Fantasy gamers have largely chosen to ignore former Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell in comparison to how he was drafted the previous year.
His ADP from 2017 drafts was a wild 2:12 after his breakout ’16 campaign, whereas it has fallen to a much more reasonable 8:02 in standard scoring this summer. Cleveland’s overall offensive woes a year ago have created a value situation for the 25-year-old rusher.
In New York, the offense should feature him as no worse than a two-down back with utility around the end zone. Crowell will play behind a similar offensive line, but the New York Jets have less raw talent at receiving positions.
Quarterbacking is an upgrade, which will go a long way in keeping his fantasy worth afloat. The position should see Josh McCown start the year, but it is inevitable he will cede to No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold at some point in the year.
A lack of touchdowns is what held back Crowell in 2017. He went from seven to two year over year and was slightly less efficient, rushing for 4.1 yards per attempt in 2017 vs. 4.8 a season prior. Cleveland had a hard time committing to the run because of being in scoring holes throughout the 0-16 blunder of a season.
In New York, Jets coordinator Jeremy Bates, a disciple of Mike Shanahan, will implement a run-oriented West Coast offense. The position relies on short-area passing and open-field work by the running backs. Crowell is no slouch as a receiver, hauling in 40 balls in 2016. He will contend for aerial work with — and probably lose just by way of not being overused — Elijah McGuire. Veteran Bilal Powell is also in the fold. It is tough to envision a scenario with both of those backs healthy where Crowell is a three-down option.
Fantasy football takeaway
Crowell won’t be a centerpiece of a championship roster, though he’s a capable depth piece and is worth of a selection, particularly for owners who spend up on wideouts.
Going in the middle rounds, Crowell presents a fine opportunity to buy upside on the cheap. The Jets should be at least competent on offense, and it will not happen without Crowell being a sizeable part of the plans. He’s third fantasy back with No. 2 playability some weeks, but bear in mind he has the makings of being a career overachiever. In other words, he won’t be one to make things happen all on his own and is an effort guy.
Crowell has more worth in standard scoring than PPR, but his overall value is dependent on scoring touchdowns. The best shot he has at becoming something more than an occasional flex play is if he can consistently find the end zone as he managed in 2016.