No matter what strategy you take going into a fantasy draft, the goal is to always find as much value in each round as possible, especially in the middle rounds. This year, Zero RB strategies are not for the faint of heart; heading into the draft eyeing a reliable and proven running back, later on, might be the only way to even consider this route. So, where do you turn if you need a solid RB2 or just overall depth? The answer is Jordan Howard.
Jordan Howard Fantasy 2020
According to ADP, Jordan Howard (RB35) and Sony Michel (RB38) are the lowest-drafted backs with the inside track to lead their backfield in touches. Coach Belichick has been known to drive fantasy owners crazy with unpredictable running back usage over the years, and James White’s presence will be felt no matter what quarterback is checking it down. Both of these backs look to be featured in goal-line work, with Howard leading Michel in touchdowns 15 to 13 since Michel entered the league two years ago. When taking risks early in your draft, it’s imperative to make picks that can provide consistency, and Howard offers that over Michel with a higher ceiling and similar floor based upon previous production and his new opportunity in Miami.
Volume is king in fantasy, and Howard has shown his ability over the years to handle volume when given the chance. During his first three years in the league with the Bears, Howard touched the ball at least 270 times with over 1000 yards from scrimmage in each season. He was on a pace to surpass 200 touches and approach 1000 yards from scrimmage before an injury-shortened his 2019 season, despite sharing a backfield with the talented Miles Sanders. This year, a 25-year-old Howard returns fully healthy with plenty left in the tank after averaging 4.4 yards per carry last year, and in my humble opinion, his competition of Breida and Ballage isn’t exactly what he faced in the previous running back room.
Howard merits the title “Touchdown Dependent RB” due to his lack of presence in the passing game. I appreciate the irony in this label because he is someone you CAN depend on to produce touchdowns. Since entering the league, he scored 30 touchdowns, ranking 7th during the past four seasons. He is only behind the likes of Todd Gurley (48), Ezekiel Elliott (40), Derrick Henry (38), Melvin Gordon (36), Mark Ingram (34) and Latavius Murray (31). Murray may provide value as a pure handcuff, but let’s focus on Gordon and Ingram. Gordon and Ingram both find themselves in crowded backfields and have ADPs that are much higher, so you’d be forced to sacrifice at least a fourth-round pick for an upgrade at consistent touchdown production. Look for Howard to continue to add up touchdowns as he is the top choice for goal-line duties in Miami this season.
They say your best ability is availability. Howard may not be a flashy pick, but he has been available to his team throughout his career except for missing the final seven games of last season with a shoulder injury. He only missed one game during his entire stint with the Bears, playing in every game during his final two seasons with the team. Howard was reported to be 100% healthy in March, according to ESPN Dolphin’s reporter Cameron Wolfe.
Another way to add value to the pick of Howard could be to grab his backup, Matt Breida, in the following round. Brieda’s ADP in the ninth round makes this possible. Adding a player with Breida’s homerun ability would give owners the flash that Howard lacks while adding the insurance and control of Miami’s backfield production throughout the season. This approach may be conservative, but it could give you starting running back production throughout the season in your RB2 spot.
You can’t lose your league in the 7th or 8th round, but you sure can grab a guy like Howard that helps lead you deep into the playoffs. Ask yourself: who has the best chance to give my team 1000 yards from scrimmage or 10 touchdowns? Do you see veteran players with comparable ADPs like Marlon Mack, Alexander Mattison, and Ronald Jones II giving this upside? Do you want to take a chance on a rookie like J.K. Dobbins or Ke’Shawn Vaughn? Not me. I’ll take the guy with a history of leading a team in carries while simultaneously avoiding injury for nearly his entire career. Jordan Howard presents too much value to ignore.