Baltimore is headed into their bye week. The offense clearly has not hit its stride just yet, but it’s done enough to win in every week but one. The run game has been a mixed bag of more good than not, but no one has stood out to this (early!) point in the season. It’s been a three-headed monster that has put up the following stats:
The Veteran: 54 carries, 245 rushing yards, four receptions, 31 receiving yards, two touchdowns
The Rookie: 12 carries, 42 rushing yards, 13 receptions, 124 receiving yards, two touchdowns
The Other Guy: 21 carries, 79 rushing yards, two receptions, 17 receiving yards, one touchdown
What should we expect once we come out from the other side of their off week? Well, their coaching staff clearly wants to keep all involved and we should not expect that to change, but is the veteran doing enough to keep April’s second round pick in a secondary role? Probably not. That doesn’t necessarily mean the switch is getting flipped at an instant, but the young player should see more opportunities. Will more follow? That’s a performance based decision, but should it happen and the rookie be left exposed for anyone to pick him up, then he is going to be the #1 priority the week after. This is something fantasy managers must get in front of, so they don’t unintentionally put themselves in that position.
But here’s the thing: all of those details I just described above is not J.K. Dobbins — it’s D’Andre Swift. Sure, the Detroit Lions and the Baltimore Ravens are anything but an apples-to-apples comparison, but these rookies specific situations? Well, I thought the quality of comparisons were head-turning. Beyond the usage and situations described above, the 5’10 212 lb. backs are near mirror images of each other. Not just in size and stature, but in substance too. Neither will ever be confused with top-notch burners, but both have the long-speed in the open field to not be caught by any but the fastest of defensive backs. They’re both at their best when making cuts – their change of direction and burst when combined with their balance at the point of contact makes bringing them down in a one-on-one situation an exercise in futility for just about any defender. They rarely fumble and are assets in their own ways in the pass game. This is where Swift’s skill set separates himself from Dobbins in fantasy since he is better as a route runner while Dobbins is better in pass blocking and unfortunately we don’t get bonus points for Dobbins protecting Lamar Jackson, but this seems to be an appropriate place to remind you that you’re not deciding between Swift and Dobbins on October 19, 2020. You’re deciding whether Dobbins is a worthwhile claim should he be available in your league.
Now, I didn’t write about Swift this time last week because he’s well more than 50% owned. I generally try to focus on players that are likely available in most leagues. I also understand Dobbins is above that thresh hold, but I chose to write about him because of what I forecast over the next week. I expect him to be dropped as his next three weeks are bye, vs Pittsburgh (#2 run defense), @ Indianapolis (#3 run defense). We are entering the meat of the bye week schedule and Covid-19 remains looming in the background, so owners in your leagues are going to have to drop players they otherwise may not in the near future. While Dobbins may not be available right now, there’s a good chance that changes in the immediate future, so save your waiver priority for this week’s first run and see if he becomes an option later in the week. That’s the shark move for Week 7 – your patience will be a virtue.
Flavor of the Week: Chili
Frequent readers are likely well aware of my preference towards dishes that require patience; a slow-cooked approach to attain maximum taste. There may not be a better example than a good bowl of chili. Sure, it’s better after 24 hours than it is 8, but the best chili’s are even better days later. After it’s done cooking those ingredients are still doing work and that’s the sort of patience required to both acquire Dobbins – and see him through to an increased workload.