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J.K. Dobbins Fantasy Outlook, 2021 Projections, Rankings & More

J.K. Dobbins Fantasy Outlook, 2021 Projections, Rankings & More article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins Fantasy Rankings

Overall 26
Positional RB19
Consensus rankings via Sean Koerner and Chris Raybon are based on half PPR scoring and as of early August. » Create custom cheat sheets with their projections now

J.K. Dobbins is one of the most exciting Year 2 running backs heading into 2021. He has the talent and is well-positioned in a Ravens offense that has dominated the NFL in rushing, leading the league in both 2020 and 2019.

But Dobbins’ offseason hype and rising draft position may be too rich for some fantasy managers’ blood.

Dobbins’ 2020 Season

  • Games played: 15
  • Rushing: 134 attempts, 805 yards, nine touchdowns
  • Receiving: 24 targets, 18 catches, 120 yards, zero touchdowns
  • Fantasy finishes: RB31 in PPR, RB25 in standard, RB28 in half PPR

Dobbins, who is entering his second NFL season, is a former four-star high school recruit. He attended Ohio State for three seasons, posting a whopping 2,003 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019, which earned him first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American honors.

The Ravens sent tight end Hayden Hurst to the Falcons in order to trade up and select Dobbins in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft at No. 55 overall. He was the fifth running back off the board behind Chiefs‘ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Lions‘ D’Andre Swift, Colts‘ Jonathan Taylor and Rams‘ Cam Akers.

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Despite being one of the Ravens’ early draft picks, Dobbins entered training camp with uncertainty and significant competition from veterans Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards.

Dobbins burst onto the scene in his NFL debut against the Browns and tallied seven rushing attempts for 22 yards and two touchdowns. The trio of Dobbins, Ingram and Edwards formed an unreliable three-man backfield for fantasy purposes and the former Buckeye did not score again until Week 11 against the Titans.

As the season progressed, Dobbins appeared to separate himself from the pack and ended strong with a six-game touchdown streak. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was the Ravens’ top rusher, but Dobbins finished atop the running backs with 134 rushing attempts for 805 yards and nine touchdowns while reeling in 18 of 24 targets (75% catch rate) for 120 yards over 15 games.

Edwards had 144 attempts for 723 yards and six touchdowns and caught nine of 13 targets (69%) for 129 yards over 16 games, while Ingram had 72 attempts for 299 yards and two touchdowns and caught six of eight targets (75%) for 50 yards.

Dobbins finished as RB28 in half PPR scoring, followed by Edwards at RB35 and Ingram at RB75. He finished behind rookies James Robinson, Taylor, Antonio Gibson, Edwards-Helaire, Swift and ahead of Zach Moss and Akers. He also led all running backs with a whopping 6.0 yards per attempt (third overall behind Jackson and Kyler Murray).

Dobbins’ 2021 Fantasy Outlook

Dobbins’ less-than-stellar rookie campaign will be fresh on managers’ minds heading into drafts, but his 2021 fantasy appeal stems largely from his improved position in Baltimore’s already run-heavy offense.

The Ravens led the NFL in rushing attempts, rushing yards and yards per attempt and ranked third in rushing touchdowns last season. Much of their success on the ground has had to do with Jackson, who led all quarterbacks with 159 rushing attempts and 1,005 rushing yards in 2020. He ranked sixth among QBs with seven rushing touchdowns and was the team’s top rusher ahead of the three running backs.

Dobbins has a chance to surpass Jackson in rushing this season. Last year, the rookie had to compete with both Ingram and Edwards, creating an ugly running back committee. Ingram — who spent two seasons in Baltimore — was waived in January and later signed with the Texans.

This year, Dobbins will only have to compete with Edwards. The former undrafted free agent from Rutgers has been with the team since his rookie campaign in 2018. He has accrued 414 rushing attempts for 2,152 yards and 10 touchdowns while reeling in 18-of-22 targets for 194 yards over 43 appearances across three seasons.

Edwards will undoubtedly have a place in this offense, but likely as a complementary back to Dobbins’ feature role. He is a high-value handcuff with standalone fantasy value as well.

Dobbins’ fantasy value is limited somewhat by Jackson and the running back’s lack of involvement in the passing game, which disproportionately hurts his value in PPR formats. The Ravens lack depth at receiver, however, and could lean on Dobbins more this year as a pass-catcher. This would boost his value across the board, especially in PPR.

How to Draft J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins enters Year 2 with less competition and a clear path to improve on his lackluster rookie season.

Dobbins has RB1 potential and is currently being drafted as a mid-tier RB2. He possesses both the talent and opportunity to offer a high floor and high ceiling to fantasy managers that should pay off at his ADP, skewing slightly toward non-PPR formats for now.

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