Fantasy Sleepers

Wayne Gallman Fantasy Value

Wayne Gallman Fantasy

There is an odd trend when it comes to rookie running backs taken in later rounds during the NFL draft. In the past five years at least one rookie running back taken in the third round or later has finished inside the top 21. This is in terms of fantasy production for running backs in standard scoring. Below is a brief description of those five running backs.

  • 2012 Season: Alfred Morris drafted in the sixth round. Finished fifth overall. Replaced starter Tim Hightower.
  • 2013 Season: Zac Stacy drafted in the fifth round. Finished eighteenth overall. Replaced starter Daryl Richardson.
  • 2014 Season: Andre Williams drafted in the fourth round. Finished twenty-first overall. Replaced starter Rashad Jennings.
  • 2015 Season: David Johnson drafted in the third round. Finished seventh overall. Replaced starter Andre Ellington.
  • 2016 Season: Jordan Howard drafted in the fifth round. Finished ninth overall. Replaced starter Jeremy Langford.

The common denominator with these running backs is they all replaced running backs who never established themselves as a true number one running back. They showed flashes of brilliance in the previous seasons making it easy for coaches to name them starters in the beginning. However, as time went on these rookies proved themselves to have more upside than the original starters. The past history shows that there is a strong chance that a running back taken later in the NFL draft may be in for a fantasy relevant season. Could that late round back end up being Wayne Gallman?

With their fourth pick in 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Gallman from Clemson. The six-foot 215 pound running back rushed for 17 touchdowns in his last year with the Tigers, tying two other running backs for the most scored in a single season in the history of Clemson football. Gallman also had the most rushing yards for a Tiger in a single season ever in 2015, when he rushed for 1,527 yards.

Gallman now finds himself mixed in with a crew of running backs that includes Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Shaun Draughn, and Orleans Darkwa. Not exactly the most established backfield if I say so myself. There is a real opportunity for anyone of those running backs to become the main guy. Yes, Perkins will most likely get the first crack at it as coach Ben Mcadoo has come out and said that Perkins is the starter.

Gallman finds himself currently at the bottom of the depth chart behind three veterans; a situation Perkins was all too familiar with last year. For Gallman to become fantasy relevant he first must get the starting job. Perkins has not truly established himself as a number one runner just yet, so I believe that leaves a potential opportunity for Gallman. Let us just take a look at Perkins’ rookie season to see why there may be an opportunity for another running back to step up.

Perkins in 2016 had the 22nd highest yards per rushing attempt with 4.07 (Minimum 100 carries) in the NFL. Not bad. However, what is bad is the fact that he never scored a single touchdown! Perkins did not have the majority of carries so it may not entirely be his fault. Last year the Giants continued to run Rashad Jennings despite his major ineffectiveness. Jennings had the fourth-fewest rushing yards per carry last year. Besides volume in the running game, Perkins also lacked a role in the passing game. And interestingly enough, the best game Perkins ended up having was in Week 17 where he went over 100 rushing yards…in a game where most fantasy leagues have ended. Perkins showed a mix of good and bad his rookie year but has nowhere near established himself as the clear-cut starter.

Perkins, in my opinion, is getting the starting role by default because he is the best all-around running back on the team that the coaches have seen. I do think though, with the size and toughness that Gallman brings as a runner, Gallman could definitely be in line for goal line work. This is an area where the Giants struggled heavily last year. The only scored six rushing touchdowns a season ago.

The Giants offensive line also presents an obstacle that Gallman will have to overcome. The Giants as a team ranked third-worst in yards per rushing attempt (3.5) and were dead last in rushing touchdowns. I think that utilizing Gallman will definitely help them score more rushing touchdowns, but hoping for him to run through wide open holes? That is something no Giants running back will be able to have the luxury of.

Instead of addressing their offensive line in the draft to help their running backs the Giants opted to draft the dynamic hybrid tight end, Evan Engram. This is great for quarterback Eli Manning as he adds another weapon to an already well-established pass-catching group. However, Engram cannot block so it does not help the running back group. The Giants offense itself looks like a pass-happy offense with Shane Vereen looking to get the majority of the snaps in those situations.

If the Giants become a pass-happy offense both Perkins and Gallman lose a lot of fantasy value. However, I do think that Gallman has a chance at the goal line and that would make him a better fantasy asset than Perkins. Darkwa is another guy that needs to be on your radar as well as he could sneakily enter into a goal line back role due to his size and stature.

In conclusion, the Giants backfield is not very attractive, so I would advise that owners try to spend as little draft capital on it as possible. Gallman is a guy that you can get super later in drafts, so I think that he is worth a grab with one of your last picks. However, like we saw with Perkins it may take some time for Gallman to actually get involved with the offense, so be patient with him if you take him. For dynasty purposes, Gallman is definitely a guy to target, because his price is low and the running back competition he is up against provides him with a potential opportunity. Regardless, the Giants running back situation is definitely worth keeping an eye on as we move closer to training camp because it looks like it is shaping up to be a competitive backfield!

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