Due to the destruction of almost all the first round running backs in 2015, fantasy owners are looking for the late round running back gems to produce in the latter half of the season. These running backs come out of ‘nowhere’, whether it is because of injury or a slumping veteran, and start producing at a high level with big play ability, helping many owners to fantasy championships. Keith Marshall, a 7th round pick of the Redskins, brings that big play ability to Washington and faces little competition to be the primary backup to Matt Jones.
Marshall is an very explosive and fast athlete, running a 4.31 40 yard dash, who was stuck behind other Georgia stars, like Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley. Marshall tore his ACL during a 2013 and attempted to return during the 2014 season, but complications in the healing process prevented him from making much of an impact. He never was able to make it back up the Bulldog’s depth chart due to a combination of injuries and their star power at the position and decided to enter the NFL draft, rather than petition for a medical eligibility waiver.
Whenever a team selects a player in the late rounds, they are looking for lottery ticket or depth players. Marshall is the very definition of a lottery ticket and his ceiling is much higher than anyone else taken in that range. Marshall’s speed and burst should make him an excellent backup for Washington with starter potential. Marshall’s main strength is his big play ability and he will live or die by that style of play in the NFL.
In a standard 15 round draft, Keith Marshall should be an undrafted free agent unless it is in the latter rounds of a 14 or 16 team league as a handcuff or dart throw. His long speed and explosiveness will give Marshall a couple of games where he breaks a long touchdown and has a great week. However, these weeks will be far and few between and very unpredictable. His only seasonal value would come in the instance that Matt Jones gets injured or keeps on fumbling and the Washington backfield becomes a running back by committee. He is however, a very interesting best ball option in the very late rounds.
Draft Stock: Late round flier, if not undraftable
In a dynasty league, Marshall is a good rookie pick to stash on the back of a roster, hoping that he eventually pops and is a starter or he is trade bait in the occurrence of an injury or big week. His ceiling is likely capped at being a top 20 back because he doesn’t possess much in the way of intangible skills such as, vision and the ability to find holes, to be a great fantasy option. Marshall’s game log, at his peak, would be a lot like one of his teammates, Desean Jackson. Jackson’s end of season stats always look good, but he accumulates those stats through a couple of big games and plays. Marshall is a boom or bust type of player and will most likely survive in the NFL as a big play specialist.
Rookie Drafts: 3rd round pick
Startups: 14th round and on