Is Josh Adams Worth Adding in Fantasy Football?
Following their latest disappointing loss in 2018, this one against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was quick to acknowledge the play of rookie running back Josh Adams, and hinted that Adams would get more opportunities in the coming weeks.
Despite 1,430 yards (6.9 yards per attempt) and 9 touchdowns in his junior year at Notre Dame, Adams was not drafted in 2018. He wasn’t a tremendous prospect from an athletic point of view, with an uninspiring 4.56 40-yard dash time coupled with a particularly low Body Mass Index of 27.3 making him appear unlikely to stand up to the rigors of an NFL workload. Nevertheless, he could have the chance to make some noise from here on out in 2018.
The Eagles backfield, deprived the services of Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles, is currently a three-headed beast, manned by the first year Adams and veterans Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. Despite not seeing as much work as his teammates, Adams stands out in the efficiency department.
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Adams is the most consistent of the three, according to our metrics. Adams’ rushing Success Rate (the percentage of carries on which a player generates positive Net Expected Points), is 48.15%, compared to 45.16% for Smallwood and 30.91% for Clement. The Eagles have been using Adams more and more over the last three games, with his snap share rising in each of them. He’s played 11.9%, 29.0% and 30.6% of the Eagles' snaps over this time.
He’s led the team in rushing in each of their last two games, turning 9 carries into 61 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London and 7 carries into 47 yards against the Cowboys. Clement and Smallwood combined for just 17 yards on their 7 carries in that Sunday night game against Dallas.
Pause for Thought
The solid recent form and the kind words of his coach are not clear indicators that Adams is going to go on a tear for the rest of the season, of course. The Eagles' remaining schedule is not particularly easy for running backs, plus they haven’t been as keen to run the ball this season as they were in 2017.
The Eagles are 20th in rush attempts while attempting the 11th-most passes, with a pass-to-run ratio of 1.70. Last year, they posted a much lower mark of 1.27. And Pederson hasn't committed to a workhorse back during his time in Philly.
If the Eagles are to get back on track and lean a little more heavily on the ground game, then it would appear Adams will be the main beneficiary. He has distanced himself from Smallwood and Clement, at least on early downs, and he should lead the team in carries for the next few weeks.
He will likely lose passing-down work to Clement (Adams has only one target on the season) and Darren Sproles, when Sproles returns from injury. But if Adams can maintain his efficiency with an increase in opportunity, he is certainly a player you don’t want to see on anyone else’s fantasy roster moving forward.