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Draft or Pass: J.K. Dobbins is the Back You Really Want in Baltimore

Despite Mark Ingram's Top-11 PPR finish to 2019, SI Fantasy's Ben Heisler believes rookie RB J.K. Dobbins holds the better fantasy outlook for 2020.

It's never too early to start your fantasy football research, and we here at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts. Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?

Today's video focuses on Baltimore Ravens rookie running back J.K. Dobbins.

J.K. Dobbins Draft or Pass at current ADP: 101 (RB33)

After six seasons in New Orleans, Mark Ingram arrived in Baltimore and helped set a physical tone for the most run-heavy team in the NFL. With the threat of the 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson at any point to take off, the run lanes opened up wide for Ingram, rushing for 1,018 yards on just 202 attempts for a 5.0 yards per carry average. He also added to the short passing game as well as catching nearly 90% of his targets, albeit just 29 on the year, but still catching five touchdowns to go along with his 10 on the ground.

With all this production, why switch over to Dobbins as the lead fantasy back in Baltimore?

For starters, the Ravens front office targeted Dobbins as a high priority in the 2019 NFL Draft. As Todd Karpovich of RavenCountry reported, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta was stunned to see Dobbins fall to them in the late second round:

This was a guy that was, in my opinion, one of the very best in college football this year. He’s a very talented guy with electric skills and played at a very high level in a really good conference [on] one of the best teams in college football, so we’re excited to get him. He fits us, and I think he’s going to be a guy that is going to be a dangerous player for us and give us the depth to do what we like to do.

Then, there’s positional volatility with the running back position. Ingram dealt with a calf injury in the latter part of the season and is on the wrong side of 30. Meanwhile, Dobbins ended up with over 2,000 rushing yards in his final season at Ohio State to pass the all-time school record set by Eddie George in 1995. He’s also shown he can handle the volume of a workhorse NFL running back, with 301 rushing attempts in 2019 with Ohio State, averaging 6.7 yards per attempt and still catching 23 receptions for 247 yards. Only Derrick Henry (303) and Ezekiel Elliott (301) had over 300 rushing attempts last season.

He may not be handed the job right away. He may even start the season third on the depth chart behind Ingram and Gus Edwards, but that might as well be semantics considering the talent, overall skillset, and speed Dobbins possesses in this offense.

In a 12-team draft, Dobbins' ADP of 101 lands him as the projected fifth pick in the ninth round of your fantasy league. That's a worthwhile investment, especially as a handcuff, on a back as talented as Dobbins that could see his usage steadily increase throughout the season, and perhaps become a league winner if Ingram goes down with an injury.