the Colts in real life, but a lack of volume will be very detrimental to his fantasy value and a big drop-off in production should be expected. Do not expect a repeat of his 2019 performance, in which he rushed for 1091 yards and eight touchdowns across 14 games.
Kerryon Johnson (Lions) – Johnson really hasn’t been a big time fantasy contributor at any point in his career thus far. Now, with the Lions drafting Swift in the second round, Johnson’s fantasy outlook is beyond bleak. Detroit has given up on Johnson (even though they won’t admit it) and you should too.