by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
For those hoping that fourth round pick Samaje Perine would emerge as the lead back in Washington, by all reports there’s little chance of it happening. Obviously there was reason for optimism after the draft, as Perine was coming off three consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons at Oklahoma while also operating as a TD machine (49 rushing TD over three years).
Incumbent Rob Kelley also didn’t show much in his rookie season, averaging a mere 4.2 yards per carry as he took 168 carries for 704 yards. It all seemed to come together perfectly, but it just hasn’t worked out that way.
According to John Keim of ESPN (click here for the article):
“He’s spent all summer as the No. 2 back behind Rob Kelley and there remains a gap between the two. Perine has to work on becoming more consistent in protection, more a function of experience. But coaches say he’s still thinking too much when running the ball, and learning when to juke a guy vs. just run over him (his preferred method). Perine has shown he can run with good power, but unseating Kelley will take time. Perine dropped a pass in the preseason opener, but has shown soft hands in practice.”
News like this is going to cause Perine’s draft day stock to plummet, as you would expect. That said, it’s not like Kelley is a major impediment to his rise nor was he overly impressive in the preseason opener himself (3 carries for 2 yards).
Perine is struggling thus far, but he was a fourth round draft pick for a reason and he is going to need time to adjust, learn and develop. It may not be Week 1. It may not be Week 4. By year’s end, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him having risen to a prominent role in the backfield.
That makes him an ideal draft and stash, especially for those in keeper leagues. Currently his average ADP is 108.0, but if it continues to fall (think into the 120-130 range), he becomes a no-brainer. He’s an ideal draft and stash type running back, who still carries upside despite a declining draft day cost.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Preseason Rankings: