How Valuable will Devontae Booker be? (2020 Fantasy Football)
We’ve seen glimpses of Devontae Booker in Denver and now Las Vegas, but he has always either been trapped behind a surefire starter or worked in a committee. Is he worth a waiver claim late in 2020?
Three weeks ago, Booker had his highest number of total rushing attempts since 2016: 16 carries. It was his only game this season with double-digit carries, and he turned them into 81 yards, a season-high.
To be frank, Booker hasn’t really been a factor in the NFL since his rookie year, 2016, when he recorded 612 yards on 174 carries for an inefficient 3.5 yards per attempt (YPA). With C.J. Anderson sidelined after seven games, Booker saw six straight games with double-digit carries. His efficiency over that stretch was even worse, as he posted only one game over 3.3 YPA.
Booker hasn’t done much to impress as a bell-cow running back, but we all know his value at this point is directly tied to the health of Josh Jacobs, who is nursing an allegedly minor ankle injury.
State of the Offense
Josh Jacobs is the clear number one in Las Vegas’ running back room, which is pretty rare in today’s NFL. Jacobs has 64.0% of the rushing attempts, 56.6% of the rushing yards, and he’s actually fourth on the team in receptions with 27. He only trails Darren Waller (64), Hunter Renfrow (38), and Nelson Agholor (29). Jacobs is, fairly quietly, the RB6 in PPR fantasy leagues, though he is 13th in points per game. He was one of few running backs who had stayed healthy this season, until now (kind of).
In other pieces I’ve written this season, I’ve mentioned that the Raiders’ offense doesn’t really have an identity. They’re generally fine running and fine passing. They’re probably slightly above average at both, but neither area jumps off the page.
Derek Carr has two games this season over 300 passing yards and three games with at least three passing touchdowns. Over the past five games, Carr has averaged 184 passing yards per game, and the Raiders are somehow 3-2 in that span.
I’m not going to lie to you. I can’t nail down the Raiders’ offense. Sometimes they look very good, and then they play the Falcons and score six points, and I’m not surprised. I don’t know.
The only thing I know about the Raiders is that Josh Jacobs is really the only one I trust. As of this writing, Jacobs has a sprained ankle and seems to have a good chance to play in Week 13. If he plays, Booker is nothing more than a backup. If he sits, Booker is obviously relevant. The Raiders play the Jets, which usually means good news for opposing running backs, as the Jets have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs this season.
With this injury, Booker seems to be a one-week rental at best.
Now, beyond this Jacobs injury, Booker should still be someone you are looking to add on the waiver wire. I touched on it last week as well, but at this point in the season, you probably don’t need bye-week fill-ins. You should be in playoff mode now, so your bench should be nothing more than guys you could reasonably start and others with high-upside potential. Start loading up on high-value backup running backs that would be extremely valuable if the starter goes down.
Some players that are over 40% rostered that I can’t imagine comfortably starting in the fantasy playoffs are guys like the following: Jerry Jeudy, Darius Slayton, A.J. Green, Travis Fulgham, Marquise Brown, T.Y. Hilton, and Michael Gallup, among others.
Obviously, your league size, league format, and overall roster construction may change things, but it’s time to take a hard look at your bench. If the idea of starting someone on your bench during the fantasy playoffs gives you instant nausea, look to drop them and grab a potentially-high-reward handcuff like Devontae Booker, among others.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.