IMPORTANT Editor’s Note for NFL FANTASY PLAYERS: Underdog Fantasy is offering ALL ETR subscribers an unbeatable deal. Anyone who purchases the ETR Draft Kit will receive a $10 site credit. First-time Underdog customers will receive an additional $25, making our Draft Kit nearly free if you haven’t tried Underdog yet. After purchasing our Draft Kit or Bundle Package, follow the instructions here to claim your reward.
To minimize opportunity cost and maximize the value of the flex position, you should focus on the wideout position in Rounds 3-6 of best ball drafts. A few days ago, I examined the “RB dead zone” to explain why that’s the case.
However, not all dead-zone RBs are created equal. Today, we’ll highlight three players who are particularly poor investments. Let’s get into it.
RUNNING BACK DEAD ZONE FADES
1. J.K. Dobbins
It’s difficult to justify J.K. Dobbins‘ 28.2 (RB17) ADP on Underdog for a few reasons, but none of them are an indictment of him as a talent. It’s just that Baltimore’s run-heavy approach limits his pass-catching upside, plus carries will be split between Dobbins, Lamar Jackson, and Gus Edwards.
Mark Ingram was inactive for the first time last season in Week 8. In Weeks 8-17, Dobbins and Jackson both averaged 12.1 carries per game, while Edwards was at 9.6. The Ravens may lean more on Dobbins in Year 2, but they showed a propensity for splitting carries even after the Ohio State product broke out in 2020.
Perhaps more concerning is that Dobbins and Edwards combined for 2.2 targets per game from Week 8 onward last year. Baltimore placed in the bottom quarter of the league in RB target share in each of the last two seasons. They threw exactly 62 passes to RBs in both 2019 and 2020; 10 individual RBs recorded at least that many targets last year.
Fortunately for Dobbins, the Ravens’ scheme lends itself to high-level efficiency. Ingram’s corpse averaged 4.2 yards per attempt last year, and both Dobbins and Edwards were above 5.0. It’s possible he returns value at cost on efficiency alone, but it’s not something you want to bet on. Let someone else take Dobbins, and take a wide receiver instead.