Had I started writing articles sooner, my hatred for Joe Flacco would be clear. Hes an alright guy, I guess, its just Joe Flacco the player. If he was playoff Flacco all the time, the man would definitely be elite. However, most of the time hes the same guy who only has one 4,000 yard season to his name despite playing in the most pass heavy era yet. The Ravens finally came to their senses and realized this by drafting Lamar Jackson. Until Flacco blows his last chance, Baltimore has to do something to keep the ball out of his hands. Enter Alex Collins. Whether hes a one year flop or not, time will tell. Hopefully, the insight within this article guides us towards the right answer. So lets begin...
Per 4for4's excellent database, Alex Collins has an ADP of 4.07 in 12 team leagues. That's puts him at about RB20 (ADP Fantasy Rankings 2018). AKA he's being taken as a low-end RB2.
The consensus for a good pick is a player who outperforms their draft position. Using data from "NFL.com", I approximated the average points an RB2 scored last season was 144.93 in standard scoring. When doing so I defined an RB2 as a RB who finished in the 13-24 range at the position.
Last year alone Alex Collins outscored this by 4 points. A measly 4 points? Is that the best I could find? No it isn't, but you should still take note of it considering Collins didn't truly start until week 5. That's 4 weeks with little to no production! To fix this, lets add a fourth of the average RB2 point total from 2017 (36.23) to Collins' stats. A boost good enough to put him at RB8 with approximately 184 points.
For perspective, he would've trailed Leonard Fournette by 10 points. Now consider fluctuation. Given the status of NFL reffing, it wouldn't have been a shocker if Fournette had a TD called back. Perhaps Collins gets an extra TD in one of those 4 games. Not too hard to believe considering he had the second best breakaway run percentage in the NFL with 7.5% (Player Profiler 2018). Either way, it would bring the Collins to within 4 points of Fournette. A measly 4 points.
Ya' hear that Collins haters? If he'd started all 16 games Alex Collins would have essentially produced the same point total as a running back going at the end of round 1. Round 1 value in the fourth? I'll take that any day.
Now I'll admit, what I said was unfair. ADPs are based off current situations. For example, Fournette has an improved O-line with offseason addition Andrew Norwell. It's not like a run-blocking, mauler like Marshal Yanda is coming to reinforce a Raven O-line next season. Oh wait, he is. An excellent addition given Baltimore's run blocking efficiency last year ranked 21st.
Even without Yanda, Collins showed glimpses of top 10 potential. He alone created plenty of yardage for himself as evidenced by his 76 evaded tackles and 418 yards created. Those numbers were 9th and 8th best at the position (Player Profiler 2018). Le'Veon Bell, notorious for his uncanny ability to create yards, generated 468 yards on his own. He also did so on a league-leading 321 carries, 109 more than Collins had.
While on the topic of carries, let's talk about breakaway runs.
According to Pro Football Focus, Collins placed second at the position. That was despite having 60+ less carries than everyone else in the top 5. Yet very few give him credit for his outstanding efficiency.
2018 was the first year Alex Collins had serious starting time. Meaning he was uber-productive in what was essentially his rookie season. Will he continue to develop? Yes. The best part about Collins is the chip on his shoulder. When he was cut by Seattle last preseason, he was a no name. Only thing to his name were a high YPC and a fumbling issue. Later he would go on to only fumble twice in Baltimore, showing his commitment to improvement. However many still doubt him. This will only fuel him over the offseason to prove them wrong. Until the doubters have been silenced, expect his fumbles to only go down.
The only other reason to take him off the field is his inconsistent pass-protection. Albeit, he grew more comfortable with it as the season progressed. Now having seen his potential, I'm sure the coaching staff have done everything they can to help Collins shed this flaw.
Alex Collins is going to see more opportunities this year. Even if he doesn't improve his pass-pro much. It's inevitable since he'll be entering the year as the starter. If he does so, his efficiency should easily carry him to RB2 if not RB1 numbers. Thus there's a good chance he outperforms his ADP, making Collins an excellent choice in the 4th round. In fact, after seeing these stats its hard to see Collins as a bust. So be sure to hear the Colling. Snag Alex Collins in your upcoming drafts.
The image above and the stats compiled within it belong to Pro Football Focus. FantaCity takes no ownership of it or its content.
Despite having 60+ less carries than everyone else in the top 5, Collins still placed second at the position. Yet very few give him credit for his outstanding efficiency.