Name a running back who has seen their dynasty stock increase or decrease based on the last few weeks of changes in the NFL. Describe how this affects their value moving forward.
Chris Carson, SEA - I'm sure some of my colleagues are going to call attention to Aaron Jones re-signing with the Packers. While I agree that Jones re-signing is good news for his dynasty value, I think he would've been seen as a workhorse starting running back regardless of who signed him. Carson's fate was far less certain. Many, myself included, thought his days as a full-time back were over given how few teams use a workhorse approach anymore. But Pete Carroll surprised us and gave Carson $12 million to be the lead dog for another two seasons. Carson went from a potential committee back in new surroundings, to the clear No. 1 on a run-heavy team. That's a huge boost and closes the buy-low window that opened this offseason.
David Johnson, HOU - Many thought Duke Johnson Jr's departure was a positive sign for David Johnson's future in Houston. This was short-lived with both Mark Ingram II and Phillip Lindsay - two proven backs - added to the mix. Gone are the days of Johnson being a fantasy starter.
I agree with Jeff. At this point, you can trade David Johnson for whatever you can get. As Jeff already said, following the departure of Duke Johnson Jr, it appeared as if the starting job was David Johnson’s for the taking. The 29-year-old back seemed like an excellent target for contending dynasty managers. Now, with Mark Ingram II and Philip Lindsay in town, Johnson’s door as a fantasy asset has slammed shut. Those that were lucky enough to roster him in 2016 should be forever grateful.
D'Andre Swift, DET - Let me add a player who some might be surprised to see on this list as a drop in value. It's not a significant loss of value for Swift, but newly signed Jamaal Williams is hypercompetent in all aspects of the game, which coaches love. This regime didn't take Swift and could easily employ Williams in a committee where Williams takes most of the passing down work. This is going to be a bottom half of the NFL offense, so touchdown opportunities may be few and far between. If Swift isn't bulking up his fantasy points with a heavy helping of receptions, he'll disappoint fantasy teams that select him early in drafts.
Ooh, Swift is an interesting call, Sig. I don't disagree with you. Your point about the coaching staff not selecting him has also raised my eyebrows. After Swift's strong finish in 2020 (PPR RB11 after Week 13), this take may not resonate well with his owners. It may be a good time to sell him before the rest of the dynasty community feels the same.
A.J. Dillon, GB - As Jason mentioned, Aaron Jones’ return to Green Bay helps preserve his value. He goes back home to a familiar system, a Canton-bound quarterback, and a strong offensive line. But the re-signing of Jones is an undeniable blow to the dynasty value of A.J. Dillon, who seemed ticketed for a lead role before the Packers unexpectedly brought Jones back into the fold. Sure, the departure of Jamaal Williams frees up some snaps for Dillon. But as a #2 running back who probably isn’t going to catch many passes, you probably won’t be able to start Dillon with confidence most weeks.
Allow me to add more about Dillon. The Dynasty marketplace was very bullish on Dillon in the early market, with him going at RB21, essentially saying Dillon was the starter in Green Bay. The re-signing of Aaron Jones has put that on pause. The Jones deal is more of a year-to-year deal than the four-year headline of the contract, but he is certainly a roadblock for Dillon. The Packers #2 back projects more as a high-end handcuff at present.
I'll add AJ Dillion’s value spike, then dip, which is precisely why I’ve created a rule for myself not to buy any running back before free agency, and even the draft if I can hold off. Aaron Jones re-signed with the Green Bay Packers and Dillion doesn’t have the skill set to relieve Jones on passing downs, so he will be relegated to a change-of-pace role. The time to sell was when anyone believed Dillion would end up a feature back. I believe Dillion is undervalued as an NFL talent, but workhouse roles are reserved for the elite. Players don’t just fall into those roles anymore.
Josh Jacobs, LSV - Jacobs was wading in top-ten running back waters before free agency in 2021, but the Raiders made a curious decision with the addition of Kenyan Drake. Drake will likely eat into Jacobs' receiving totals and hurt his ceiling for fantasy purposes. Jacobs' ability as a runner is undeniable, and he will continue to put up good numbers carrying the football, but his receiving ability and production catching the ball out of the backfield help him to be one of the best running backs in fantasy football. Drake squeezes him there, and that puts a cap on Jacobs' fantasy value. Things looked a lot better pre-free agency for Jacobs than they do right now.
Kenyan Drake, LSV - Drake landed a decent money contract for the running back position in a depressed offseason with a reduced salary cap and bulging list of capable veterans looking for RB1/2 work. However, there is already talk of Drake spending some time at wide receiver and, at most, Drake is a low-end Kareem Hunt type where he is a fringe fantasy play with the starter (Joshua Jacobs) healthy. Drake one of the more interesting free agents to potentially snag a full lead share of a backfield, but slides into the high-end handcuff designation for now. Drake is still valuable, but the upside lies in a Jacobs-less backfield for Las Vegas, not the current split for Drake.
Buffalo running backs (Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Matt Breida) - Fantasy managers do not like hoping for injuries, but in the case of the Buffalo running back room, no back should be considered fantasy viable or flex worthy at best. It is conceivable that the Bills throw someone else in during the draft as well. All of these are guys you should hold in case one of the others misses time, but stand no shot at regular starting time on your fantasy team. That is a difficult position in dynasty leagues, especially with shallower roster depth. Devin Singletary should see the most touches, but he had 10 games with 10 or fewer carries before the addition of Breida who has a comparative skill set. Six touchdowns in two years is also a concern.
Zach Moss may get more carries and touchdowns, but his limited use as a receiver along with splitting carries means his upside is capped. Matt Breida, after a wasted year in Miami, looks to continue his career with likely limited opportunities.
Mike Davis, ATL - Last year's league-winning waiver wire add (after James Robinson of course) could continue to be such for dynasty owners who were fortunate enough to snag him. Davis signed a two-year $5.5 million contract with the Falcons, one of the dream landing spots of RBs for years. Todd Gurley and Brian Hill are both free agents still, leaving Davis atop the depth chart with Ito Smith behind him. Atlanta should still be expected to add competition through the draft. Plus, Davis' contract is no guarantee that he sees feature work, however, his ability to catch passes in a Matt Ryan-led offense portends far greater value than we expected at the season's end.
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