Anything worth having is always worth the wait, is it not? This saying does not just pertain to life but to the fantasy football world as well. In this case, I would like to let you know that the wait will be worth it for J’Kaylin “JK” Dobbins.
This season we have seen many rookie running backs come in and make an immediate impact for their teams. From the likes of Jonathan Taylor, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Antonio Gibson, and James Robinson. These impact running backs can be drafted in the first round or be an undrafted free agent signing. We knew some of these running backs would come in and be instant contributors, such as first rounder Edwards-Helaire. We also knew some of these players would need time to develop into their roles. Most of us in the fantasy football world thrive to find these young running backs that impact their teams immediately, as the production life expectancy is not the same as other positions. When Jk Dobbins was drafted 55th overall to the Baltimore Ravens, most thought this was a great fit, but feared he wouldn’t be ready this year. What if this may have not been totally true? In fact, he may help you win your league this year if you roster him!
JK’s ADP in the Spring was the 3rd or 4th overall pick in dynasty rookie drafts. The running backs taken before him have impacted their respective teams much more then Dobbins has thus far. This is not due to a lack of talent, however, more on the scheme that the Ravens are using. The Ravens used him in week one with a 41% snap share, which he turned into 7 carries, 22 yards, and averaged 3.1 yards a carry. He also added 2 touchdowns, equaling out to 14.2 PPR points. This performance had Twitter and the fantasy foootball world a buzz!
However, the breakout did not continue as the Ravens lowered his snap share and stopped using him near the goaline. He began to get some work in the passing game, which helped his PPR point totals. He preformed every time the team gave him an opportunity to touch the ball. The talent gap between him and the rest of the backfield was evident and this did not matter to the Ravens. They had a plan to use all three backs in a running back by committee (RBBC), which hurt all of their values for fantasy football.
During Weeks 2-6 the Ravens used Ingram, Edwards and Dobbins in a RBBC. Dobbins averaged a snap percentage of 35.8% over this time span. Well Ingram averaged 28.6% and Edwards 35.4%, it was clear there wasn’t breaking away from the trio. Ingram got injured in Week 6 which caused a dip in his snap share. This opened the door for Edwards and Dobbins. Dobbins came out of the Ravens Week 7 bye as their feature back. He handled 66% of snaps which, was a huge increase from his normal work load. Boom! The breakout could begin. He gashed the stout Pittsburgh defense- who ranked 30th in fantasy points allowed to running backs on the season. Dobbins took 15 carries for 113 yards, while averaging 7.5 yards a carry, along with 1 reception for 8 yards. This performance totaled up to 14.1 PPR points. This was his second 14 point game of the season.
In Weeks 9-10 he did not have as great of success as he had in Week 8. The talent still flashed in the limited touches he was receiving, and even with this, the Ravens were still committed to the RBBC philosophy. In week 11, Dobbins broke out from the pack again handling 62% of the snaps. He turned this opportunity into 15 carries for 70 yards, while averaging 4.7 yards a carry and 1 touchdown. To go with that rushing performance, he added 2 receptions for 15 yards. This had the Twitter community excited again. Had the Dobbins breakout arrived? Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck in the middle of the hype, and affected both Dobbins and Ingram, who tested positive for the virus. Both players missed the Week 10 game against Pittsburgh, leaving Edwards to handle the bulk of the work.
Dobbins returned to the field in Week 11, and his snap share took a serious hit. His snap share reverted to 38%. While Ingram slept on his opportunities, Edwards took advantage of his for over 100 yards. Dobbins still managed 71 yards on 11 carries, while averaging 6.5 yards a carry and added a touchdown to the scoreboard. This equaled out to 13.1 PPR points, a fair point total for only 38% snap share.
At this point- you’re most likely thinking, “How is that going to help me this season?”. While the Ravens have shown the useage of a RBBC, Dobbins is getting a slight edge over the others. He keeps proving his talent level to the coaches by making the best of each opportunity. The Ravens currently sit at 7-5 and are out of the division race. At this point, they will need to secure one of the 3 wildcard spots in order to make the 2020 playoffs. They will need to beat out the likes of the 9-3 Browns, 9-3 Bills, 8-4 Dolphins, 8-4 Colts, 8-4 titans, 7-5 Raiders and 6-7 Patriots. They need to win as many games as they can down the stretch! Their best chance to do this is to lean on what the team has done best for the pass few years, which is run the ball. Dobbins is by far their most talented running back and he has shown this all year.
Weeks 14-16 are the fantasy playoffs, Dobbins and the Ravens face a very favorable strength of schedule (sos) during this span. Facing Cleveland in Week 14- who ranks 24th in points allowed to running backs, this will be their hardest matchup. Dobbins has performed well against good defenses this year, so this is not too concerning. The schedule gets better from there, they draw Jacksonville in Week 15- who ranks 6th in points allowed to running backs. This is followed up with a game against the New York Giants- who rank 14th in points allowed to running backs. This leads me to believe that if Dobbins can get his snap share percentage up to the 50-60% range, he could easily break 15-20 PPR points in these games.
If Dobbins’s managers are bold enough to start him in the fantasy playoffs, they may just be rewarded with some hardware! He is not going to produce RB1 numbers unless he gets a much higher snap share from the Ravens. He can however be a low end RB2 through the playoffs if the Ravens use him as they have all season. The clock is ticking on their playoff hopes, so they would be wise to increase his involvement. When this happens, you would have wished that you hopped on the “hype train” sooner! He will be unleashed as the Ravens RB1, fantasy managers hope that this happens sooner then later.