In this piece, we take a look at a rookie fantasy profile that should be considered a prime target well ahead of where the player is being selected, and the reasons why.
RB Deandre Washington, a 5th round selection for the Oakland Raiders. The reasons Washington should be targeted as a late second round rookie pick at worst:
- Opportunity – Only 2 other rookie RB’s are a clear cut second on the depth chart heading into training camp season, Ezekiel Elliot with the Cowboys and Derrick Henry with the Titans. It can be argued that Kenyan Drake will quickly move ahead of Damien Williams with the Dolphins and CJ Prosise is likely to be the third down back with the Seahawks out of the gate. However, Taiwan Jones and Roy Helu are the only other RBs of any significance on the Oakland roster and they combined for 33 carries in 2015. This combined with the questionable support of the organization towards incumbent starter Latavius Murry, indicates that the door is wide open for Washington in 2016 and beyond.
- Skillset and build – Washington is truly one of the few 3 down back types in this year’s class. He played college football in the Air Raid offense of Texas Tech, which leads many to believe he would be more of a third down back in the NFL. However, Deandre recorded over 3,000 career rushing yards at the college level, was third in the Big 12 in rushing attempts in 2015 and at 5’9 and 205 lbs, he approximates or exceeds the build/size of several NFL starting RBs that have proven capable of handling the three down load, including LeSean McCoy, Jamal Charles, Devonta Freeman, Jay Ajayi, Dion Lewis and Ameer Abdullah. Let’s not forget either that Washington has received extensive reps pass blocking and receiving out of the backfield in his 3 years as starter at the college level…..these are the missing ingredients so many times for rookie running backs achieving meaningful time on the field in their initial season.
- History – With Washington being drafted at the very beginning of the 5th round, it might seem that he doesn’t have the pedigree to succeed in fantasy circles as a rookie running back. However a deeper look in the recent past, shows that to not be the experience at all. As the 8th running back off the board, Washington appears to be situated just fine based on a look at the top performing rookie running backs of the past 3 years:
In fact, for this year’s top 30 projected RB’s according to Fantasy Pros consensus rankings (at 5/8/2016), 12 players have similar or worse draft profiles than that of Deandre, as shown below, including current Oakland starter Latavius Murray.
In conclusion, if you are looking to take a rookie running back in the second or third round of your dynasty rookie draft, look no further than Deandre Washington based on his opportunity, all-around skillset and the fact that each and every year allows for fantasy surprises, particularly at the running back position.