Here’s just a sampling of the Kenyan Drake/fantasy football-related headlines on the World Wide Web:
2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Kenyan Drake and Jamaal Williams lead list of breakouts (CBSSports.com).
Fantasy Football 2018 Busts: ‘Do Not Draft’ list of 25 overrated players by ADP (Sporting News).
Fantasy Football Debate: Derrick Henry vs Kenyan Drake (Fansided).
We’d go on, but there are an additional 13,000 or so more stories in Google’s news aggregator, and we only have so much space.
So to put a finer point on it, Drake is a curiosity for the millions who play fantasy. He knows this. He hears about it all the time.
And he thinks it’s a total waste of his time.
“I’m not a fan of fantasy,” Drake told reporters Monday. “I’m a real-football person, so fantasy does bode any type of legitimacy to me.”
Drake continued: “People hold their stock in individual players going out there and making an individual performance. And that’s fine and dandy. You need players to go out there and make plays, but I’m more about the team. When everybody asks me, ‘Oh, are you going to score a touchdown? Are you going to get 100 yards?’ or do this or do that, that’s all good and dandy when you’re making plays and the team is winning. If your team’s not winning, then it doesn’t really matter.”
But there’s a reason Drake has garnered all this attention. He has a real chance to be a breakout star in 2018.
Drake, the third-year back out of Alabama, laid the groundwork with a strong final month last season. And followed it up with a dynamic preseason, averaging 6.8 yards per carry, third-most of any NFL player with at least 15 carries.
Can that be sustained over 16 games? Who knows. But Drake seems to be in a better place than he has at any point in his young career.
Drake, still just 24, has admittedly grown up since his rocky rookie season. That’s evident by how his coaches talk about him. And it’s evident by how he talks about himself.
“It’s all about business,” Drake said. “Sports is a business, this game’s a business. Life’s all about decisions you make that’s going to help you five, 10 years down the road. What I do now is going to set me up for where I want to be.”
If he sounds a bit like Frank Gore, there’s a reason. Drake has paid close attention to how new teammate and surefire Hall of Famer carries himself.
(Which, incidentally, is exactly what Adam Gase hoped would happen when he turned over his locker room this offseason.)
“He’s a guy that’s always in here first, leaves last,” Drake said of Gore. “He’s a guy a lot of people can count on because, at the end of the day, he’s been there and done that, but he proves it on a daily basis. It’s really cool seeing him in the flesh. Not necessarily knowing a lot about him before he got here, I know that he’s a very diligent type of player and that serves his longevity well. But seeing him in person is definitely something that I can admire.”
The only downside of having a player of Gore’s caliber in the huddle: Drake will not get the ball as much as he otherwise might.
Same can be said about playing in Gase’s offense (Adam loves to pass) with weapons like Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki on the perimeter.
“It’s just a shame we only have one ball,” Drake said. “We have a lot of weapons out here to really display our explosiveness the way that Gase crafts these plays or the scheme. He’s gonna put his playmakers in the best position to make plays.”
He already has this summer. He is responsible for the only three plays of 30 or more yards by Dolphins starters (Drake has three of them). And with every one of those runs, he lets Dolphins forget about Jay Ajayi, who started ahead of Drake for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
Drake is a different person now than he was then; and in turn, he believes he’s a better player.
“I remember my rookie year when I had the opportunity to start against the Browns and I felt like I came up short in my sustainability,” Drake said. “To say, ‘All right, this is a situation where I can make myself known that I’m here to take myself seriously, to take the opportunity seriously.’ It wasn’t like I didn’t take it seriously, but I feel like I came up short in terms of the execution, in terms of the details. So now that this past situation came, hardly people in life get a second chance at an opportunity of a lifetime. That’s kind of how I saw it as, going out there to make sure I did everything I needed to do when I needed to do it.”
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