Kenneth Dixon once again failed to get his NFL career rolling. It was announced Tuesday afternoon that Dixon had a tear of his Medial Meniscus and would need surgery that will almost certainly keep him out all season. This is another setback for the young running back. In his 2016 rookie campaign he tore his MCL in the third preseason game.
Prior fantasy value
While Dixon was a 4th Round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, he was very likely the third running back taken in your 2016 Dynasty Draft. He was going over players like C.J. Prosise and Devontae Booker. Obviously, last year did not help much. As the NCAA’s second-all time leading touchdown scorer, he has big upside and potential. Dixon maybe does not get enough credit for how good he is as a receiver. He had a pedestrian 40 time, but a sub-7 second cone drill and a great vertical jump.
After missing time with injury, Dixon had to work for playing time. He ended 2016 with 385 yards on 88 carries. He also added 30 receptions on 41 targets. Not high end-production, but he was a sneaky lottery ticket especially in PPR-formats.
He was ranked outside of starting territory this year by most places. Yahoo had him as the 41st running back and ESPN had him at 43. Our composite rankings at Fake Teams placed Dixon at 38. The fear is that he has not become a proven commodity yet and he has to share a backfield with Danny Woodhead and Terrance West.
What might have been
Dixon really is a great receiving option. He is also a squat, bowling ball of a man. He had the potential to take carries on all three downs and stay around on passing downs. He is the sort of back the Ravens have made successful in the last several years (Ray Rice and Justin Forsett).
Sadly, Dixon was already going to be suspended to start the season due to a performance enhancing drug test. Still, he could have come back and been the solid, every down back the Ravens love. He would have greater value in a PPR format. Seriously, check out a few of these catches he had at LA Tech.
What this means for fantasy
Dixon was going to be stealing snaps from both Woodhead and West. Look for West to get plenty of carries and be the featured back. ESPN and Yahoo had Dixon as the top back in Baltimore and now West will be alone there. Woodhead always surprises and will have some flex ability now that he will not have to share the third-down back role with Dixon. Fake Teams is an outlier in that we ranked Danny Woodhead above both West and Dixon.
West should sneak into the flex conversation in all leagues and a possible RB2 in deep leagues. Woodhead has some lottery ticket flex ability, especially in PPR. Last year Dixon averaged 3.4 targets per game and West averaged 2.8 (according to FantasyPros.com).
This obviously hurts in a Dynasty league, but you are holding tight now and waiting this out. He is just a second year back and there is plenty of time. The concern is this is his third knee issue in the last year or so. His ceiling is still high, but the risk has increased greatly.
If you are in a league that drafted in July, you are in a weird league. Still, here are some other similar players to look at. James White had 86 targets last year and was among the league leaders in that stat. White is a Patriot though, and no one knows where the ball will go week to week. Still, for a possible high-end flex, he has good potential.
Someone else with high targets last year, but lower on the fantasy radar due to competition is Theo Riddick. He missed a few games here and there last year, but had nearly seven targets per game when healthy. Both these guys were in the same area in most rankings and are available in 76% of Yahoo leagues. Both are less available when talking about ESPN leagues (Riddick 12.5% and White 29.8%).
In ESPN there are a few other names that have low ownership rates if these two are gone. Terrance West, for one, is available in 72.5% of leagues. Obvious choice. Jamaal Williams is also a name people find interesting. I would advise you just add him to a watch list and pay attention to his snap count early on. I fully expect the Packers to treat Ty Montgomery as a full time number one, but this backfield will be something to watch.