(All offseason, Michael Moore will be looking at some specific draft conundrums facing drafters in an effort to determine which player should be the preference. Track the whole series here.)
This week’s player showdown looks at two second-year running backs who are hoping to build on fantastic rookie seasons. One, Leonard Fournette, was much heralded even before he was drafted and proved to be just as fantasy relevant as billed. The other, Kareem Hunt, certainly didn’t have the same hype as Fournette heading into the season but ended up matching Fournette’s fantasy production and then some.
Heading into their sophomore seasons, both are being taken as RB1s with similar enough ADPs that it’s a toss-up as to who to pick first. Hunt is currently the seventh running back off the board using MFL ADP data, while Fournette is just behind at eighth. Their rankings according to our own analysts are similar. Let’s dive in and see which one you should draft when you’re on the clock.
We’ll start with the player who was always supposed to be a top fantasy back in Fournette. Drafted fourth overall last year, Fournette ended up rushing for 1,000 yards, nine touchdowns, and a top-10 fantasy running back finish despite missing three games due to an ankle injury. Of course, it helped being the starting running back on a team that not only led the league in rush attempts per game at 33 but had 10 percent more per game than the second-highest team. He ended up totaling the seventh-most carries with 268 and was one of only three backs (along with Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott) to average more than 20 carries per game. However, on an efficiency basis, Fournette was pretty average and his fantasy owners should be thankful he saw so much volume. Not only did he average a very ordinary 3.9 yards per carry, but he forced only 35 missed tackles on 268 carries and had an overall elusive rating of 32.6, good for just 20th out of 28 qualifying running backs.