5. JK Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Traditionally, the Ravens always intend to run the ball down your throat and with Lamar Jackson at the helm, the punishment is constant. Mark Ingram is the primary back in this offense but at any time Jackson can call his own number or when a play breaks down, the electric quarterback becomes a freelancer. So where does Dobbins fit in?
One could say that Jackson doesn’t have to run as much, but it’s hard to take Jackson’s natural instincts away. But we could be looking at a real effort to shield Jackson from taking too many hits too early in his career. Look at Robert Griffin III or even as recent as Cam Newton to see what can happen if you run the read option too much with one quarterback.
So it makes sense to fortify the backfield with Dobbins, a powerful bulldozer back who can truck through tacklers. He takes care of the ball and is hard to bring down. His selection on the second day of the NFL Draft made those around the NFL, especially rivals in the AFC North, collectively sigh when they realized how much tougher the league’s #1 rushing attack became.
The Ravens are not a big 11 personnel team, though they still run out of it a majority of 47 percent of the time. But they also run 12, 21, and 22 since they have talented tight ends in Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. It will be interesting to see how Dobbins is deployed. Baltimore ran the ball 234 out of 311 plays with multiple back sets. Combined with the one-back set runs, the Ravens ran for 3,296 yards and 21 touchdowns, this of course includes Jackson’s runs.
Dobbins can either take runs away from Jackson or Ingram. He could be used in the second half when defenses are tired. At the start, he could be a situational guy, but he will be especially tempting to use in the red zone. While his exact role has yet to be determined, it will difficult to keep him on the sidelines given what he adds to this offense. That’s why he’s a stash RB4 for me right now. I don’t think he’s supplanting Ingram yet unless there’s an injury but by mid-season, he should be an integral piece of the Ravens’ offense.
In dynasty leagues, I would push him higher up the ranks, if you are willing to wait the situation out. If Dobbins has a great rookie campaign, Ingram could be a cap casualty in 2021 and establish himself the future starter in a run heavy offense.
Recommendation: Target as an RB4 in dynasty, redraft, PPR, STD, and in Rounds 7-10.