Each year, ESPN fantasy football expert, Matthew Berry, puts out an article containing information he gathered during discussions with coaches and team personnel during the NFL combine. These annual articles have a self-described “pretty good” track record recently. Specifically, Berry cites his very early identification of Darren Waller as a valuable tight end last offseason. Those who took note of this information were likely rewarded greatly in their season long fantasy football leagues last year. Below, we dissect one piece of early speculation mentioned by Berry in his article, and how it may impact individual players and their fantasy value.
Washington exercised a contract option that will bring back Adrian Peterson for next year, and many are anxiously awaiting the return of a healthy Derrius Guice, who has the best bet of leading the backfield in Washington next season. Despite the presence of these two widely known running backs in Washington, Berry reports that the name Bryce Love came up “a lot” in discussions with personnel from the team.
In addition, when speaking with new Washington head coach Ron Rivera, it was suggested that a RBBC approach would be employed in 2020. Rivera noted that until he coached a back of Christian McCaffrey’s caliber, he was always a fan of using multiple backs, and his intent is to return to that strategy this season.
The Fantasy Impact
After being drafted by Washington in the 4th round in 2019, Bryce Love was injured for the entirety of his first NFL season. Therefore, nobody is sure what Love has to offer on an NFL level. What we do know is that Love was outstanding when playing for Stanford in 2017. He finished that season with 19 touchdowns and 2118 yards, while averaging 8.1 yards per carry, and he and came in 2nd in voting for the Heisman trophy. Unfortunately, he was plagued with injuries throughout his senior year, culminating in tearing his ACL during the last play of his last game as a Stanford Cardinal. This is the reason Love fell to the 4th round, where Washington snatched him up.
With a full year of rest and rehab under his belt, Love is ready to take the field in the NFL for the first time, and people around Washington seem to be excited about it. Peterson will be 35 years old to start this season, and everyone in Washington is acutely aware of the fact that Guice is injury prone. It’s smart of Ron Rivera to limit the workload on each of these backs as a means of preservation, which opens the door for Love to have an impact. Should either of these backs go down, which is far from unlikely, Love’s role would likely increase.
It’s hard to gamble on a player who has yet to play one snap in the NFL, however the buzz around Love from team personnel can’t be ignored. Plus, you wouldn’t be gambling much on him, as you can likely draft him in the final rounds as a deep sleeper. Love should stay on your radar this offseason as a low risk, high reward target late in drafts.