NFL Draft Blind Comparisons: Nick Chubb (Fantasy Football)

by Mitchell Renz | @mitchellrenz365 | Featured Writer
Mar 5, 2018

Fantasy football running back rankings will be changing after the performance of Nick Chubb at the NFL Combine. If the 2018 rankings were a timeline, B.C. would stand for “Before Chubb.” Before the NFL Combine started my top three running backs in the NFL Draft and fantasy football were set in stone, but after the performance of Chubb, I may have to find a new stone.

At Georgia, Chubb was the leading running back for the country’s best running back duo. He shared the backfield with Sony Michel and in their final season at Georgia, Chubb toted the rock 223 times compared to Michel’s 156. Chubb was the thunder to Michel’s lightning and I stated in my Sony Michel NFL comparison article that Michel will be the first Georgia running back selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Well, my mind may be changing after a dominant 2018 Scouting Combine from Chubb. If Saquon Barkley wouldn’t have gone full Superman, Chubb would be the talk of the combine from the running back position. Chubb weighed in at 227 pounds and standing at 5’11”, which is an ideal size for an every-down running back in the NFL. He ran a 4.52 forty time, did 29 reps on the bench press, had a 38.5 in vertical, a 128-inch broad jump, a 7.09 three-cone drill, and a 4.25 shuttle. Those impressive numbers put Chubb in the 89th percentile in regards to SPARQ score. ‘SPARQ’ is an acronym that stands for: Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, and Quickness. Think of it as the “SATs” for scouting players in terms of athletic ability.

I knew Chubb was a talented running back, but the Georgia offensive line was one of the best units in college football, which at times made me question how special Chubb was. After watching the tape and seeing the NFL Combine numbers, I am starting to love Chubb, giggity.

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I’ve been asked multiple times on Twitter (@MitchellRenz365) “what’s a good NFL comparison for [insert player name]?” This is a great question considering how elite rookie running backs have been and the uncertainty of how college players will translate into the NFL. This is why I wanted to write NFL Draft blind comparison articles. To read my others click the links below:

To avoid the trolls of the internet when comparing players to current or past NFL players, I use blind comparisons. I’m an advocate of blind comparisons because it’s an effective method to ensure impartiality and avoid bias.

Below is a tweet from my personal account of three running backs. One is Chubb, one is a free-agent running back and the other is retired running back.

Player C is Chubb and as you can see he is a strong running back with some athleticism. In his senior season at Georgia, he carried the ball 223 times for 1,345 yards, and 15 touchdowns and also had four receptions for 30 yards. He is a running back that checks the boxes of being a player who can handle a heavy workload, but his lack of experience catching the ball may limit his upside in fantasy football.

For strengths, Chubb is a thick running back with good balance who punishes tacklers. His ability to lower his center of gravity is why he drags defenders for extra yards after initial contact. His ball security is impressive, fumbling only eight times in 758 college carries (one percent). He is a disciplined runner who understands blocking schemes, staying inside and bouncing to the outside when needed. Despite his size, Chubb is sneaky quick planting his foot in the ground cutting up the field or hitting a defender with a jump cut leaving them standing dazed and confused.

For weaknesses, Chubb lacks experience on passing downs and blitz pickups. He doesn’t have breakaway speed. He suffered a gruesome knee injury in 2015, which has stolen some of his explosion and may hinder his draft stock. He can be too patient at times at the line of scrimmage if the holes aren’t opening up right away, resulting in him getting stuck at the line of scrimmage.

Back to the question, “what’s a good NFL comparison for Nick Chubb?” He is a mix of Player A and B. Player A is built almost identical to Chubb and his running style is very similar. His athletic ability reminds me of Player B.

Player A is Shaun Alexander. Alexander had a solid career in the NFL playing nine seasons, carrying the ball 2,187 times for 9,453 yards, and 100 touchdowns. He also had 215 receptions for 1,520 yards and 12 touchdowns. From 2001-05 Alexander was dominant with at least 295 carries, 1,175 yards, and 14 touchdowns in each season. His breakout year was in 2005 when he carried the ball 388 times for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns. Alexander’s body size, skill set, and running style are similar to Chubb.

Player B is Doug Martin. If there is a player who reminds me of Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold song, it’s Martin. In Martin’s six-year career he has two seasons with over 1,400 rushing yards and under 500 in the other four. I wasn’t overly blown away from his tape, but his combine is making me question my original evaluation of him. Martin is also a SPARQ score freak who ended up in the 96th percentile. Martin is a better receiver and has better acceleration than Chubb, but Martin’s ability to jump cut and read blockers reminds me of Chubb.

So Alexander’s body size and running style + Martin’s athletic ability = Nick Chubb. Now, I’m no Thomas Eddison, but I’m hoping this comparison will make fantasy player’s light bulbs turn on. Alexander and Martin were both selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and after Chubb’s combine, I’m saying there’s a chance he follows suit.

The team that selects Chubb will impact his fantasy stock since he will likely not be on the field on third down or in two-minute situations. His inability to be a receiver will limit his upside in PPR leagues, but he will be a reliable fantasy running back in standard. His running style combined with his ability to get first downs and wear down a defense would be a great fit on a team with a stout defense and solid offensive line. Chubb’s stock is on the rise, but his new team will ultimately decide his fantasy value in 2018.

Mitchell Renz is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mitchell, check out his archive and follow him @mitchellrenz365.

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