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Regular Season, Updated: 8/16/18

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Legend:   Upside = Upside   Risk = Risk   ADP = Average Draft Position
FF Today Standard Scoring: Review Scoring
 Jerick McKinnon, SF (Bye: 11)
13
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 209   DOB: 1992-05-03   Age: 26
College: Georgia Southern   Draft: 2014 Round 3 (32) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015MIN1652 271 2 21 173 1 62.4 3.9
2016MIN15159 539 2 43 255 2 103.4 6.9
2017MIN16151 570 3 51 421 2 129.1 8.1
2018 (Projected)SF 211 886 5 57 436 2 174.2  

Outlook: Former Minnesota Viking Jerick McKinnon has to be one of the more interesting fantasy running backs heading into the 2018 season. McKinnon hit free agency this offseason and the 49ers made a strong offer to him, securing the back with a four-year contract that makes him one of the leagues' highest paid players at the position. Even better for fantasy purposes is that the team let their 2017 starter, Carlos Hyde, walk away in free agency, further solidifying their commitment to McKinnon.

McKinnon has long been one of the league's premiere athletic specimens. At 5'9", 215 lbs, he ran a 4.41 second forty-yard dash at the NFL combine, while also putting together tremendous scores in the broad jump, vertical jump and bench press. The physical profile is there, but McKinnon has never really been given a full workload. Of course, part of that is because he spent the first couple seasons of his career stuck behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, but he also hasn't been all that impressive when he's been given heavier workloads. McKinnon's has been below 4.0 yards per carry in each of his past two seasons in Minnesota, splitting carries with the likes of Latavius Murray and Matt Asiata.

Where McKinnon has been spectacular, however, is in the passing game, where he's racked up 152 receptions in his four-year career, including 94 catches in his past two seasons. His 8.3 yards per reception in 2017 were among the best in the league at the running back position and that number dwarfs the 5.9 yards per reception that Carlos Hyde put together on 59 catches in 2017. The increased passes to Hyde in 2017 are a clear sign that the 49ers want to use their running backs in the passing game, even if it meant passing to an inefficient back. Needless to say, McKinnon is stepping into an ideal situation from a pass-catching standpoint and there's a real chance that he could be among the league leaders in receptions at the running back position this season - an obvious added value for those playing in PPR formats.

The situation and the talent appear to be ideal for McKinnon but the concern continues to be that he hasn't snatched the opportunities he's been given in the past. With that said, this Kyle Shanahan offense in San Francisco appears to be much better suited for a player with his skill set and that should allow McKinnon to safely finish as an RB2 with RB1 upside as long as he can stay healthy.


 Jordan Howard, CHI (Bye: 5)
14
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 230   DOB: 1994-11-02   Age: 23
College: Indiana   Draft: 2016 Round 5 (11) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016CHI15252 1,313 6 29 298 1 203.1 13.5
2017CHI16276 1,120 9 23 125 0 178.5 11.2
2018 (Projected)CHI 250 1,075 8 20 148 1 176.3  

Outlook: While the final numbers look strong (1,100+ yards rushing and 9 touchdowns), Howard's number's overall were a bit of a letdown after his dazzling rookie year. His yards per carry average dipped a full yard from his first season (5.2 to 4.1) and he was much less consistent, (11 games of 70+ yards in 2016 compared to 6 such games in 2017). Add to the fact that he was still unable to bring anything to the passing game and you had the makings of Howard being a risky fantasy start last season.

With all the hype around the new coaching philosophy, the additions at receiver, and usage of Tarik Cohen, Howard sounds miscast for this offense as a one-dimensional workhorse. While it's unlikely Howard morphs into Marshall Faulk overnight, he's still going to be a big part of this offense. He's gone over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, and though his overall touches might be down this year, I think they'll be much more efficient and his yards-per-carry average should rise. The entire Chicago offense should be more efficient, meaning more trips to the redzone, which in theory means more goal line chances for Howard. Howard has proven to be a durable workhorse, and his one dimensional game means he's prone to some duds (and a much lower priority in PPR leagues), but he should threaten to score double digit touchdowns, and I'd be thrilled to have him as my RB2, as he'll have another chance to approach RB1 numbers.


 Christian McCaffrey, CAR (Bye: 4)
15
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 202   DOB: 1996-06-07   Age: 22
College: Stanford   Draft: 2017 Round 1 (8) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017CAR16117 435 2 80 651 5 150.6 9.4
2018 (Projected)CAR 163 637 4 78 613 4 173.0  

Outlook: Christian McCaffrey's finish as the RB16 is somewhat impressive when you consider he was 39th among RBs in carries and the third in rushing attempts on his own team. McCaffrey had six weeks with at least 10 fantasy points, but he also had three weeks under 5 points. Because of his lack of consistent rush attempts, his scoring was almost completely tied to his receiving workload and after leading all running backs in targets and his role defined, that value is likely sustainable.

One of the obstacles for McCaffrey was Jonathan Stewart who handled 198 carries in his 15 games. And much to the delight of McCaffrey fans, he left the team in the offseason, but much to the dismay of McCaffrey fans, the team replaced him with a more capable, C.J. Anderson, who will almost certainly take a large portion of the early-down work.

McCaffrey's value changes noticeably by scoring style. In standard scoring leagues, he's a mid-RB2 who you can expect 9 to 10 points from each week. In PPR, he's a low-end RB1, RB9 in 2017, with a higher ceiling because of his 7 targets per week. His price is probably best suited as the RB15 and if he improves as a runner and/or increases his share of the carries, he'll likely outperform his ADP.


 Alex Collins, BAL (Bye: 10)
16
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 217   DOB: 1994-08-26   Age: 23
College: Arkansas   Draft: 2016 Round 5 (34) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016SEA931 125 1 11 84 0 26.9 3.0
2017BAL15212 973 6 23 187 0 152.0 10.1
2018 (Projected)BAL 238 1,046 7 28 202 1 172.8  

Outlook: To say that during this time last year Collins wasn't on most people's radar is a monumental "no-duh". Still a member of the Seahawks in July of 2017, Collins was eventually cut, and signed to the Ravens' practice squad in early September. With injuries hitting the backfield, Collins got a call-up to the active roster about two weeks later. After looking spry in a Week 2 win against Cleveland, the former 5th-round pick slowly saw an uptick in playing time as he began to distance himself from the crowded Baltimore backfield. When the dust settled on the 2017 season, Collins ended up with nearly 1,000 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns, while sporting a crisp 4.6 yards per carry average. Through the season he showed bust and power, and was basically the only bright spot on a miserable Ravens offense.

Not much has changed in the Raven's backfield in 2018. Signed to a 1-year contract after being a restricted free agent, Collins enters the offseason as the clear lead dog in a still crowded group. The Ravens fully committed to him during the back half of the 2017 season, and barring a miracle return from talented, but troubled Kenneth Dixon, Collins should easily lead the team in rushing. With all 23 of his receptions coming in the final nine games, Collins showed enough versatility to be more than a 2-down back. Keep a close eye on Dixon's usage and production in the pre-season, but as it sits right now I'd be very excited to nab Collins as my RB2, especially if Jackson makes an appearance at quarterback.


 Jay Ajayi, PHI (Bye: 9)
17
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 221   DOB: 1993-06-15   Age: 25
College: Boise State   Draft: 2015 Round 5 (13) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015MIA949 187 1 7 90 0 33.7 3.7
2016MIA15260 1,272 8 27 151 0 190.3 12.7
2017PHI14208 873 1 24 158 1 115.1 8.2
2018 (Projected)PHI 223 982 6 38 236 1 163.8  

Outlook: One of the more polarizing players in fantasy last season, Jay Ajayi rushed for 408 yards and one rushing touchdown in seven games for the Eagles after joining the team midseason via trade with the Dolphins. Although limited to just 70 carries in a crowded backfield that included the now departed LeGarrette Blount, Ajayi did make the most of his time with the Eagles, posting an impressive 5.8 yard per carry average.

Now that Blount has moved on to the Lions and the Eagles have yet to add another bruising RB to the backfield, Ajayi looks poised to take over as the primary first and second down back for an Eagles team that finished third last season in total points scored.

The main knock against Ajayi and the reason why he is not considered a second or third round pick in most experts' eyes is the fact that head coach Doug Pederson prefers to use multiple RBs out of the backfield. Corey Clement looked impressive at times last season, and veteran Darren Sproles looks to return to the team as the primary receiving down option.

The lack of clear touches will make many owners shy away from Ajayi in drafts this summer. However, should he continue to fall in ADP, Ajayi could end up being a great value, especially in standard scoring formats.


 Derrick Henry, TEN (Bye: 8)
18
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1994-07-17   Age: 24
College: Alabama   Draft: 2016 Round 2 (14) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016TEN14110 490 5 13 137 0 92.7 6.6
2017TEN16176 744 5 11 136 1 124.0 7.8
2018 (Projected)TEN 193 851 7 20 165 1 149.6  

Outlook: The exit of Demarco Murray seemed to be the opening needed to make Derrick Henry a viable RB1, but the free agency addition of Dion Lewis and team's insistence that it will likely run a committee approach, have put a damper on the off-season hype train.

Henry had a rollercoaster of a 2017. He posted four games with more than 15 fantasy points, but he also had five games with fewer than 3 points. His usability was entirely tied to whether he scored a touchdown and while he did manage to score 6 TDs, he was likely a disappointment for those who drafted him as a RB3.

For the most part, Henry spent 2017 as either a RB1 or a bust, which makes it clear that he has a potentially high ceiling if he finds himself with a heavy workload. But, once again, he enters the season with questions surrounding his place on the depth chart. It seems logical to assume Henry will see the bulk of his work on early downs as Lewis is a more adept pass-catcher. Will he finally emerge or will he underperform again? At his current ADP of RB17, the acquisition price seems a bit high, but if reports continue to cause him to slip beyond RB 24, there's a chance he outperforms his draft position and finally delivers for fantasy owners.


 Lamar Miller, HOU (Bye: 10)
19
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 212   DOB: 1991-04-25   Age: 27
College: Miami   Draft: 2012 Round 4 (2) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015MIA16194 872 8 47 397 2 186.9 11.7
2016HOU14268 1,073 5 31 188 1 162.1 11.6
2017HOU16238 888 3 36 327 3 157.5 9.8
2018 (Projected)HOU 206 803 4 41 296 2 145.9  

Outlook: Quietly a high-end RB2, Lamar Miller demonstrated the best attribute a running back can provide, availability. Despite averaging under 10 points per game, Miller started all 16 games and finished among the top 15 RBs. He only had two weeks under 5 fantasy points, against Jacksonville and Indianapolis, but he scored more than 10 FPts in four weeks.

His backfield counterpart is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that could land him on the PUP list to start training camp. While Miller didn't see a significant increase in workload following the Week 11 injury, Foreman's injury can only help secure Miller's role in the offense. And even if Foreman is healthy to start the year, it's unlikely that he'll command a significant share of the carries during the early part of the season.

Miller is currently being drafted in the 4th round of 12 team leagues as the 22nd RB off of the board. At that price, he represents a value as he has the most secure path to volume of the running backs in that price range. Whether he's the safe RB1 with a high floor for a WR-heavy team or a RB3 for a RB-heavy team, he's a strong candidate to outperform his draft position.


 Rex Burkhead, NE (Bye: 11)
20
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 210   DOB: 1991-11-22   Age: 26
College: Nebraska   Draft: 2013 Round 6 (22) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015CIN124 4 0 10 94 1 15.8 1.3
2016CIN974 344 2 17 145 0 60.9 6.8
2017NE1064 264 5 30 254 3 99.8 10.0
2018 (Projected)NE 151 648 6 35 285 2 141.3  

Outlook: In quiet fashion, Burkhead posted a solid 2017 season as the No.18 ranked running back in terms of fantasy points per game. His 10 fantasy point per game was higher than Christian McCaffrey, Tevin Coleman, and Lamar Miller, and he scored the same number of total touchdowns as LeSean McCoy - on 252 fewer touches.

The addition of first-round selection Sony Michel will no doubt cut into the value of Burkhead in 2018, as one would assume that Belichick and the New England front office will look to feature their new prized running back. Despite this fact, Burkhead will continue to have value as the primary goal-line back and could be a steal if Michel continues his trend of fumbling issues dating back to his time at Georgia or has trouble recovering from his knee procedure.


 Marlon Mack, IND (Bye: 9)
21
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 213   DOB: 1996-03-07   Age: 22
College: South Florida   Draft: 2017 Round 4 (37) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017IND1493 358 3 21 225 1 82.3 5.9
2018 (Projected)IND 164 656 5 33 275 2 135.1  

Outlook: Marlon Mack had flashes during the 2017 season, but largely remained hidden behind Frank Gore. At the beginning of the off-season when it was clear that Gore wouldn't be returning, there was some hope that Mack could take on the lead role in the backfield. But at the NFL Draft, the Colts used two selections on the running back position which points towards a committee approach.

As a complement to Gore, Mack operated as the change-of-pace back and was primarily utilized on the outside. He only managed 93 carries, but his 33 targets are noteworthy because in his 14 games, that averages to just over 2 targets per game. And that might be necessary because as a rusher, he wasn't particularly efficient. He fell short of the 4 yards per carry mark with a measly 3.8 YPC and per NFL Next Gen Stats, he averaged the fourth most time behind the line of scrimmage among qualified backs. Additionally, using rushing efficiency stat from the NFL, which measures the total distance traveled per yard gained, he ranked among the 10 worst.

Mack had three double-digit performances in 2017 when playing in a complementary role. Based on the off-season moves and recent suspension to Robert Turbin, Mack looks like the early favorite to be the lead in a committee, but he may fall short of a true workhorse share. With his current 6th round ADP as the RB31, he looks slightly overpriced compared to the other options in a similar range.


 LeSean McCoy, BUF (Bye: 11)
22
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 208   DOB: 1988-07-12   Age: 30
College: Pittsburgh   Draft: 2009 Round 2 (21) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015BUF12203 895 3 32 292 2 148.7 12.4
2016BUF15234 1,267 13 51 356 1 246.3 16.4
2017BUF16287 1,138 6 59 448 2 206.6 12.9
2018 (Projected)BUF 174 729 4 30 247 2 133.6  

Outlook: McCoy enters his age-30 season with numerous red flags both on and off the field. The nine-year veteran posted a career-low 4.0 yards per carry average in 2017, with just six rushing touchdowns on 287 carries. Although he managed to end the season as a top-10 RB, his 12.9 fantasy points per game were somewhat underwhelming when you consider the fact that he garnered 346 touches.

In addition to a decline in efficiency on the field, McCoy was accused of domestic violence via social media by the friend of a former girlfriend. McCoy vehemently declined the accusations, but the NFL has stated they are investigating the incident and a suspension could be forthcoming.

The departure of Tyrod Taylor and three of the five starting offensive linemen from last season will likely pose an adverse effect on McCoy in 2018, as the rushing ability at the quarterback position by Taylor helped open rushing lanes for McCoy and former guard Richie Incognito is one of the better run-blocking guards in the NFL.

With multiple negative factors surrounding McCoy in 2018, he is a risky selection as a late second or early third round pick. However, the sheer volume McCoy could receive out the backfield could make him a steal for a risk-tolerant owner willing to roll the dice.


 Marshawn Lynch, OAK (Bye: 7)
23
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 215   DOB: 1986-04-22   Age: 32
College: California   Draft: 2007 Round 1 (12) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015SEA7111 417 3 13 80 0 67.7 9.7
2017OAK15207 891 7 20 152 0 146.3 9.8
2018 (Projected)OAK 209 855 6 21 135 0 135.0  

Outlook: "Beast Mode" disappointed fantasy owners last season as the entire Raiders, and specifically their offensive line took a gigantic step back in 2017. Lynch accumulated just 891 yards on the ground, but did score nine touchdowns, for a pace of 4.3 yards per carry in what was a truly ugly offense.

One of the most underreported realities about Lynch's 2017 season is that he was actually excellent at eluding defenders both by juking and by running through them. Advanced metrics show that while his final totals left a lot to be desired, Lynch was actually way better than he should have been given the abysmal situation he was given. By comparison, Doug Martin - Lynch's new backfield-mate - was one of the least-efficient backs in the league by these same metrics. Unless there was some sort of monumental shift in the abilities of one or both of these players, it would stand to reason that Lynch should have no real concerns about being the primary back in Oakland this season.

The new Jon Gruden offense in Oakland figures to feature more west coast concepts, including passes to the running back, but those might not necessarily go Lynch's way. Lynch hasn't caught more than 36 passes in a season since 2008 and his yards per reception are often mediocre on the opportunities he does get. That does hurt his draft stock in PPR formats, but Lynch is one of the few backs in the league who has produced multiple double-digit touchdown seasons throughout his career, and there's a real chance that he does it again if the Oakland offense is even just a bit better than it was in 2017.

Lynch fights through a lot of injuries which is good for availability but can be unfortunate for fantasy purposes as he is often unproductive in the games he plays while injured. With just a bit of improvement in the offensive line, as many predict will happen, and a healthy Carr, Lynch could be a big time value this season, especially given the lack of serious competition behind him. He should be in line for around 250 total touches, which should make him a solid RB2 most weeks.


 Dion Lewis, TEN (Bye: 8)
24
Height: 5’8”   Weight: 195   DOB: 1990-09-27   Age: 27
College: Pittsburgh   Draft: 2011 Round 5 (18) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015NE749 234 2 36 388 2 86.2 12.3
2016NE764 283 0 17 94 0 37.7 5.4
2017NE16180 896 6 32 214 3 165.0 10.3
2018 (Projected)TEN 137 615 4 51 345 2 132.0  

Outlook: Coming into last season, Dion Lewis was arguably the least talked about running back in Patriots camp. Excitement surrounded Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead because of their new contracts and their projected usage. While both came out the gates hot, by Week 6, it was Lewis getting a heavier workload. 2017 marked Lewis' first 16 game season which inevitably led to him setting career highs in several areas. 180 carries, 896 yards, and 9 total touchdowns were all high-water marks for the 27 year old back. His 32 receptions were the second best of his career.

Now Lewis joins a new team and new OC Matt LaFleur suggests the backfield will operate with Henry and Lewis as 1A and 1B. If this turns out to be the case, Lewis could have standalone flex value. In PPR leagues, Lewis is the running back to own as a potential RB2. In standard leagues, he'll likely have RB2 value only if Henry underperforms on the field or misses time with injury. When projecting RB value, it largely comes down to usage and Lewis appears to be in the same boat as guys like Theo Riddick and James White - strong in PPR, but probably a fade in standard.