When it comes to fantasy football drafts, there is a resounding fear of making a mistake with a pick. First-round panic is always prevalent, but in many cases, people are simply worried that, when they are looking at fantasy football player rankings and the current fantasy football ADP, they pick the wrong guy. Unfortunately, that sense of panic is only something your therapist can help with. We've given you everything we possibly can, including the free Ultimate Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet, which serves as a blueprint for your entire draft. Still, there are some players who drive everyone nuts, like Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins, for example. Dobbins is coming off a major injury, a torn ACL he suffered in NFL training camp last year, and now people are looking at him along with some of the other running backs coming off the board right around his ADP and wondering if they should believe in him or not. What better time for a Fantasy Football Player Debate?

To help you make your decision on drafting Dobbins, we have Kevin Tompkins and Andrew Cooper here to discuss the pros and cons of drafting the Ravens running back. Good luck!





Why You Should Draft J.K. Dobbins in Fantasy Football

by Kevin Tompkins

The bullish injury timetable took a massive leap once J.K. Dobbins was taken off the PUP list and is on track to start in Week 1 for the Ravens. We know what Dobbins can do when he’s on the field — he was PPR RB11 from Week 11 through Week 17 in 2020. He’s been a big play machine in limited action as he’s averaged 6.0 YPC over his career in 134 carries.

Dobbins tore his ACL in the final preseason game last season and the Ravens had to patch together a MacGyver-style running back room with Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, Ty’Son Williams, and Le’Veon Bell. Not great, Bob.

The Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Cardinals this offseason and didn’t replace him with a worthwhile wide receiver, so the team is telling you what they want to do: run the ball.

They might as well be wearing leather helmets this season.

Right now, the running back room is Dobbins, Gus Edwards (who is recovering from his own season-ending ACL tear last September), Mike Davis, and rookie Tyler Badie. It’s not exactly a “Murderer’s Row” backfield, but it’s at least better than last season’s iteration.

In 2020, the Ravens passed the ball a league-low 44.9% of the time and spiked their pass-play percentage last season to a 56% clip. That’s a staggering offensive philosophy shift and was likely caused by the preseason injuries to Dobbins and Edwards.

This season, the 2022 pass rate percentage for Baltimore is likely to meet in the middle of the 2020 and 2021 numbers, which will still be a massive boon for the run game. We know Lamar Jackson will be a crucial part of that rushing attack, but a healthy Dobbins will be a pivotal piece as well. Edwards’ status is up in the air regarding his Week 1 availability, but head coach John Harbaugh has already come out to say he doesn’t think he will be available and beat writers echo that same sentiment

The combination of factors that can lead to Dobbins crushing his current ADP are there this season:

  • A run-heavy offense with ambiguity behind him in terms of secondary options
  • Breakaway speed (ran a 4.37 40 time) and efficiency
  • Relatively low ADP (RB20 on Underdog Fantasy, RB21 on FantasyPros Expert Consensus)
  • Profile for red zone work (converted 8-of-9 carries inside the five-yard line for touchdowns in 2020)

The only thing not there for him is receiving work, but with ambiguity outside of Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman as far as pass-catchers in Baltimore, there’s at least a chance Dobbins could carve out a little work for himself to boost his floor. He earned 24 targets in a part-time role for the Ravens in 2020 and with the lion’s share of work, could earn nearly double the 2020 target mark.

If Baltimore lives in the red-zone this season, the touchdowns will be there and available for Dobbins — even with Jackson there taking his share. Add in the big-play ability to the touchdown equity and we could be looking at THE running back steal of fantasy football drafts this season.



Why You Shouldn't Draft J.K. Dobbins in Fantasy Football

by Andrew Cooper

Look, there are some tantalizing aspects of JK Dobbins. The breakaway run rate. The run first offense. I understand a lot of the arguments in favor of the player. In real life football, I’d love to have him on my favorite team. But in fantasy football, we only care about the numbers. And those numbers primarily come from high leverage situations - pass downs and goal line.

JK Dobbins might even be the guy on pass downs. But you still need them to pass you the ball. For years it was whispered in theory but it was finally mathematically proven by Andrew Erickson - mobile quarterbacks target running backs less often than pocket passers. And it makes a lot of sense. If I’m Matt Ryan, I’m dumping it off to the superior ball carrier but, if I’m Lamar Jackson, I’m taking it myself. But it’s not just Lamar that is the problem for Dobbins. Not only do Greg Roman offenses pass less often than any other (he’s been bottom four in pass attempts every year of his career outside of 2021) but they also rarely target the running back. Here is Frank Gore’s career stats with the four years that Greg Roman was the 49ers offensive coordinator highlighted (courtesy of ProFootballReference.com). Notice anything about the receiving numbers?

Now, the other key area we mentioned is the red zone. That can be the bread and butter for guys that don’t catch a lot of balls, like Damien Harris who scored 15 rushing TDs and finished as a high end RB2 in PPR. I mean, when you draft a guy like JK Dobbins at RB20 where he’s going in Underdog Best Ball drafts, that’s what you are hoping for at least right - that he can be a high end RB2? Well, the last time everyone was healthy in 2020 it was Lamar Jackson that led the team with 30 red zone carries. And Dobbins was tied with Gus Edwards with 25. Gus Edwards is a 6’1” 238 pound monster with a 5.2 career yards per attempt so why wouldn’t he continue to contribute there? They paid him for a reason. They like Gus Edwards.

And that’s not even getting into the fact that Dobbins is recovering from a torn ACL and might not even be ready for week 1. That makes an already risky player even more risky. For me, I might be willing to take a stab on him in best ball. He’s a speedy guy who can break one off at any time despite getting most of his touches between the 20s. But, in regular redraft leagues, where I need to plug my RB2 into the lineup every week, I’m just not sure this guy will be able to offer the right level of consistency. So, as of now, I’m out on him at ADP.

Two very compelling arguments. Which side are you on?

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