Monday - Sep 28, 2020

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Embracing Running Back By Committee

After tracking mock draft data, there have been some interesting trends emerging this year. Over half (18) of the top 35 players drafted are runningbacks. Arguments can be made that 15 of these 18 runningbacks are ‘work horses’ (250-plus touches). Obviously, the top three runningbacks – Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew – give their owners a distinct advantage. But, the entire

backfield is valuable. DeAngelo Williams (average draft position: 17) has scored 25 touchdowns over his last 29 games while amassing 2,600 rushing yards. Jonathan Stewart (ADP: 45) has run for 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first two years as a pro. Heck, if one of these players is injured, the other instantly becomes a top 5 weekly play. If the

backfield is scaring you off, I’ll be happy to pair Williams with one of the ‘Big Three.’

If I expand by data to the top 36, a record five quarterbacks are being selected. Last season, a record 10 quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards. The NFL is changing. Due to the expensive nature of quarterbacks, offensive coordinators have integrated more passing into their offenses. In turn, defensive players are becoming bigger, stronger and faster. Runningbacks can only take so much pounding before they become ineffective.

If you are drafting in the back half of the first round, perhaps you’ll skip runningbacks all together in the first two rounds. Outside of the stated ‘Big Three,’ there are glaring questions concerning the health and situation of other runningbacks. That’s completely fine. Start drafting sure fire studs. Not optimistic about Steven Jackson’s 2010 campaign? Draft Andre Johnson. Worried about Rashard Mendenhall’s workload? Take Drew Brees. Bonafide studs win championships. Thanks to runningback by committee, owners should consider taking a wide receiver or quarterback early on. Unlike the past, runningback value is there beyond round three. Be aggressive and start drafting.

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