Dynasty Debate: Wayne Gallman vs Alvin Kamara

Bruce Matson

It’s quite common for debates to manifest when there are two talented prospects ranked within the same tier. Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell were heavily debated prospects last year and we entertained debates covering Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Kevin White and Amari Cooper the year before. In this instalment we will be hammering away at the differences between Clemson’s Wayne Gallman and Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara to try to determine which prospect could potentially make the biggest splash in fantasy in the near future.

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The Case for Wayne Gallman – Bruce Matson

Gallman was a four-star recruit from Grayson High School located in Loganville, Georgia. There, he rushed for 516 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, and 700 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. His head coach in high school was Mickey Conn, who was Dabo Swinney’s roommate at Alabama and is now a defensive coach for Clemson. Gallman ranked eighteenth amongst running backs and 217 overall in the 2013 recruiting class. After signing with the Clemson Tigers, he was later redshirted for the duration of his freshman season.

He started his collegiate career off with a bang, by leading the team in rushing with 769 yards rushing and four touchdowns, while eclipsing the 100-yard mark three times during his freshman season. He managed to own a 16.52 percent market share of the team’s total offensive production that year. His best game came during the regular season finale against South Carolina when he rushed for 191 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries.

Gallman finished his sophomore season ranked second in the ACC behind only Dalvin Cook with 1,527 yards rushing. He surpassed 100 yards rushing nine times in that season, and his best game came during the Capital One Orange Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners when he rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns. His highly productive sophomore season made him a hot name amongst developmental dynasty enthusiasts. Gallman still managed to achieve a 22.54 percent market share of the team’s offensive production even though Clemson led the nation with 7,718 total yards in 2015.

His junior season was almost as productive as his sophomore year, as he ran for 1,133 yards and 17 touchdowns while owning a 17.01 percent market share of Clemson’s offensive production. We saw his production dip mostly due to the transition in personnel with Clemson’s offensive line, relying heavily on starting three underclassmen. Gallman finished his career ranking fifth all-time in Clemson’s history with 3,416 yards rushing and fourth all-time with 36 rushing touchdowns.

gallmanThe first thing you will notice when you pull up Gallman’s tape is his tenacious running style. He’s a very decisive runner with the ball in his hands and he likes to make his decision quick and hit the hole as hard as possible while looking to deliver damage to all defenders that are in his way. Another thing to note is that he’s a north-south-one-cut runner, meaning he’s able to make quick cuts on the drop of dime to change directs while running downhill. He may not be the sexiest most athletic back in this draft, but his physicality and his football IQ will make him a tremendous asset for an NFL team. One thing that is rarely mentioned is his ability to sustain blocks and protect the passer. He has a hunger for inflicting punishment on defenders and blocking defensive linemen who are twice his size satisfies his appetite for contact. He’s a smart player, who can read the defense and figure out where the blitz is coming from with ease, which will allow to stay on the field during passing downs.

Alvin Kamara’s body of work at Tennessee doesn’t even come close in comparison to Gallman’s college production. He only had 210 carries during his entire collegiate career, which in comparison equates to just 31.11 percent of Gallman’s workload during his entire career at Clemson. Kamara has never been the feature back for Tennessee and has never led them in rushing. 625 of his 1,294 career yards came during five games of his collegiate career, stemming just 48.30 percent of his rushing yardage from five contests against Texas A&M, Kentucky, Bowling Green, North Texas and Vanderbilt. You can make the case that most of his inconsistencies were due to splitting carries with Jalen Hurd and John Kelly, but stud running backs figure out a way to take a stranglehold on the market share of carries and the inconsistent production is a red flag on his profile. Not saying Gallman is a stud running back, but unlike Kamara, he led his team in rushing and carries.

Gallman’s strength of running between the tackles with assertiveness is Kamara’s weakness. It’s quite apparent that it’s not Kamara’s forte when it comes to picking his spots between the tackles in order to grind out the tough yards. Due to his innate ability to beat defenders in space, he has developed an infatuation with stretching his runs to the outside of tackles, which is a trait that more than likely won’t translate to the NFL level. Unlike Gallman, he’s not an aficionado when it comes to contact and lacks the heart and desire to barrel through defenders, making him less than desirable for short yardage situations. He does his best work in open space when he can utilize his quickness to cut up field to get by defenders. Gallman can do a little bit of everything, making him a jack of all trades type of back and he gets the nod over Kamara when it comes to picking up the tough yardage between the tackles to keep the chains moving. 

Don’t get me wrong, I like both backs, but it’s hard for me not to give the edge to Gallman due to his overall body of work, toughness and versatility. It’s like splitting hairs when it comes to picking one over the other, but I will be gladly drafting both backs in rookie drafts in a few months.

image 1 wayne gallman stats

image 2 kamara stats

The Case for Alvin Kamara – Rob Willette

The career of Alvin Kamara did not unfold as expected when he committed to the University of Alabama as part of the 2013 recruiting class.  A consensus top ten running back in his class, it was anticipated Kamara would make an early impact despite Alabama’s usual depth at the position.  Instead, a knee injury wiped away most of his preseason and he ended up redshirting his freshman season prior to electing to transfer.  Eventually, he settled on Tennessee, which may have been a better situation given the Volunteers’ relative lack of talent at the position compared to the Tide.

Kamara is the type of player who jumps off the screen when you watch him.  His burst through the line of scrimmage and decisive running style are his hallmarks.  It does not take him long to get up to top speed and he seldom spends his time dancing behind the line of scrimmage.  Most importantly for his fantasy stock, he is an advanced pass catcher.  He can run routes like a receiver and catches the ball naturally.  He’s a potential nightmare on third downs and has more than enough ability to make an impact as a runner, as well.  He’s not merely a space player; he can do damage in-between the tackles even if he is not dragging defenders for extra yardage with sheer power.kamara

Paramount to this piece is how he compares to Wayne Gallman, a prospect currently being valued in a similar range to Kamara as draft season heats up.  I certainly do not dislike Gallman.  He does a lot of things well; he’s a high effort runner who competes in every phase of the game and shows well in the passing game.  I just do not see any special traits with Gallman.

With Kamara, I do: namely his burst and receiving ability.  He’s more than just a good receiving running back; he looks as though he could be comfortable playing slot receiver.  When I envision these two in the NFL, I view Gallman as a league average running back who can hold his own as a starter.  I see Kamara as having difference-maker traits which the NFL covets.  He’s a plus player in several facets. 

In focusing on just where a player excels, I come away far more impressed with the former Alabama running back.  Given the direction most teams have taken with their offense, I do not see a ton of poor fits.  His skill-set should jive with plenty of systems and he can transcend bad situations due to his versatility.  The gap I currently have between the two is likely not as large as I have portrayed it to be in this piece, but it would be a major upset if Gallman pushed past Kamara in my rookie rankings either pre- or post-draft.

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bruce matson
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