Kenyan Drake is the perfect sleeper RB to acquire
Dynasty champions and empires can be made by savvy pick-ups and trades of sleeping giants that others do not see. 2018: Phillip Lindsay; 2019: Austin Ekeler; 2020: James Robinson/Myles Gaskin – just to name a few over the past few years. Here are some running backs who, for one reason or another, are low-risk high-reward players that can wake up your roster and make your dreams of fantasy glory a reality.
I don’t know what is in the water in Memphis, but it just keeps producing intriguing athletes for the NFL. This year, one of my favorite under-the-radar rookies is Kenneth Gainwell. Now Kenneth opted out of the 2020 season due to covid concerns, which is understandable. But, based on his 2019 stats, he was one of the best pass catchers in college football and the sole reason 2020 stand-out rookie Antonio Gibson wasn’t able to get on the field. Over 2,000 scrimmage yards in 2019 with 51 receptions is an exceptional mark for a running back in college. His landing spot will be something I am definitely monitoring because he could have a Nyheim Hines-like role in the NFL. We saw in 2020 how good that can be in PPR formats (running back 15), even if a workhorse is there.
The new man in Denver will be joining Melvin Gordon and Royce Freeman. Mike Boone is no stranger to being buried on a depth chart, sitting behind both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison in Minnesota the past few years. Boone has had the opportunity to be the lead back at times due to injuries to Cook and Mattison, in which he has flashed in those occasions. If he can become the second man in Denver, that is a role that has had its fantasy relevance. With Melvin Gordon’s injury history, Boone could be one injury away from being an RB3/Flex to a low-end RB1 to high-end RB2 behind that offensive line.`
One of the biggest out-of-nowhere stories up until last year was Phillip Lindsay. We know the story – UDFA out of Colorado to sign with Broncos and start his career with back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons. This offseason though, he asked for his release after getting an original round tender from Denver and ended up landing on the Houston Texans. Now, I will not get into their QB situation here because we will see how that plays out. What we do know is David Johnson restructured his contract to not be cut, and the Texans brought in the corpse of Mark Ingram to presumably be a locker room presence. With that, we can expect DJ and Lindsay to share the workload. Since David Johnson is not the same player he once was, it’s not out of the question Lindsay works his way to the lead running back role. In 2020, we saw Houston’s top running back average 15 PPR fantasy points per game.
One of the biggest surprises this offseason was Kenyan Drake signing with the Oakland Raiders. Also, the contract he got is not back-up money. 14.5 million dollar contract over 2 years with 11 million guaranteed. This is saying that at WORST Drake will be splitting work 50/50 with Josh Jacobs. Over Jacobs’ first few seasons, he has not been used as the primary pass-catching running back. Even though we as a fantasy community think Jacobs is a competent pass catcher, Gruden and the Raiders do not want him in that role. With the loss of numerous key offensive linemen as well, I believe Carr will need to get the ball out quicker more often. This is where Drake comes in. We didn’t see Drake highlighted in the passing game in Arizona, but that has more to do with Kyler being a mobile quarterback. When Drake was in Miami, he averaged 45 receptions per year, whereas Jacobs’ career high is 33 receptions. Drake has the passing game floor to be an RB2 on your roster, but he is one Josh Jacobs’ injury away from flirting with Top 12 production.
Now there is no way to tell if these sleepers will wake up, but these are some cheaper guys who can make your roster a nightmare to your opponents with a few things breaking right.
“You Miss 100% OF THE
SHOTS YOU DON’T
TAKE. -Wayne Gretsky”
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