This week’s Twitter Observations is a running back-centric edition. Some big names are in the news (for very different reasons) and a big-picture look at the position and how you should evaluate it going forward.
When the Saints Go Marching In
More about Saints’ running back Alvin Kamara agreeing to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of breach of peace for his involvement in a 2022 fight in Las Vegas, according to court records, opening the door to NFL discipline, via @Kat_Terrell:https://t.co/DyxWtRd94U
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 11, 2023
One of the biggest questions this off-season was: what will happen with Alvin Kamara both on and off the field? Regarding the latter, Kamara was facing legal trouble that could have possibly landed him in jail but it looks like he’ll avoid that. However, that doesn’t preclude the NFL from taking action in the form of a suspension which we will still need to wait on.
But his on-field performance is an issue as well. Despite seeing 200-plus carries in each of the last two seasons, he hasn’t topped his rushing total from 2020 when he rushed for 932 yards on just 187 carries. His receiving stats are in decline too as he’s failed to top 60 receptions in either 2021 or 2022 after never seeing less than 80 in his career up to that point. All of that has led Kamara to finish as just a top-20 fantasy running back last season after finishing in the top ten in four of his first five pro seasons. Is it time to jump ship?
Dynasty Impact: The fantasy community has come to a consensus – Kamara has lost a step. It’s happened two years in a row and now it’s affecting his dynasty value.
The Saints seem to share the feeling. Not only did they sign free agent Jamaal Williams to take over early-down duties but they drafted Kendre Miller in the third round of the draft for an, as of yet, unspecified role in the backfield. Kamara dynasty managers might have felt ok with one or the other of Williams and Miller entering the picture. But both? Yikes.
Using the DLF Trade Finder, Kamara is still fetching a decent haul. From future first-round rookie picks to borderline WR1 receivers. If your team currently includes Kamara, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put him up on your Trade Bait and see who would be interested. Kamara’s tenure as a top-five running back is already over. Don’t get caught with him when he falls out of the top 20.
Lions GM Brad Holmes on Gibbs and Montgomery:
"Swift is a dynamic player and Jamaal was a great leader for us, and he did so much for us. He had a great season. But I think Montgomery and Jahmyr are different backs. Montgomery does a little bit more in the passing game. And… https://t.co/nGtNGWZCjT
— NFL Beat Writers (@32BeatWriters) July 13, 2023
Heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, it was assumed there was only one elite running back option available. And sure enough, Bijan Robinson went eighth overall to the Falcons. Then the Lions shocked the world by making Jahmyr Gibbs the 12th overall pick. The former Alabama running back was widely expected to sneak into the end of the first round but he was rarely mocked that high, if at all. Overnight, Gibbs became the leading contender for the second overall pick in rookie drafts.
It’s where he stands today and, if the tweet above is to be believed, could even rise higher in overall running back rankings.
Dynasty Impact: Short of a major injury to Gibbs in the preseason, the hype train will keep on chugging along until week one. Already he checks in as the number six running back in our DLF rankings.
If you’ve already had your rookie draft and took Gibbs, you should probably keep him. However, if you haven’t and you find yourself in the second or third position of your soon-to-happen rookie draft, it wouldn’t hurt to consider receiving trade offers. Using the DLF Trade Analyzer, you can see the possibilities when it comes to veterans:
You’ll notice there’s only one other running back on this list and it’s 28-year-old Austin Ekeler. The others are young(ish) receivers or the literal, best quarterbacks in fantasy football. I might entertain those offers as either a quarterback or receiver, in general, will last longer on your fantasy team.
Or, if you’re looking for multiple pieces, the following players could be paired with the 1.06 pick.
Either way, it’s tough to be a team that finished at the bottom of a league and pins your hopes to get out of the gutter on a rookie to get you out of there. The above are some options if you want to capitalize on the Gibbs hype.
Running Away from Backs
New (free) column: Four notable running backs 28 or younger are free agents.
🏈 When did the RB market begin to crater?
🏈 Are teams getting more aggressive in moving on from RBs?
🏈 Are they wrong?
🏈 Why aren't these guys getting paid?
🏈 What's next?https://t.co/IoMUrJAW54
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) July 13, 2023
If you haven’t read the latest from Bill Barnwell, it’s a long but informative look at the running back position. Much has to do with the financial implications but there is also a deep dive into the general longevity of a running back when it comes to their NFL career. Not surprisingly, the position hasn’t had nearly the same continuity as others like quarterback and wide receiver. So why am I making it one of our tweets this week? Because it could be a helpful guide on how to manage your dynasty team.
Dynasty Impact: Let’s start with the veterans. One of the examples the article uses is the handful of veteran running backs who are currently free agents. Former Pro Bowlers such as Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Kareem Hunt, and Super Bowl champion Leonard Fournette are all team-less and hoping a significant offer comes their way. But those chances get smaller by the day as teams move on with younger and cheaper options. And whether it’s their real-life or dynasty value, both have taken a nosedive entering the year.
Every player here was a top-ten dynasty running back and now will be lucky to play for a real or dynasty team. And if they’re on your team, they went from a stud to a reliable starter to a dud in a span of three seasons.
The point is, to apply the same logic that NFL teams are using on the position for your dynasty team. In most cases, don’t spend an early pick on a running back, go for a position that has staying powers like a receiver or even a quarterback (in single-QB or superflex leagues), and wait on that running back for the later rounds. NFL general managers aren’t dumb – follow their lead.
- Dynasty Trending Observations: Cam Akers on the Block, Jerome Ford on a Rocket - September 20, 2023
- Dynasty Trending Observations: Chiefs Receivers Drop the Ball, D’Andre Swift Disappears - September 13, 2023
- Dynasty Trending Observations: What-Ifs for Jonathan Taylor, Cooper Kupp Banged Up? - September 4, 2023