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LeGarrette Blount: Undervalued RB to Target in 2015

LeGarrette Blount was a force to be reckoned with at the end of last season. In a year in which Bill Belichick used everything that moved for his running back job, Blount came out of nowhere (the waivers) to lead the Pats’ rushing attack into the playoffs and beyond. Despite scoring just three times in five games with New England, the 245-pound back averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He topped that off with 189 yards and three touchdowns (4.0 Y/C) during the Pats’ playoff run. All signs point to a work horse for the 2015 season. With all of this in mind, the questions becomes why is Blount lasting so long in drafts so far this season?

Blount has an ADP of 75th overall in a standard league (26th among RBs) and 76th overall in a PPR league (33rd among RBs). The drop in PPR formats makes sense, but what is confusing is why so many owners are passing him up for players like C.J. Spiller, T.J. Yeldon, and injured Arian Foster in standard scoring leagues. Is it because of Belichick’s inconsistency from year to year with his running backs? Is it the little symbol next to Blount’s name, suggesting that he’ll be suspended for the first game of the year? I’m not sure. But there is plenty of reason why you should look to grab Blount for your fantasy team in 2015.

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LeGarrette Blount's Fantasy Football Outlook for 2015

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves it is worth mentioning that there are some potential threats behind Blount. Travaris Cadet, James White, and Brandon Bolden all have varying degrees of potential. Jonas Gray, who had a 200 yard game last season, is the other Patriots back and poses the greatest threat to Blount and his owners. Gray and White split 15 attempts just about evenly in the Pats’ first preseason game, and Gray looked far better, averaging 10.6 Y/C on his seven carries while taking a 55-yard run to the house.

However, if you take away Gray’s 55-yard dash to the endzone, he ran for 19 yards on six carries. That’s an average day at the office. Similarly, if you remove his outlier game from last season against the Colts, Gray racked up 213 yards and one touchdown on 51 carries. That one game certainly skewed his numbers. In the playoffs, Gray only appeared in one game and tallied four yards on four carries. Are you still scared?

I agree that Gray’s role could expand this year. I also agree that Belichick is the most unpredictable dude in the NFL. It could very well be the case that Gray or someone else goes off Week 1 against the Steelers while Blount is sidelined, and they end up with the starting job for three games. My point is that Blount will see the field eventually, and when he does I expect him to do the same thing that he did last year: Carry the football.

If we take a step back and look at the ADPs again, Blount is being taken towards the end of the sixth round in a standard, 12-team league. At that point, your team should already consist of at least two starting running backs and at least two starting wide receivers. The fifth pick is likely either a top-notch QB that fell, a top-notch tight end that did the same, or another RB/WR. Therefore, you’re taking a chance on Blount as your starting flex player at most. Yes, you’ll have to find a replacement for week one, but there are plenty of flex backups available for the next few rounds. Not many of them have the RB-2 upside that Blount provides.

In light of the Tom Brady court ruling, I expect Blount’s carries could take a slight hit, but the increase in overall offensive production should enable Blount to break off longer runs as well as bring him more goal line opportunities.

The flakiness and unpredictability of Bill Belichick means that no one really knows how the RB situation will shake out in Foxboro. However, a sixth round pick is a great place to take a risk on a high-upside player. Blount has incredible yards-after-contact ability, and he could very well find the endzone 10 times this year if his head coach allows it. My strategy in drafts is almost always to stockpile running backs with upside, and stealing Blount in the middle of fantasy drafts seems like a no brainer in 2015.

 

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