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ADP Log Jam: Second Year Running Backs

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As fantasy football draft season starts to heat up, there are four second-year RBs in an ADP log jam. Which player should you take to help clear that jam?


If you are like me and you are picking in the mid-second to early third round of your fantasy draft, you are probably having a hard time deciding which direction to go. You are likely deciding on a top wide receiver or one of the four second-year backs below. Four RBs stuck in an ADP log jam.

Antonio Gibson, D’Andre Swift, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and J.K. Dobbins all put up solid numbers as rookies. 

Carries Yards TDs Targets Receptions
Antonio Gibson 170 795 11 44 36
D’Andre Swift 114 521 8 57 46
Clyde-Edwards-Helaire 181 803 4 54 36
J.K. Dobbins 134 805 9 24 18

An ADP Log Jam

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Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

IDP Guys Rankings RB10, 17.25 ADP

Going into the 2020 season, Antonio Gibson was the unknown of rookie running backs. He only carried the ball 33 times in two seasons at Memphis. Even though Gibson was mainly a receiving threat, Washington still saw enough talent in Gibson to draft him in the third round. Due to minimal camp exposure before the season, Gibson was viewed as a sleeper going into fantasy drafts. 

Gibson missed the final two games of the season with a turf toe injury but returned for the playoff game. Recently, the team stated Gibson is ready to go for the season and the turf toe is not a lingering issue. He has slowly risen up the draft boards and his ADP may continue to grow with a solid preseason.

Ron Rivera will likely use Gibson the same way he used Christian McCaffrey in Carolina. 



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D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

IDP Guys Rankings RB14, 25.25 ADP

D’Andre Swift received the fewest number of carries between the four backs. He flashed the skills of a workhorse back in his small sample size. The Lions spent most of their time throwing the football and went away from the run often. They brought in Jamaal Williams to run behind Swift.

New Lions Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn said they will ride the hot hand throughout the season. If you believe “coach speak,” this should deter you from Swift. If you believe that he is the clear-cut number one, then you should treat him as such. 

The Lions made several changes in the offseason. They brought in knee-biting, two venti coffees from Starbucks head coach Dan Campbell. Jared Goff is now the starting quarterback. No one knows who the Lions’ starting wide receivers will be, but you can bet that Swift will get a heavy workload. 

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

IDP Guys Rankings RB16, 29.00 ADP

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the most sought-after rookie running back in drafts last season. While he is incredibly talented, his landing spot with the Chiefs played a much larger role.

Edwards-Helaire was given the volume but the lack of touchdowns has pushed him down the draft boards. The Chiefs gave Edwards-Helaire ample opportunity to produce and will likely be given the same opportunity this season. 

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J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

IDP Guys Rankings RB18, 31.50 ADP

Even though J.K. Dobbins may be the purest runner of the group, opposite of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Dobbins landed on a team with a plethora of running backs. He also split carries with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, and Lamar Jackson runs a significant amount of time as well. Despite all the sharing, Dobbins still managed 805 yards on 134 carries. 

The downfall for Dobbins is the lack of targets and receptions. He has one less back to compete with coming into the season after Ingram went to Houston. The Ravens added receiver help for Lamar Jackson which could open more lanes for Dobbins and prevent teams from stacking the box. 

First One Out of the Log Jam

When you are sitting there staring at your finished draft board, regretting most of your picks, you can rest easy knowing that you may have drafted one of these running backs between the second and fourth rounds. I do not think you can go wrong with either of the backs.

What it comes down to is how long you want to risk waiting to draft one. Upon a further inspection of the numbers, volume, and efficiency here is how I would draft them:

  1. Antonio Gibson– Gibson is the most talented running back of the group and possesses the necessary skill set to be a top 5 RB in the NFL. His climb in ADP is justified. 
  2. J.K. Dobbins– This may come as a surprise and is definitely not the consensus on these four backs. Efficiency is my most weighted factor in where I want to draft someone. Dobbins made the most of his opportunity and, with one less running back in the picture, Dobbins should get more carries. Draft him at his current ADP and reap the rewards.
  3. D’Andre Swift– I believe Swift will get the workload for the Lions. I am not worried about Jamaal Williams stealing enough carries to make Swift irrelevant. The Lions will need to run the ball and the biggest concern will be if the Lions can be successful enough in the passing game to keep defenses honest. 
  4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire– I know it is easy for people to like Edwards-Helaire based on where he is playing. For me, he is just one of those guys that I scream caution against. His lack of touchdowns and lower yards-per-carry keep me away from him. 

Thank you for reading! You can find me on Twitter at @ClintonHolmgren and @IDPGuys. Check out all of my IDP, Devy, and Offensive work at idpguys.org. Be sure to order our rookie draft magazines, which we load with fantastic player profiles and landing spot analysis.

Discussion

  1. […] week, I wrote about four second-year running backs stuck in their own ADP log jam. There are four popular wide receivers, two sets of teammates, that may cause you to use up your […]

  2. […] here! If you’re interested in a deeper dive on second-year running backs, here’s an article on them by […]

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