RB Theorem | Chpt. V: How Recent Rookie Failures Affect Dynasty Value

We all love investing in youth. No matter what position, youth combined with seemingly limitless potential is a beautiful thing to own. The Running back position is very different. Breakout age and production windows are often quicker than fast. As I pointed out in Chapter One, durability is one of the major keys to a successful professional career.

It still makes no sense to me that Derrick Henry has more truthers than career rushing yards. Am I wrong for thinking that way? I do concede that every player and every career is different. Not all will fall under the law of averages umbrella. Outliers be damned I say. That is what makes Fantasy Football so fun. In the Dynasty world, the twists and turns can cause many shapeshifting trades.

As far as Derrick Henry goes, I suppose the book is still out. Looking at his rookie season compared to his second year you will see that more carries (110 versus 176) equal more yards (490 versus 744), duh! With that also came a dip in yards per carry. This is to be expected. What is also expected is that Henry will once again be a part of a committee backfield for the Titans in 2018 and beyond. Conversely more touches only resulted in one more TD for Henry in year two. Just some food for thought as we examine other rookie year flops.

Other Recent Curiosities:

Kenyan Drake

What is God’s plan for this Drake?

-As a rookie, Drake received 55 touches. The former third-round pick (73rd overall) was the third RB taken in 2016 draft (behind only Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry). This was a surprising happenstance, but no one seemed shocked by his rookie usage. On the Miami RB depth chart that season was 2015 fifth rounder Jay Ajayi, Arian Foster, Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead. Hence Drake’s chances were few and far between. He topped ten touches once. That was during a week three slugfest versus the Browns. Also, 25% of Drake’s rookie touches came in weeks 14,15 and 16. 

-In 2017 Drake did not see more than three touches in a game until week seven. Following that game incumbent starter, Ajayi was shipped to Philadelphia. In week eight Damien Williams (13 touches) and Drake (15 touches) were given equal opportunity. Drake performed better in large part due to a 42-yard rush. In week nine Williams out touched Drake 12 to 9 but it was Drake again who performed better with a 66-yard TD run.

Week ten saw Williams get yet another touch advantage and Drake only gained 14 yards on his eight touches. In week 11 it was essentially 50/50 split. Finally, in week 12 Drake became the man. This was thanks to a season-ending injury to Williams.  Drake did respond with two straight 100-yard rushing games. Drake also gained 100 yards receiving in those two games combined. Those two game accounted for 38% of Drake’s yards from scrimmage and 25% of his TDs on the season. 

-Drake experienced a little off-season surge in dynasty value after Williams was not re-signed. Drake truthers beat their chests and flared their nostrils with glee. I simply sold him for a second round pick.  HC Adam Gase visited the old folks home and talked Frank Gore into twilighting on South Beach. Then the Dolphins drafted factor back Kalen Ballage in the fourth round. Shall we consider the Drake truthers gutted yet? Drake may lead this team in touches during the 2018 season. However, it will not be by a vast majority.

-I guess you can consider Drake’s 2017 season a success. He did gain 883 yards from scrimmage. His minions will tempt you to ogle at his 4.8 yards per carry. To that, I say Gore will steal his goal-line carries and Ballage will likely cut into Drake reception total.

Melvin Gordon

-If you have followed me on Twitter for awhile, you have probably noticed me hammer home the fact that Gordon did not score a TD during his rookie season. He did still gain 833 scrimmage yards. That was just 50 less than our pal Drake (see above) did in his second year. Still, because Gordon never found paydirt as a rookie, he endured ridicule. Most fantasy barkers are quick to forget what an atrocious offensive line Gordon had during his rookie season.

Have you flip-flopped on Melvin Gordon?

-In year two Gordon’s offensive line was slightly better. Sir Melvin upped his scrimmage total to 1,416 yards. By the way, he also scored 12 TDs. This was all in done in 13 games. Those of us that spent a top four (in case 1.02) dynasty pick on Gordon breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Some even sold him for handsome gains.

-Year three was similarly successful. He gained 1,581 scrimmage yards and scored another 12 TDs. Gordon also caught a career 58 balls. Perhaps more importantly though was the fact that Gordon played in all 16 games.

-Now as Dynasty owner we must ask ourselves will Gordon’s production continue to rise? Is this a plateau of sorts? What is the possibility that he plays in 16 games two years in a row?

Stay tuned for Chapter VI to see what history can tell us.


I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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