One of the bigger 2020 NFL Draft night surprises was Ohio State star running back J.K. Dobbins falling all the way to the Ravens at No. 55 overall in the second round. They didn't necessarily NEED a running back after a Pro Bowl season from Mark Ingram and getting 700 yards out of Gus Edwards, but Dobbins' talent was too great to pass up at that spot.
Now, the young rusher who accumulated over 4,000 yards in three seasons at Ohio State, figures to be in the mix for touches and it wouldn't be outrageous to say Dobbins could be the featured back in Baltimore before the season's over.
“I think [Dobbins is] definitely going to have a role, probably a significant role,” Harbaugh said Tuesday.
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So as fantasy football owners' eyes fixate on the Ravens' backfield, which running back should you target in your drafts and try to own during the season, Ingram or Dobbins?
After a year in which Ingram led the Ravens in carries (202) and ran for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for the second time in his career, Ingram enters his age-31 season with an average draft position (ADP) of 45. That's roughly RB2 territory.
Meanwhile, Dobbins' ADP is 91.5, showing teams are drafting him mostly as a depth piece and sort of a handcuff to Ingram.
Is Dobbins simply a handcuff to fantasy managers who draft Ingram, or is he a player who can eventually take over the starting job purely out of production? It's hard to tell at this juncture, and given Ingram's success in the red zone and familiarity with Lamar Jackson it won't be easy for the rookie to get touches early on in his career.
The opening for Dobbins will be his ability as a pass-catcher. If he can show John Harbaugh he's a legitimate threat as a receiver, there's no doubt he'll get more third-down opportunities since that's never been Ingram's strength.
Receiving running backs open up things up for everyone since they can draw linebackers out of the middle of the field and stall a pass rush with a well-timed screen play. Dobbins has the ability to give the Ravens' offense a new dimension and it makes him a high-upside investment for fantasy owners.
Here's my unsolicited advice. Use two of your first three picks on running backs because the herd really thins out fast, and then instead of targeting Ingram in the fourth-fifth round, use those picks on a receiver/quarterback. Then in the later rounds, snatch up Dobbins as your fourth back. Especially for those in PPR formats, Dobbins is a low-risk, high reward option for your roster.
But as far as which Ravens running back is the one to own, it's better to be safe than sorry and go with Ingram until the 30-year-old running back curse rears its ugly head once again. He's consistent, is good in the red zone and there's going to be even more attention on Jackson this season as a runner, potentially opening up more lanes for whoever's playing next to him.