The Dynasty Price is Right
Vol.1 Running Backs
by: James Kreiss @FF_Chef
With players opting out and the current COVID pandemic almost certain to affect more of the 2020 NFL season, this year more than ever there’s reason to acquire depth players in dynasty formats. With the recent news of starting running back Damien Williams opting out and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire starting his NFL career at the top of the depth chart in Kansas City, it begs the question: who is the next backup running back that can assume a full workload if they were propelled into a starting role? In dynasty, some of the obvious answers would be top rookie candidates Jonathan Taylor, DeAndre Swift, and J.K. Dobbins. Unless you have high 2020 draft capital or are willing to spend a premium on the aforementioned players, you probably think you’re stuck with what you already have on your roster. This isn’t the case at all. Here are some running backs who not only could maintain a full workload if given a chance but with their price are relatively obtainable.
Kareem Hunt RB, CLE
Hunt is the most obvious choice when looking at backup running backs. Upon return from his suspension in 2019, Hunt showed that he still has playmaking ability, scoring three touchdowns in eight games while Nick Chubb still held the majority of the snap percentage. With Hunt in the backfield, we saw Chubb’s receiving targets nearly disappear, topping out at four targets in Week 10. In fact, Hunt posted 37 receptions for 285 yards on 44 targets and finished 2020 with only five less total receiving targets than Chubb while still posting one reception, seven yards, and one touchdown more than Chubb’s 16 game total. In addition, Hunt finished the season with an impressive 84.1% catch rate, tieing star running back Dalvin Cook for 8th overall in 2019.
Hunt’s primary attraction is that he’s only 25 years old, in the last year of his contract, and his value is still relatively low. According to www.dynastytradecalculator.com, he is worth(8.0). This puts Hunt at spot #98 in their trade value rankings, and could theoretically be acquired by trading 28-year-old Raheem Mostert and a 2021 third-round pick or trading the oft-injured Sony Michel and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
If Nick Chubb were to miss any amount of time, Hunt would undoubtedly assume the full workload in Cleveland’s backfield. During his 2017 rookie campaign with Kansas City, he rushed for 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns on 272 attempts, adding 53 receptions for 455 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Those stats were good enough to be RB4 in PPR formats. Chubb is still the primary running back, but with Hunt being on a one-year contract and the amount of free agent running backs we will see in 2021, it's a great idea to get ahead of the curve on his value this year.
Chase Edmonds RB, ARI
Edmonds may be one of the most inexpensive acquisitions with hidden value this season. Currently ranked 179 overall by our DHH crew, it’s clear that no one is really talking too much about the 2018 fourth-round pick. Due to his draft capital and current position on the depth chart, it’s entirely understandable.
It’s fair to say we have forgotten what Edmonds may truly be capable of. During his college career at Fordham University, he ran for 5,800 yards and scored 74 total touchdowns. Last year in Week 7 against the New York Giants, he blew up as the week’s RB1. Edmonds posted 166 yards and three touchdowns on 27 attempts, adding two receptions for 24 yards. This was a small sample size against a defense which finished 30th overall. Still, it doesn’t negate Edmonds has the talent to be a contributor when called upon.
With his current cost being equivalent to a 2021 third-round pick, he is very obtainable in most leagues. If Kenyan Drake were to miss any time or doesn’t get re-signed after 2020, Edmonds would assume the starting role and be the lead back in what should be a very lucrative fantasy offense.
Target Edmonds in the late 15th round of startups and acquire him everywhere you can in your current leagues. He could be the next late-round sleeper to help win you a championship.
Latavius Murray RB, NOS
Many of us remember Latavius Murray at the beginning of his NFL career, when in 2015 with the Oakland Raiders where he showed that he could support a full workload. He posted 1,066 yards and six touchdowns on 266 attempts and finished as RB10 in fantasy.
Now fast forward to 2020. Murray is entering into the second year of his four year deal with the Saints. Normally I wouldn’t try to persuade anyone to buy a 30-year-old running back, but Murray may be just the guy you're looking to buy in dynasty if you don’t have too much trade stock.
Last year while Alvin Kamara was managing a high ankle sprain, Murray showed he is still capable of carrying the rock. In Week 7 against the Chicago Bears, Murray scored 32 fantasy points. He rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 27 attempts and added 31 yards on five receptions. The following week against the Cardinals, Murray scored 36.7 fantasy points, rushing for 102 yards with one touchdown on 21 attempts and adding 55 yards on nine receptions with one touchdown through the air. During this two week span, Murray was fantasy football’s RB1, finishing 8.8 points ahead of 2019 RB2 Aaron Jones and 12.7 points ahead of 2019 RB7 Dalvin Cook. He finished the 2019 season as RB28 with a total of 872 yards and six touchdowns on 180 touches.
With Murray currently going around ADP 133 overall, he is a definite steal this year in startups and an absolute must target handcuff for Kamara owners. Instead of asking for a 2021 third-round pick - which may not be worth much with the way college football is going - try acquiring Murray as a throw-in player in deals to sweeten your chances of winning this year in dynasty.
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