Kenyan Drake, throughout his professional career thus far, has never had the opportunity to succeed. He never had more than 8.3 attempts per game in his entire tenure in Miami. That’s pretty shocking to think about given his remarkable efficiency as he averaged 5.4, 4.8, and 4.5 yards per attempt in each respective season. Last year, Miami had the 31st ranked offensive line in football last year according to Pro Football Focus so I would blame Drake’s low yardage per carry (3.7) as more due to the line than anything else. This is supported by his ridiculously low yards before contact in Miami which was a mere 1.8 yards compared to 3.2 in Arizona. Drake has always been a big play threat and is a very sure handed pass catcher as he has caught 50+ passes the last two seasons. I always thought it was odd that Miami thought Frank Gore deserved more rushing attempts than the more explosive and more talented Kenyan Drake. Regardless, Drake finally was given his opportunity when he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
With the David Johnson trade this past offseason, Drake is now the clear starter in the very high paced Cardinals offense. In fact, the offensive is so high-paced that it ranked fourth in pace in the 2019 season. Drake deserves this role too as he finished as the RB4 the second half of the 2020 season. He was the RB17 overall even with the lack of production in Miami. Additionally, Drake had a 28.8% market share of red zone touches for the Cardinals. An elite rate (guys like Derrick Henry or Christian McCaffery) is normally around 35% so Drake had a very solid rate for a running back and it could definitely improve this year as well. The fact that Drake scored all eight of his rushing touchdowns in just eight games is an absolutely insane thought.
Let’s take a look at the 16 game pace of Drake’s numbers in Arizona. Drake was a on per game pace for 15.4 rushing attempts for 80.4 yards and 1 touchdown plus 3.5 receptions for 21.4 yards. The totals would have been 246 rush attempts for 1286 yards and eight touchdowns as well as 56 receptions for 342 yards and no touchdowns (I expect that number to definitely rise). Those numbers would have made him the RB2 in fantasy with 314.8 points which would have been tied exactly with Aaron Jones of the Packers. That offense is just so incredibly high scoring I genuinely could see Drake finishing with a touchdown total that high. Perhaps he has a the role Gurley has had the last few years in LA. He can be that touchdown machine who finishes off great drives in the red zone.
When you draft in fantasy you should always draft in terms of range of outcomes. For example, Drake has a ceiling of a top five running back in fantasy but a floor of about RB15. So drafting him at RB8 carries a little bit of risk but not a ton. I think touches will make up for lack of efficiency or lack of touchdowns. 18.9 touches per game is a very good number and it is enough volume that being an RB1 is pretty likely. Just look at Le’Veon Bell last year who finished at the RB16 and averaged just 3.2 YPC to go with three rushing touchdowns. I am a big fan of Drake in fantasy this year and he provides something that guys like Ekeler and Miles Sanders don’t — stability. He is the workhorse and no one else will be getting any carries in that offense. I love drafting workhorses and in a league that has become filled with more and more committees, Drake is one of few who can claim to be one.