Why Jahmyr Gibbs Will Help You Win Your Fantasy League In 2023 (Fantasy Football)
The Fantasy Footballers’ writing staff submits their “My Guy” for the upcoming season each year, and I am going with the Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs for the 2023 season. Andy and I are on the same page this year with Gibbs, despite Detroit’s history with running backs.
While it’s slightly more challenging to make a case for a rookie being a league-winning type of player since there is no previous history, highly drafted rookie running backs often deliver. In this article, I will discuss draft capital and several other reasons why Jahmyr Gibbs will help you win your league!
Draft Capital Matters
The Detroit Lions drafted Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, surprising just about everyone because, at the time, the Lions had just recently acquired running back David Montgomery and had D’Andre Swift on their roster. They eventually moved on from Swift, and Gibbs should now fill that role and honestly should be considered an upgrade. Below are charts from Campus2Canton.com comparing Christian McCaffrey, Gibbs, and Swift in college regarding production in the passing game.
This first chart shows the reception market-share percentage for each of these players. Christian McCaffrey is in a tier of his own here, but Jahmyr Gibbs is near the top, and quite a bit higher than Swift.
Here we have reception yards per team pass attempt, and once again, Gibbs is well above Swift in this statistic. Gibbs and CMC were neck and neck in their final year on campus, while Swift didn’t cross the threshold.
Now that we have briefly discussed some aspects of Gibbs’ prospect profile, let’s return to the original point. Running backs drafted in the first round of the NFL draft will get their opportunity, especially when drafted in the top-12. Below is a post on “X” from Dwain McFarland, showing a promising upside for running backs drafted in the top-12.
RBs taken in the top 12 of the NFL Draft have been immediate fantasy studs.
Rookie season points per game since 2012:
Saquon Barkley: RB2
Leonard Fournette: RB8
Ezekiel Elliott: RB3
Todd Gurley: RB5
Trent Richardson: RB7
Christian McCaffrey: RB13
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) August 19, 2023
Jahmyr Gibbs excelled as a pass-catcher throughout his entire collegiate career. He started at Georgia Tech and then transferred to Alabama to play his junior season. Gibbs caught 44 passes in his lone season at Alabama, now the second-most all-time for a running back in school history. If you still aren’t convinced that Gibbs is an elite-level prospect, then maybe this next post from Scott Barrett will do the trick.
Why Jahmyr Gibbs?
Well, he's glaringly the best pass-catching RB to enter the NFL in at least five years. pic.twitter.com/MByKd9bcju
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) April 28, 2023
The Lions Have A Great Offense
The Detroit Lions had a stellar offense in 2022, ranking third in yards and touchdowns. The offensive line is currently ranked fifth by PFF, and with no coaching changes, they should be right on track to have another explosive and high-scoring year in 2023. Jared Goff has played well since arriving in Detroit, and Amon-Ra St. Brown has emerged as a true number-one receiver. This offense was top-tier in 2022, and since not much has changed, expect another top-tier year in 2023 from this team.
Outside of St. Brown, there may not be another player that will demand a significant target share. Jameson Williams could provide a deep threat for this offense, but he still has many question marks on whether he can be a big part of the offense. Sam LaPorta is a rookie tight end who is making noise in camp, but typically rookie tight ends don’t have prominent roles.
Regarding rushing the ball, Gibbs will have competition with David Montgomery, who could also receive the bulk of goal line touches. While I understand the hesitancy to draft Gibbs due to Montgomery potentially getting more touchdowns and being a thorn in his side for rush attempts, the risk is already baked into Gibbs’ current ADP in the late third round. Gibbs could still push for seven to ten rushes per game and be considered a coveted fantasy asset. Per Dwain McFarland, Alvin Kamara and CMC failed to register a 30% market share of team rush attempts and still finished as the RB3 and RB9.
The Lions were 10th in total pass attempts and 11th in pass attempts to the running back in 2022. Head Coach Dan Campbell has commented that he views his current backfield with Montgomery and Gibbs similarly to the backfield he had when he was with the Saints, having Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Andy mentioned on the “My Guys” episode that Detroit led the NFL in fantasy points at the running back position in 2022, and they will likely have a similar season in 2023. With plenty of fantasy points to go around in this backfield, Gibbs can have a top-12 season, even if Montgomery is the primary ball carrier. See below a post on “X” from Scott Barrett explaining how a target is worth 2.5 times as much as a carry in PPR leagues.
My biggest pet peeve is when a fantasy analyst measures a RB's volume by "touches" rather than "weighted opportunity"
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) June 29, 2023
Solid Draft Cost
As I mentioned, Gibbs is an auto-draft for me in the late third. I view Gibbs as one of the last running backs in that range with a top-12 upside. With a safe floor and a high ceiling, he is the kind of player I want to target at the running back position, especially if I go double wide receiver in my first two rounds.
His floor is likely where D’Andre Swift has finished, but his ceiling is a league-winning type of player. In three seasons with the Lions, Swift was a solid producer. The below chart is based on half-point PPR scoring.
|Year||Rush Attempts/Game||Targets/Game||Fantasy PPG||RB PPG Rank|
The good news is that Gibbs is the far superior prospect, so he has the potential to be better than Swift ever was in Detroit. It matters that the Lions drafted a superior pass-catching running back 12th overall and then moved on from Swift for a fourth-round pick in 2025 and a seventh-round pick swap in 2023. If you didn’t see the clip, Dan Campbell and the Lions’ staff were ecstatic when they picked Gibbs.
Jahmyr Gibbs will be a PPR machine and will be heavily utilized as an explosive playmaker in a top-tier offense. Why wouldn’t you draft someone like this for your fantasy team? There is so much upside and so little risk. Let’s draft Jahmyr Gibbs and have fun watching him play on opening night against the reigning champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, who just so happened to give up the most receptions and the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs in 2022, per ProFootballReference.com.