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Fantasy Football 2014: Bishop Sankey Should Be First Rookie Selected

Bishop Sankey

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

 

Crush: a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.

Well, welcome to the club, Bishop Sankey.

I’ve already written about Sankey in detail leading up to the draft. He has been my number one rated running back out of this class for a while now, and I had him projected to fall to the Tennessee Titans in the second round. Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but… Toot Toot, y’all. Sankey was the first running back selected in this year’s draft, going 54th overall. Last season, I was absolutely infatuated with Vanderbilt runner, Zac Stacy. He would go on to become 2013′s version of Alfred Morris, winning fantasy owners their leagues if they managed to scoop him off waivers.

Sankey is my new Stacy.

Although I’ve already scouted him a bit in a previous article previewing all of the rookie runners, I thought I’d highlight his strengths and weaknesses again, especially for some of the Titans fans who aren’t all too familiar with Sankey.

Strengths:

- Terrific cutting ability.

- Great vision. Sees field and holes open up well.

- Strong lateral quickness.

- Good in pass protection.

- Extremely durable. No significant injury history.

- Soft hands out of backfield.

Weaknesses:

- Lacks a ton of explosiveness.

- Underrated power, but still a weakness.

- Lacks breakaway speed.

- Average balance.

- Smaller frame.

The Player

Sankey reminds me of a less explosive Giovani Bernard. He is more quick than fast, possessing lighting quick feet, which allows him to cut and change direction very easily. Sankey has strong burst between the tackles and can catch the ball well out of the backfield. One scout even referred to him as a “poor man’s Emmitt Smith“, so that’s pretty cool, right?

The Fit With Tennessee

This is the team I wanted him to go to since I started following this guy. The Titans just released Chris Johnson, and they clearly weren’t content with a tandem consisting of Shonn Greene and Jackie Battle. And remember when CJ2K would often question his offensive line? Well, little did he know, but it was his fault, not his blockers. The Titans offensive line is one of the best in football, having massive blockers like Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack leading the way. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, since the 2009 season, Johnson has gone untouched in the backfield on 70 percent of his carries. And in 2013, Tennessee finished the year with the number-five ranked offensive line in football. Now they add first round draft pick Taylor Lewan, who is 6’7″, 310 lbs. I think Sankey, a tremendous cutter with great vision, should thrive with running lanes like this:

via Pete Damilatis

via Pete Damilatis

 

For as bad as Johnson as looked running the ball over the years, the Titans offensive line has allowed him to be successful in fantasy. Since the 2008 season, Johnson has finished as fantasy’s number 11, 1, 5, 16, 12 and 9 running back. The results have been there, despite how little he looks like that 2,000-yard guy nowadays. And I think Sankey can do wonder with this offensive line because of his excellent vision and burst. A decisive runner who puts his foot in the ground, Sankey is going to take over the starting job in Tennessee before you know it.

Now, I’m a little higher on him than most people, so I currently have him ranked inside my top-35. That honestly may be too low, because assuming he is the starter at some point this year, he is going to be a top-25 fantasy back, at the least.

The man crush is real, folks.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.