Latavius Murray is a valuable RB target
By Zach Attack @FFChalupaBatman
A running back in the NFL is a young man’s games, but that just means you can find some value with older running backs in your draft. Just to be clear, we are talking about redraft leagues so you only care about the player performing well this season. We are going to discuss Raheem Mostert, David Johnson and Latavius Murray. Melvin Gordon and Mike Davis just missed the cut off because they are 28 years old, but they could be good values too.
ADP comes from Fantasy Football Calculator pulling data from 8490 mock drafts between 4/12/21-5/14/21 for 12 team PPR leagues
Raheem Mostert (29 years old) ”“ ADP 4.09
In 2020, Mostert only played 8 games due to injuries, but he still scored 12.5 points per game. The San Francisco 49ers has a crowded backfield, but if Mostert can stay healthy then I expect him to be the starter. Mostert’s biggest asset is his speed! In 2020, Mostert had the two fastest plays in the NFL with an 80 yard rushing TD running 23.09 MPH and a 76 yard rushing TD running 22.73 MPH, according to Next Gen Stats. The 49ers suffered a lot of injuries throughout the team in 2020. In 2019, the 49ers finished 2nd in rush attempts, 2nd in rushing yard, and 1st in rushing TDs! Head Coach Kyle Shanahan clearly knows how to scheme up a dominant rushing attack, and I expect them to get back to that in 2021. Mostert’s current ADP is 4.09, but I anticipate that to continue to fall as people are scared about all the RBs on the roster, including rookie Trey Sermon. I would feel great if I was able to draft Mostert as my RB3 in the sixth round. Just a reminder, in 2019 Mostert played all 16 games and finished as the RB26 (5 points from RB24) and scored 10 total TDs.
David Johnson (29 years old) ”“ ADP 6.02
David Johnson used to be a top fantasy RB not that long ago, but due to injuries and a new team he has fallen down the ranks and finished as the RB21 (RB14 in ppg with at least 100 carries) in 2020. However, finishing as an RB2 at that draft pick still helps your roster! Last season was Johnson’s first season with the Houston Texans and he actually had a career high yards per carry of 4.7 yards, which was a huge improvement since his breakout 2016 season (4.2 ypc). Johnson also scored 8 total TDs in 12 games. I expect David Johnson’s ADP to continue to fall until we find out if Deshaun Watson is playing in 2021 or not. If Watson doesn’t play at all or is suspended for several games then is ADP will fall, and if Watson is expected to play the entire season then Johnson’s ADP will most likely be between the 4th and 6th rounds. I do not expect Mark Ingram to make the 53-man roster, and Phillip Lindsay could take away some receiving work but Johnson only had 46 targets last year. Ultimately, I expect Johnson to be the primary RB and goal line back so it is reasonable to expect him to finish as a RB3 at worst. I would not be excited to draft David Johnson, but I don’t mind drafting a starting RB in the 7th round or later as Johnson’s ADP continues to fall.
Latavius Murray (31 years old) ”“ 9.04 ADP Latavius Murray is the only running back on this list that is not a starter. Murray still had 169 total touches last season playing behind Alvin Kamara (270 total touches). There is some unknown going into this season since Drew Brees retired and Sean Payton has not told us if Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill will be the starting QB. This uncertainty will probably drive Murray’s ADP down into the double-digit rounds. Even playing behind Kamara, Murray finished as the RB34 and scored 5 total TDs (scored 6 total TDs in 2019). Murray is considered a handcuff/lottery RB because if Kamara is injured then Murray should be an RB2, at worst. In the double-digit rounds you are drafting dart throws, so adding Murray to your bench is a good strategy as a depth RB with lottery potential. There is no reason to reach for Murray, but if you see him falling in your draft then pick him and stash him on your bench.