J.K. Dobbins Injury Update: Latest on Ravens RB

Baltimore Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins' injury to his ACL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring is now two years in the past. Is he a draft value or a massive risk?

The 2022 season was a bit of a lost year as J.K. Dobbins’ injury led to just eight total games played for the Baltimore Ravens. The young RB rushed back from a horrific injury that led to compounding injuries and a mid-season cleanup procedure.

Dobbins reminded all fantasy football managers what he can do late in the year, though. With a full offseason of training, what is the latest news that fantasy managers need to know about the talented RB going into 2023?

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What Happened to J.K. Dobbins?

Dobbins’ injury happened during the third preseason game of 2021. That’s right, he’s now two years removed from the initial injury. His injury was extensive, though, as he tore not only his ACL but his LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. That many injuries in the same area of his leg led to a long road back.

Dobbins’ goal was to get back for camp in 2022, but he was initially placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Dobbins cleared the PUP list but did not play until Week 3 of 2022. He suffered a setback in Week 6 and underwent another knee surgery and was out for nearly two months.

When Dobbins returned and played four weeks at the end of the season, what did he do? He was RB14 over that stretch despite not having full strength in that injured leg. Over that stretch, he averaged SEVEN yards per carry (YPC) and had seven runs over 20 yards. The big question was whether he would lose explosiveness, but that’s already been answered emphatically.

Dobbins again started on the PUP list in 2023 training camp, but he was cleared relatively quickly and likely was just being protected by the Ravens. He also wanted a new contract, but considering the lack of games played the last two years (eight of 34), that was unlikely to happen as a running back. He’s healthy, and most injury analysts tell you that return to form is not the initial year back but Year 2.

What Are Baltimore’s Options if Dobbins Misses Time?

Now that rosters have been set, the pecking order is a little clearer in Baltimore. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill would likely form a committee if Dobbins misses any time with lingering issues, with undrafted rookie speedster Keaton Mitchell likely seeing minimal time this season.

The Ravens also have Melvin Gordon III and another undrafted rookie in Owen Wright on their initial practice squad as promotable depth. If something happened, I’d expect to see Gordon back on the field siphoning some touches as well.

Edwards would likely be the guy to roster of all these names, as he’s had some standalone value with Dobbins playing before and is now also two years removed from an ACL injury himself. Edwards took a little longer than Dobbins to return in 2022 but played nine of the final 11 games, including each of the last seven.

What Does This Mean For Dobbins’ Fantasy Ranking?

Dobbins is someone who’s been making a late climb up draft boards but is still mispriced relative to what he could provide in 2023. Our PFN Consensus Rankings currently have Dobbins as RB17, but many sites don’t have him close to that in ADP.

For example, if you’re using ESPN as a platform, Dobbins is currently 77th overall as RB29! That’s right, he’s possibly a SEVENTH ROUND SELECTION on ESPN in a 12-team league. That seems to be a big-time outlier where most of his risk is baked into the draft cost already.

Many other platforms have him ranked anywhere from a mid-third to a fifth-round pick, which feels more in line with where he could perform and is in line with our rankings. However, the ceiling is a top-10 type of RB.

Dobbins’ rookie year showed he has a nose for the end zone, scoring nine times on just 134 carries. He also has limited competition as outlined above. Dobbins has always been efficient on a per-carry basis, sitting at a 5.9 YPC on his career — Nick Chubb is the gold standard there, and his career YPC is 5.2.

Finally, in case you haven’t heard, Todd Monken is the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator and is heavily featuring RBs in the passing game in training camp. Dobbins had 71 catches in three college seasons but has barely seen passing usage in the NFL. If they do give him a few targets per game, it’ll make him an ideal value for fantasy rosters. Dobbins is a guy worth targeting in all drafts, as he’s likely to explode in 2023.

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