2022 Finding ‘The Next Deebo’ (Buffalo vs. NY Jets) -- March Madness Tourney
Same Intro each day: We all know what the phrase ‘next Deebo’ means – a player who works at one position primarily but takes on a second position (in-game) beyond just a random 1-2-3 carries or targets…that they become a real dual-threat option for their team, and thus a great producer for Fantasy Football.
Before there was ‘Deebo’ (midway through the 2021 season), there was ‘Cordarrelle’ as the breakout WR who started also taking a good workload at RB…so much so he became the team’s lead RB, but then got all but dropped on his WR aspect.
Before ‘Cordarrelle’ there was Curtis Samuel trying to breakthrough as a ‘nails’ WR in 2020, but also a guy taking 3-5 carries a game in CMC’s absence and looking like he might make the turn – but then he went to Washington in free agency, got hurt, and barely played/impacted in 2021.
Before Samuel there was everyone looking for the ‘next Tyreek’. We might forget that Tyreek started out as a low target WR taking 1-2 carries a game, and then taking every carry for a 50+ yard TD…then he was converted over from random WR/RB to main WR, and they stopped pushing him in the running game the past two years (definitely don’t get that guy the ball more, whatever you do).
We’ve had some promising guys try to breakdown this ‘Deebo’ wall, but Cordarrelle really was the one who kicked in that door to start 2021 season (then ATL went away from it)…after the door was kicked in, then Deebo ran right through it 2nd-half of 2021 and became the ultimate/best dual threat of our lifetimes – so much so every analyst is running around saying certain players ‘can be their Deebo’, and you’re going to get sick of hearing about it they say it so much now. But credit to Deebo (really, credit to Kyle Shanahan) the ‘Deebo’ role is a thing now…I think some teams are going to copy because of its success, as they should…as they should’ve created it years ago. It’s the evolution of the game – players/weapons who you don’t know where they’re gonna lineup or what they’re going to do, and they’ll draw plenty of mismatches to expose.
With that in mind, we’re going to have a ‘next Deebo’ tournament/FFM daily series for the next few weeks during March Madness time.
I am going to nominate one player from each NFL team to be the possible ‘next Deebo’…the ‘their Deebo’ hopeful. I’ll explain why I choose that player, and why not others if there was a close option – and then like March Madness, we’ll pit two of them against each other/state the case and I’ll choose a winner…the one most likely to be used as ‘the next Deebo’ for the 2022 season.
We’ll go by division, matchups by 2021 record (so #1 v. #4, #2 v. #3 in the division), one matchup/winner declared each day into April until we have one AFC rep and one NFC rep and then we’ll declare a final ‘Super Bowl of Deebo’ winner.
Now, San Francisco has their own Deebo already…so he is not in this tournament. For the SF slot, there will be a play-in game between two current draft prospect options. Unsigned free agents will be an option for the team they were last on in 2021, so like a heavy Final Four favorite, but current free agent (as of this writing), Cordarrelle Patterson, will be an option for Atlanta. Got it? Good. Let’s go…
Today’s Matchup = AFC East: BUF vs. NYJ
WR Isaiah McKenzie, BUF
WR Elijah Moore, NYJ
I was surprised to learn that Elijah Moore took 5 carries for 54 yards and a TD in his rookie 2021 season (in 11 games)…because I didn’t remember any of his carries/him running the ball. The five carries coming in five of his last 7 games played in 2021, all one carry each game…and then his season was cut short by an injury (Week 14 on). At Ole Miss, his final season, Moore took 14 carries for 64 yards (just 4.6 ypc) and no TDs…he took 21 career carries for 71 yards (a meager 3.4 ypc).
Moore didn’t light up the SEC running the ball or in the return game, but fared better his rookie season in the pros. I see Moore as more of a possession receiver type on tape, but his measurables say he’s an athletic stud. We know he’s the Jets top guy, so he has that going for him to be a possible ‘next Deebo’.
You wouldn’t think Isaiah McKenzie as a ‘next Deebo’ at 5’8”/173, but the Bills just signed him to a decent contract extension…and dumped Cole Beasley…opening the door for McKenzie in the slot.
McKenzie has run the ball 38 times in five pro seasons, for 175 yards (4.6 ypc) and 3 TDs. He’s been used as a #4-5 WR for most of his time in Buffalo, and he usually sees a carry every other game with his limited snaps. There is some history/hope of him carrying the ball more.
Even more attention getting, McKenzie carried the ball three times in Buffalo's first playoff game last season…and then followed that with another 3-carry game the next playoff game. McKenzie has carried the ball at least once in seven of his last 9 games for the Bills. His rushing attempt count is rising.
Who is the better option for ‘next Deebo’ here for 2022?
McKenzie has been given more carries in a season and in his career, and now has the deck cleared for possible starting with Beasley gone. But I have to go Elijah Moore here – he’s the known #1 guy for the NYJ WR group, plus the head coach comes from the home of Deebo, so it will be in his purview to copy his mentor’s ways.
WINNER = Elijah Moore, who goes on to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of MIA-NE.
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