- Steven Pintado
Sleeper Series: Jordan Howard
The 2020 drafts will soon be underway, and finding those sleeper players to help you win your championships are hard to find. A few Miami Dolphins players could surprise, and one, in particular, is Jordan Howard.
The stat that continuously gets thrown around for Howard is that since 2016, he is the fourth leading rushing in the NFL. It's crazy to hear that for a running back who's current ADP is 89th in half-point PPR drafts.
The question is, why is Howard's ADP sitting at 89 right now? Well, it could be the Dolphins ran the fewest running plays in the league last year. Howard also takes a hit due to his inability to be a factor in the receiving game. He has 82 receptions in four seasons in the NFL and just 30 over the last two seasons. He will likely split some role with newcomer Matt Bredia who is his other half in this new thunder and lighting duo the Dolphins now have.
Doesn't it sound like he is a sleeper currently does it? Well, he is and could be a great value in drafts. Let's start with the teams rushing ability, as you can only go up from being at the bottom. The Dolphins lost at least six games by 15 points or more last year, which forced them to pass way more often and forget about the run. The defense has improved dramatically with many new additions in all three phases of the defense. Expect more of a balanced approach as the Dolphins look to be more competitive in 2020.
Howard's role in the passing game is scary bad, and he could still be more involved than you think. The Dolphins don't have a definite pass-catching-back unless you want to count Patrick Laird, but I wouldn't. Even his teammate Matt Bredia has 67 receptions in three seasons.
While Howard may never see top tier targets, he should at least double his receptions with an upside of maybe 25-30, which for him is productive.
Howard, as a runner, is good for fantasy. In 2019, while Howard was only the RB39 in the games he played, he provided 11.8 fantasy points per game, ranked RB23. He has had over a 4.0 YPC in three of his four seasons, so he is an efficient runner overall. Howard could even benefit more if the team decides to make the switch to their rookie star Tua Tagovailoa. We've seen that NFL teams focus on the run more when throwing in a rookie QB to keep the pressure off from making mistakes, which could lead to Howards' mid-season value to jump.
You may not still be convinced he is a sleeper still, but the one big thing in his game is his touchdown upside. He has had at least six touchdowns or more in four straight seasons now. He probably could have gotten to double digits had he not gotten hurt last season. Kalen Ballage, who was their bigger back the previous year, saw 74 carries and had 21 red zone opportunities. Give Howard double the number of carries, so expect Howard to see that goal line work and have a shot at ten plus touchdowns.
Prediction: 194 carries, 814 yards and 11 touchdowns