Sleeper: J.K. Dobbins – the rookie out of Ohio State is a 3-down Runningback and Mark Ingram is 30 years old. If he gets a chance at the starting gig, he’ll take it and won’t look back. But even if he doesn’t start, he’ll get some carries. An absolute must-draft as a handcuff if you get Ingram.
25) Melvin Gordon – The former Charger stays in the AFC West and goes to Denver where he’ll presumably start over Phillip Lindsay. Lindsay has been a serviceable RB the past few seasons, so I don’t foresee Gordon being a bellcow. After missing the first four games due to a hold out last year, he averaged a career low 3.8 YPC.
24) Raheem Mostert – It’s easy to look back at the 29 carry, 220 yard, 4 TD performance from the NFC Championship game. But in present day, the 49ers still run the ball a ton and shipped out his primary competition, Matt Breida to the Dolphins. Yes, Tevin Coleman is back healthy, but Mostert averaged 5.8 YPC and HC Kyle Shanahan likes to ride the hot hand. Based on Coleman’s 4.1 YPC last year, that would tend to signal that’ll be Mostert more often than not.
23) Devin Singletary - He emerged as a starter the 2nd half of last season and was getting 19 touches per game. Frank Gore left in Free Agency, but the Bills drafted Zack Moss who is a bigger back in the 3rd round. Don’t be surprised if he steals goalline touches, but Singletary’s t 5.1 YPC as a rookie is strong and check out these moves in the open field:
22) Todd Gurley – He has a degenerative knee, which is a problem for a professional athlete, especially a Runningback. But the Falcons don’t really have anyone besides him (Brian Hill anyone?) so it’s really a volume play. He’s coming off a career low 3.8 YPC in 2019, but he averages 18 TDs over the past three seasons and that is significant.
21) David Johnson – He got banged up early last year and was never quite the same. But he’s been dealing with injuries for the past few seasons, which is why it was surprising to see the Texans deal a 2nd rounder for him. He pairs with Duke Johnson where they’re expected to lean on their receiving skills, but David Johnson is the more accomplished runner of the two. I’m also interested to see if they go with the Da. Johnson and Du Johnson nameplates.
20) Leonard Fournette – He’s a Buccaneer! The team had been pumping Ronald Jones who bulked up this off-season and worked on his pass catching, but Fournette is such a talent. The 4th overall pick in 2017 is coming off a career best year where he ran for 1,152 yards and caught 76 passes. He’s a dynamic between the tackles runner who gives the Bucs a different dimension than they had with Jones who is a more explosive outside runner. I foresee Fournette getting a lionshare of the carries once he’s up to speed. But be advised I wouldn’t expect a ton of production in the 1st quarter of the season.
19) Le’Veon Bell – Bell was awful last year, his first in New York. He averaged 3.2 YPC and only rushed for more than 75 yards one time. That being said, he’s still the lead dawg with the Jets and new GM Joe Douglas beefed up the O-line big time. Reports are also that 1st round OT Mekhi Becton looks great, so things could be looking up for Le’Veon.
18) Mark Ingram - He averaged 5.0 YPC last year and scored 15 total TDs. But he’s 30 years old and the Ravens drafted JK Dobbins in the 2nd round. Ingram will likely still start, especially early and the Ravens are so committed to the run, they rotate out several backs. He only had 202 carries last year, so it wouldn’t be incredibly shocking to see a repeat of those numbers, which at RB20 is a steal.
17) Chris Carson – He got nicked up towards the end of the season, but he finished just shy of 1,500 total yards and 9 TDs. The Seahawks brought in Carlos Hyde but Carson in viewed as the starter. Fumbles are definitely a problem for him and he has gotten benched mid-game which is worrisome, but he’s a talented back who puts up consistent numbers in a run heavy offense. A very solid RB2 on almost any fantasy team.
16) Aaron Jones – Did somebody say touchdowns? This guy led the league with 19 of them last year. He is a really good player who is an underrated receiver, but it’s going to be very hard for him to duplicate that TD total again this year. Especially after the team drafted a big back in the 2nd round that seems built for taking away goalline touches in A.J. Dillon.
15) Austin Ekeler – It’s Ekeler’s show in the Chargers backfield. The undrated free agent came out of nowhere to record 92 catches last year and really was the main beneficiary of Melvin Gordon’s holdout. Ekeler only averaged 4.2 YPC and ran it 132 times, but the receiving numbers more than make up for it. You’ll need to bump him up a few spots for PPR leagues.
14) Jonathan Taylor – The Colts have one of the top Offensive Lines in the league. A line that made Marlon Mack look like a superhero on a couple Sundays last year. Now they have a legit guy that can tote the rock. Taylor averaged over 300 carries/year at Wisconsin and isn’t a big receiving threat, but he can sure run the ball. He’s a darkhorse for Rookie of the Year and I’m expecting something along the lines of 1,300 yards and 7 TDs.
13) James Conner – He’s a year removed from being a borderline 1st round RB in fantasy circles with almost 1,500 total yards and 13 TDs. He was banged up last year (an issue for him throughout his career), but he’s in a contract year and I’m predicting a big time season.
12) Joe Mixon – He just got PAID with a 4-year $48M deal. It was good timing because with guys like Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, & James Conner looking for big deals, the Bengals locked him up at a fairly reasonable price. He’s coming off back-to-back seasons of 1,400+ total yards and at least 8 TDs. All this behind a pretty poor Bengals Offensive line. So if that’s a floor for this year, that ain’t too bad.
11) Nick Chubb – Chubb was the #2 rusher in the league last year with 1,494 yards and 8 TDs. But the emergence of Kareem Hunt has a lot of Chubb fantasy owners worried. Hunt is a dynamic talent, but with a 5.1 career YPC behind a bad Offensive Line (which they've improved through the Draft and Free Agency), Chubb will be hard to keep off the field. And new HC Kevin Stefanski is very run oriented, so even if Hunt gets 10 carries/game, it doesn’t mean Chubb won’t get 20.
10) Kenyan Drake – He didn’t play a full season in the desert after getting dealt from South Beach, but Kenyan Drake did make a big impact. He averaged 5.3 YPC after week 9 and had 20 carries of 10 yards or more. The Cardinals offense as a whole is pointing up and Drake is a big part of that. I like him to have a big season.
9) Josh Jacobs – He was limited to only 13 games last season but averaged just over 100 yards per game with 7 total scores. He only had 20 catches, but he is a back with 3-down capabilities. GM Mike Mayock has even said he’ll be more involved in the passing game, so Jacobs will only continue to grow.
8) Miles Sanders – This guy is absolutely dynamite. He had over 800 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving as a rookie with 50 grabs (averaging 10.1 YPC!). He’s the only guy really capable of carrying the mail in Philly and his main competition for touches, Jordan Howard is in Miami now. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he goes for 1,000 rushing yards and 100 grabs which would put him in Christian McCaffrey territory.
7) Derrick Henry – The league’s leading rusher he proved in the playoffs he’s capable of destroying entire teams. He’s averaged 14 TDs the past two seasons and is coming off a career best 5.1 YPC. The Titans seem content with running it back this year, so Henry is in store foa a big workload. He however isn’t a big receiving threat, so you may wanna lower a spot or two for PPR leagues.
6) Alvin Kamara – The report of the Saints willing to deal him drops him a spot for me as it does add a little more risk. But at the end of the day, he’s a star player in a contract year. He’s going to be very hungry and after a disappointing year with only 6 TDs and failing to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the third straight year, he will have all the motivation to have a monster year. Interesting nugget, in each of his first three seasons he has exactly 81 catches.
5) Clyde Edwards-Helaire – The highest ranked rookie on the list, he’s the favorite for Rookie of the Year. He’s got Brian Westbrook-type abilities which are scary in an Andy Reid offense. His main competition, Damien Williams also opted out of the season, so it’s his show. He should come in immediately and be the bell cow for the most explosive offense in football. He’s also a dangerous receiver, having split out wide 21% of the time at LSU to run routes, so he may be worth elevating another spot or two in PPR leagues.
4) Dalvin Cook – Cook was on fire to start last season but was slowed by injury. Cook still finished with over 1,650 yards and 13 TDs. He’s had problems throughout his career staying healthy, but the talent is undeniable. He’s in the last year of his rookie deal and looking for a ‘reasonable contract’. So there is plenty of motivation for him to stay on the field and when he’s on it and healthyo, he’s a no doubt top 5 fantasy RB.
3) Ezekiel Elliott – Mr. Consistency is good for 1,750 total yards and 9 TDs. Last year he had a spike in spikes with 14. In the 1st round, which is where he’ll go in every league, you want to make sure that you don’t lose the league with your pick and Zeke is the safest pick in all of fantasy football.
2) Saquon Barkley – He didn’t reach the heights of his rookie season of 2,000 total yards with 91 catches and 15 total TDs. Even 75% of that production would be top 5 RB. Last year he had a high ankle sprain, but came on towards the end of the season and showed he’s fully healthy. OC Jason Garrett worked with Zeke Elliott to put up monster numbers consistently, so hopefully that transfers over to Saquon.
1) Christian McCaffrey – Should only be available if you have the #1 pick. He’s had 100+ catches and 1,000+ yards in back-to-back seasons. Pick him at #1 and don’t look back. If this is PPR you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you landed the first pick.
We'll wrap up tomorrow with my top Quarterbacks coming out at 10:30am. Stay tuned…