Avoid Jonathan Taylor in redraft
Daniel Racz @Danny___Dimes
Running backs can win you your leagues, but they can also sink the ship. When drafting running backs, you want to target good football players that are likely to receive volume on the ground and through the air. Early in drafts, your targets should not have too much projection. That is to say, if the only reason they are selected in the top twenty picks is that they are supposed to receive an increase in volume, they are not a good pick in your redraft league. Playing for the floor is not the goal, there can only be one champion. Do not buy fools’ gold with these three running backs.
The first player on this list is likely the most controversial. Jonathan Taylor is a good football player, but so is all purpose RB Nyheim Hines. There are many fantasy addicts in the football community (myself included) that believe Hines is the most skilled receiving back in the entire league.
The Colts have an affinity for Hines, feeding him designed targets and even lining him up as a wide receiver. Last year, Hines totaled 64 receptions, and that number could increase.
Jonathan Taylor can not reach his fantasy football ceiling if Nyheim remains relevant. Taylor is going in the top eight picks on most sites, suggesting you have to spend a first-round pick on him to roster him. Though Taylor is a great runner behind a premier offensive line, the lack of receiving work should worry managers.
Another first-round fade comes in the form of Los Angeles Rams’ Cam Akers. The 2020 second-round pick is due for a larger role with Malcolm Brown’s departure. Akers’ 2020 season was a disappointment to everyone, but he was not a first-round pick last year.
His average draft position this year is as a top ten pick, meaning there is a lot of projection. Last year, Akers was a fine football player. As a former high school quarterback, Akers is rather new to the position (though college Wide Receiver Antonio Gibson had no issue acclimating to the NFL).
Akers’ 2021 season will be defined by his passing upside. His 14 targets made him borderline unusable for most of the season. If the addition of Matthew Stafford means Akers gets more targets, he is worthy of a late first-round draft selection. However, he is already priced as if he will get those targets, making him a firm fade.
A lower-level fade for me is Zack Moss. After watching his 2020 season, he was the least impressive sophomore running back by a wide margin. Moss combines a remarkable lack of athleticism, inability to break tackles, and concerning injury history. He is the full package.
Though Moss is going in the ninth round of drafts, he is still the second-best running back on his team. Devin Singletary is a superior talent and should be drafted within a round of Moss. Zack Moss is already battling an injury, so that should set off red flags. Josh Allen is still the goal-line back in Buffalo, so banking on Moss to score double-digit touchdowns is a bad bet.
Stay away from Zack Moss, and take shots on upside wide receivers instead.