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August 17, 2018
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Cooper Kupp

Los Angeles Rams

Mr. Cooper's neighborhood


Cooper Kupp was 4th in the NFL last year in red-zone targets. Kupp and Goff have the most chemistry of all the receivers on the team as Goff targeted him more than anyone last year. Everyone is expecting Cooks to lead these receivers in points this year, but Kupp will be the receiver to own. Sammy Watkins had eight red-zone touchdowns last year. Cooks is not a red-zone target receiver, so Kupp should see more targets and could sneak into the WR2 with massive upside.


08/13/18, 09:39 PM CDT by C-wags

Source: pyromaniac.com


Jerick McKinnon

Minnesota Vikings

The Jet is set to take off!


Mckinnon has been a super divisive player this offseason. Especially after the first preseason game where he didn't amass many yards and the following day he injured himself in practice. I constantly hear people question his ability to carry the ball 200+ times or that he can’t run between the tackles, or he’s unproven in a lead role. This is all NONSENSE and you shouldn’t believe any of it. Shanahan had his pick of players that he could’ve signed instead of Mckinnon, including Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, or drafting a rookie. He chose Mckinnon cause he felt he fit his offensive system in the same way that Devante Freeman fit his scheme. The 49ers just signed Alfred Morris today as a safety net, but I’m taking all the Mckinnon I can this year. I see him carrying the ball 205car/950yds/6td while also amassing 60rec/500yds/5td making him an RB1 this year. Don't be scared, and steal him away from people that are.


08/13/18, 09:24 PM CDT by C-wags

Source: pyromaniac.com


Marquise Goodwin

San Francisco 49ers

Too good, too fast


Marquiae goodwin has been targeted like a number one in camp. With Pierre Garcon likely squaring off with one of the toughest schedules against number one DBs, Goodwin could break out even more than he did last year. I wouldn't put it past him to put up T.Y HIlton numbers this year. Pick him up in the 6th and 7th round and pile up the points.


08/13/18, 09:11 PM CDT by C-wags

Source: pyromaniac.com


Jay Ajayi

Philadelphia Eagles

Ready To Fly


In 2016 Ajayi racked up 1272 yards on 260 carries and 8 TD’s and finished as the RB11 in both standard and PPR scoring. Last year Miami ran him out of town when he struggled in an anemic offense. He was not heavily used when he got to Philly, but his touches did increase every week until the Superbowl. He was also hyper efficient gaining 5.8 yards per carry and 9.1 yards per reception. Despite the general perception Clements usage went down with Ajayi’s arrival, even with Smallwood going down with injury. The Eagles have the number 1 offensive line as graded by PFF, and 18 RB targets and 192 carries vacated. Ajayi is a safe pick in the fourth round and a steal in the fifth.


08/02/18, 06:08 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.nflmock.com


Jimmy Graham

Green Bay Packers

Split Wide, Back in Stride


He is coming off a season that produced only 57 receptions for 520 yards, his fewest since his rookie season. With that said, Graham remains a big-time weapon in the red zone. He led the league last year with 27 targets in the region, which led to 10 touchdowns. You can bet Rodgers and play-caller Mike McCarthy will be utilizing his skills early and often when knocking on the door of the end zone.
Look for McCarthy to use a variety of personnel groupings with his new tight end group and expect to see Graham split out wide as a receiver much more than as a traditional in-line tight end.

This goes right along with what I was saying on Pyro podcast 308. I expect Graham to be used as a wide receiver and not a tight end. When Graham was negotiating his contract in his last season in New Orleans he wanted to be paid on scale with wide receivers because he rarely lined-up as an in-line tight end. When Seattle paid him, he did whatever they asked, and they asked him to block more. He was out for five games that year, but averaged one less reception per game and only scored two TD’s, after having at least nine TD’s in the previous four years. Overall Graham saw about 25% fewer targets while in Seattle compared to New Orleans and his fantasy numbers reflect it. I see Green Bay using him more like he was used in New Orleans, and even though he has obviously lost a step or two I see him as the major replacement for the Jordy Nelson targets.


07/22/18, 01:41 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.packersnews.com


Aaron Jones

Green Bay Packers

Cream Rises To The Top


Jones’ 5.55 YPC on first- and second-down carries trailed only Alvin Kamara (6.24) for best in the league last year. Jamaal Williams averaged 3.80 YPC on first- and second-down in 2017.

He’s slid two rounds since the announcement of his two game suspension, he is a screaming value if you can get him in the ninth round. We already knew he was going to be competing in a crowded backfield so missing two games really shouldn’t be a big hit to his overall production. The likelihood of either of the other two backs taking over the role is slim, Jones should be able to carve out 10 touches a game when he gets back with fresh legs. They are all high risk for injuries so I’m hoping this added rest will help Jones in the long run.


07/21/18, 06:51 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Nelson Agholor

Philadelphia Eagles

Solidified Role


In 2017, Nelson Agholor had 62 recs, 768 yds, 9 TDs and 7 games of WR2 or better. There is no reason he wouldn't maintain this output, even with additions in the offense. Agholor had to carve out a role for himself and beat out incumbent Jordan Matthews. This year he'll be the main slot receiver and have an established role from the start.


07/21/18, 06:49 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Sterling Shepard

New York Giants

Buying The Slot Receiver in a Shurmur Offense


Sterling Shepard is currently 24 years old with a 124/1,414/10 career line, in two seasons. He finished 2017 as the WR42 in 11 games (WR22 in FP/G) with only a 13.9% target share. He finished 2016 as the WR36 as a rookie. He's currently being drafted as the WR42 in MFL10’s.

Shepard does see more targets (+2.7), get more receptions (+2.3), more yards (+28), and get about three more PPR points per game when Beckham is out. But he still averages over 11 PPR points per game when he is playing. Apparently Shepard is more open in the end-zone when Beckham is playing, as he averages three times as many TD’s when they are both playing.


07/21/18, 06:47 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Allen Hurns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Plenty of Targets in Dallas


He’s been hampered by injuries over the past couple of years, but when he has stayed healthy and gotten the targets he has been successful. His best season was in 2015, he had 105 Targets for 64 Receptions at 1031 Yards for 10 TDs, that’s 16.11 Yards Per Reception and a 61% Catch Rate coming from Blake Bortles. He finished as the WR14 in Standard Scoring and WR18 in PPR.

He's an amazing value in the 11th round of current best-ball drafts.


07/21/18, 06:41 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Eric Ebron

Detroit Lions

Second Team Breath's New Life Into TE


Outside Brady, Luck is the only other QB to support 2 TE's, both Fleener and Allen had 8 TD's with Luck. Frank Reich runs 2 TE sets very successfully - see: 2018 Eagles. TE1's for Coach Reich have never finished worse than 12th. Yes, Doyle would seem like the obvious choice after last season, but that was with Brissett who needed a quick dump off outlet. Luck isn't a check-down machine.

Eric Ebron has lined up "everywhere" in the Colts offense. And the new tight end already is beginning to feel at home in Indianapolis. Without a strong WR2, Ebron could see a large number of targets. The Colt's line-up in two TE sets more than any other team in the NFL.


07/21/18, 06:36 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Matt Breida

San Francisco 49ers

Filling Coleman Role


“One guy who stood out at Niners practice to me was RB Matt Breida. No one talks about him, but the dude is gonna get some run this year. Fast downhill player.”

This is just some more camp hype from a beat reporter, but if they don’t get another running back through trade or free-agency Brieda is going to see plenty of touches to pay off being picked in the 15th round of fantasy drafts. McKinnon has never had over 205 touches in a season, that leaves plenty of opportunity in a Shanahan offense.


07/21/18, 06:28 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


LeSean McCoy

Buffalo Bills

McCoy starring down 30 with uncertainty


LeSean McCoy, despite ending the year as the #7 fantasy running back in standard leagues was a slight disappointment for fantasy owners last year. McCoy played in all 16 regular season games, but only cracked 100 yards rushing 4 times, and averaged 4.0 yards per rush, which was 23rd in the NFL. That all happened with a formidable QB with a scrambling ability that defenses had to respect, presumably allowing McCoy some more room before tacklers ascended.
The Bills have the least sexy QB situation in the entire NFL in my opinion. With Tyrod Taylor at the helm for most of the season last year, the bills had the 31st passing offense. None of the QBs on the Bills roster are considered mobile and without a wide receiver on their roster worthy of drafting in any fantasy formats, defenses can stack the box against McCoy. McCoy will be overused, underperform and probably get hurt because of it. McCoy’s ADP is in the second round, but wouldn’t touch him until the fourth or beginning of the fifth round.


06/29/18, 12:42 PM CDT by C-wags

Source: pyromaniac.com


Tyreek Hill

Kansas City Chiefs

Hill lookin' busty with chiefs new look.


Tyreek Hill had a great 2017, amounting 75 receptions for 1183 yards and 7 touchdowns in 15 games. He’s currently being drafted in the middle of the third round in standard leagues, which would appear to be a great value. However, with promoted RB coach Eric Bieniemy presumably in-line to be the primary play caller, a new QB, Travis Kelce receiving the #1 target share and the addition of Sammy Watkins, I expect Hill’s numbers to decrease dramatically.
I believe Hill to be more of a boom or bust player this year. There’s no denying his break-away speed and ability to separate from defenders, and with Mahomes cannon of an arm, I expect them to connect deep on occasion. However, I believe Sammy Watkins to be the more complete receiver and likely to take more of the target share from Hill. Bundled with the change in offensive strategy toward the end of last year to run the ball more, the change to a young QB presumably resulting in a more conservative game plan, I see a major decline in the amount of touches Hill will get and see him as more of a 5-6 round flex play guy.


06/21/18, 10:54 AM CDT by C-wags

Source: pyromaniac.com


Eric Ebron

Detroit Lions

Ebron Could Use Some Luck


Colts signed TE Eric Ebron, formerly of the Lions, to a two-year contract. Coach Frank Reich called Ebron an "elite tight end."

The last time we saw Andrew Luck healthy (2016), the Colts used 2+ TE sets at the 3rd-highest rate in the NFL and had the 6th-highest target share to TEs.


04/01/18, 11:32 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Carlos Hyde

San Francisco 49ers

Hyde and Seek


Browns agreed to terms with RB Carlos Hyde, formerly of the 49ers, on a three-year, $15 million contract.

Obtaining Hyde has several trickle-down effects; first it replaces Crowell who signed with the Jets, it probably diminishes Duke Johnson’s value a bit. Hyde is a better all-around back than Crowell was and will certainly take over the goal-line work seeing that he’s got 20+ pounds on Duke. It also reduces the likelihood that Cleveland takes Saquon Barkley with the 4th pick in the draft. They will most likely look to draft a defensive player (Chubb) or trade down again.


04/01/18, 11:28 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Jerick McKinnon

Minnesota Vikings

McKinnon Goes West For Gold-Rush


49ers agreed to terms with RB Jerick McKinnon, formerly of the Vikings, on a four-year, $30 million contract.

McKinnon averaged a ho-hum 3.8 yards a carry for the Vikings and scored three rushing touchdowns. By contrast, San Francisco's former lead runner, Carlos Hyde, averaged 3.9 yards an attempt in 2017 and had eight rushing touchdowns.

It appears as though Shanahan is enamored with McKinnon's athletic metrics, but I'm not so sure he was "pounding the table" to get him. This move could push the Niner's to cut Joe Williams.


04/01/18, 11:12 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.sacbee.com


Mike Wallace

Baltimore Ravens

Eagles Keep Improving


Eagles signed WR Mike Wallace to a one-year contract.
Mike Wallace can still move posting a top five max speed among wide receivers last season. He will fill the void left by Torrey Smith as a speed vertical threat.


04/01/18, 11:08 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Terrelle Pryor

Washington Redskins

Jets Searching For Weapons


Jets agreed to terms with WR Terrelle Pryor, formerly of Washington and Cleveland.

Second year in a row on a new team doesn’t really help Pryor's cause, but I like the idea of him on the field with Teddy Bridgewater at some point. I would imagine, with some creativity, the Jets could really design some innovative gadget plays.
The Jets receiving corps really looks like a bunch of question marks at this point though, no telling what the week-to-week outcome will be with these guys.
Jermaine Kearse: 65 catches, 810 yards, 5 touchdowns (2017)
Robby Anderson: 63 catches, 941 yards, 7 touchdowns (2017)
Quincy Enunwa: 58 catches, 857 yards, 4 touchdowns (2016)
Terrelle Pryor: 77 catches, 1007 yards, 4 touchdowns (2016)


04/01/18, 11:04 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Carlos Henderson

Denver Broncos

Sleeper Watch


Broncos coach Vance Joseph said the team is "counting on" Carlos Henderson making an impact in 2018.

If you are paying attention to Staggs projections there is plenty of opportunity for Henderson to step into a solid number of targets in the slot. Henderson was hindered by injury and awful QB play last year. Being drafted in the 18th round or later in best-ball leagues, Henderson is the late round flyer that should be on your radar.


04/01/18, 11:00 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.denverpost.com


Ben Watson

Baltimore Ravens

Watson Returns To Big Easy


Saints signed TE Ben Watson, formerly of the Ravens, to a one-year contract.

Watson had 74 catches on 110 targets for 825 yards and 6 TD’s when he was with the Saints in 2015. After missing 2016 he had a pretty good year with Baltimore last year despite an anemic offense, with 61 catches on 79 targets for 522 yards and 4 TD’s. He’s not a bad late round flyer TE. He’s basically free right now, but I expect by the time the season starts he’ll be being drafted within the top 20 at the position.


04/01/18, 10:54 AM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com

Quick hitting fantasy football intel to help you win your league - this is volume 1 of the running backs

Pyro Gold Diggers - FF Outlook Nuggets for Running Backs Vol. 1

Posted by d-Rx on 07/15/17

by   The Archer


@TheArcher


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Since 2012 the Running Back position has been the most volatile position in fantasy football. If we look at the top 12 rushers each season since 2012, only 8 running backs have followed up their season with more yards than the prior year, that’s only 16.7% of the time (not to mention one of those was Adrian Peterson after having to sit out the majority of the 2014 season on the commissioners exempt list). With this volatility and high market price for Running Backs on draft day, we did a deep dive on the position to help you realize market inefficiencies and dominate another fantasy season! Let’s get started:

 

Le'Veon Bell – Based on Avg. Yds. From Scrimmage, had Bell played 16 games he would have had 2,512 well ahead of 2nd. He is as good as advertised.

 

Ezekiel Elliott – Elliott led the league with rushes of 20 yards or more with 14. Always a homerun threat. The cloud of uncertainty still hangs over him. The league has yet to rule out disciplinary action for the 2017, something to keep an eye on.

 

David Johnson - Johnson led all RBs in receptions with 80. This put him in the top 20 including WRs. With reports coming from Cardinals, they plan to use him even more. He could approach 100. Johnson was PFF’s 2016 Receiver of the Year, yeah…WR!

 

LeSean McCoy – McCoy finished the year 4th in total TD’s with 14. This while having 10 vultured by his backups. Mike Gillislee and his 9 has moved on to the Patriots leaving 2017 open for positive regression.

 

Melvin Gordon – Gordon is a member of a shrinking minority in the league, a true bell cow back. He finished the 2016 season with 1,416 combined yards and 12 TD’s. The Chargers let Woodhead go to Baltimore and did not bring in a replacement. Expect these numbers to increase in 2017. The Chargers head coach is Anthony Lynn, please see the Bills 24 RB rushing TDs above.

 

Devonta Freeman – Freeman ended 2016 6th in scrimmage yards with 1,541. 2017 is a contract year and it looks as though the Falcons plan to see how the year unfolds before offering an extension.

 

Jordan Howard – Howard busted onto the scene in 2016 and ended as the second leading rusher with 1,313 yards, he also lost 15 pounds in the offseason. As a bigger back, this has lead other players to continued success, cough cough Le’Veon.

 

Jay Ajayi – Jay-Train last call! Ajayi led the NFL in forced missed tackles with 58 and put up 3.46 yards after contact. Thus Ajayi was had the best elusive rating from PFF. Adam Gase sees it too and said Ajayi could see 350 carries this year. But tread lightly, Ajayi has bone-on-bone in his knee, lets enjoy him while we can.

 

DeMarco Murray – Wait, it’s not an Exotic Smash mouth? Murray was a workhorse in 2016 ranking third in rush attempts and sixth in receptions. They say they’ll get Henry more work, but can they get DeMarco off the field?

 

Lamar Miller – Our Lamar Miller experiment didn’t play out how many saw, he did in fact set career highs with 714 snaps and 268 rushes. So that’s why the Dolphins never gave Miller the big workload, but expect Miller to see a huge increase of work in the passing game as he was literally the only RB to not drop a target in the NFL last year.

 

Leonard Fournette – Fournette’s 2015 season at LSU was rated as the best RB season in the last decade. Why is he so great? At his 235 pound playing weight, Fournette recorded a 22.9 MPH during a game. For comparison purposes, Tyreek Hill’s top speed was recorded at 23.2 MPH, he’s really big and he’s really freaking fast.

 

Todd Gurley – New HC, Sean McVay has never coached a team that ranked lower than 11th in rushing. It’s safe to say that Gurley is going to be a much more fun tool to play with than ‘Fat Rob’, Matt Jones and the ghost of Alf Morris.

 

Jonathan Stewart – The Panthers added Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel in the draft so many think J-Stew is on the way out. Think again, since 2015 no player has more broken tackles on runs between the tackles than Stewart. In fact, he is sitting at 96 and the next closest player is down at 78. J-Stew ain't going nowhere.

 

Mark Ingram – The AP signing had us all questioning Ingram’s status in New Orleans. Pump the break, Ingram in 2016 outplayed Peterson in 2015 by trumping his elusive rating by 21 points (6th overall to AP’s 25th) and he averaged 0.8 yards after contact more than Peterson those respective years.

 

Duke Johnson – Isaiah Crowell is getting all of the Brown’s RB hype this off-season, but don’t forget about Duke. He was incredible in 2016 with 21 broken tackles after the catch. This was second to only the other D. Johnson, 2016’s fantasy sweetheart.

 

Mike Gillislee – Gillislee ranks favorable to Blount, if he only carries the ball 75% of what Blount did he should finish the year with 1,281 yards and 17 TDs extrapolated from his incredibly impressive yards per carry in Buffalo.

 

LeGarrette Blount – LGB shocked the fantasy world in 2016 with 18 TDs, in the three years prior Blount totaled 18 TDs. Not to mention the Blount has shown an affinity for getting caught smoking weed in Pennsylvania.

 

Ty Montgomery –With the exception of the game at Chicago, he failed to surpass 100 yards and did not get double digit carries in any of the regular season games. In the playoffs he had 25 attempts and 91 rushing yards over their 3 games.

 

Jalen Richard – Jalen Richard just might be the next big thing for the NFL. We saw David Johnson burst onto the scene in 2015 as he took his first two NFL touches to the house. Jalen Richard’s first touch was a 75-yard Touchdown run. Also, Jalen had the second highest yards after contact (3.6) and rushes per missed tackle (4.1) averages. We’re not saying Richard is going to be the next David Johnson, but he just might be.

 

Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland added some big bodies to their offensive line which earned them PFF’s 2nd rated O-Line heading into 2017. Crowell is not a sure thing to reap the benefits of the line, he had the second lowest Success Rate among RB’s with over 100 carries last season as he finished with just 39% successful plays.

 

Doug Martin – Doug Martin has finished as RB3 twice in his career, in his other three seasons he finished no higher than 45th. What can be extrapolated from this? When he does not play all 16 games, Martin has never surpassed 500 yards rushing. With Martin’s suspension, we know he will not play all 16. Exo-facto draft Martin with caution this year.

 

Christian McCaffrey – McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders collegiate record with 2,659 yards from scrimmage. How did this stat translate to the pros? Barry ran for 1,470 yard and 14 touchdowns and added 282 in the air. If we project this out to 175 rushes vs Sanders 280, CMC is looking at 900 yards and 8 TDs, plus we can all agree that he’s looking at about 40 catches to Barry’s 24.

 

Joe Mixon – The number we are looking at is 4.5. Nope, this wasn’t Mixon’s 40 time, it was Jay Ajayi’s rushes per missed tackle, in which he led the league. Mixon’s college production is favorable to this number, Mixon forced a missed tackle on every 3.9 touches. Don’t be surprised if we see Mixon going for 200 yards in games this year like we saw from Ajayi in 2016.

 

Adrian Peterson – The last time we saw a healthy Peterson he was All-World, after a meniscus tear and with age concerns AP is coming at a discount for the first time since his rookie year. In 2015 Peterson had a production premium of -1.3 which shows that he was less efficient with his work than the norm. Despite this, his normalize fantasy points per game were 3rd in the league when adjusted for his supporting cast. New Orleans is certainly a more efficient offense than Minnesota, we should see this reflected despite projecting a lesser workload.

 

Frank Gore – This may be the biggest question in fantasy football, when will Frank Gore be done? Gore leads the NFL in career touches with 609 more than the next closest player. Fun fact is that he has more than 2x touches than Jamaal Charles. Frank Gore is currently 8th all-time at 13,065 yards, trailing the great Eric Dickerson by 194. The number he is shooting for is 1,037 yards this year as it will put Gore above Curtis Martin and into 4th overall. Can he stay healthy and effective enough to hit that mark? Maybe not, we may have seen the cliff last year without noticing it. Gore dropped from 10th most elusive runner to last among 25 qualified RBs. If Gore can't make people miss the Colts will likely move on from the future HOFer.

 

James Conner – The PIT Panther has one of the most inspiring stories in all of sports as he beat cancer, and still was able to show up for practices during his treatment. He is stepping into De’Angelo William’s role as Le’Veon Bell’s backup. If Bell goes down the Steelers have shown that they will use the backup as a workhorse. James Conner prior to cancer in 2014 had the second most broken tackles over the past 3 years at 88. He automatically becomes a top-12 RB if Bell goes down.

 

Kenneth Dixon – Dixon will miss the first 4 games for violating the PED policy. When he comes back you still might not want to own him, Dixon only faced a stacked front 3.4% of his carries, but on those plays he failed to average positive yards. As for being used in the pass game, remember that the Ravens went out and got receiving specialist Danny Woodhead.

 

Carlos Hyde – Carlos Hyde will be the feature back in a Kyle Shanahan offense, this is a position we hold near and dear to our heart in fantasy football. Shanahan has produced a top 5 rushing offense three times in the past five seasons. This is not an outlier, his father, Mike worked for 26 years in the NFL, 22 of those seasons he had a top 12 rushing offense. Running is in the Shanahan blood, and this year Carlos Hyde will be the main beneficiary.

 

Ameer Abdullah – Ameer is the ultimate risk in fantasy football, Jim Bob Cooter has made Detroit a passing haven that involves RBs in the pass attack more than on the ground. Ameer is in the 98th percentile on his SPARQ-x score which is a measure for explosiveness. With all that explosiveness sometimes we get duds. In fact, Ameer is the most volatile fantasy player on a weekly basis. Due to this, it’s in your best interest to not rely on Abdullah on a week-in-week-out basis.

 

C.J. Anderson – The Broncos have brought new RBs on board in consecutive seasons with Booker and Charles joining Anderson in the back field. Anderson saw 74% of the RB snaps when active in 2016, that good for 7th among RBs. As long as he is healthy the Broncos will feed him the rock. Oh and his fantasy playoff matchup is composed of the Jets, Colts and Redskins, yummy.

 

Jamaal Charles – Jamaal Charles is well known for his NFL record 5.45 yards per carry. Being in Denver now, that number doesn’t matter as he needs to work his way up the depth chart. How is he going to do that? His last healthy season, Jamaal was the 6th most elusive RB with a 55.8 score, the start C.J. Anderson dropped to a career low of 34.2 last year. If Jamaal can make plays like a shell of himself, he will find himself getting work in the Mile High City.

 

Devontae Booker – When Anderson went down last season, the fantasy community was thirsty for some Booker. He fell flat on his face with a Red Zone success rate of 41% that put him at 84th in the NFL. The Broncos clearly showed their frustration with the addition of Jamaal Charles.

 

Samaje Perine – Samaje Perine worked in Joe Mixon’s shadow for much of this year’s draft season, although Mixon got more hype, Perine was actually the starter in Washington. Perine’s only completion in Washington this year is ‘Fat Rob’ Kelley. Somehow people have forgotten that Perine, not Mixon is the single game record holder for rush yards in a single game when we went for 427 against Kansas in 2014. Perine may have the best situation of any rookie RB this season.

 

Darren McFadden – The Dallas offense runs through Zeke Elliott, but Jerry Jones will always have an affinity for DMC as he is a Razorback. That being said, the Cowboys run the most plays on the ground, hitting an extraordinary 499 in 2016. With a top tier offensive line and DMC clocking in the 98th percentile on his Speed Score, he has the ability to step in and produce RB1 numbers if Zeke is suspended or injured. Remember there was concern with Zeke and his hamstring injury prior to 2016, soft tissue injuries seem to never go away.

 

Joe Williams – Kyle Shanahan banging his hands on the table to draft Joe Williams is the story that resonates in everyone’s mind. Williams had some good, tape but the numbers that really stand out are 7 and 5. Williams fumbled the ball 7 times last year, and added 5 drops on catchable balls. Rookies don’t get many opportunities in the NFL, and if Williams doesn’t avoid these mistakes in the NFL the 49ers fans will be banging the tables for Matt Breida.

 

Jamaal Williams – Jamaal Williams reminds me of a player in a similar situation, a high potent offense with a glaring hole at RB. The 2010 Patriots were a high octane offense with a 33-year-old QB (cough cough Aaron) and an uninspiring running game. The Lawfirm, BenJarvis Green Ellis toted 509 carries without recording a fumble. Jamaal Williams is of the same fabric, Williams was PFF’s top pass blocking RB in the draft class and his big frame and large hands led to only two fumbles over 786 carries. He won’t blow you away, but if he gets the job you can plug him in as a safe RB2.

 

Theo Riddick – Theo Riddick if playing in average situations was RB8 last year on a points per game basis, however from Week 8 on Riddick consistently saw his touches drop from 19 to an average of 10 in weeks 11-13. Riddick will also be fighting for playing time with Ameer Abdullah back healthy. To keep the trend of 8’s going, the Lions had 8 Fourth Quarter comeback. Riddick saw a lot of opportunities in those games whereas he is not as valuable if you flip the game script.

 

Eddie Lacy – We have gotten to a point with Lacy where we assume if he is not overweight that he is going to be able to provide fantasy value. However, Lacy had a production premium grade of -26.1 which compares Lacy to the other RBs and measures efficiency and smooths out garbage time and other non-standard situations. This makes Lacy the #76 RB in smoothed efficiency. Lacy was healthy in 2015 but he failed to break into the positives that year as well finishing as the #54 RB. C.J. Prosise on the other hand was #4 in the NFL with a score of +37.1. Prosise may just beat out Lacy as the rushing downs back and passing.

 

Dalvin Cook – Dalvin Cook fell to Minnesota in the second round of this year’s rookie draft due to off-the field concerns as many advanced metrics supported Cook being the best back in the draft class. Cook finished second in the nation with 4.6 yards after contact and first in the nation with 88 forced missed tackles. Unfortunately, he is going to the third worst rushing team in the NFL as the Vikings were only able to create 0.93 yards before contact. Even if Cook gets the lion share of work, it’ll be tough to get in space and make guys miss when he’s constantly being met in the backfield.

 

Matt Forte – This will more than likely be Forte’s final season in the NFL as he has gone on record multiple times stating that his goal has always been to play 10 years in the NFL. When we think of players who get more effective when their workload lessens, we likely think of the smaller backs like Lamar Miller who are more impacted by the grind of being an NFL running back. Interestingly Matt Forte sees a significant inverted increase in effectiveness when his carries drop. Actually looking at it, each season Forte’s snaps decrease his PFF grade increases. Without a doubt we expect the 31-year-old back to see less work, but he still will provide value in his limited work.

 

Derrick Henry – The word on the street is that DeMarco Murray will remain as the workhorse back in Tennessee and Henry will have to sit back and wait his turn. We talk about Murray’s receiving skills as a main reason why he won’t come off the field, however Derrick Henry excelled in the pass game. Henry had the third highest pass blocking efficiency allowing only one total pressure last season. Henry will see more action in his sophomore season, and his value will sky rocket if Murray suffers an injury.

 

Danny Woodhead – A lot of people are buying into Woodhead in Baltimore. I’m not. Woodhead is on the wrong side of 30 as he will turn 33 in January. Woodhead has a career high of 106 rush attempts, and outside that 2013 season he has never topped 100. There have been 66 other instances of 32-year-old RBs with under 100 rush attempts, only 2 of them produced over 10 fantasy points per game in PPR scoring and only 5 have produced over 100 PPR points over the course of the season. In a crowded backfield, it is a good practice to fade 30+ year old running backs with limited upside.

 

Terrance West – T-West has been named Baltimore’s starting RB, partially due to Kenneth Dixon’s suspension. West is being vastly overlooked due to the perception that Dixon will win that job when he returns, however West was a surprisingly strong player. Last season he was the 13th rated RB due to his 12 runs of over 15 yards which was good for eighth in the league. Dixon is perceived as a better pass catcher, however West’s 1.54 yards per route run was good for 0.25 better than the aforementioned Dixon.

 

Paul Perkins – The New York Giants are “all-in” on Perkins this year. But if we look at Ben McAdoo who comes from the Mike McCarthy phylum as he was with the Packers from 2006-2013. Since 2009 with McAdoo a Ryan Grant was the only RB to receive over 50% of the shares of carries. The next highest market share was 47%, pump the breaks on Perkins as there has been a strong influence of RBBC in McAdoo’s offenses.

 

Charles Sims – Sims produced a rushing NEP of -9.9 on his 51 carries in 2016. NEP is a measure of how many expected points a player added or lost on an individual play. This led Sims to just a 27.5% success rate on his runs. He was vastly outperformed by Jacquizz Rodgers with a success rate of 46.5%. Don’t expect to see Sims get a substantial workload especially considering the Doug Martin hype coming out of Tampa Bay this off-season.

 

Kareem Hunt – PFF rated Hunt as the number one overall running back in the draft class, after generating 986 rushing yards after contact over his career and getting the third highest FBS elusive rating of 112.1. Hunt may have trouble supplanting Spencer Ware, but this will depend on Ware’s health. If we see the post-concussion Hunt of last season, the job is Hunt’s to lose.

 

Marlon Mack – Frank Gore and Robert Turbin combined to break off 15 yard runs on only 11% of their carries. Mack on the other hand produced 15+ yard runs on 52% of his carries, fifth highest among this draft class. Mack got the workload to support a consistent fantasy output, but he is the most likely RB to mirror Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington who both averaged over 5 yards per carry backing up Latavius Murray.

 

Thomas Rawls – The Seahawks who we remember being a power running team fueled by Marshawn Lynch couldn’t be further from how they played in 2016. The percentage of power scheme rushing plays that the Seahawks ran in 2016 was dead last at 1.5%. Rawls is a power runner and was since supplanted by Eddie Lacy, Rawls has more obstacles of any starting RB from last year to regain his starting role.

 

Tevin Coleman – Coleman saw the ninth largest increase in play based on PFF’s overall grades among second year players across all positions, he improved in almost every metric as he cut down his fumbles, increased his yards after contact and tripled his rush attempt totals. Coleman really thrived in the passing game as he dropped only 2 passes of his 45 targets and averages 11.2 yards after contact. Coleman led all RBs in yards per route at 2.44 and has claimed his role as Atlanta’s pass catching back. Coleman also could be primed for elite status next year as Devonta Freeman seeks to be paid as an elite RB next year, which Atlanta may not be willing to pay up.

 

Bilal Powell – From Week 10 on last year, Bilal Powell can say one thing that no other man can say. Powell was the only running back to force more missed tackles than Le’Veon Bell with 9 on his 29 catches. In the same time period Powell average 3.24 yards after contact, and despite his limited workload he forced 4 more missed tackles than the Cowboys workhorse Zeke Elliott. He also beat out teammate Matt Forte with the eighth best overall ranking and sixth best running grade compared to Forte’s 22nd and 18th respectively. 

 

 

 

 

By The Hartbeat & Pop's

 

 

 

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