3 Reasons to Draft LeGarrette Blount in Fantasy Football This Year
Although there are some compelling counterpoints to the Zero-RB strategy for fantasy drafts, there is strong evidence that points to the reality that wide receivers are simply better assets in today’s fantasy football landscape.
If you choose to go wide receiver early and often in your fantasy drafts, it’s essential that you hit on a few later-round running backs to smooth out your relative lack of draft capital at the position.
LeGarrette Blount is one of those guys who could pan out, and here’s why.
With and Without Lewis
One primary reason to think of Blount as a solid late-round investment is his production last season with and without fellow running back, Dion Lewis.
Although logic may point to the loss of a team’s lead running back as a positive for the team’s backup -- DeAngelo Williams in 2015 as a terrific example -- Lewis' return to health for the 2016 season should be a boon for Blount’s prospects.
Below are two tables showing Blount's statistics with and without Lewis in the starting lineup.
With just a 12-game sample as reference, this data should not be considered definitive. It’s also important to take into account the level of completion in both splits, with Blount’s games with Lewis being the easier of the two in total.
But the fact still remains that, at least for last season, Blount was a much more productive fantasy running back with Lewis in the lineup.
In Wins and Losses
Another factor to consider is how Blount has performed over the last three seasons in New England based on the Patriots' win/loss record. Using the Rotoviz Game Splits App, we can easily visualize Blount’s fantasy production in games which New England won and lost.
It’s true that a positive game script should help a running back's production and usage, but the gulf between Blount’s fantasy output in the two subsets is significantly pronounced. Entering the 2016 season, New England is once again projected by Vegas to be among the NFL’s best teams, currently sitting as the favorite to win Super Bowl 51.
It’s safe to assume then that, because the Patriots will likely be in plenty of positive game situations, Blount should have ample opportunity to play in games with a lead, where he excels.
And finally, as we always seem to do, our conversation swings back to average draft position, per Fantasy Football Calculator.
In PPR formats, Lewis is currently being drafted nearly seven rounds ahead of Blount, and rightfully so. Even though the Patriots’ backfield has been notoriously difficult to predict, we can assume that a healthy Lewis will be the day-one starter in New England.
Blount's rising ADP since May is a bit concerning, but currently going in the middle of the 11th round, he's worth a shot.
Earlier this offseason I advocated for drafting Dion Lewis in 2016. And while it may seem strange that I'm now telling you to draft his main competition for touches as well, this has the makings of a unique fantasy football situation.
Blount’s weekly production is inherently subject to large peaks and valleys, and we know thanks to JJ Zachariason's work on bust rates that by drafting running backs in the RB43-RB48 range, we assume a very low and likely floor.
While Blount likely won't be a league-winner, he does present a value opportunity, especially for the drafters relying on receivers early in drafts.
With And Without Lewis