Photo Credit: idahostatesman.com
When I’m hungry, I don’t mess around. If my watch tells me that it’s 7:30 in the evening and I realize that my 12:30 lunch was an extremely light one, I’m going to go right for the first food joint that passes the test of my taste buds. Oftentimes, that place is McDonald’s. Yes, it is unhealthy. And yes, the menu can get repetitive after a while. At the same time, however, Mickie D’s is a quick, reliable service that keeps me filled enough to last until the next morning.
Uncoincidentally, Jeremy McNichols serves a similar purpose for those seeking a running back help in their 2017 dynasty rookie drafts. Although relying on talents such as McNichols to carry one’s fantasy team can be a bit of a stretch, the Boise State talent is more than capable of holding his own and is a tremendous value for anyone with a second round rookie pick.
A Certified Workhorse
Before taking a deep look at any of the specificities of McNichols’ game, let’s first take a moment to recognize and appreciate the body of work McNichols put together at Boise State. According to sports-reference.com, McNichols amassed 4294 yards from scrimmage over the course of his 3-year college career, with 2183 of those coming in 2016. He handled 351 touches and 27 of those found the painted area in his most recent season (well, the end zone. Boise State’s whole field is painted blue, really). His BMI (Body Mass Index) is also a hefty 31.6 due to his small-but-thick 5’9, 214-lb frame, which should ease any concerns that McNichols can’t handle a similar load in the pros.
Clearly, McNichols was no fraud in college. If he doesn’t make it at the next level, it won’t be because he couldn’t handle his role.
Better Than His Predecessor?
Even after seeing his impressive resume, some may still not believe in McNichols because of the strength of his competition. That’s okay because McNichols has a perfect counter-argument for that. It begins with him pointing towards the prospect profile of the Boise State RB of the not-too-distant past: Jay Ajayi. The same Jay Ajayi who rushed for over 200 yards in three separate games last season. Here’s how they compare:
College Dominator Rating: McNichols > Ajayi (41.4% to 41.3%)
College Yards Per Carry: McNichols > Ajayi (5.4 to 5.3)
BMI: McNichols > Ajayi (31.6 to 30.0)
Noticing a trend here? Strictly based off of their collegiate statistical resumes, Jeremy McNichols projects as a slightly smaller, slightly thicker, slightly better Jay Ajayi. And Ajayi, as mentioned earlier, had immense success in his second professional season, despite dysfunction being a popular theme in his offensive line and quarterback (and organization in general, if we’re being honest).
A Clean Floor
As I mentioned in my article on Christian McCaffrey, the NFL is only getting more and more pass-happy. As a result, increasingly more satellite backs are among the top 24 of their position in fantasy football. Just look at Theo Riddick. Riddick rarely took on more than 10 or 11 carries in a given game. Despite that, he performed like a solid, top 20 back. McNichols does not and never will have the ceiling of David Johnson, but their floors are actually comparable. This is because both made the transition from wide receiver to running back, and both of their resumes illuminate their pasts of primarily securing passes. If McNichols “fails to hit his ceiling” and ends up as a slightly better Theo Riddick, you won’t hear any complaints from my end. In today’s NFL, that archetype of running back holds plenty of value.
A Great McValue
With all of this talk of Jeremy McNichols’ future, I’m starting to salivate. And for good reason, too, as he’s the McValue of this running back class (I’m not sorry for that).
Take a flier on him in the second round and I can guarantee that you’ll be lovin’ it.
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