As you prepare for the 2022 NFL season, it’s never too early to review the fantasy football draft average position data and fictional draft strategy. It’s important to keep up to date with the latest ADP trends when entering fantasy football drafts, better ball leagues, or dynasty rookie drafts. Now that we’re in the month of June, the NFL’s fantasy football rankings and preseason projections become more meaningful with the 2022 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror and off-season practices underway. In today’s NFL player profile, we’ll dive deep into Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders and his current average draft position in fantasy football simulations. Is he worth in the best fantasy football underdog ball drafts? Is Dynasty Fantasy Football Worth Investing In? How does he compare to other top running backs in fantasy football? We’ll answer all of these questions and more!
Miles Sander Fantasy Football Player Profile
Even in the first drafts of fantasy football simulation and the best ball tournaments, you can feel it crawling on you. The famous ADP running back section that last year had people signing players like Myles Gaskins and Mike Davis. Yes, I’m talking about the terrifying RB DEAD ZONE!
For those unfamiliar, it’s a name given to the scary lineup of running backs after all the studs and cowbells have been drafted. Almost all fantasy football leagues require you to have two running backs and there just aren’t 24 cleats in the modern era of the NFL. So some people are going to have to meddle with that part of the ranking. If you’re making the best Underdog drafts this time of year, you’ll need to do more than try your hand at the RB position. You will need to draft between four and eight running backs, based on our research. If you’re not making Underdog drafts yet, you need to put your buns there, register, and use promo code ALARM where they will match up to $100 in bonus credits. Then you’ll be well on your way to winning any number of their MILLION dollar prizes!
Football today is a results-oriented game – and fantasy football is no different. No one has ever won a fantasy league because they had the most “expected fantasy points” or “snap forward metrics”. If that were the case, then Tony Pollard the real ones would just win every league. But instead, they drafted RB28. This does not mean that these numbers by snap or coming assumptions don’t matter, but we can all agree that a guy like Miles Sander has underperformed so far with their season totals – regardless of what those numbers might say. So today we’re going to address some of those issues, and then we’ll figure out if there’s an advantage where it’s being drafted, deep in the trenches of the Dead Zone.
The issues with Sanders
This obviously has to go to the top of the list. He’s been knocked every year so far and in the past two seasons it’s caused him to miss several full games. Bill Belichick’s quote is famous for a reason – “availability is the best ability.” If Sanders fails to stay healthy, those expected fantasy points may not materialize.
Sanders managed to play 12 games last year, which is at least two-thirds of the season. Still, he didn’t score a single touchdown. He went from nine touchdowns as a rookie to six as a sophomore to zero in 2021. That might not be a fluke, either. A big part of that is clearly the Eagles have a mobile quarterback in Jalen hurts (10 TD rushed) as well as the local vulture in Boston Scott (seven rushed TDs). Beginner Kenneth Gainwell scored five rushing touchdowns and even a veteran Jordan Howard marked three times. That’s a big hurdle for Sanders to overcome.
We’re in the middle of the best ball season, so it’s not really a problem for this format. But in your revamped fantasy football leagues, big weeks don’t help you as much as bad weeks hurt you. To win a championship, you must accumulate consecutive weeks in the playoffs or you are eliminated. It’s good when a guy rushes for 120 yards, but you might not even have that guy in your lineup if he just made two carries for 27 yards or seven carries for 13 yards in previous games (which Sanders did last year). Miles Sander showed he’s capable of big games, but he’s also shown he’s very capable of disappearing. This inconsistency is a killer.
Upside down with Sanders
Injuries are out of our control, but the honest truth in fantasy is that players labeled as “injury prone” can present great opportunities. By the time you see people start saying “he already burned me” or “he’ll probably play about two games” you should know there’s value to be found there. Joe Mixon Last year. The exact “burnt me before” narrative caused a ton of fantasy players to miss the RB3 in the 2021 fantasy football season. Julio Jones was tagged “injury prone” early in his career, then had six consecutive seasons of around 1,400+ receiving yards. If the underlying talent is there, we should be willing to bet injuries are sometimes random – because they are. That being said, Sanders has shown the talent.
If you take all the running backs in the league right now who have had at least 400 career carries, here are the active leaders in career yards per carry:
Yards per carry for Sanders has actually increased every year, from 4.6 YPC as a rookie to 5.3 in 2020 to 5.5 last year. As Eagles Insider Reuben Frank points out, only three running backs started their careers with three straight seasons of at least 750 yards rushing, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and 25 catches. Coming out of Penn State, Sanders was touted as a versatile guard with receiving chops. However, he struggled to catch the football in his first two seasons with five and then eight drops. In 2021, however, he dropped just one pass and forced a career-high 11 missed tackles in the passing game.
We have illustrated the touchdowns scored by Boston Scott and Jordan Howard above. When you break down the games into those in which Sanders was healthy versus those in which he didn’t play or left injured, it paints a different picture of which might have scored some of them. .
Although he didn’t score a touchdown last season, Miles Sander dominated the red zone and goal line touches when healthy. Boston Scott is back this year, but Jordan Howard is no longer with the team. From that consideration, the concern for us is less about the other running backs in the red zone and more about the quarterback making those runs. The Eagles backs combined for 40 carries inside the 10-yard line last year while Jalen hurts took 22 himself. There should still be opportunities for the lead dog, so it’s unlikely Sanders won’t score again this year.
The other element of competition that needs to be mentioned is with Kenneth Gainwell in the passing game. Gainwell had 33 receptions on 50 targets last year while Sanders had 26 receptions on 34 targets. It is a legitimate concern. When we look at the number of snaps (courtesy of Fantasy Alarm Instant Account Tracker) for the start of the season before Sanders injured his ankle, however, that paints the picture a little better.
In those early games, the snaps and carries were clearly in Sanders’ favor and the goals were split – 21 for Sanders and 20 for Gainwell. The split is reminiscent of what we have seen in recent years in Green Bay with Aaron Jones be the rear main to get the downhill work, then split half the drivetrain work with jamal williams. The goals of these first games extrapolated to a season would be 59 to 60 goals. You can’t just extrapolate a small sample size like that, but that’s clearly not a Damien Harris situation where he is likely to catch less than 20 balls. He got more targets than that in six games.
We know the barriers for this player. He has a mobile quarterback who can hit himself in the red zone. There is also another comeback in town in Kenneth Gainwell who can catch passes. But the advantage is there for Sanders too. He’s a guy who had back-to-back rushing yards for 120 and 131 last season. He also averaged 5.1 yards per carry in his career and 5.5 yards last year. This, despite additional pieces on the Eagles, does not threaten his starting position. Some people predicted that Philadelphia would draft a running back and it didn’t happen. Guys like Gainwell and Boston Scott don’t take on that outright starting role.
In games where Sanders was healthy, he was making 39.6 snaps and 12.4 carries per game. That’s the pace of over 200 races in a season. Even though its YPC drops from the 5.5 meters we saw last year, over 200 strokes is the production sweet spot. We talked about the potential of 40-60 targets, which he has already seen. More importantly, it’s the other running backs you watch in his ADP lineup — right in the dead zone of this year’s Running Back.
Aren’t a lot of these guys facing the same puzzles as Sanders?
It only gets worse the further you go down those ADP rankings. So unless you load up on running backs early, you might have to pick someone from that group – warts and all – before it gets really ugly in later rounds. Miles Sander, for me, he’s a guy who goes in the RB3 range who should easily end up as RB2 in fantasy football this season. If he finally taps into the talents we’ve seen in spurts, the Eagles running back might even have a higher upside than that. Compared to other options being drafted in the same range, taking Sanders presents pretty clear value. Sanders could be your last lifeline to grab before the Dead Sea of running backs overwhelms you.
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