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Dynasty Fantasy Football: Nathaniel Hackett’s Running Back Usage and What it Means for Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon

How will the new Denver Broncos head coach utilize his running back duo?

Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon

How will the new Denver Broncos head coach utilize his running back duo?


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Dynasty Fantasy Football: Nathaniel Hackett’s Running Back Usage and What it Means for Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon
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Patrick Martin
5 months ago

Great article. Everyone in dynasty loves Javonte (myself included) but seem to be sleeping on Gordon this year. You can get him for almost nothing, he has weekly stand alone Flex value and league winning upside if Williams goes down. Sure, he’s 29 but feels like insanely cheap depth for contending dynasty mangers.

Mark Boutot
5 months ago

So, I can see Williams becoming the primary back but my question here, as well as the question I’ve had in other articles regarding Williams is: does that justify ranking Williams as the RB4? Personally, I don’t think so. As I’ve said elsewhere, there is nothing in Williams’ profile that screams “lead back”. He evenly split work in college with Michael Carter for three seasons; he evenly split work with Melvin Gordon during his rookie season; and then, a HC who had nothing to do with Gordon last season, brought Gordon back this year to again split time with Williams.

Does all that really say “Dynasty RB4” to everyone? I must be missing something, somewhere. I’m not saying the kid doesn’t have talent, I’m just saying I think he is severely over-valued

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Boutot
William Betts
Reply to  Mark Boutot
5 months ago

That thing might be that he is basically 22 y/o Marshawn Lynch w/ plus receiving chops… last college season .48 broken tackles per rush attempt (college record), and then rookie NFL season league leading .31 broken tackles per rush attempt. Doing that kind of damage with a barely functional passing offense is just super impressive.

John Anello
Reply to  Mark Boutot
5 months ago

You make alot of very good points, as he’s around RB 12 – 16 in redraft, though in Dynasty startups, who are you taking after JT, Najee. Swift?

Gregory Massa
Reply to  John Anello
5 months ago

Easy Breecey Beautiful Covergirl

Mark Boutot
5 months ago

I could see merit to both of your responses. However, here are a couple of things to consider: Say with Williams’ broken tackle statistic the Broncos recognized that sometime during the season and then went heavier toward Williams and away from Gordon? Well, that sort of happened as a side-by-side comparison of both backs’ touches shows that up until the BYE week, Gordon had more games in which he out-touched Williams (5 – 2) whereas after the BYE, it was 5 – 2 in Williams’ favor. So, maybe the Broncos did notice that somewhat and then made a slight move toward Williams. However, the differences were 4 games where the total touch difference was 1 or 2, not all that significant in my opinion. But, there is a difference.

By the way, when one notes that both backs finished dead even in total carries and that Williams had a 9-reception advantage over Gordon on the season, also note that Gordon missed Week 13 where Williams’ did have a total of 29 touches and produced 178 total yards and one receiving touchdown while Gordon was OUT. Impressive and may show what he (Williams) can do but with a one-game sample we’re going to elevate him to a top-5 ranking? Well, if we are, let me show you some statistics of what Alexander Mattison did when Dalvin Cook missed games in 2021 and yet Mattison is ranked much, much lower. I know the situations are different; I’m just using Mattison’s fill-in performances to counter-point Williams’ one game production and elevation to top-5 status.

Which leads into the second comment: well, who else would be put at that spot? Excellent point and a very good question to answer. And this is where I deviate from the dynasty approach to things. I look at players’ potential future through more of a “useful life left” lens than true dynasty. For me, I look at players in a two-to-three year window. So, players like Dalvin Cook for example, rates higher with me than most when compiling dynasty rankings. A player like Cook; who is the defined, primary back but a bit older than someone Williams would rate higher because I’m only looking two to three years down the road. Why? Because the criteria I use today to elevate the dynasty prospects of a player is GUARANTEED to be different. With Williams at 22 y/o we have more “hope”; with Williams at 25 y/o, we will have more evidence to how his career will play out. So, for me and the way I approach things, guys like Ekeler, Akers, Cook, Mixon, and possibly Henry would rank higher. Again, because my focus window is two to three years. For each one of those players, I think I would be OK in estimating that each one will have good production for the next two years. Williams?? It confuses me as to why the Broncos brought back Gordon for another year, instead of just being happy with a more marginal backup like Mike Boone. I think that move tells us a lot more than we are actually giving credit to it.

Can’t understand why I approach things like that? Analyze on your teams how long you actually keep a player, even in dynasty leagues. Most, probably not very long because we are constantly moving players around. And why are we doing that? Because the situations around the players change and our perspectives on the players change. How we are evaluating Williams at 22 WILL be different than how we are looking at him at 25.

Great discussion!

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