The Baltimore Ravens did not anticipate a competition for the lead role in their offensive backfield. However, a season-ending ACL tear suffered by second-year pro J.K. Dobbins during the preseason finale left the job vacant.
But despite the unfortunate injury, the Ravens do have some viable replacement options. Gus Edwards, a fourth-year pro with more than 400 career carries under his belt, possesses a solid track record as a rusher but has yet to establish himself as a weapon in the passing game. Justice Hill offers more upside as a pass catcher but hasn’t distinguished himself when running between the tackles. The Ravens also have Ty’Son Williams, a former undrafted running back out of BYU who has yet to register a tough in the NFL.
UPDATE: Edwards is the starter and Williams retains intriguing upside, but it’s interesting to note the Ravens put in a waiver claim on running back Royce Freeman, per Field Yates. The Panthers successfully claimed him, but it’s no surprise the Ravens are looking for more depth with Dobbins sidelined for the season.
Edwards will serve as the primary back in Baltimore, but the Ravens will spread more of the work around than they would have with Dobbins healthy. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, head coach John Harbaugh “believes Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams will fill the role left by Dobbins,” leaving Hill as the odd man out initially. The roles behind Edwards could change weekly depending on the opponent, making it difficult for fantasy players to manage.
Fantasy football implications
Edwards immediately moves up the draft board, but his upside won’t match the more well-rounded Dobbins. While some of the targets that Dobbins would have received will go to Edwards, more will likely come to the other healthy backs. That will have more of an impact in PPR leagues, but it will affect Edwards in all formats.