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.
My goal in every pick I make is to take a player I believe will
perform at a level above where I drafted him. Last season, David Montgomery had a fifth round ADP. He ended up finishing as the
overall RB6. Montgomery gave owners one hell of a positive return
on investment. On the flip side, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a first
round ADP. He finished as the overall RB22 and is now a late second/early
third round pick. Thatís the type of pick we all hope to
Letís take a look at which RBs I expect to outperform their ADPs
and which I expect to fail.
The case for Johnson being undervalued: Heís
coming off a high RB2 finish and still projects to have decent
volume in 2021.
The case against Johnson being undervalued:
Heís 29 years old and the Texans are likely to be the worst offense
in the NFL.
Verdict: I understand the general aversion to
taking older backs without serious upside. However, David Johnson
is a unique player in a unique situation. He may be 29, but the
issue with running backs breaking down doesnít actually have anything
to do with age. Rather, age is just a number that typically corresponds
with usage. Johnson has 1,169 career touches. For comparison purposes,
at age 26, has already touched the ball 1,654 times in his career.
Johnsonís rushing upside may be limited on a bad offense
likely to be without Deshaun Watson, but Johnson is still an excellent
receiver. He was targeted 46 times in just 12 games last season.
While there is concern over the Texans adding competition to this
backfield in the form of Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram, I have
a hard time seeing either of those two mattering unless DJ gets
hurt. Lindsay, despite profiling like a satellite back, was consistently
pulled off the field in favor of Royce Freeman during his time
in Denver and is not used in the passing game. As for Ingram,
well, that man is done. I acknowledge that NFL head coaches can
be incompetent, but itís difficult to view Ingram as anything
other than a locker room guy at this point.
Johnson averaged 15.1 PPR FPts/G in 2020. Even if that drops
down to 13.0 FPts/G, that would still be plus value on his absurdly
The case for Hines being undervalued: Heís the
primary pass catching back on an offense without dominant receivers
that could find themselves in negative game script early in the
The case against Hines being undervalued:Jonathan
Taylor can be a three-down back if the Colts choose to make
him one and the return of Marlon
Mack further muddies the waters.
Verdict: The trend with undervalued RBs this season is not players
with massive upside. Instead, theyíre guys with floors that
are already higher than where they are being drafted.
Thatís the logic behind DJ and it applies to Hines as well.
Hines averaged 12.0 FPts/G last season, good for an RB28 finish.
Thatís not going to move the needle by itself, but knowing
Hines is available in the ninth or 10th round gives you the freedom
to not overvalue running backs earlier in your draft.
Hines is probably more of a low RB3 this season and likely wonít
match last yearís production. However, he doesnít have to. Heís
is being drafted about 20 spots lower than where he finished in
2020. Even if we pencil in an increased role for Taylor in the
passing game, Hines can still return value. With Carson
Wentz and Quenton Nelson set to miss the start of the season,
the Colts are going to find themselves in negative game script
with a backup quarterback making his first career start. Whether
itís Jacob Eason
or Sam Ehlinger,
the quarterback will likely be willing to check it down to Hines
as a safety value.
Even if Hinesí value diminishes as the season presses on
and Wentz/Nelson return, a month of Hines as a low RB2 is well
worth a late-round selection.
The case for Williams being undervalued: The
Bears signed Williams to be a significant part of the offense
and could have more of a role than anticipated.
The case against Williams being undervalued:David Montgomery
was used as a three-down back last season and Williams could just
be a pure backup.
Verdict: Williams may be 28 years old, but he
only has 432 career touches. Even though he opted out of the 2020
season due to Covid, we have no reason to believe his talent has
diminished. Heís by no means a special player, but weíve seen
him post RB1 numbers when given the volume.
Williams will undoubtedly open the season behind Montgomery,
but the news of Tarik Cohenís ACL tear recovery not progressing
as well as expected presents an opportunity for Williams to have
an immediate role.
Williams is an excellent pass blocker and an adequate receiver
and Matt Nagy has indicated he doesnít necessarily want
to put everything on Montgomeryís plate.
Also, if you recall, Montgomery was actually terrible for the
first half of 2020. From Weeks 1-9, he averaged 12.3 FPts/G and
failed to record a single 100-yard game. From Weeks 12-17 (he
missed Week 10 and the Bears had a Week 11 bye), Montgomery averaged
25.7 FPts/G and hit the 100-yard rushing mark three times. He
also saw a massive uptick in targets with Cohen out (35 as a rookie,
68 as a sophomore).
If Cohen starts the season on the PUP list, Williams could have
standalone RB3/4 value with strong RB2 upside if Montgomery were
to get hurt. Few late round backs have the combination of ceiling
and plausibility that Williams has.
The case for Chubb being overvalued: There is
a zero-percent chance Chubb can provide a positive return on investment
as long as Kareem
Hunt is around.
The case against Chubb being overvalued: Heís
arguably the most gifted runner in the NFL and could have an outlier
Verdict: I love Nick Chubb the player, but the goal in fantasy
football is not to draft the most talented players Ė itís
to draft the players that score the most fantasy points.
Chubb is currently going as the RB6? That is straight lunacy.
In 12 games last season, he averaged 17.5 FPts/G, which was good
for an overall RB7 finish. In 2019, Chubb averaged 16.3 FPts/G,
good for an overall RB9 finish. How exactly is Chubb getting to
RB6 or higher? The answer, of course, is heís not.
For a running back to be truly elite (20+ FPts/G), he needs receiving
upside and while Chubb is a capable receiver, he will not be used
that way as long as Kareem Hunt exists. Chubb was targeted just
18 times all of last season and there is no evidence that will
change in 2021.
The only way Chubb could be worth his draft slot is if he had
a 2012 Adrian Peterson or 2020 Derrick Henry like season. Henry
had at least 15 carries in every game last season and eclipsed
the 20-carry mark in 12 of them. Chubb would need similar volume.
However, in 2020, Chubb did not play more than 62% of the snaps
in a single game and hit the 20-carry mark just twice in his 12
Chubb was also extremely efficient scoring touchdowns with 12
in as many games. He is certainly capable of having a 15 touchdown
season, but even if he managed to stay healthy and rush for 1600
yards and 16 touchdowns, without a serious uptick in receptions,
Chubb is still going to be around that 16-18 FPts/G mark. Those
are fine numbers for an RB1, but nowhere near what youíre
looking for as a ceiling from a top six pick.
Chubb is one of the easiest fades in all of fantasy football
in the first round this season.
The case for Jacobs being overvalued: Heís a
two-down back that doesnít catch passes and the Raiders just gave
a hefty two-year $10 million guaranteed deal.
The case against Jacobs being overvalued: After
flopping as a late first-round pick last season, Jacobs now costs
a late third-round pick, making it much easier for him to return
Verdict: I am going to start by speaking kindly
about Jacobs. I prioritize analytics over filmÖmost of the time
and in 2020, he posted a 27.5% juke rate (Playerprofiler.com),
12th in the league with 1.46 yards created per touch (Playerprofiler.com),
18th in the league. By all accounts, Jacobs was making defenders
miss and gaining yardage.
However, every time I watch Jacobs play, I come away completely
unimpressed. Heís slow (4.69 40 time) with no real athleticism.
Heís kind of like Mark Ingram if you remove all the intangibles
that made Ingram good at football. To put it simply, Jacobs does
not look like a starting running back in the NFL.
Jacobs averaged 15.7 FPts/G last season, finishing as the overall
RB11. That makes his RB19 ADP seem awfully enticing. And amongst
running backs, itís probably okay.
The reason Iím fading Jacobs at his price is I canít
justify taking him over the plethora of wide receivers with WR1
upside going in the third and fourth rounds. I donít see
the upside. He averaged just 3.0 targets per game last season
and now the team added Drake, who profiles as a passing down back
meaning Jacobsí usage in the passing game is not going to
In order to maintain value, he needs to maintain his productiveness
on the ground and the Raiders have a bad offensive line, which
makes it doubtful Jacobs can exceed the 12 touchdowns he scored
last season (or even match it for that matter).
Jacobsí ceiling feels like what he did in 2020. But what
if Drake takes some of Jacobsí early down work? What if
Drake out-plays Jacobs and makes this a timeshare? Iím not
saying these things are likely; Iím merely pointing out
the numerous ways Jacobs doesnít work in 2021. For that
reason, Iím out.
The case for Carter being overvalued: Heís a
day three rookie walking into an uncertain situation in an offense
that could be terrible.
The case against Carter being overvalued: Heís
a rookie walking into an uncertain situation, which gives him
as good of a chance as anyone to take control of this backfield.
Verdict: I have no issue with Carter as a prospect. He very well
could end up being a value. The reason I have him as overvalued
is because of history. Carter has the second highest draft capital
on the team behind former third-round pick Tevin Coleman, who
has flopped every opportunity heís had to be a feature back.
With that being said, Coleman is likely to open the season as
the ďstarterĒ with two of Carter, Ty Johnson, and
LaíMical Perine getting snaps as well. This is very much
going to be a committee.
As a day three rookie, Carter has a high ADP (6.10, RB31) and
when day three rookies hit, they have always come largely out
of nowhere. 2020 James Robinson and 2018 Phillip Lindsay were
UDFAs. 2015 Jeremy Langford didnít emerge until later in
the season. 2013 Zac Stacy was a late season addition. You get
the point. When a guy with Carterís draft capital hits,
itís always unexpected.
Thereís already an assumption that Carter takes over this
backfield and itís baked into his price. It certainly could
happen but Iím not willing to spend a sixth round pick hoping
the highest drafted day three rookie in fantasy football history
(by a wide margin) actually lives up to his draft cost.