Running Back Rundown: Could Rob Kelley Emerge As A Must Own Option In Washington?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While Matt Jones is expected to be ready for Week 1, he is battling a shoulder injury and isn’t a guarantee (and also carries his own risk).  Keith Marshall, a seventh round draft pick, is expected to miss the next three weeks (with the potential for his absence to be longer).  Where should fantasy owners be focusing their attention as a late round flier given the murky situation?  Let’s take a look:


Rob Kelley
An undrafted rookie from Tulane, Kelley has looked pretty good in his opportunities in the preseason:

  • Week 1 – 7 carries for 40 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 2 – 3 carries for 8 yards
  • Week 3 – 12 carries for 51 yards

It’s not like he posted big numbers while in college, including taking 65 carries for 232 yards (3.6 YPC) and 1 TD in his final season.  It’s fair to wonder what to expect, especially given this description courtesy of The Washington Post’s Rick Snider (click here for the article):

“Kelley first caught coach Jay Gruden’s attention in rookie minicamp. At 6 feet and 228 pounds, he is a strong, straight-ahead runner. That weight is light for Kelley, who has said he weighed 249 after he finished his college career.”

At the very least one would think he has an opportunity to develop into a TD vulture/short yardage specialist, but he has a chance to grab an even bigger role.  With so many injuries the opportunities are there, and the more he produces the more carries he is going to earn when the games really start.  At this point that makes him well worth the flier in the later rounds, especially with Jones coming off a rookie season where he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.


Chris Thompson
He’s banged up as well, plus he’s known more as a pass catcher than a runner (he had 35 receptions last season, matching the number of carries he was given).  At 5’8” that shouldn’t be a surprise, and it’s unlikely he gets enough carries to make him worthy of our attention.  Outside of the deepest of PPR formats, he doesn’t bring much appeal.


Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our updated preseason rankings:

Could The Cardinals' Troy Niklas Emerge As 2016s Breakout Tight End?
Keeper League Buy Candidate: Could T.J. Yeldon Step Up As Lead Back In Jacksonville?


  1. Stan Cal says:

    Hey Professor! Glad to have you around as the year starts up again. I’ve got a quick question about my 10 team standard league.

    We just drafted and I decided this year to go all-in on purely taking value picks and ignoring positions like QB and TE unless I saw good value there, as well as leaning more on high-upside than on high-floor (especially with late-round fliers). I ended up with the following:

    QB: Palmer, Winston
    RB: Charles, Ingram, Langford, Du. Johnson, Ajayi
    WR: J. Jones, Edelman, Landry, Floyd, Coleman, Crabtree
    TE: Allen
    D/ST: Cardinals
    K: Catanzaro

    I felt great about my opening, but I worry about the depth and (especially) about waiting til the second to last round to grab my tight end. My question is, how long should you wait for fliers to look like they’ll do anything? And should unlikely early producers on your bench be held onto or flipped in trades to improve weaknesses in your starting lineup? Thanks as always for your advice!

    • It really is a case-by-case basis on how long you hold and how quickly you act. It’s a bit of a guessing game, but I’d be quicker to drop someone like Coleman than I would Ajayi.

      As for your TE, I wouldn’t worry about it at all. There’s depth, and Allen could prove to be Top 10 easy

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