Next up in our Dynasty Outlook series–Jordan Howard 2020 Dynasty Outlook. In Dynasty, there are certain players that tend to hold more uncertainty, or are more divisive than others. The Dynasty Outlook series takes a deeper dive into those players that the RotoHeat community noted as the guys they are most interested in hearing about. Engage with 1,500+ passionate dynasty players and let the RotoHeat content team know what topics YOU want to hear about by visiting our RotoHeat Facebook page.
A former UAB standout, Jordan Howard burst onto the college football scene during his sophomore year in 2014 by setting a single-season record with 1,587 rushing yards and averaging 132 yards per game. After transferring to Indiana for his senior season, Howard rushed for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns in only nine games. He also had 11 receptions for 106 yards—an element of his game that would tarnish him and fantasy owners for years to come.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Howard was selected in the fifth round with the 150th overall pick by the Chicago Bears. During his rookie season, Howard provided an excellent return on investment for Chicago, rushing 252 times for 1,313 yards and 6 TDs, and went 29/298/1 through the air. Howard finished his 2016 rookie season as an RB1, ranking 10th overall in PPR scoring while averaging 15.5 points per game.
His 2017 sophomore campaign was no different, posting 1,122 yards on 276 rushes, 9 TDs, and an additional 23 receptions for 125 yards. He finished the season averaging 13.1 PPR points per game and ended as the overall RB11 on the season.
It was in Howards final year with the Bears in 2018 where things began to take a dip. Understanding that there was gap in the receiving aspect of their running game, new head coach Matt Nagy utilized sophomore RB Tarik Cohen to fill the void as a gadget player out of the backfield. Cohen siphoned away 99 carries for 434 yards, but the bigger impact was his whopping 71 catches for 725 yards and 5 TDs. Just like that, Howard was no longer the workhorse the Bears needed, finishing the 2018 season as the RB26 with 935 yards, 9 TDs, and an additional 145 yards through the air.
In 2019, Howard took his talents to Philly when the Bears traded with the Eagles for a 2020 6th round pick. His season would end in short fashion, however, as during Week 9 he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that would ultimately open the door for rookie Miles Sanders to begin to take control of the backfield along side Boston Scott and Corey Clement. Howard finished his tenure in Philadelphia with 119 rushes for 525 yards, 6 TDs, and 10 receptions for 69 yards and a score.
Looking ahead to 2020, Howard, still only a spritely 25 years old, finds himself in a new home with the ever-rebuilding Miami Dolphins. With a curious move, the Dolphins did not select a single running back in the 2020 NFL Draft regardless of the prime candidates available to them. They did, however, shore up their offensive line by adding OT Austin Jackson and G Robert Hunt in the first and second rounds, respectively.
Unfortunately for Howard, the Dolphins spent a fifth round selection on former 49ers RB Matt Brieda. While Brieda has his own laundry list of issues, many of which involve his ability to stay on the field, it is a sizable stumbling block to the fantasy potential of Howard–that and the head-scratching lack of usage of capable RBs from the Dolphins coaching staff (sorry, Kenyan Drake). Hopefully new OC Chan Gailey can change that narrative.
Going into the 2020 season, the Dolphins backfield will consist of Howard, Brieda, Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird, and Miles Gaskin. After their disastrous ending to the 2019 season, Ballage and Laird are not a threat to Howard’s carries.
Jordan Howard 2020 Dynasty Outlook – Beyond 2020
While I may be in the minority in this, I still believe that Howard is a tremendous value during the 2020 draft season. At his current RotoHeat PPR Dynasty Startup ADP of #142 overall (#48 in RBs), Howard can be had as a potential RB2+ for RB3/FLEX value. Being surrounded in his ADP by the likes of Kerryon Johnson, Damien Williams, Tarik Cohen, Phillip Lindsay, and Rashaad Penny, Howard is the only one of these backs that isn’t being overtaken by another player on their own team.
He is young, healthy, has a history of multiple RB1 seasons, has averaged 4.34 YPC during his career, and seems hungry to regain his former Bears glory. If he can even slightly improve on his reception totals (remember that fun story a few years back about him catching balls all summer from the jugs machine?!) then he should easily be able to sustain the RB2 projection.
The best part about Howard at this value is the potential for even more when defenses need to account for the playmaking ability of rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa when he gets acclimated in this offense–granted that may not be until 2021 with Ryan Fitzpatrick serving as a gun-slingin’ bearded bridge. Howard is currently signed on through 2021 on a two-year, $10 million deal, so the Dolphins could have their answer in the short-term, and possibly even the long-term, at the RB position if the chips fall their way.
The RotoHeat consensus rankings have Howard ranked 43rd amongst RBs and the 126th player overall.
If you are selling Howard, hopefully you are rebuilding, otherwise I would hold and see how the Miami situation shakes out. If you are going to sell, however, his perceived value is at its lowest right now, so don’t expect much. There is no one near his ADP or overall ranking I would consider dishing him for outside of potentially Raheem Mostert (RB #38). Everyone else is a dart throw. Truthfully, I would keep Howard at his current value. If it’s picks you are after, aim for a mid-to-high 2nd rounder.
Buying? I would offer failed pet-projects like Corey Davis or the frustratingly sporadic usage of Tevin Coleman to get the job done. Really, any of his ADP running mates should hopefully entice the Howard owner due to recency bias.
Dude can ball. He has proven this. Buy him at his bargain-basement price and ride him as a legit RB2 or at worst a premier bye-week filler if you are in contention.
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