Recently, I was studying the latest dynasty ADP looking for players I considered either overvalued or undervalued at the current startup price tag. While quite a few stood out in each category, I finally opted to do some crowd sourcing and ask my Twitter followers for their thoughts.
Next up, I focused on overvalued running backs and undervalued running backs.
Time for the RBs! Here is DLF’s May dynasty ADP data for RBs.
Name one overrated and one underrated pic.twitter.com/OTUaMsQj2w
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) May 27, 2017
Melvin Gordon, LAC – 10 votes
Although the votes for overvalued running backs were fairly spread out, it was the Chargers Gordon who topped the list with ten votes. After a miserable rookie season, Gordon enjoyed a breakout sophomore year and saw his value skyrocket as a result. As of our May dynasty ADP, he’s the RB5 with an overall ADP of 17.5.
Personally, I was concerned about Gordon’s chances of replicating his numbers with a healthy Danny Woodhead, but he opted to sign with the Baltimore Ravens, while the Chargers made no significant move at the position. There is little depth to threaten Gordon’s backfield touches, so he should be in store for another huge season.
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Derrick Henry, TEN – 9 votes
This one makes more sense. The Titans backup running back, Henry, ranks as our RB14 based on May ADP, ahead of his teammate and the Tennessee starter, DeMarco Murray. I love Henry’s potential and his combination of speed and power. I expect him to gain a larger and more week to week consistent share of the backfield in 2017, but I understand the opinion that he is overvalued as this spot.
The good news for Henry and the dynasty players valuing him in this range is that Murray is 29 years old and nearing the end of the typical life cycle of productive backs. 2017 could be the beginning of the Henry takeover in Nashville.
Todd Gurley, LAR – 8 votes
The third-leading vote getter is Gurley, who like Gordon is entering his third season. The two runners represent two of the most overvalued backs and are also among the top six drafted at their position. While I understand the knocks against both, I also think this has a lot to do with the way dynasty owners like to build teams. Outside of the top three backs, who are viewed as elite, it seems that we are satisfied to take the players falling to the latter part of the second tier rather than use a great deal of draft or trade capital on players in this draft range.
With that said, there are numerous red flags surrounding Gurley right now and his dynasty stock has been fading, yet he still sits among the top 20 overall players as of May. Expect that to continue falling until he gives dynasty owners a reason to be more confident.
Dalvin Cook, MIN – 7 votes
It wasn’t so long ago that Florida State’s Cook was viewed as the favorite to be the top pick in dynasty rookie drafts. Of course, that was before he botched the NFL Combine and some of his off-field indiscretions came back to the forefront. Instead, Cook is typically falling to the fifth or sixth rookie pick and is the RB13 in our May dynasty ADP. For several of my Twitter followers, this was simply too high.
Some of the things I just mentioned may be reasons to be worried about drafting Cook this highly, while others are simply anti-rookie, which is understandable too, though I strongly disagree with that mindset. Cook is the favorite to control the Vikings backfield and both Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon have failed to show they can perform as an every-down back. Taking Cook over reliable veterans like Murray may be risky, but he also has a lot of upside. The story is the same for many of these rookies, this time next year, this could look like a bargain.
Jordan Howard, CHI – 6 votes
In 2016, the rookie Howard went from mid-round dynasty flier to gaining a huge amount of value, currently being draft as the RB8. I think much of what I mentioned with regards to Gurley and Gordon is true here as well. Dynasty owners simply feel that all players in this range are not worthy of their current ADP. The Bears are currently in the midst of a rebuild and running back actually might be their best position.
Although Jeremy Langford, who had a nice rookie season himself a couple years ago, is still around, the Bears also signed away Benny Cunningham from the Rams. Howard is not necessarily considered a pass-catching back, but he could lose some of his opportunity in the passing game. There could also be some concern that Howard, like Langford before him, was a bit of a fluke, but I don’t think that will be the case.
Finally, I’ve grouped these top rookies together. Both Fournette and McCaffrey were top ten NFL Draft picks and both are currently being selected as top nine dynasty backs. If we are nitpicking, there are worries that Fournette might only be a two-down back in the Jaguars offense, which has been pass-heavy in recent years. There’s also the injury issues that cost him much of his final college season at LSU. McCaffrey’s concerns are on the other side of the spectrum. Yes, he’s an elite pass-catching back, but can he run between the tackles? It’s a fair question to ask and maybe the reason he garnered six mentions as an overvalued back.
Others Receiving Votes:
Carlos Hyde (5), CJ Anderson (4), Lamar Miller (4), Devonta Freeman (4), Jay Ajayi (3), LeSean McCoy (3), DeMarco Murray (2), CJ Prosise (2), Kenneth Dixon (2), Tevin Coleman (2), Spencer Ware (1), Paul Perkins (1), Ameer Abdullah (1), David Johnson (1), Joe Mixon (1), LaTavius Murray (1)
Isaiah Crowell, CLE – 17 votes
Unlike the overvalued side of the coin, these results were not close! Crowell, currently the RB19, was easily the favorite choice as being undervalued by the dynasty community. Crowell quietly turned in a RB14 season in 2016 despite another poor season for the Browns as a whole and stiff competition from Duke Johnson for pass-catching downs. The Browns made no significant moves in the backfield through free agency or the draft, so Crowell could be looking at a repeat performance in 2017.
In fact, Crowell could be even better this season, not because he’ll put up more fantasy points necessarily, but hopefully he’ll be more consistent. In 16 games last season, Crowell was held under eight fantasy points in half of them and exceeded 15 fantasy points just three times total, and only once in the last 12 games.
Bilal Powell, NYJ – 7 votes
Somehow Powell remains in the shadow of Matt Forte in New York. To be fair, Forte did have his eight-year streak of finishing as a top 12 running back snapped last season, but he is still being viewed as a fantasy contributor, while I think the wheels have completely fallen off. Meanwhile, Powell was a surprise asset in both 2015 and 2016, finishing as the RB34 and RB16, respectively.
Powell has had success as both a runner and pass-catcher and with the Jets expected to be playing from behind all season, he could easily see a career high in targets, eclipsing his current high of 74 from last season. The best part is Powell is still very undervalued, being drafted as the RB40. He likely does not have a great deal of long-term value considering his age, but he can be a league-winner in 2017 at his current price.
Samaje Perine, WAS – 5 votes
This seems to be the exception to the rookie hate that occurred in many of these polls as Perine was named by a handful of voters as undervalued. Considered the favorite to earn the Redskins starting job over the pedestrian Rob Kelley, Perine is somehow only the RB36 in our May dynasty ADP.
While he is likely to be a committee back, at least during his rookie season, dynasty owners have been slow to come around to the former Oklahoma back, who was drafted well after some of the other rookie backs in the same range, including D’Onta Foreman and Kareem Hunt. I’m on board with Perine as a value based on expected volume alone. Kelley simply is nothing special, which could make Perine look like a rookie stud.
Others Receiving Votes:
DeMarco Murray (4), Spencer Ware (4), Theo Riddick (4), Ty Montgomer (4), Carlos Hyde (3), CJ Anderson (3), CJ Prosise (3), Paul Perkins (3), Alvin Kamara (3), Alvin Kamara (3), Doug Martin (3), Eddie Lacy (3), Jay Ajayi (2), Duke Johnson (2), Giovani Bernard (2), Kareem Hunt (2), Mark Ingram (2), Marshawn Lynch (2), Melvin Gordon (1), Derrick Henry (1), Jordan Howard (1), Lamar Miller (1), Ameer Abdullah (1), Frank Gore (1), Jamaal Williams (1), James Conner (1), Mike Gillislee (1)
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