J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens
Hot take: Investing in Baltimore’s running game is a good idea.
The 2019 Ravens set an NFL record with 3,296 rushing yards. QB Lamar Jackson accounted for 1,206 of those. But Ravens RBs still combined for 393 carries, 1,954 yards and 14 TDs.
Mark Ingram remained effective last season and figures to open the season as Baltimore’s lead back. But he turns 31 in December, so the cliff probably isn’t too far away.
Any step back from Ingram would open the door for Dobbins, who strung together an impressive 3 seasons at Ohio State. He set the Buckeyes’ freshman record with 1,403 rushing yards in 2017, topped 1,000 yards again in 2018 and then exploded for 2,003 yards and 21 scores this past season. Dobbins ranked top 12 among draft-eligible backs in both yards after contact and missed tackles forced in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.
This is a physical, downhill runner. And 57% of his carries last year came on run-pass option plays. The Ravens easily led the league in RPO rush attempts last year. Simply put, Dobbins looks like a perfect fit in this offense.
And he’s off to a nice start in training camp, drawing raves from multiple media members.
“J.K. Dobbins is a wow,” Ravens play-by-play man Gerry Sandusky tweeted. “He has explosive lateral movement, vertical burst, and looks silly smooth out of the backfield in the passing game.”
At a 6th- or 7th-round price tag, this rookie has league-winning upside.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
What could have been last year …
Jackson exploded for 154 yards and 2 scores on 8 catches in a Week 1 win over Washington. He played 69% of Philly’s offensive snaps in that one and led the team with 9 targets. It looked like he was in line for a BIG season.
Then came the core-muscle injury in Week 2. Jackson was sidelined until Week 9 — and lasted just 4 snaps in that game before aggravating his injury. He then opted for season-ending surgery.
Here’s the good news: Jackson is back to 100% and again finds plenty of opportunity in the Eagles’ WR corps. The team added 1st-round rookie Jalen Reagor, plus late-rounders John Hightower and Quez Watkins. But WR Alshon Jeffery is unlikely to be ready for the start of the season after last December’s Lisfranc injury. WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside can’t be counted on for a significant 2020 contribution after an ugly rookie season. And WR Marquise Goodwin opted out of the 2020 season.
So Jackson is a virtual lock to open the season in the starting lineup. And he has a chance to lead the team’s WRs in targets, depending on how ready Reagor proves.
You know the risks with Jackson: He’s 33 now and has played all 16 games in just 2 of 12 NFL seasons. But it sure looked like he had gas left in the tank last year. And back in 2018, D-Jax averaged a big 18.9 yards per catch with the Bucs, ranking 19th in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades and 9th in yards per route run among 79 WRs with 50+ targets.
The downside is more than priced into Jackson’s 11th-round ADP. The upside has him producing as a high-ceiling fantasy starter for your squad.