Matthew was on SportsCenter yesterday dishing out a running back breakout, sleeper, and bust.
Let’s see if you can guess who he was talking about. I’ll share the answers at the end.
Breakout: “He came into the pros only having had 33 carries in college, but proved last year that he can be an RB in the NFL. In his 7 games last year where he got 15+ touches, he averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game.”
Bust: “For his career, he has never scored double digit fantasy points in a game where he had fewer than 15 touches. There’s concerns about the offensive line, too.”
Sleeper: “Not a big name, but a big game. Six games with 15+ touches, averaged 18.7 fantasy points per game. Very quietly top ten in the NFL in touches and scrimmage yards per game.”
📰 Fantasy News for the true sickos.
* Nugget from Mike Kaye on what the Eagles staff thinks about Miles Sanders: “The indication I get is they think he is a feature-capable back. But, Sirianni and Steichen both come from a long line of coaches who use RBs in very specific roles in committees. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.” Last year Sanders was the guy we all hoped would ascend to bell cow status and then it didn’t happen. Now they draft Kenneth Gainwell in the draft, further muddying the backfield.
* Cam Akers is a tricky guy for me in drafts this year. I see the upside case, but there’s also risk in his profile as the Rams targeted RBs only 12.6% of the time last year. Jourdan Rodrigue thinks that could change this year: “Matthew Stafford passed to running backs on about 20-22 percent of snaps last season, so McVay could incorporate more of that this fall. It also wouldn’t be a total surprise to see more two-back sets sprinkled in here and there.” Get the shirt to match Akers’ fantasy outlook:
* We are taught since birth not to invest significant draft capital in Patriots running backs, but ESPN's Mike Reiss said Damien Harris is the Patriots' "surefire No. 1" backfield option. Luckily Harris is fairly cheap in drafts right now, going in the 7th and 8th rounds generally.
* Bears running back Tarik Cohen (knee) will take the field in training camp for the first time since tearing his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season. It’s hard to know how this backfield will shake out with Cohen and Damien Williams behind David Montgomery, but I’ve been taking stabs at both because I like betting against Montgomery.
* According to Ryan Burr, Big Ben’s camp has been focused on weight loss this offseason: “He has been so driven since the season ended. Source says his diet is stricter than Brady.” Big Ben saying his diet is stricter than Brady’s is like the dude who tells his wife that he “broke even” at the casino.
* Sounds like there’s a chance Cole Beasley could get cut. Via Jay Skurski: “It shouldn’t be entirely ruled out. If Beasley were to be released, he’d save the Bills $5.341 million against the 2021 cap. His dead-money hits the next two years would be $2 million and $1.5 million, respectively. Those are reasonable.”
📊 Stat of the Day…
Here’s a bonus cool data viz by Sam Hoppen looking at all of the backfields and running back ADP. “Currently, the cheapest backfield is Texans, but the Bills' and Bucs' RBs are also significantly discounted. Meanwhile, only the Chargers and Steelers have one RB being drafted within the top 216 in ADP.”
📚 The Fantasy Articles You Must Read
Best 3-set Wide Receiver Groups for Fantasy Football by Mike Clay. In 2020 the Steelers were “the only team with three top-23 fantasy wide receivers (JuJu Smith-Schuster 16th, Diontae Johnson 21st, Chase Claypool 23rd).” You can get access to ESPN+ via the Rotopass network.
Fantasy Football: Introducing the Ambiguous RB1 Theory by JJ Zachariason. “The Ambiguous RB1 Theory states that when you're looking for ambiguous backfields to target, you should be attacking middle-round team RB1s who have teammates who are also being selected in the middle rounds.”
And how about a book you should read also? Our friends over at Sharp Football just dropped their massive 2021 football preview book. The book shares insights into the players, coaches, teams and philosophies to help get you prepared for the season. It includes team chapters for all 32 teams, fantasy breakdowns, forecast wins & rankings, front office analysis, heat maps, positional unit rankings and much more. Get your copy today as part of Warren’s Early Bird offer:
💪 High key thicc
Hollywood Brown, Rashod Bateman, and Mark Andrews have been out in Scottsdale Arizona working out. I thought you should know.
⚡ Quote reveal
So who was Matthew talking about on SportsCenter? See below and watch the full segment here.
Breakout: “He came into the pros only having had 33 carries in college, but proved last year that he can be an RB in the NFL. In his 7 games last year where he got 15+ touches, he averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game.” Answer: Antonio Gibson
Bust: “For his career, he has never scored double digit fantasy points in a game where he had fewer than 15 touches. There’s concerns about the offensive line, too.” Answer: Josh Jacobs
Sleeper: “Not a big name, but a big game. Six games with 15+ touches, averaged 18.7 fantasy points per game. Very quietly top ten in the NFL in touches and scrimmage yards per game.” Answer: Myles Gaskin