J.K. Dobbins Fantasy Outlook 2022
Despite the recent success of the Zero RB strategy and the slight advantage of Wide Receivers over Running Backs as top producers in .5 PPR leagues in 2022, RBs are still the kings of fantasy football. Identifying which RBs to target is the biggest challenge that keeps most fantasy football managers awake on the eve of their season-long and dynasty fantasy drafts. Building up your starting RB duo and landing a few late-round RBs that produce consistent points in an injury or bye-week pinch has been a timeless approach to success for most fantasy owners. However, the RBBC approach for many NFL teams has continued to increase for years and oftentimes throws a wrench into even the best-laid plans for all of us. This brings us to the Baltimore Ravens and their former 2nd round RB, JK Dobbins.
J.K. Dobbins was just casually doing things like this during his rookie year in 2020 pic.twitter.com/w7VktrVd0j
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) June 30, 2022
Dobbins’ rookie year started just as you would expect most rookie RBs on playoff-contending teams, as the 2nd RB in an RBBC with veteran RB Gus Edwards. Neither RB exceeded 50% of the snaps for the first six weeks leading up to the Week 7 bye but despite Dobbins’ limited usage he received 14 targets to Edwards’ 3 throughout that span. After the bye week, Dobbins received over half of the RB snaps in all but two games for the rest of the year (he missed Week 12 because of injury). His first game as the primary RB increased his snap percentage to 66% and he had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career on 15 carries. Despite his newfound role as the primary RB for the Ravens, Dobbins only received 10 more targets for the remaining 10 weeks of the season but finished the season strong with 7 TDs in his last six games while averaging almost 13 carries per game. Edwards ended the season slightly ahead of Dobbins in carries with 144 attempts to Dobbins 134.
Entering 2021 Dobbins was a projected fantasy darling and according to an article on Profootballnetwork from late August of the same year, his ADP was 25.3 in .5 PPR formats. Many fantasy owners were drafting Dobbins at the top of the 3rd round before Week 4 of the NFL preseason and unfortunately, Dobbins tore his ACL in the first quarter of the preseason finale against Washington. Gus Edwards stepped in as the starter and soared up draft boards before he too tore his ACL just a week later and before the start of the 2021 season. After losing their top two RBs, the Baltimore Ravens acquired veteran RBs Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray to carry their backfield and paired them with Lamar Jackson to have the 3rd most rushing attempts in the NFL. Jackson, Freeman, and Murray all had over 115 attempts and the Ravens’ RBBC approach lived on.
'Highly unlikely' J.K. Dobbins plays in preseason https://t.co/mkLRyJH6N8
— NBC Sports EDGE Football (@NBCSEdgeFB) June 30, 2022
Looking ahead to 2022, ESPN has reported that Ravens’ HC John Harbaugh stated that both Dobbins and Edwards have “a chance” to be ready in time for Training Camp when they begin on July 28th. The offseason additions of veteran RB Mike Davis (1-year deal) and 6th-round rookie RB Tyler Badie out of Missouri look to be insurance in case either of them is unable to play at the beginning of the season. While neither of those additions will be much of a threat it’s tough to envision the Ravens handing Dobbins or Edwards a full workload to begin the season. Currently, Fantasypros has Dobbins’ ADP at 42nd overall in .5 PPR rankings and as the RB22 coming off the board, within 10 picks behind RBs like Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Gibson, rookie Breece Hall, and Josh Jacobs. Investing a 4th round pick on an RB expects RB2 production and I believe Dobbins is being drafted at his ceiling instead of a more reasonable expectation. After the Week 7 bye week in 2020, Dobbins received just one target per game and his fantasy production was saved by the most unpredictable stat in fantasy, TDs. Excluding Week 17, when most fantasy leagues have already wrapped up, Dobbins averaged 11 fantasy PPG despite scoring a TD in every game from Week 11 on. That’s over half of his fantasy production coming from TDs which indicates that the only real way to get double-digit fantasy points from Dobbins is if he scores a TD. After coming off of an ACL tear, can fantasy managers afford to have their RB2 getting eased back into the action and hoping for a TD each week? Baltimore’s rushing attack is one of the best in the league and for the past two seasons they’ve implemented an RBBC approach, so if you’re set on grabbing a piece of their rushing attack, aim to get Gus Edwards a full eight rounds later.
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Joey is a long-time sports enthusiast and Minnesota Vikings fan with previous experience covering the Charlotte Hornets and as a former part-timer for Pro Football Focus’ Player Participation process. He’s been hooked on fantasy football since he started playing in 2004 and is currently a Sr. Data Analyst in corporate banking. That interest in analytics has fueled his passion for season-long and DFS in numerous sports including baseball, basketball, golf, and of course fantasy football. Joey now lives in South Carolina with his wife and three children.