What’s a man got to do to eat around here?
I am sure Devontae Booker was looking forward to feasting in the 2017 season. After taking over for the injured C. J. Anderson in his rookie year, it looked clear that Booker would be the clear handcuff for the often-injured Anderson, going into 2017. After the departure of Forsett and the trade of Kapri Bibbs the Broncos looked set on having their Bell Cow Anderson and a clear-cut handcuff in Booker. From a distant view the future looked bright for the Broncos 2016 4th round pick. That is until the arrival of future hall of Famer Jamaal Charles.
From my point of view Booker failed to impress in his first five starts of 2016, so much so the Broncos went and signed Justin Forsett who had been released by the Ravens. Forsett was soon moved into the starting role but was not much better than Booker. Most of the issues were with a subpar line that was ranked by Pro Football Focus in the bottom Quarter of the league. Denver made some moves to help the line issue by drafting the big Tackle from Utah, Garrett Bolles, and adding former Dallas Guard Ronald Leary. Both of which should help improve their run game. I am afraid that help will not benefit Booker.
Like Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the face.” Well the signing of Charles sure fits the bill for a face punch. The Bronco’s will use him in 3rd down situations and Anderson, if he is healthy will be the back to own. Of course, the best laid plans will all be for naught if the often-injured Anderson or Charles and his bad knees go down, but what are the chance of that.
“Pop this is Fantasy Football I need to know what to do about Booker?’ I hear you, it is a tough call. If Denver had an ok line and showed a commitment to Booker I feel he could be a competent back, but neither of those things are in place for the 2017 season. The line should be better than last season but not a significant amount. Anderson will be the clear back to own in Fantasy with Charles as a PPR darling. Where does that leave Booker? Sad to say, but on the outside looking in. I don’t see any early season value to Booker especially in Re-draft leagues. Although the clever player will keep an eye on this situation if either of the two walking injury reports go down Booker jumps back to what he was last year, a hot waiver wire pick at mid-season.
My advice for Fantasy for the overall running back picture for the Bronco’s is this. Don’t participate in it. Stay away from this backfield if you can. I would not look at Anderson higher than round 5 and Charles only in a PPR league, but I expect Charles to be over drafted on his name alone. In dynasty, with the large rosters I could see keeping Booker. After all it is just his second season. The way I see the handcuff situation for Anderson is this. Charles is a 3rd down pass catching specialist. If he goes down that role will not fall to Booker but would just increase Anderson’s roll. If Anderson goes down don’t count on Charles stepping into that roll unless he gets touched by the hand of God that somehow takes 5 years off him. Look for Booker to step into that roll and it be a true 2 back committee.
I know Devontae Booker has worked hard to get to this level. No one gets to the NFL if you don’t work hard. Booker had to work his way into a Division 1 school because of academics. Playing for American River college before working his way to Utah. Then tearing his Meniscus his senior season at Utah. Every step of the way he has had to overcome adversity and this is one more hurdle he must overcome.
Fantasy Football can be a cold game. I have noticed the players who are strong fans of a certain team they are automatically behind the 8 ball, because they can’t diverge themselves emotionally from their favorite players. I guess me having Asperger Syndrome helps in that case. I like players but can’t say I have a favorite team. It makes it easy for me to write off a player when he fails to produce. I am writing off Booker for the 2017 season but as a fan of Football I am still pulling for him. Keep your head up kid and think this is just a Mile High Disappointment not the end of the trail.