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ADP Duel: Carlos Hyde vs. Isaiah Crowell
In this ADP Duel, we take the handoff and go back to the running back position. Both Carlos Hyde and Isaiah Crowell are backs that you will be looking at as potential RB2s in your draft. According to the ADPs from Fantasypros.com, these two backs are being selected right behind each other, giving you the choice of either player. But which of these two should you give the edge to if you are presented with the chance to select either one? Both players will be on teams that will focus their offenses on the ground, but their teams will also be playing from behind quite often, which could potentially reduce the number of touches they receive in each game. As we break down the pros and cons of each player, I will give you my opinion on which will be the better back for your team come draft day.
Carlos Hyde: ADP-33
Carlos Hyde had an amazing start to the 2016 season, scoring four TDs in his first three games. He continued to stay hot over the next two weeks until the injury bug bit him. Injuries and Carlos Hyde have become synonymous during his time in the NFL; they’ve limited his potential on a yearly basis. He missed three games overall in 2016, but the time missed at the mid-point of the season seemed to affect him for the remaining games.
After Week 5, he failed to record a rushing TD and only added three more on the season, all via receptions. He was a different runner after the injury, seemingly becoming more hesitant in certain situations. His 3.1 average yards after the catch throughout the season suggests the ability to shake tacklers and gain yardage after hits, something that he had to be able to do given the poor play of the 49ers’ offensive line.
Entering the 2017 season, the 49ers have a new direction under Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan has a proven track record of getting the most out of the running backs in his system, which has many experts excited for Hyde’s potential this season. Although the Niners made a few additions to the offensive line this offseason, Hyde will again have to rely on his own skills to gain positive yardage. Expect the offense to go through Hyde in the run game and in short dump-offs in the screen game to give him open field to play with. But the drawback to Hyde will be how often injuries keep him sidelined.
The team re-signed DuJuan Harris and brought in Tim Hightower as insurance to Hyde, but they could very well sneak into each game for more playing time if Hyde falters. Rookie running back Joe Williams will be a name to watch during camp as well, with the coaching staff already talking up his potential. However, by the end of the season you can expect Hyde to put forth another solid effort for Fantasy owners. Even with the missed games in 2016, he scored 166 points, so imagine if he were to play all 16? Carlos Hyde is a running back with Top 10 potential if healthy. In previous seasons, Hyde has been more TD dependent, making him more of a draw in standard leagues over PPR. But with Shanahan now as Head Coach, his value in PPR formats should rise, although it should not affect his higher ADP in standard leagues.
Isaiah Crowell: ADP-34
Isaiah Crowell had somewhat of a breakout season in 2016. He was a steady contributor as a RB2/Flex play each week, even while playing on a very bad Browns team. His bullying running style is somewhat similar to that of LeGarrette Blount, in that he looks for contact instead of avoiding it, often costing himself positive yardage. His 952 yards last season were the most of his career, and he even added in 40 receptions, showing a new facet to his game. With the ineptitude of the Browns’ aerial attack, Crowell’s performance was much more surprising. After a hot start to the season, from Week 5 until Week 12 he failed to register more than 63 rushing yards in a game. During those weeks, his touches fell as well. Because the team was behind so often, the game script forced the Browns to abandon the ground game. Once he hit the wall during those weeks, many owners either traded him away or sent him to the waiver wire. He did rebound down the stretch, carrying momentum into the offseason.
As we enter the 2017 season, head coach Hue Jackson has expressed his intent to give the ball to Crowell and make him the workhorse of the offense. With the additions made to the offensive line, he should find the running room a bit more accessible this season. His 3.2 yards after the catch shows there is some elusiveness in his game, and the increased work as a receiver is something to raise an eyebrow over as well. As long as the Browns can find an answer at quarterback, Crowell is in for the best season of his career. Expect for him to finally surpass 1,000 yards on the ground, and potentially push for double-digit scores. With his sudden emergence in the passing game, it seems Crowell could be considered a dual-threat back for 2017. Currently, his ADP in standard formats is higher than in PPR, but his inclusion in the passing attack could level those numbers off at draft time. If all these things come to fruition, Crowell will easily become a first or second round type back that you only need a late third or fourth round pick to get in drafts.
As you find yourself approaching the tail-end of the third round, or even perhaps the fourth, you will be presented with the chance to select either one of these players based on early ADP data. But which of the two will be the better building block as you fill out your roster? In my opinion, Crowell has more potential over Hyde in 2017. Injuries are less of a question with him, and he is not learning a new offensive system either. Sure, both teams are questionable on offense, and both sport bad defenses. But, Crowell’s path to touches seems a little more concrete at the moment, giving him higher potential for scoring. Isaiah Crowell wins this duel, and should be the player that you select come draft day for the 2017 season.
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