Whether it be injuries, trades, quarterback competitions, or surprise breakouts, this time of year never fails to bring significant and actionable effects on the fantasy football landscape. Let’s briefly analyze some of the biggest stories from the past week, and see how they apply to fantasy football drafts.
Rams Trade For Sony Michel
After losing Cam Akers to an Achilles tear, there were reports that the “Rams appeared all-in on Darrell Henderson” – the most efficient running back in college football history. Henderson’s ADP then soared to the 4th/5th rounds as the lead back on one of the league’s best offenses.
However, a major dent was put into Henderson’s stranglehold on the backfield after today’s breaking news:
Sony Michel: next Rams RB1? 👀 pic.twitter.com/HlJA44DBvE
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 25, 2021
Much-maligned Michel – now more famous for being drafted a spot ahead of Lamar Jackson – actually was sneaky-good last year after being relegated to a near-afterthought in the Patriots’ backfield.
Damn, for what it's worth, Next Gen Stats has Sony Michel with the HIGHEST rushing yards over expectation per attempt last year among backs with 50 or more carries.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) August 25, 2021
Considering what Sean McVay did with C.J. Anderson down the stretch a few years ago (66 carries, 422 yards, and 4 TDs in three games), Henderson’s RB2 prospects are looking shaky. Henderson’s ADP is likely to fall, while Michel could begin to be drafted ahead of him.
In all likelihood, we will not know exactly how this backfield is going to shake out until the regular season. These two players now look like they belong in the tier with AJ Dillion, James Conner, and the rest of the best ambiguous backfield and handcuff candidates.
Meanwhile, this news cements preseason MVP, Rhamondre Stevenson, as the sole backup to starter Damien Harris. Stevenson deserves consideration in the final few rounds of your draft as a potential fantasy starter if an injury were to befall Harris.
Marquez Callaway: Saints’ WR1
Few storylines have dominated the offseason like the Saints’ quarterback situation following the retirement of Drew Brees, and the zany Michael Thomas situation (who remains likely to miss the first six weeks of the season). Fantasy owners especially have been paying close attention, as the drastically different play styles of Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston are likely to dictate which members of the New Orleans’ supporting cast receive bankable volume.
However, Marquez Callaway has reportedly been dominating training camp as the “go-to man” for both quarterbacks, and he put his skills on display in front of a national audience on Monday night.
5 Catches, 104 Yds, 2 TD’s 💥
Marquez Callaway had himself a performance last night 🏈
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) August 24, 2021
He caught both of his touchdowns from Jameis Winston, and it’s obvious that historic gunslinger Winston winning the starting job (which is looking more likely than ever) would be much more optimal for Callaway’s fantasy outlook.
At 6’1″, 205 lbs, possessing significantly above-average burst score and breakout age metrics, Callaway is looking like a possible robbery at his current WR63 ADP in the 12th round as the locked-in top receiving target behind Alvin Kamara.
Down Goes Travis Etienne
Training camp and preseason always have a couple of devastating injuries, and this year it’s looking like Travis Etienne is going to headline the group along with Cam Akers.
After a prolific collegiate career at Clemson, Etienne earned first-round draft capital while rejoining college QB Trevor Lawrence as one of the faces of Jacksonville’s franchise. Unfortunately, a potentially career-altering injury has put the kibosh on Etienne’s hype train right when it was leaving the station.
From @NFLTotalAccess: The #Jaguars lost first-round pick RB Travis Etienne, who suffered a Lisfranc injury and won't play until 2022. pic.twitter.com/fbEC0LevOO
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 24, 2021
There is definite concern for Etienne’s dynasty outlook as well, as Lisfranc injuries have tended to be catastrophic.
Cedric Benson – Never played again
Ameer Abdullah – Career backup
Santonio Holmes – Sharp decline year after out of league within 2 years
Ronnie Brown – Sharp decline and career backup
Darren McFadden – Sharp decline, brief rebound in Dallas
— 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐥 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐨𝐧 (@ProFootballPSI) August 25, 2021
Meanwhile, James Robinson once again has the stranglehold on the backfield – a role that he turned into overall RB7 production on an undrafted rookie-record 1,414 total yards, 49 catches, and 10 total touchdowns. Behind an improved supporting cast and quarterback, Robinson’s ADP is now going to skyrocket into the top-50 selections (at the very least).