Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders has the swiss army knife potential you'd like out of a fantasy running back. But is he worth drafting at his current ADP?
Right now Sanders is getting drafted at No. 85 overall according to Fantasy Football Calculator. Just behind guys like Kareem Hunt and Lamar Miller and just ahead of Jordan Howard and Ronald Jones II.
Why he's intriguing as an immediate fantasy contributor
One of the biggest factors Sanders has going for him early on is his draft capital. The Eagles invested a 2nd round pick in him. The last time they drafted a running back that high was LeSean McCoy in the second round 10 years ago. McCoy went on to put up some spectacular numbers with Philadelphia. Including a 17 touchdown campaign in 2011 and he won the rushing title in 2013.
Plus, the offense in Philly is built for Sanders. Doug Pederson and backs like Sanders go together like lamb and tuna fish. Pederson likes to run quick hitting plays out of the shotgun to get running backs in space so they can make guys miss. Guys like Darren Sproles and Corey Clement have thrived in that set up so far.
Sanders should be no different. Per Pro Football Focus, Sanders ranked in the Top 10 in missed tackles (47), yards after contact (845) and runs resulting in a first down or touchdown (38) while at Penn State. He has great potential to be a great PPR back.
Not only that, Sanders is also thick-bodied at 5'11, 215 lbs. So he has the size to be an every down back and run inside as well.
Why he's not that intriguing
One early knock on Sanders being not worth his ADP is his health. He's been nursing a hamstring injury. While it's not considered serious, he's been out of team activities for a few weeks and you wonder if losing valuable reps might hurt his chances of being ready with the offense come September.
There's also the fumbling. Sanders coughed up the ball 10 times in three seasons at Penn State and lost seven of them. While fumbling is something players can improve on, it's still a 'wait and see' type of thing with rookies.
But perhaps the biggest concern is his place on the roster. Jordan Howard will likely be the No. 1 running back out of the gate. Though he's coming off an injury, Howard has the proven pedigree. He got two 1,000+ yards seasons in his three-year career plus one Pro Bowl nod. He's only 24 years old. Plus he's also an underrated pass catcher in his own right. He's also been fairly durable in those three seasons, starting 44 of 47 games.
Is he worth drafting?
While Sanders has a chance to see more opportunity towards the middle of the season, he's too big of a risk to draft right now based on his current ADP. Howard is the proven back and he'll likely make an immediate impact to start. You can draft him later than Sanders as he's going at RB90 overall.
There are other proven backs you can get in that area as well. Adrian Peterson is another back getting drafted in that spot. He proved he still has something left in the tank. Even a rookie like Damian Harris with New England has some considerable intrigue given the volatility of that offense in New England. You can get him at RB123.
In short, you're better off taking a handful of decent upside backs and letting Sanders go.