Baltimore Ravens running back Kenyan Drake came out of nowhere to put up one of the strongest fantasy football performances of Week 6. Following an injury to starter J.K. Dobbins, the longtime NFL veteran had one of the best games of his recent career. Drake should definitely be rostered in every league, but can you actually trust him in your lineup?
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Fantasy Football: Kenyan Drake Outlook Following J.K. Dobbins Injury
Week 6 Summary
Any time a player has a completely unpredicted blowup week, it’s important to analyze the circumstances surrounding the event. After all, weird things happen in one-week samples, and it’s all too common for players to receive undeserved hype based on one or two big plays.
Drake entered Week 6 as the primary backup to J.K. Dobbins. However, he quickly earned the starting role after Dobbins re-aggravated his knee injury. From then on out, Drake played the vast majority of the snaps, finishing his night with 119 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Now, it should go without saying that averaging over 11 yards per carry is not sustainable, but Drake’s usage is encouraging heading into Week 7.
Random shoutout to Kenyan Drake for being in absolute god mode against the Giants in Week 6 pic.twitter.com/WRDvqbgJQ2
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) October 17, 2022
Obviously, Baltimore wants Dobbins to be the starter when healthy, but Week 6 proved that they’re willing to trust Drake with a full workload. Mike Davis was active for this game and, despite the Dobbins injury, he only played five snaps. As of this posting, we do not yet know if Dobbins will be able to play in Week 7 or if he’ll be on a snap count. That being said, Baltimore tends to air on the side of caution when it comes to injuries, and Dobbins previously tore his ACL in the same knee.
For the time being, we’ll assume that Drake will start against the Cleveland Browns and that either Mike Davis or a limited Dobbins will be the backup. As with all injury news, you’ll need to check for the latest reports as the week progresses to make sure this assumption is accurate.
Kenyan Drake Week 7 Projection
Baltimore’s starting running back is in a fantastic situation heading into Week 7’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have the worst run defense in the NFL by a wide margin, allowing 0.162 EPA/carry. By comparison, the Detroit Lions are the second-worst in the league, allowing 0.107 EPA/carry.
Just about anyone can run the ball against Cleveland, which means that the sky is the limit for Baltimore’s starter. Lamar Jackson is the most dangerous dual threat in the league, as defenses need to devote extra attention to making sure he doesn’t take off for a massive gain. This makes life considerably easier on the running back, as there’s one less defender actively trying to tackle him. We’ve seen this efficiency bump in action ever since 2018, and there’s no reason to believe Drake is an exception to the rule.
If he starts, it’s safe to assume that Drake will be efficient on the ground. However, we now need to determine how many opportunities he’ll actually earn. Drake played without Dobbins earlier in the season and earned a 59% snap share in Week 1. He didn’t do much with his opportunities, but that was probably due to his relative inexperience with the team. Drake spent the vast majority of the offseason with the Las Vegas Raiders and likely needed time to learn the playbook.
So far this season, Ravens running backs have averaged 15.5 carries per game. Since Cleveland has a terrible run defense, we can assume that Baltimore will eclipse their season average and give their running backs a combined 20 carries in this contest. If we give Drake a 60% snap share, that gives him 12 carries for roughly 60 yards. Maybe he’ll catch a pass or two, but you shouldn’t put too much faith in Drake’s receiving ability, since Baltimore rarely throws to their running backs.
Ultimately, Drake is a flex play that will pay off if he finds the endzone, but be a little disappointing if he doesn’t. While that certainly won’t be enough to win you a week, it’s enough to justify a start in a week where a lot of good players are on a bye.