As the NFL season approaches, fantasy football is upon us. We at PFN have been researching more than 350 players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here are Minnesota Vikings RB DeWayne McBride’s fantasy projections for 2023, as well as insights into whether he should be drafted at or before his ADP.
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DeWayne McBride’s 2023 Fantasy Projection
Since Minnesota moved on from Dalvin Cook in June, millions of fantasy managers have been clicking through their phones and/or computers to assess who the next handcuff will be. The job has been Alexander Mattison’s since the Vikes drafted the third-rounder in 2019.
The year before, the aging Latavius Murray (yes, the same Latavius Murray who’s still going strong-ish) absolutely dominated while earning spot starts as the often-injured Cook’s backup. Before that, Jerick McKinnon (yes, the same Jerrick McKinnon from the Chiefs) backed up Adrian Peterson.
So Minnesota has been a hotbed of fantasy action for RB handcuffs. The question, then, is who this year’s backup will be and whether they play at least the occasional hero operating behind the newly installed starter, Mattison.
Enter below-the-radar, seventh-round rookie DeWayne McBride. While Ty Chandler earned a lot of buzz this summer as the heir-apparent to the handcuff job, we can’t entirely rule out McBride, despite his weak draft capital.
The incoming rookie is obviously no sure thing to see action in 2023. In addition to the versatile and speedy Chandler, Kene Nwangwu also looms. At UAB, McBride had major ball-control issues and might be one fumble away from losing whatever momentum he might have gained.
He’s also essentially a two-down back, with only five college receptions to his game. Fantasy managers understand the implications: even if he gets involved, it could easily culminate in only two or three fantasy points. Non-bell cows who don’t catch passes are almost entirely TD-dependent.
Yet, there’s a path for respectable backup numbers. Nothing exceptional, but certainly not something to ignore if things break right.
For starters, McBride’s accustomed to being a workhorse, with back-to-back 200+ carries in his last two collegiate campaigns. He’s also a terrific resource near the goal line — a big body who might be called upon to punch in some scores. His final six college touchdowns came inside the 10-yard line, with most coming within a body’s length of the end zone.
Essentially, McBride might have been an incredible seventh-round steal. He appears to be NFL-ready, and while his career ceiling might top out at the fantasy RB30-RB35 range, we shouldn’t be shocked if he gets there eventually.
Will it happen this year? Probably not. But an injury to Mattison could open up this backfield, at which point McBride might have as good a chance as anyone to step up as a temporary contributor.
Should You Draft DeWayne McBride This Year?
Underdog Fantasy currently lists McBride with an ADP of RB73, which is reasonable for a rookie who might not earn a single snap.
At the same time, for all the reasons highlighted above, he could carve out a role each week of 4-6 touches. If some of those touches are in fantasy-friendly situations (e.g. near the goal line), then McBride could comfortably exceed expectations.
As some readers know, Mattison has been one of my favorite handcuffs to draft a round early in each of the last four summers. Like Tony Pollard and AJ Dillon in recent years, Mattison has been a lottery ticket, plain and simple.
While McBride isn’t (yet?) three-down-back material at the NFL level, he almost has to be rostered if you draft Mattison. And yes, if you have the bench space, Chandler needs to be rostered, too. Because there’s a decent chance one of those two backups will get at least one start this season. There’s a small chance one will even earn several starts.
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