With the NFL Draft just over a month away, I’ve been breaking down top prospects and their ideal fits for Dynasty fantasy football. If you need a refresher on Dynasty, I wrote about how fun it can be in my previous articles. Here are the prospects I’ve covered so far:
- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
- David Bell, WR, Purdue
- Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
- Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
- Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Lucio Vainesman also broke down the best landing spots for these prospects, too:
- Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
- Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
- Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
- Drake London, WR, USC
- Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
- Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Today I’m breaking down Florida running back Dameon Pierce. Despite a limited workload at Florida—especially as a pass-catcher—Pierce is touted as a relatively well-rounded running back.
“Pierce was a steady presence in the Florida backfield and given what he showcased when he received opportunities with the football, I’m left wondering why it wasn’t a higher priority for the Gators to get him involved,” said Joe Marino in Pierce’s scouting report.
Amen to that, Joe. Not only did I witness most of Pierce’s collegiate games in person, but I also attended Florida’s Pro Day last Monday. Needless to say, Pierce put any skeptics of his low receiving workload to rest.
Pierce has never wowed anyone with insane athleticism, though he’s clearly shown teams he can be utilized in various ways—namely special teams. While Pierce isn’t known for his speed or elusiveness, Marino still thinks he can fit in any scheme as a quality No. 2 back. That doesn’t spell “greatness” in fantasy football, though Pierce seems well-suited for a long NFL career. Since Pierce doesn’t offer much as a true RB1, I focused more on immediate roles for Pierce rather than projecting the best long-term spots for him. In Dynasty, you shouldn’t get too caught up in projecting a player’s value down the road. That doesn’t mean you should go all-in on aging veterans. It just means you need to know when to focus more on the present than the future. In the case of Pierce, I can’t really see him being a top running back for years to come. With that said, Pierce looks like an ideal 10-year back who can undoubtedly provide some value in fantasy football. That type of longevity is extremely valuable in Dynasty, especially if Pierce earns a large role early in his career. These are the teams that could best maximize Pierce’s fantasy value.
At this point, what running back wouldn’t be a good fit for the Falcons? They have yet to truly address the position two offseasons in a row now. Like I said in my previous Dynasty fit articles, the best indicator for future success is immediate success. Not only would Pierce be slotted into a hefty role early, but he’d arguably be Atlanta’s best running back (as of now). Even if he doesn’t carry a full featured back load, Arthur Smith loves to scheme passes to his running backs. Like I said in my Isaiah Spiller piece, no team threw to their running backs more than the Falcons last season. That includes the 10th-most targets among all running backs to *checks notes* Mike Davis. There’s a clear path for Pierce to make a sizable fantasy impact in Atlanta early on, which can lead to sustained success over time.
Similar to the Falcons, the Texans haven’t done much to sort out their backfield. Perhaps that changes in the next coming months, but for now, they could use an influx of young talent. Houston isn’t the most attractive team for young running backs, so this really comes down to the massive opportunity for touches. With Mark Ingram and David Johnson not on the roster, nearly 22 touches per game are up for grabs. Unless of course, Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman shoulder the load (yuck). Any rookie that Houston drafts instantly becomes the most promising running back on the team. That’s no exception for Pierce, even if he gets relegated to short-yardage work at first.
On the surface, the Dolphins’ running back room seems a bit crowded. They added Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to go with incumbent starter Myles Gaskin. When healthy, that’s a solid trio of running backs. Do you notice anything different between those three and Pierce? Let’s take a quick look at their sizes:
- Edmonds: 5’9, 206 pounds
- Mostert: 5’10, 195 pounds
- Gaskin: 5’9, 195 pounds
- Pierce: 5’9, 224 pounds
Adding Pierce to that group would bring some much-needed strength and physicality to Miami’s offense. Yes, they signed fullback Alec Ingold in what could be a Kyle Juszczyk-like role. Still, there’s no reason to suggest Pierce couldn’t take valuable short-yardage snaps among this group, especially at the goal line. From a schematic standpoint, this fit makes a ton of sense. From a fantasy standpoint, Pierce may not have much upside on a weekly basis. Admittedly, I’d prefer Pierce in best ball rather than Dynasty in this situation, though Pierce’s potential role in Miami could make him a solid late-round pick in rookie drafts or startups.
Only the Titans ran the ball more than the Eagles last season—by one carry, mind you—and even then, Philadelphia still had the highest run percentage in the league. Whether the trend continues in 2022 hinges on Jalen Hurts’ progression as a passer. Until then, it’s a safe bet Head Coach Nick Sirianni‘s offense will heavily feature the run game. Again, I’m not saying Pierce should only be pegged as a power back because he’s so much more than that. But knowing the Eagles’ offense and how they used Jordan Howard last season, it seems like Pierce can slide into that role easily. Howard’s three touchdowns last season all came from four or fewer yards out. This is just another instance where we can clearly project Pierce’s role in a backfield. The last thing we would want for his Dynasty value is to see him buried on a depth chart. The team‘s on this list all have holes that could be filled by Pierce early on. Philadelphia is no exception.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
As mentioned above, Kyle Juszczyk is no longer on the 49ers. While he only saw 39 targets, he still lead the team among all running backs in that category. This is where Pierce’s untapped receiving ability can come in. He caught 19 balls on a measly 4.81% target share, yet he consistently showed he was capable of more receiving work—as I mentioned in my earlier tweet. As I’ve said with the other teams, Pierce could at minimum slide into a short-yardage role amidst a group of smaller, more slender running backs. This fit intrigues me a bit more, though. Are we really sold Elijah Mitchell as the running back of the future? It seems like Head Coach Kyle Shanahan tends to ride the hot-hand with his running backs. While that may not bode well for Pierce’s long-term success in San Francisco, it does suggest the possibility of an RB1 role in certain weeks. Over the last two seasons, six different running backs have led the 49ers in touches in a given week. Even if San Francisco’s running back room stays healthy this season, I can still see Pierce carving out a role in Shanahan‘s offense. At best, Pierce has the potential to lead the backfield in touches in certain weeks.
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