Rest assured someone at some point during each of your drafts
will utter some variation of the words ďvalue pick.Ē
But what exactly is a value pick? What is value? Value is a relative
term that changes based on public perception. When I consider
value, Iím looking for a positive return on my investment.
Just because a player has an a fourth round ADP and is still sitting
there in the sixth round does not make him good value. At the
same time, taking a player a round or two above his ADP is not
necessarily bad value. Again, everything is relative.
Last season, Nick Chubb had an 11th round ADP. This year, he
has a second round ADP. Chubb gave owners one hell of a positive
return on investment. On the flip side, Alex Collins had a third
round ADP. This year, heís out of the league. Thatís the
type of pick we all hope to avoid.
Letís take a look at which RBs I expect to outperform their ADPs
and which I expect to fail.
The case for Fournette being undervalued: Heís
a former fourth overall pick with no threat to his touches in
an offense that should improve from last year.
The case against Fournette being undervalued:
He canít seem to stay on the field and Jaguars offense lacks talent.
Verdict: It is quite stunning how ready people
are to dismiss Leonard Fournette. What is the difference between
and Fournette that warrants Cook going early second round and
Fournette falling to the middle of the third? Both were drafted
in 2017. Both have absolutely no threat to touches. Both have
had issues with health, except Cook has played 15 games over his
first two seasons compared to 21 from Fournette. I donít mean
to dismiss the health concerns with Fournette; they are real.
However, as Herman Edwards once said, ďYou play to win the game.
Do you know what wins fantasy leagues? Drafting a first round
RB talent in the third round. I donít see any scenario where
Fournette isnít an RB1 according to FPTs/G. The only concern
regarding Fournette is his health. If he were going in the first
round, it would be a different story.
His talent and opportunity have no questions, but his situation
on the Jaguars certainly isnít anywhere near as good as
Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott. Fournette totaled 1342 yards
and 10 touchdowns in just 13 games as a rookie. He may have only
averaged 3.9 ypc as a rookie and an even worse 3.3 ypc last season,
but he was performing just as well from a fantasy perspective.
Fournette had 624 total yards and six touchdowns in eight games
last season and he left early in two of those games. His full
season pace was only slightly off that of 2017. And, Fournette
was doing that with the worst QB situation in the league. Nick Foles may not be Kyler Murray coming to save Arizona, but no team
saw a bigger upgrade at quarterback than the Jaguars going from
Blake Bortles to Foles.
Once you get past the truly elite backs, all of them have some
concerns. The third and fourth round running backs typically have
multiple ways in which they can fail. There is only one way Fournette
fails and that is due to injury. I am not discounting the possibility
that Fournette gets hurt, but how often can you draft a player
in the third round with no risk of busting due to on field performance
that also has first round upside?
The case for Murray being undervalued: The Saints
finish top two in running back scoring every year and have consistently
had two fantasy relevant backs.
The case against Murray being undervalued: The
Saints offensive efficiency dips and are forced to increase their
Verdict: I really struggled to find any reason to be concerned
about Latavius Murrayís value. Last season, Mark Ingram
touched the ball 159 times for a total of 815 yards with seven
touchdowns in just 12 games. He would have easily surpassed 1,000
yards and made a push for double-digit scores had he not been
suspended for the first four games.
So can someone explain to me why Murray, who was brought in to
replace Ingram, is being taken as a low RB3? Last year, Ingram
had a 4.10 ADP despite his four game suspension. Murray, who is
not suspended, is going three rounds after Ingram. I happen to
believe Murray is a more explosive version of Ingram. Murray is
the better player, especially at this point in their respective
The Saints are one of the most reliable offenses in the league.
They are going to finish high in offensive scoring. Alvin Kamara
is not getting 300 touches so worst case, Murray puts up 800 yards
and six touchdowns, which is still worth a seventh round pick.
Best case, he matches Ingramís pace from last year and finishes
as a solid RB2 with elite RB1 upside should anything happen to
Weíve seen Tim Hightower be an RB1 in this offense. All Murray
needs is volume. His floor is incredibly high and his ceiling
is even higher. Make sure you get him in the seventh round.
The case for Breida being undervalued: He was
the 49ersí lead back in 2018 and is an injury away from having
that job again.
The case against Breida being undervalued: The
49ers donít seem to be committed to Breida as a primary back.
Verdict:Tevin Coleman is the lead back in San Francisco. That
much we know. But Coleman is not getting a 70% opportunity share
and I would be surprised if it was more than 60%.
Matt Breida put up 1,075 yards on only 180 touches last season.
As of now, he probably doesnít get there again, but we have
reason for optimism. Most importantly, Breida is currently going
as an RB5. Jerick McKinnon is still not fully recovered from his
ACL tear and may never be healthy again. That would leave Breida
as the 1B to Colemanís 1A entering the season.
Breida is already more valuable than a typical RB5. If Coleman
struggles or gets hurt, Breida is right back in the role he was
in last season as a low end RB2. That is well worth gambling on
as your last running back in the 12th round.
*Note: I intentionally left Tony
Ekeler, and Justin
Jackson off this list because their undervalued status is
directly tied to whether Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin
Gordon play football this season. If Zeke or Gordon doesnít
play, obviously Pollard, Ekeler, and Jackson will end up being
steals at their current ADPs. The closer we get to the season
without Elliott and Gordon getting new contracts, the more their
backupsí ADPs will climb.
The case for Bell being overvalued: The move
from Pittsburgh to New York marks a severe step down in overall
offense and personnel.
The case against Bell being overvalued: Heís
one of the most talented running backs of all time and is locked
into 350+ touches.
Verdict: It would not surprise me at all if LeíVeon Bell
finished as a mid-range RB1. Thatís exactly where he is
being drafted Ė at his ceiling. It is difficult to envision
a path to Bell finishing any higher. He would need to excel in
the touchdown department, which would require the Jets offense
taking a huge step forward.
The Jets had the worst run blocking offensive line in the league
last season and while offensive line play isnít very sticky
year to year and should improve, Bellís patient running
style that meshed so well with the Steelers consistently top five
run blocking unit is not going to work if the Jets linemen are
getting steamrolled every play. Can Bell adapt and produce behind
a subpar offensive line? I donít know and I certainly donít
want to risk a first round pick to find out.
I am not concerned about Bellís usage in the passing game. He
is going to be fed targets by checkdown Sam
Darnold. The volume is not a concern. The simple fact is that
Bell is being drafted at his ceiling. He hasnít played football
in almost two years and is on a new team that lacks offensive
punch. There are way too many unknowns for where Bell is being
The case for Montgomery being overvalued: Heís
a rookie that could be trapped in a three-man committee.
The case against Montgomery being overvalued:
The touches vacated by Jordan
Howard, should mostly go to Montgomery.
Verdict: I sat down to write this section two days after Montgomery made his preseason debut. Vividness bias is a real
thing and the whole world saw Montgomeryís jump cut to the
outside touchdown run in his preseason debut. That kind of play
seeps into fantasy gamersí subconscious and plants its roots.
This is known as the Ameer Abdullah Corollary, after Abdullah
famously made one cut against the Jets in the preseason for 45
yards. That single run spiked his ADP multiple rounds and fooled
people into thinking he was actually good at football. The same
thing is happening to Montgomery. I fully expect him to creep
into the third round. To be fair, Montgomery is much better at
football than Abdullah, but there are a lot of reasons to fade
Montgomery, particularly at his price.
Montgomeryís best skill is his receiving ability, but he
canít hold a candle to Tarik Cohen in that area. That role
is taken. Montgomery also excels at breaking tackles, but will
that translate to the NFL? Breaking tackles against weak opponents
in college is not the same as breaking free of NFL linebackers.
Montgomery needs the ball in space, which is where he does his
best work. However, he is slow and just canít accelerate,
as evidenced by his 10th percentile burst score. Holes close up
quickly in the NFL. If Montgomery canít work up a head of
steam, heís not going to make people miss.
The Bears also signed Mike Davis as a free agent this off-season.
Howard vacated 270 touches, but they are not all going to Montgomery.
Cohenís usage should stay about the same, but a decent chunk
of those touches are going to Davis.
The Bears also benefited from a lot of positive game script in
2018. I wonít try and predict game script, but suffice it
to say they are unlikely to win 12 games again. More throwing
wouldnít be the worst thing for Montgomery if Matt Nagy
intends to use him in tandem with Cohen, but thatís wishful
There is certainly a path to Montgomery being a mid RB2. Weíve
seen Howard do it and Montgomery, while not as good of a rusher,
is a far, far better receiver. However, at the 3/4 turn, there
are so many safer wide receivers with upside. You are better off
with one of them and a running back with a similar floor/ceiling
combination to Montgomery can be had in the later rounds.Tevin Coleman is going in the late fifth. Miles Sanders, who I also
donít particularly like, is in the same situation as Montgomery,
except heís on a better offense and heís not going
until the seventh round. Montgomery may very well live up to his
ADP, but he is undoubtedly overvalued relative to running backs
in similar situations.
The case for Hunt being overvalued: He wonít
play for the first nine weeks of the season.
The case against Hunt being overvalued: Once
he returns in Week 10, Nick
Chubb could be injured and Hunt would be a league winner.
Verdict: Really people? This is the most outrageous ADP of any
player I can remember since back in 2016 when Arian Foster went
as the RB22 in the fifth round switching to a new team coming
off a torn Achilles for his age 30 season. It was so obvious Foster
was done, yet fantasy owners were drafting him like he would actually
The difference between Foster and Hunt, from a fantasy perspective,
is there is literally no question over whether Hunt will play.
We know Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the season.
How has his ADP risen? There is no guarantee that when Hunt returns,
he even has a role or what his role will be. We have no idea what
the Brownsí plan for Hunt is. Nick Chubb will spend half
the season as the feature back and I expect him to play very well.
So, unless Chubb gets hurt, Huntís ceiling is displacing
Dontrell Hilliard as the satellite back. How can you burn a roster
spot on nine weeks of guaranteed zeros for the slim chance that
Hunt comes back and matters? Say Hunt returns in Week 10, youíre
not starting him because you have no idea what heís going
to do. The earliest you could realistically use Hunt is Week 11,
at which point more than 75% of the fantasy regular season is
over. It is complete lunacy to even draft Kareem Hunt in standard
sized redraft leagues. To take him as a near RB3 in the eighth
round is a fantasy crime. Unless your league is a keeper league
or has deep rosters, Hunt should not even be on your draft board.