Fantasy football drafts are full of powerful selections, particularly within the early rounds. Attempting to resolve which gamers to pick which can be being drafted with an identical average draft position (ADP) may be one of the intriguing and irritating elements of any draft. Due to this fact, on this collection, our analysts right here at PFN will take a look at gamers which can be carrying related ADPs and make a case for which participant you must think about taking.
We kick off this collection within the second spherical, the place there are a number of intriguing debates surrounding the operating again place. In that vary, there’s a mixture of choices, all with seemingly completely different roles inside their offense for the 2022 season. One such choice is between Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ RB Leonard Fournette and the Denver Broncos’ second-year again Javonte Williams.
Present Sleeper ADP has Fournette and Williams being chosen again to again in PPR codecs. Because the RB13, Williams’ ADP is at present twenty fourth total, whereas Fournette is being chosen twenty fifth total because the RB14. Williams’ ADP has dropped barely because the Broncos again Melvin Gordon. Nevertheless, it seems to have settled across the backend of the second or early third-round vary.
PFN’s Director of Fantasy Soccer Ben Rolfe will make the case for Fournette, whereas Senior Fantasy Analyst Tommy Garrett will make the case for Williams.
Fournette’s career has been considerably unusual once you take a look at it. After being chosen fourth total within the 2017 NFL Draft, he burst onto the scene as a rookie with 1,040 dashing yards and 10 complete touchdowns. He then had a down second yr, taking part in simply eight video games via damage. Fournette bounced again in 12 months 3 with 1,674 complete yards, however he solely discovered the top zone 3 times.
Self-discipline points and a perceived failure at his excessive draft worth led the Jaguars to maneuver on from Fournette in 2020. The gifted again then joined Tom Brady as a brand new addition for the Buccaneers.
Fournette had a wierd yr with Tampa in 2020. He was inconsistent in racking up 367 dashing yards and 233 receiving yards on 36 receptions. However then he turned the principle again for TB within the playoffs that season.
That carried over into 2021, the place he had 180 dashing makes an attempt and 84 targets via 14 video games. Fournette completed the common season injured however returned within the playoffs with 22 touches because the Buccaneers have been eradicated within the Divisional Spherical.
The 2022 offseason has seen Tampa Bay seemingly spend money on Fournette. They re-signed him to a three-year deal worth $21 million, with $9 million assured. Moreover, the Bucs allowed Ronald Jones to depart and changed him with third-round choice Rachaad White.
That funding in Fournette this offseason is why he presents a worth at his present ADP in comparison with these round him. Fournette is a dual-threat, three-down again with little in the best way of established competitors. We all know Brady values belief within the gamers round him, and Fournette is the one again on this roster to have at present earned it.
Accidents and offensive line issues
It could be incorrect to fully overlook Fournette’s damage historical past. He’s by no means performed a full NFL season and, since his faculty days, has alternated heavy- and light-usage seasons. Even final yr, Fournette missed 4 of the Buccaneers’ 19 video games via damage.
Nevertheless, accidents are merely part of the RB panorama. No RB is risk-free on the subject of accidents. What’s key’s the utilization that the participant will see when he’s on the sphere.
Final yr, Fournette averaged 12.86 dashing makes an attempt and 6 targets per recreation. In complete, he averaged a contact below 19 alternatives and 18 touches per recreation. Solely 11 backs had extra touches per recreation, and solely 5 of them performed extra video games than Fournette. He noticed fewer than 10 touches in only one recreation and was focused 5+ instances in all however three video games. With the belief of Brady, Fournette was and stays a vital a part of this offense.
Arguably, the larger challenge is the downgrade alongside the offensive line. Each of the Buccaneers’ beginning guards have left, and center Ryan Jensen was injured in the first week of training camp. That line was extraordinarily worthwhile in 2021, and it’s definitely a priority that all the inside of the group could be completely different.
The mitigating issue is that Fournette’s position within the passing recreation considerably protects him. A worse offensive line can typically even improve the work a again sees within the passing recreation. Thus, it could assist Fournette when it comes to his goal numbers.
He’s certainly not a lock to succeed, however Fournette’s present ADP has him being chosen amongst backs that may very well be in a committee scenario each week. Because it stands, Fournette seems to be the bell-cow again for the Buccaneers. Accidents could curtail the season, however you must experience Fournette whereas he’s on the sphere.
It’s difficult to discover a operating again that has generated extra buzz across the fantasy neighborhood than the Broncos’ Javonte Williams. If you dive into the stats, you may see Williams has barely scratched the floor of his potential.
You may not have had a extra even backfield break up final yr, with Williams and Gordon dashing 203 instances every final season. Wiliams turned his touches into 903 dashing yards — simply 18 yards behind his teammate — with 4 dashing touchdowns. The place he had the sting was within the receiving recreation, catching 43 of 53 targets for 316 yards and three extra scores.
At first look, the 50/50 break up might make managers imagine Williams can not sustain in quantity with these being drafted round him. Nevertheless, take into account that Williams completed thirteenth in touches final season with 246 (or 14.6 per recreation), exhibiting the amount stacked up with the remainder.
Now below head coach Nathaniel Hackett, Williams is the favourite to take one other step ahead within the passing recreation after ending as certainly one of two rookie RBs inside the highest 15 in route participation in 2021, with Najee Harris (first) and Williams (thirteenth). It simply so occurs that RBs in Hackett’s system have seen 20.5% of the targets over the past two years, giving Williams a window to 60 targets.
The important thing to Williams’ fantasy ceiling is his effectivity. Regardless of being fifteenth in carries, Williams maximized each single contact, ending fifth in compelled missed tackles and seventh in each 10+ yard rushes and yards after contact. Averaging 20.4 PPR factors in Weeks 12-14, fantasy managers acquired a glimpse of what Williams might do in 2022 because the lead again.
The Denver Broncos offense can be much more explosive in 2022
Not solely does Williams head into camp a veteran of the sport now, however his atmosphere is even higher. Gone is Teddy Bridgewater and the passing offense, which ranked nineteenth within the league in passing yards and averaged 7.1 yards per try. In steps Russell Wilson, who’s not solely an MVP-caliber QB however who additionally led the NFL in common supposed air yards (AIYA) at 9.9. This added verticality not solely maximizes the upside of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick, but it surely does for Williams as effectively.
With Sutton nonetheless recovering from his 2020 ACL damage, Jeudy battling an ankle damage, and Bridgewater’s inefficiencies, groups weren’t compelled to play as a lot deep protection in opposition to Denver final season. They knew the run was coming and will play in opposition to it, forcing Bridgewater to attempt to beat them. Gordon and Williams confronted stacked containers (8+ males) on almost 26% of their rushes. That may’t occur this yr.
Because of the new-look explosive offense of the Broncos, dime packages could be the defensive schemes they ceaselessly see. Outdoors of the crimson zone or goal-to-go alternatives, Williams and/or Gordon can be dealing with 6-7 man containers with the corners and safeties taking part in deeper to stop getting burnt, giving Williams loads of room.
In what must be — at minimal — a 60/40 break up in Williams’ favor, the second-year RB from UNC has the ground of RB12 however the ceiling of a top-five operating again. Though I like the worth of Gordon in drafts, few can contact the league-winning ceiling of Williams in 2022.