Is J.K. Dobbins set to be active in Week 1, and should fantasy football managers trust him in their lineups if he suits up against the New York Jets?
It has been a rollercoaster offseason for J.K. Dobbins fantasy football managers as he returns from a knee injury. After missing all of last season, will we see him back on the field for Week 1 of the 2022 season? Let’s examine the most recent injury updates and Dobbins’ fantasy value if he does suit up in Week 1.
Update: Per ESPN, J.K. Dobbins has been informed that he will not be active for Week 1.
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At the beginning of training camp, Dobbins was adamant he would be ready for Week 1. However, that confidence appeared misplaced when the Baltimore Ravens signed Kenyan Drake at the end of preseason, with Dobbins being considered a doubt for Week 1. After Dobbins was limited in practice this week, John Harbaugh was quoted as saying that Dobbins had made good progress in the last week to 10 days and had a chance to be ready for Sunday.
When the Ravens’ injury report was updated for the weekend, Dobbins was listed as questionable. Since then, updates on his status have been limited. The expectation as of Sunday morning is that Dobbins will be active, but his role could be extremely limited. Therefore, fantasy managers need to be extremely careful not to get carried away if he is active in Week 1.
Regardless of Dobbins’ status for Week 1, his fantasy value is a serious question mark. There is no guarantee that if he is active, he will have a significant workload. The Ravens rarely ride one running back, and given Dobbins is not 100 percent, that will most likely not change this week.
Therefore, Dobbins is a player that should be headed for fantasy managers’ benches regardless of his Week 1 status. That will require managers to override their instinct to be excited if he is not listed among the inactive this week. However, just because he is active does not mean he will get double-digit touches, which is the bare minimum he would need.
Of course, there is every chance Dobbins breaks a long run or finds the end zone, which will be frustrating if he is on your bench. The art of setting lineups in fantasy football is playing the percentages and making high-percentage decisions. Dobbins breaking a long run or finding the end zone is not one of those.
In really deep leagues or ones where you left yourself short of RB options for Week 1, you may have to take that chance. However, do not be shocked if Dobbins puts up a sub-five-fantasy point performance this week. Unless I have to start Dobbins, I am looking elsewhere this week in all my leagues, regardless of his status.
If Dobbins is inactive or limited, Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake look set to be the pair fighting to lead this backfield. Unfortunately, they are both tough to trust from a fantasy perspective as well. Even if Dobbins is inactive, there is no guarantee either of them sees significant carries. If Dobbins is active, the picture becomes even cloudier.
Davis is listed as the second back on the Ravens’ depth chart, with Drake down in fourth. In between them is Justice Hill, who could be active because he can play a role on special teams. If Dobbins and Hill are active, then one of Drake or Davis could find themselves inactive. If we see all four of them active, that is likely an indication that Dobbins is a symbolic active and will not play significant snaps.
If one of Drake or Davis is inactive, it would be tempting to start the other. Dobbins should be limited in his contribution, as should Hill. However, neither of them is a sure-fire starter at this stage in their careers. Davis looked sluggish with the Falcons last year, and Drake appeared to be struggling to get up to speed when on the field for the Raiders in the preseason as he recovers from a knee injury.
Trusting any of the Ravens’ running backs this week is a tough thing to do. If you can, none of them should be starting as we try to figure out what this group will look like in 2022.
Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor and the Fantasy Football Director at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN
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