IT'S ALWAYS HELPFUL TO LOOK AHEAD
It bears repeating from last week: Winning a fantasy football championship is about building a table that the trophy or belt can rest upon. The four potential legs you can use for that table are the draft, free agency, trades, and lineup management.
If you excel in one of these areas, you can build it with one massive leg as the centerpiece for holding up your winning squad. If you're competent in all four, you can use them in every corner.
When it comes to building these "table legs," there are so many worthwhile methods. The key is selecting the best materials and having a logical understanding of table design and construction.
This week, we're doing a deep dive on the Broncos' Mike Boone, a talented and underrated reserve running back on offense with strong talents that should only become more cohesive as the year unfolds. The perceived fantasy value of Boone is all over the place this week. With Javonte Williams out for the year and Melvin Gordon III with fumbling troubles this month, many touted Boone as a worthwhile free-agent addition. After the Broncos signed veteran Latavius Murray on the heels of a valuable fantasy outing in New Orleans as an emergency substitute for Alvin Kamara, Boone is now the subject of snark from analysts who got outbid for Boone earlier in the week.
Why Mike Boone Is Worth Knowing About
Boone is also a fascinating and relevant fantasy topic this week because most of your league mates and fantasy analysts who really don't study film will see Boone as "just a guy." Common sense to think so, considering that Boone has been a career RB3 on the Vikings and Broncos depth charts during his five-year stint in the NFL.
A deeper look reveals a talented runner with receiving skills that a pair of fourth-quarter drops will be on the forefront of those who only remember Boone's work from Sunday and not the four years prior.
I profiled Boone in August at Footballguys as a player with the talent to surprise and keep him on your Waiver-Wire Rolodex despite his standing as the No.3 back on the Denver depth chart:
I've scouted Boone in Minnesota. I've also seen quality scouting reports from others of Boone in Minnesota. If he didn't get hurt in Denver early in his tenure, the Broncos might not have been compelled to stick with Melvin Gordon III and/or draft Javonte Williams.
#BroncosCountry RB Mike Boone is one of those guys buried on the depth chart so fantasy GMs don’t think about him but he can contribute fantasy-caliber production if called upon. pic.twitter.com/sWtsiYRrxO— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) August 28, 2022
Whether it was a Craig Reynold situation where he can provide you 1-2 games of value, Khalil Herbert outplaying the No.2 Damien Williams and the team riding with the hot hand, or Elijah Mitchell taking over the backfield, third-string backs can matter. Spencer Ware. D'Ernest Johnson. Do you need more? Chris Carson (Yes, Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy were supposed to be ahead of him). Nick Chubb was behind Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson Jr. Raheem Mostert was behind Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman.
Third-string backs can matter for your fantasy team. Get familiar with the best of them and put them on the Rolodex.
Despite the dropped passes last weekend—both uncharacteristic and both due to body positioning and focus relative to the target than technical lapses — Boone's skills between the tackles were apparent in limited time on Sunday afternoon against the Raiders.
If you watch Boone's tape prior to last week, you'll see a lot of good things from his game:
- Cutback ability
- Scheme versatility with Duo, Gap, and Zone.
- Skills with reading the leverage of defenders on blocks and setting up unblocked defenders into blocks.
- Baseline speed and burst to flip the field.
- Better hands and route skills than the results from last Sunday indicate.
- Underrated contact balance to keep his feet in traffic and allow his teammates to push the pile.
- Strong pad level to earn yards without the help of teammates.
Boone arrived in Denver as a free agent coveted for his special teams play. His skills as a runner were a plus. If not for an injury during the summer of 2021, Melvin Gordon III may not have earned another opportunity to split time with Javonte Williams. Admittedly, this is debatable when considering that Williams was a rookie, and Gordon's veteran knowledge of the league as a proven starter made Gordon more valuable in the eyes of coaches who may have only known Boone as a return game option with more to prove in an offense.
The Door May Be Cracked for Boone to Exploit an Opportunity
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