3 RB Buys You Need To Pursue
By: Dave Stewart @davefantasy
So, the Super Bowl has come and gone. The Lomardi trophy has been given out and the confetti cleared from the field at Raymond James Stadium. While there will not be any football actually contested on the field for nearly seven months, there will still be plenty going on in the NFL world.
Free agency and the draft are just around the corner, but before then, we have a unique opportunity before us. While dynasty managers digest and try to make sense of all the information we have gathered throughout the 2020 season, player values are being hotly debated.
At this point in the year, opinions are often far apart. But, you can use that to your advantage when making moves to strengthen your team. Finding top talent, at a discount, will always be a sound strategy in a dynasty league. Immediately following the Super Bowl, you will see many people in the fantasy industry putting out their current dynasty rankings.
Simply taking a look through the comments of a Twitter thread will illustrate to you the variety of opinions on any given player. I have three ball carriers that I think you might be able to acquire on the cheap.
Saquon Barkley – New York Giants Barkley missed almost the entire 2020 season after suffering an ACL tear in week 2 against the Chicago Bears.
In just the third year of his young career, he touched the ball a mere 25 times. It is a far cry from the 621 total touches he had over his first two seasons. He has recently reported doing well in rehab and, a positive outcome from the time missed is that he did avoid the abuse of approximately 300 tackles.
Despite the fact that he will be returning from a significant knee injury, Barkley is only 24 years old and entering the fourth year of his rookie contract. Rested and in full health, he will contend with the league’s top rushers, but Barkley is also among the most targeted running backs in the passing game, with 203 in his career to date.
The Giants drafted offensive linemen in the first and third rounds of the 2020 draft and several mock drafts I have seen suggest they may take another in the first round this year. Whether they select a lineman or a wide receiver, many speculate that the pick will be an offensive player, which only stands to help Barkley.
A field-stretching wideout could help open up space. While he is not quite as undervalued as the other players I will mention, I have seen several instances of analysts having Barkley ranked outside of the top three backs in dynasty. For me, that is too much, as I still have him ranked second. If I can buy Saquon, at even a small dip, I am going to do it every chance I get.
Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans It is hard to believe a back coming off a 2,000-yard season would be undervalued, but you do not have to look far to find someone who is out on Derrick Henry.
In fact, some are passing on Henry due to the 2,000 yard season and the 378 carries it took him to get there. This is his second consecutive season with over 300 carries and that is a lot of punishment for one player to take. But, let’s face it, Derrick Henry is no ordinary man. Not many ball carriers are 6’3” and 247 pounds. Henry has demonstrated his durability by only missing two games in his five seasons.
A lot of people will tell you to buy running backs on their rookie contracts and sell those on their second contract. I do not even think that is bad advice. However, I am going to tell you to buy Henry at his current price tag.
I have seen multiple rankings with Henry outside the top ten backs. That is just too much for me. He is going to get the work and he has had double-digit touchdowns for three straight years. I am counting on him to continue that streak and, as such, I am seeking to procure him at a reduced rate.
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys The disinclination towards Zeke has become a little perplexing to me, at this point. I understand his 2020 season was far from being one for the ages, but the loss of Dak Prescott was a heavy blow for the entire Dallas offense.
Zeke ended the season with 979 rushing yards and six touchdowns, earning 364 yards and five touchdowns in the five games Prescott started to begin the year. Losing Prescott to injury, along with injuries on the offensive line, was too much for Elliott to overcome.
Welcoming back a recovered Prescott, along with an offensive line at full health, not to mention Blake Jarwin who missed the majority of 2020, is a reasonable expectation for the Cowboys. They also have seen enough in offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, to sign him to an extension.
It feels like a safe bet we will see Dallas return to a high-volume offense, similar to the beginning of this past season, though I am not expecting Dak to throw for 450+ yards three times in a row. Given that his value is at an all-time low, I believe Elliott can be had for a song, at this point.
At 25 years old, there is a lot of tread remaining on those tires. Buying Elliott seems like a low risk, high reward proposition.
I hope that I have planted some ideas for you, but it never hurts to just test the waters in your own leagues. Managers are giving up on veteran players with a lot of life left. Those rookie picks look awfully shiny this time of year, as well. Make some offers to see if you can’t find yourself a bargain.