Fantasy football player profile: Kenyan Drake


(As fantasy football dives headlong into draft season, some players warrant a little extra attention. All August, Dom Cintorino and Adam Pfeifer will do deep dives into some of the notable names. Follow along with our player profiles series. Today’s profile: Kenyan Drake)

Fantasy Football Value 2021 – Kenyan Drake

Kenyan Drake, who was one of the hottest free agent running backs on the market, will now head to his third team in as many years, after the Las Vegas Raiders brought Drake in on a two-year deal worth up to $14.5 million. When you see a team target a player like Drake in the offseason, it’s clear they have a plan to use him. Following the signing, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported that the Raiders will use Drake “in a multitude of ways.” We know Josh Jacobs is still present in the Raiders’ backfield, but there is plenty of room for Drake to get involved.

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There was a lot of buzz surrounding Drake following his final three games of the 2019 season. This was a season in which he was dealt from the Miami Dolphins, to the Arizona Cardinals prior to Week 7. In Drake’s final three games of 2019 with the Cardinals, he had two games with at least 135 rushing yards and totaled seven rushing touchdowns. He eclipsed the 30-fantasy-point mark in both games where he rushed for over 135 yards.

That hype made Drake a fringe first-round running back in fantasy football drafts last year. An Arizona Cardinals offense that had just acquired DeAndre Hopkins to go along with Kyler Murray was more than appealing. The Cardinals ended up being a top-five offense in the league, but Drake was unable to live up to his ADP. He finished the season with 955 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, and just 25 receptions for 137 receiving yards. His 179.7 0.5 PPR points placed him as the RB14 at the end of the season (in 15 games). Chase Edmunds ate into a majority of Drake’s work in the passing game, hauling in a total of 53 receptions. This mark gave Edmunds the seventh-most receptions among running backs. 

In Las Vegas, however, the script has flipped. Drake joins a backfield with third-year running back Josh Jacobs. In his first two seasons with the Raiders, Jacobs has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each and caught a total of 53 passes. He’s shown the ability to take on a full workload, as he’s had at least 260 touches in each of his first two seasons. While Jacobs did show the ability to help in the passing game, the acquisition of Drake may completely deflate that idea. Gruden has mentioned that Drake and Jacobs could even be on the field at the same time. These types of instances would be with Drake in the slot. His 25 receptions a season ago should not play into how we view Drake as a Raider. Prior to his 2020 campaign, Drake had back-to-back seasons with 60-plus targets and 50-plus receptions. Not only should Drake replicate these numbers, he should have the opportunity to set career highs in both targets and receptions. If you’re looking for PPR upside in the mid to late round, Drake might just be your guy.

Using the elusive rating tool, Drake had 559 rushing yards after contact. While it may not seem like a whole lot, this ranked 13th among all running backs. It’s hard to picture Drake as a guy who pushes through contact, but 559 yards is no joke. He popped using the explosive run rate tool as well. Drake had a total of nine explosive runs on the season. These are rush attempts that result in 15-plus yards. Just over 25% of Drake’s total rushing yards came from these types of runs. 

FTN Fantasy’s advanced rushing stats shows that Drake was used heavily down toward the goal line. His 35 carries inside the 10-yard line were the most by any running back (tied with Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry and Jacobs). Seeing Jacobs up here with Drake makes things a little more interesting. Both running backs scored nine touchdowns on their 35 attempts, pushing out the exact same rate. Having two guys who can score near the goal line is going to create headaches for fantasy owners. While we’d assume that Jacobs will get a lot of the work inside the 10-yard line, don’t be shocked if Drake backs himself into a few attempts down here.

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Fantasy Football ADP Stock Watch – Kenyan Drake

FTN Fantasy currently has Drake with an ADP of 117.07. Looking across the board with the different sites ADPs listed, Drake’s minimum is 98.93 on NFFC. This ADP puts Drake right at the front of the ninth round of fantasy football drafts, which makes him the RB36. He’s in an interesting spot being selected after guys like A.J. Dillon and Damien Harris. In terms of running backs with PPR upside, there isn’t much to offer in these rounds. Given Drake’s assumed role, we should see his stock rise or fall a whole lot. 

NFL Fantasy Football Ranking – Kenyan Drake

In FTN Fantasy’s PPR running back rankings, Drake is the consensus RB38. This rank is two spots lower than his current ADP, which isn’t significant at all. I have the highest ranking of Drake, as he currently sits as my RB25 in PPR. At this point in time, my rank is a full seven spots higher than Chris Meaney, who is the second highest on him. While there is a bit of a drop off there, Drake is ranked no lower than RB45. The presence of Josh Jacobs will have people a bit more bullish on Drake. As you can see, I’m not too worried. 

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