Dynasty Fantasy Football: RB Fades and Targets

Jun 10- 32 min read

Running Back Fades

Okay remember: this is fade at the valuation, and I am surely fading Alvin Kamara at a 1st round value in Superflex dynasty startups. This take has nothing to do with the talent, Kamara is an uber-talented running back, but rather his value as a long-term dynasty asset and the new changes to the Saints offensive personal.

Changes to the Offense? Drew Brees has retired from the NFL. The Saints have a competition for the starting quarterback position between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. Kamara has plyed 9 games without Drew Brees at quarterback in his career and look at the splits.

With Drew Brees at QB, Kamara has averaged 22.66 PPR fantasy points per game. In the 9 games in his career without Drew Brees at QB, Kamara’s PPR average drops to 15.87 PPR points per game. These 9 games are with Teddy Bridgewater and the aforementioned Taysom Hill at QB. Per Pro Football Focus, in 2018 Drew Brees was the leader in percentage of targets allocated to running backs at 27%, aiding Kamara’s value. In that same 2018 season, Winston was in the bottom third of the league in targeting running backs at 16%. We have not yet seen Winston start at QB in the Saints offensive system, but we do know that Winston never supported at top 25 fantasy running back while in Tampa Bay. While Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones are not the talent that Kamara is, it is concerning that Winston tends not to target passes towards his running backs.

FADE: Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers (2.09, 2.10, 3.06)

I am out on Najee Harris at this RB1 valuation in startups. I know its already somewhat of a tired take, but Harris is already over 23 years old as a rookie. The Steelers offensive line is among the worst in the league, and additonally the offense is one of the most pass heavy in the league. Plus, the Steelers’ offensive future is very uncertain with Big Ben likely retiring at the end of this season.

I am fading Harris as a late 2nd round pick in startup drafts, I would much rather have any of the sophomore backs: Swift, Akers, Taylor, Dobbins, Gibson- even CEH. They are younger, in better situations, and are arguably more talented- plus we’ve seen a full year of what they can do. Don’t let the rookie fever fool you here; while Harris might be workhorse, he’s not a workhorse in an awesome situation, and he does not have the pure talent of a player like Etienne to succeed regardless of situation.

FADE: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (2.11, 2.12, 3.10)

Aaron Jones is being drafted in the late second round in startups and there are a number of factor contributing to my fading of Aaron Jones as a top-24 dynasty asset. Aaron Jones is turning 27 this year. Aaron Rodgers might be leaving the Packers, which would crush the scoring potential of the offense. And AJ Dillion was solid as a rookie when given a chance and his role is likely to expand.

FADE: Michael Carter, New York Jets (8.01, 9.04, 11.04)

Running Back Targets

TARGET: Antonio Gibson, Washington (Startup Draft Position: 3.01, 3.08, 4.06)

TARGET: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (3.02, 4.01, 4.06)

Joe Mixon can’t catch a break in fantasy. Whether its injury woes, offensive line shortcomings, game scripting, the Bengals offense overall. Joe Mixon’s potential to breakout never coming true is a running joke at this point.

TARGET: Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars (3.02, 3.09, 4.10)

Welcome to the NFL, Travis Etienne! The Jaguars surprised the NFL by taking Etienne in the 1st round after James Robinson’s breakout rookie campaign. While Robinson will likely still have a role, the draft capital spent on Etienne means that the Jags will give Etienne every chance to succeed.

TARGET: Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10.08, 11.11, 12.11)

TARGET: Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears (14.08, 15.02, 17.07)

I took Tarik Cohen in all three drafts, so the draft position is all my opinion. At this point in the startup drafts, you are deciding between low ceiling backups/handcuffs like Devin Singletary or Jamaal Williams, or pass catching specialists like Tarik Cohen. I’ll take Cohen here all day. He’s had over 95 targets in each of his last two healthy seasons. Also, Cohen is entering the first year of a 3-year guaranteed contract extension with the Bears. See if you can pry Tarik Cohen away from a manager in your league for a 2022 3rd Round Rookie Pick, and if you can, make that trade!

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