Thursday, October 6, 2022

Fantasy Football: Ravens signing of Kenyan Drake adds questions about J.K. Dobbins’ early availability

The Ravens are expected to sign veteran back Kenyan Drake, according to reports Tuesday, a sign that the team’s running back depth is still an issue. 

The offense was limited due to a rash of injuries at the running back position last season, and it seems the Ravens are still dealing with the fallout of those injuries to open the 2022 season. Gus Edwards was placed on the PUP list and will miss the first four weeks of the season, while J.K. Dobbins still hasn’t been cleared for contact and is “in doubt” for Week 1 of the regular season, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Ravens signed Mike Davis in the offseason, but the expected signing of Drake indicates that they want a bit more juice back there in the event Dobbins isn’t ready for his typical workload to start the season.

Drake joins the Ravens after being cut by the Raiders in recent days. He had a decent lone season in Las Vegas, especially as a pass-catcher, but his 545 yards from scrimmage in 12 games represented his lowest total since 2017, even on a per-game basis. However, if Dobbins isn’t ready to go for Week 1, Drake could figure into the team’s plans – maybe even as a lead back.

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The Ravens have Mike Davis as an in-house option, along with rookie Tyler Badie and Justice Hill, but Drake might just be the best option among them. Davis hasn’t averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry since 2018 and was pretty inefficient as a pass-catcher despite a pretty solid role over the past two seasons, so it’s not unreasonable to think Drake could get up to speed quick enough to supplant him in the team’s rotation. 

At this point, the expectation for Fantasy should be that Dobbins won’t be able to make much of an impact by Week 1. He suffered a torn ACL during training camp before last season, but had additional damage that made his recovery more complicated, and there has been added pessimism about his chances of being ready to go in recent weeks. It doesn’t sound like there has been a setback in his recovery as much as it just isn’t going as fast as Dobbins had hoped when he said he would be ready for Week 1. 

Dobbins is still a viable mid-round pick, just know you’ll have to be patient with him. And his current ADP in CBS Fantasy leagues of 39.35 is entirely out of the question — he’s more of a sixth-round target for me, one with a relatively high floor once he gets going, but a limited path to RB1 viability since he likely won’t catch many passes. Given that it might take a few weeks before you can trust him, make sure you have another option for the first few weeks if you do target Dobbins. 

Drake enters the discussion as a potential late-round flier with some early-season appeal, though that likely won’t be a long-term thing – Dobbins and Edwards should be ready to go relatively early in the season. I would put Drake ahead of Davis in the early-season hierarchy, and he’s an interesting target in a Zero-RB build especially, as an early-season bridge while you try to find another option. 

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