Josh Adams isn’t one of the most talked about players in this draft. He’s not even one of the most popular running backs either, but that doesn’t mean he’s not talented. Not all players are going to receive the recognition they deserve. When it comes to the draft, only a handful of players will garner the national spotlight.
Even though Adams isn’t one of the cool kids at the lunch table, he’s still a very important piece to the puzzle. Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough in rookie drafts. This year, the mid-to-late rounds will be riddled with talented prospects like Adams. Knowing who to take with your later picks could be enough to help your dynasty team make a championship run.
With that being said, let’s examine Adams’ rookie profile to see if he has the attributes to be fantasy football’s next breakout mega producer.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com
While sharing the backfield with C.J. Prosise during his freshman year, Adams rushed for 838 yards and six touchdowns and owned a 14.51 percent market share of Notre Dame’s offensive production. He had four games with over 100 yards rushing. His best game came against Stanford where he rushed for 168 yards and one touchdown, giving him the school record for the most rushing yards in a single game by a freshman.
Adams led the team in carries during his sophomore season. His 933 yards for five touchdowns made him a crowd favorite amongst devy league enthusiasts. Notre Dame leaned on him in the passing game a little more in 2015. He had a reception in every game and multiple receptions in six of the 12 games he played in. His 1,126 yards from scrimmage aided him to owning a 22.47 percent market share of the team’s offensive production.
There was a lot of hype and anticipation going into his junior season. With seven games of over 100 yards rushing and a 26.27 percent ownership of the offensive production, Adams proved that he could carry the load. He was a Heisman Trophy Candidate and was on the Doak Walker watch list. Most years he would be a top ten running back, but with this being the crème de la crème of running back classes, Adams tends to fall to near obscurity. This is just a product of the current running back ecosystem and it doesn’t mean he’s a bad prospect.
The footage below showcases is his 2017 outing against North Carolina State where he rushed for 202 yards and one touchdown. This game personifies his attributes and capabilities. This was one of the best games of his career. The week before he hung 191 rushing yards on USC.
Adams is a powerful runner who likes to deliver a lot of punishment at the point of contact. He runs behinds his pads well and is always falling forward to pick up as much yardage as possible. Not only is he a human battering ram, but he’s also dangerous in the second level of the defense once he builds up his speed.
It’s not hard to imagine him being a team’s short-yardage and goal-line back. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he develops into a feature back at the NFL level. He has the size and straight-line speed to get it done in the right situation. He would work best behind a stout offensive line. It might not be best for fantasy, but he would be a good fit in Dallas behind Ezekiel Elliott. Even in this role, he would still hold dynasty value as a high-end handcuff to Elliott.
There are some negatives to his game. Notre Dame didn’t heavily lean on him in the passing game. He also takes extra time to build up speed before hitting the hole. It takes him a little longer to accelerate and hit top speed. However, when he does hit top speed, he’s fast enough to blow by the defense. He’s not super slippery in the open field, but he’s not a scat back either. Adams likes to lower his shoulder and run with power. That’s his game and that’s how he should be used.
I’m willing to invest in him if he gets drafted by a team with a solid offensive line. Even if it’s a crowded backfield, I’m still going to take a swing at the piñata. He has ways he can win on the field and if he goes to a team that suits his needs then there’s a chance that he could be a productive fantasy asset.
Don’t listen to the skeptics. Athleticism matters in the NFL. If it wasn’t true, then there would be guys like me scoring touchdowns on Sundays, instead of writing rookie profiles for Dynasty League Football.
With that being said, Adams has an interesting athletic profile. Could he be this year’s under-the-radar prospect who breaks out during his rookie season?
Let’s take a look at his combine data from Mock Draftable to see if he has enough athleticism to be a star at the next level:
His 4.51 40-yard dash suggests that he’s fast enough to be a threat in the open field. What is tremendous about his athletic profile is his 6.78 three-cone that ranks in the 93rd percentile amongst running back prospects. This means he has the short-area quickness to easily juke out defenders in short spaces. His agility could take him places if he goes to the right team. Unfortunately, his vertical and broad jump totals suggest that he has average burst which means it will take him some extra time to accelerate to full speed. According to NFL.com, Adams had a run against North Carolina State that measured in at 22.37 mph. That’s fast enough to make him a threat to break a big run every time he touches the football.
Athletically, he compares to a lot of the running backs in this draft class. The name that flashes in lights on his comparable list is Jordan Howard. The big difference between the two backs is size. Howard weighs around 230 pounds and Adams weighs 213 pounds. However, both running backs have similar running styles. They are both physical bangers who love contact. Outside of running style, they don’t really compare, so I don’t understand why Howard is on this list. They have similar burst scores, but their size difference is so far apart that it’s hard to make a comparison between the two backs.
Player ADP and more information can be found on their DLF player page.
This is a very deep running back class and that’s one of the reasons why Adams is falling in the rankings. He has some qualities that could make him a future fantasy asset. In any other year, he would easily be a top ten running back prospect. I don’t mind his 33.30 rookie ADP, because that means I’ll be getting him at a very cheap value in rookie drafts. It’s very hard not to take a chance on him at that price point.
Most of the running backs in the third round or later in rookie drafts are lottery tickets that have the talent to hit. It’s not a bad idea buying a few of these cheap scratch-off tickets just to see if you can hit big. The buy-in is small and the potential is huge, making Adams a very good investment because there’s nothing to lose.
I like this kid. He has enough upside to make him a value play in rookie drafts. Some running backs just need a few tricks up their sleeve in order for them to develop into fantasy relevant assets. Adams has plenty of tricks when you take in account his athleticism, production and what we see on film. It’s going to be very interesting to see where he goes in the draft. Don’t sleep on Adams – he could be a game-changer in the right situation.
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