In this series of articles, our resident tape wizard Greg Cosell will take an in-depth look at some of the more interesting fantasy players for the 2020 NFL season. It’s a peek behind the curtain of the film room, as these are Greg’s raw, unfiltered notes he takes as he watches a player.
One of the hottest names in fantasy football heading into the 2020 season is Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake. A part-time player who had flashes but little else in his first three-and-a-half seasons in Miami, Drake emerged as a matchup-winning fantasy star following his trade to Kliff Kingsbury’s Cards midway through the 2019 season. Drake’s performance was so strong that the Cards rewarded him with the $8.5 million guaranteed transition tag for the 2020 season.
Does the film show a special player, or someone who is just a very good fit with what Arizona does?
Week 9 vs. 49ers, Week 15 vs. Browns, Week 16 vs. Seahawks
Drake’s numbers in these games: 61/413/7 rushing (6.8 YPC)
66% of Drake’s rushing yards with the Cardinals came in these three games (he played eight games with them total). Seven of his eight rushing TDs came in these games as well.
- What immediately stood out was Drake has excellent short area burst with quick, active, explosive feet in confined space.
- Drake is explosive running downhill in the inside zone and gap scheme run games, showcasing instant acceleration.
- Drake needs to develop more patience. He has a tendency to attack downhill with immediate velocity. My sense was Drake did not show great vision.
- Drake is a straight-line linear downhill runner. He’s not overly loose-hipped and shifty — more of a “get it and go” kind of runner than a stop-and-start change of direction runner. In other words, Drake is more of a glider and a darter.
- Drake is a good-sized back but not a strong and powerful runner – always remember there is a difference between strong and powerful vs. tough and physical. A runner can be tough without being particularly powerful.
- While Drake is not a naturally strong powerful runner, he did flash the ability to run through second-level tackles with his speed and velocity.
- Drake showed the speed to get outside both on designed outside runs and when the defense forced him to bounce.
- Drake was featured both in the shotgun and as an “I” back, with more of his runs coming out of the shotgun (some runs out of pistol as well). Power and zone were featured in the shotgun, with zone and misdirection counter featured as an I back.
- 12 personnel closed to the boundary was a staple personnel grouping and formation on Drake runs. Multiple run game concepts came out of 12 closed (and 12 personnel overall with multiple formation looks).
- Drake showed the speed to take it to the house, he has home-run hitting explosiveness.
- The Cards showed a strong tendency to run draw with Drake out of 10 personnel, almost always in a 3x1 set.
- The idea that Drake consistently ran out of spread formations with 11 and 10 personnel versus light boxes did not hold up in his three best rushing performances of the season.
- What was interesting in studying these three Drake performances was the number of 12 personnel runs he had, and the number of runs that came out of closed boundary formations – 12 personnel was featured predominantly versus Seahawks in Week 16.
- Shotgun counter was a featured run versus the Seahawks in Week 16. The Cards ran it to the strong side versus the Seahawks’ over fronts (the Seahawks are a predominant over front defense). Overall Drake ran both shotgun power and counter.
Drake Runs (Personnel, Formations, Scheme)
Shotgun power 12 closed / 11 2x2
Shotgun trap 12 closed
Shotgun draw 10 3x1
Pistol draw 11
Shotgun inside zone 12 closed, 3x1 / 10 3x1
Shotgun outside zone 11 3x1 / 21 1x3
Pistol outside zone 12 closed
Shotgun split flow inside zone 11 / 12
Shotgun toss C/G pull scheme 11 1x3
Shotgun counter 12 closed
I back split flow mid-zone 11
I back zone misdirection counter 11 / 12 / 13
I back outside zone 11 1x3 / 12
I back split flow inside zone 12