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Judging Mid-Round RB ADPs

Often referred to as the RB dead zone, Faraz helps us navigate the choppy waters of drafting ball carriers outside the early rounds.

Travis Etienne - RB14, 40.7 (4th Round)

Doug Pederson has talked about having a running mate for Travis Etienne for a little while now, and the Jaguars got one in the 3rd round of the draft in Tank Bigsby.

Bigsby is the ideal size and is a pretty good RB prospect. Among 38 RBs with 150+ carries last year in the Power 5, he ranked 5th in yards after contact/attempt. In 2020 as a freshman, he ranked 6th. He ranked 9th among 80 FBS RBs last year in missed tackles forced, and 3rd of 50 qualifying RBs in 2020 as a freshman.

So when you add a good rusher like this who has Day 2 draft capital, it probably means he's going to add the thunder to the lightning that Travis Etienne already possesses; Etienne was not top-10 in yards after contact/attempt, but he did rank 4th in missed tackles forced/rush last year among RBs with 200+ carries.

Let me ask you a question - if Etienne finished the year as the RB24 in PPR points/game while playing the every-down back role, what makes you think he's going to finish at or better than the RB14 price tag you have to pay for him right now with another back in the mix?

Etienne had 13 carries inside the 5-yard line and only converted 3 of them, which was one of the worst conversion rates of any RB - and a guy named Tank is coming in - maybe he'll get that job? I think that can happen. Etienne will have his games - he's a home run hitter, and I'm a big fan of his. And on an ascending offense, he'll have more opportunities to score, but I'm fading Etienne at cost.

Verdict: AVOID


Kenneth Walker - RB17, 53.6 (5th Round)

Kenneth Walker was a playmaking machine last year as a rookie, but one area he struggled was yards after contact. The Seahawks brought in Zach Charbonnet in the 2nd round - that's the type of draft capital you have to worry about if you have Walker.

This is most likely going to turn into some sort of 1-2 punch between these two backs, but I'm even more concerned that Kenny McIntosh, despite being a late-round pick, could be their primary receiving back – he's been one of the most efficient receiving backs at Georgia over the past two seasons, especially last year. This can very well turn into a 3-RB backfield.

Charbonnet does also have the pass-catching chops that Walker might not have, but he wasn't as efficient as a typical "pass-catching" RB would be.

The Seahawks offense should be good this year, so Walker will have his games, but the opportunity for consistent workhorse-type numbers probably won't be there.

Verdict: AVOID


D’Andre Swift - RB24, 77.8 (7th Round)

D'Andre Swift has had a tough time staying healthy over the last couple of seasons, but his upside shouldn't be questioned when he is on the field. The Lions were done with him, and he got much-needed new life in Philly. His dynasty value is back, and if you bought low, you win.

He's now on a great offense, behind a great offensive line, and on a team who had a glaring need at RB after losing Miles Sanders. I'd assume Penny is the primary runner in this offense while he's healthy, but with Swift mixing in. 8-10 carries will be good enough for Swift to produce for fantasy because his bread and butter is in the receiving game.

Even with that said, Swift is also underrated in the run game - he ranked 6th in yards after contact/attempt among 48 RBs with 90+ carries last year. He also ranked 5th in missed tackles forced/attempt. And yes, the Eagles didn't use their RBs in the receiving game much last year, and Jalen Hurts is a rushing QB. Why would that change?

Good teams change what they do based on their personnel. Just like the Eagles became more balanced once they got AJ Brown, they will adjust for Swift.

Verdict: TARGET


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