As we welcome the AFC and NFC Championship Games with open arms and begin a new year, the time has also come to begin your quest for victory in the 2021 fantasy season. Coaching rumors are flying around left and right, the Browns won a playoff game, and fantasy managers are getting swept up in the here and now, but not you. You are reading another article from Fantasy Intervention. This means you’re focused on the next steps and winning championships. With that in mind let me show a running back candidate to buy now: Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon
Why Back Melvin Gordon?
Gordon finished the season as the RB13 and averaged 12.7 ppg in 0.5PPR leagues. Even though it was his first season in Denver, he kept right at pace with his seasonal averages in many rushing categories. Gordon carried the ball 215 times for 986 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry, ranking 16th among running backs with at least 125 carries. Gordon also dominated the snap share with 58% of snaps, more than double the snaps of Denver’s backup running back, Phillip Lindsey.
So what’s so sneaky and why should I take a 27 year old running back?
Consistent as They Come
First off his consistency is a crucial part of his fantasy success. Here are his finishes from every season starting in 2015: RB50, RB7, RB5, RB7, RB23, RB13. Besides his rookie season, he has had all finishes in the top-24. His worst year was due to Austin Ekeler carving out a role in the offense. It is so helpful to roster a consistent player in fantasy, especially at a position as scarce as running back.
Getting to Know Each Other
Secondly, he performed very well in a below average situation. The offense was only in its second season with most of the players and coaches. That showed in the total success of the Broncos season. Finishing with a 5-11 record and averaging 20.2 PPG had them ranked last in the AFC West and 28th overall in scoring. That being said, it was not all bad. Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur stepped into his first year with the team and made use of the talented wide receivers and tight ends in Denver. Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, and Tim Patrick each showed in flashes how good the passing offense can be. Good pass-catchers spread the defense out, helping to open up the run game.
No Yards Created
The offensive line was a major reason for Gordon’s deficiencies. Ranking 28th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards (3.88). That’s last in stuff percentage (21.8%), the line offered minimal help for Gordon. But understanding a rookie center, Lloyd Cushenberry III, and second-year left guard, Dalton Risner, led the charge, there is some optimism to be found in the youthfulness. Denver has the whole offseason to improve and since they spent so much capital acquiring skill position players. Hopefully, they can put more focus to the offensive line.
Vic Fangio Defense
Lastly, a reason to see an upward trend in the Broncos and Gordon’s rushing success is the help from the opposite side of the ball. The Broncos defense was better than average, finishing 13th in Defensive-Adjusted Value Over Average – DVOA – while facing the third-toughest schedule according to Football Outsiders. They also missed key starters for a lot of the season due to injury. Linebacker Von Miller, cornerback AJ Bouye, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, linebacker Mark Barron, and defensive end Demarcus Walker all missed time. With these crucial pieces slated to return next season, there’s a case for improvement on an already solid defense. Stout defenses keep teams a part of more games than not. When offenses are in negative game scripts the rushing attack can be impacted drastically and sometimes removed all together. Gordon has to register touches on the ball to register points after all.
Successful running backs are a product of both their ability and their teams’ ability to succeed. Melvin Gordon is consistently a great running back, as proven by his track record. He is surrounded by a team to be optimistic about. Successful trades to acquire running backs, like Gordon, are a product of both your knowledge of the player and understanding public perception of him. Gordon and his team are not likely to be viewed as an upward-trending group. However, considering the likely improvements to the offensive line, return of key defensive players, and the immediacy at which Gordon performed well, it is hard to not believe in his future success. I am confident in what Gordon brings to the table, so much so that I have a video discussing just him in terms of Gordón tequila!
As always thanks for reading my article on Melvin Gordon, follow me on Twitter @A_I_R__D_J for more great content! The next article in the series will feature a New England Patriots player you won’t want to miss!