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Regular Season, Updated: 9/4/17

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 Christian McCaffrey, CAR (Bye: 11)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 202   DOB: 1996-06-07   Age: 21
College: Stanford   Draft: 2017 Round 1 (8) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017 (Projected)CAR 127 546 4 47 405 2 131.1  

Outlook: In recent years, the game plan for stopping the Panthers has been stuff the run up the middle and double team Kelvin Benjamin. Christian McCaffrey's presence on the field should help change that in 2017. Successful teams in today's NFL typically have multiple running backs that are capable of taking on double digit touches. Carolina has leaned heavily on its quarterback to fulfill that role in the offense but it seems they will begin to look for others to carry more of the burden in 2017. Carolina is prepared to use their new toy in a hybrid role that encompasses time in the backfield with work as a slot receiver. Comparisons to Tavon Austin are common in fantasy circles, but McCaffrey offers more fantasy potential as a running back. Jonathan Stewart should continue to see the bulk of the carries but the Panthers' run heavy scheme will likely afford the Stanford product enough touches to reach flex-worthy production even in twelve-team leagues. The elusive McCaffrey could become a PPR darling if Cam Newton gets better at finding receivers out of the backfield instead of running the football.

 Jonathan Stewart, CAR (Bye: 11)
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 235   DOB: 1987-03-21   Age: 31
College: Oregon   Draft: 2008 Round 1 (13) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014CAR13176 812 3 25 181 1 123.3 9.5
2015CAR13242 989 6 16 99 1 150.8 11.6
2016CAR13218 824 9 8 60 0 142.4 11.0
2017 (Projected)CAR 194 775 6 10 72 1 126.7  

Outlook: At this point in his career Jonathan Stewart has proven to be a solid fantasy contributor when on the field. Unfortunately, fantasy owners are not too likely to get him on the field for the entire fantasy season since he hasn't played a full slate of games since 2011. Yet he still helps fantasy owners because he still gets enough touches and goal line carries to provide low end RB2 results when he does stay on the field. The Panthers did their best to hide the diminishing skills of their lead back by cutting back his touches in 2016. After averaging 18.6 carries per game in 2015, that number decreased to 16.8 a year ago. Roughly 46 percent of his total fantasy points scored last season occurred in three great games. That doesn't mean he isn't good enough to start in most leagues, but it does bring some "boom or bust" risk to his fantasy value. The Panthers also added Christian McCaffrey via the draft to help shoulder the workload this year leaving potential Jonathan Stewart owners to ponder just how effective he can be this year. There isn't enough upside to draft him as a RB2 but his track record working in this offense offers plenty of value as a RB3 if he slips in drafts.

 Tevin Coleman, ATL (Bye: 5)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 206   DOB: 1993-04-16   Age: 24
College: Indiana   Draft: 2015 Round 3 (9) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015ATL1287 392 1 2 14 0 46.6 3.9
2016ATL13118 520 8 31 421 3 160.1 12.3
2017 (Projected)ATL 106 477 5 41 366 2 126.3  

Outlook: It isn't often that fantasy owners can safely rely on the secondary option of a RBBC to be a solid weekly fantasy starter but that is exactly what Tevin Coleman was in 2016. Buoyed by eleven touchdowns on 149 total offensive touches, prospective owners of the former Hoosier are more decisive than ever heading into this season. He has always shown big-play potential with YPCs of 4.5 in 2015 and 4.4 in 2016. The coaching staff hasn't denied him his share of red zone carries either. Last year's high-octane offense allowed Coleman to accrue 21 carries inside the twenty-only a handful of carries less than Isiah Crowell (28) and Spencer Ware (27).

In a vacuum, his stats from a year ago appear inflated and unsustainable. Yet the player on the field looks like a perfect fit for the role he has been given in an offense that affords him more opportunities than most players. His touches come on a team that scored 71 more points than the next highest scoring in the team last season so you can't simply dismiss him as a part time player. The lack of a long track record and health issues are valid concerns. Coleman has now missed seven games in his first two seasons in the league. This would be more alarming if he was being drafted as your team's top running back, but his durability concerns are slightly mitigated by the RB2 price tag.

 Ameer Abdullah, DET (Bye: 7)
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 205   DOB: 1993-06-13   Age: 24
College: Nebraska   Draft: 2015 Round 2 (22) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015DET16143 598 2 25 183 1 96.1 6.0
2016DET218 101 0 5 57 1 21.8 10.9
2017 (Projected)DET 145 625 3 32 266 2 119.1  

Outlook: The sample size is miniscule, but Ameer Abdullah was perhaps on his way to special things before a broken foot ended his season in Week 2. During the Lions season opening victory against the Colts, we got a chance to see how the Lions planned to use their second-year back. Abdullah touched the ball 17 times (12 carries, 5 receptions) and piled up 120 total yards and a touchdown. For those counting at home (as most fantasy participants apt to do), that's over 7 yards per touch. Before going down with the injury in Week 2, Abdullah was averaging over 6 yards a carry on his attempts. It really looked like Abdullah could have been primed for a solid season last year, but can he recover and bring a spark to the Lions offense and fantasy squads alike?

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the main roadblock to fantasy relevance is playing time. The Lions run game under Jim Caldwell has been agonizingly specialized. Theo Riddick handles almost all passing situation duties, including hurry up situations and last year Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington were the goal line backs. This leaves Abdullah with few opportunities to flash his elite athleticism. He struggled with ball security as a rookie, and while he's had a healthy off-season, one has to wonder if the foot injury has cost him some speed and quickness. The Lions have been quick to name Abdullah their starter, but that means little with how much the other backs play. There is definite room to improve upon his rookie year numbers, but between the committee and the offensive line in a bit of flux, I don't think the needle can move enough to give Abdullah more than a look as a FLEX option with upside. He'll have to be borderline spectacular with the touches he gets, or rise to the top over injured teammates to be much more.

 Mike Gillislee, NE (Bye: 9)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 209   DOB: 1990-11-01   Age: 27
College: Florida   Draft: 2013 Round 5 (31) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015BUF547 267 3 6 29 0 47.6 9.5
2016BUF15101 576 8 9 50 1 116.6 7.8
2017 (Projected)NE 141 665 6 13 103 0 112.8  

Outlook: The Patriots signed Mike Gillislee from division foe Buffalo after letting LeGarrette Blount and his 18 rushing touchdowns leave for Philadelphia via free agency. Gillislee's skill set on short yardage and goal line carries reportedly impressed Bill Belichick so much in defensive meetings that he wanted to make him a Patriot in 2017.

Although often considered a bruising back with average speed, Gillislee averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry in each of his two seasons with Buffalo, including a 12-carry, 85-yard game against the Patriots in Week 8 that included a rushing touchdown.

On a negative note, the fact that the Patriots boast a backfield with four running backs that could see the field in any game situation negates Gillislee's value and will prohibit him from likely finishing as a RB1 in fantasy. But when it comes to goal line carries, no other team since 2012 has more one-yard to go carries than New England and Gillislee appears to be the primary player for those lucrative plays.

 Derrick Henry, TEN (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1994-07-17   Age: 23
College: Alabama   Draft: 2016 Round 2 (14) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016TEN14110 490 5 13 137 0 92.7 6.6
2017 (Projected)TEN 153 675 5 18 145 1 118.0  

Outlook: Opportunity is all that stands between Derrick Henry and fantasy accolades. The rest of the league seems to use a RBBC with lesser talent, but in Nashville the Titans prefer only one guy plucking on the fiddle. The team knows it has a true workhorse type runner in DeMarco Murray but they also want to get some return on their investment from last year's second round selection, Derrick Henry. He caught 13 of his 15 targets and maintained an YPC of 4.5 on his 110 carries so it's no secret he has the ability to be a true difference maker in the fantasy game. It's a good situation for the Titans but it's a bad situation for fantasy owners looking to invest in Henry because he remains a true backup who needs more touches to be a weekly fantasy starter in most formats. In his rookie campaign, following Week 7, Henry was able to post double-digit fantasy scoring four times but failed to score more at least five points in any of the other games he played during that time. His five touchdowns with limited touches may fool some to believing he can be used as a flex option in 2017 but his role says he won't be consistent enough to trust. That doesn't mean there isn't value to be had in drafting a talented running back on a run heavy team. Henry represents one of this season's best lotto tickets to buy and he will likely get scooped up in the middle rounds as a result.

 Eddie Lacy, SEA (Bye: 6)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 220   DOB: 1991-01-01   Age: 27
College: Alabama   Draft: 2013 Round 2 (31) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014GB16246 1,139 9 42 427 4 234.6 14.7
2015GB15187 758 3 20 188 2 124.6 8.3
2016GB571 360 0 4 28 0 38.8 7.8
2017 (Projected)SEA 155 682 5 21 164 1 120.6  

Outlook: After struggling to stay healthy and battling conditioning issues, Eddie Lacy now finds himself in a new home as the projected early down back in Seattle. The Seahawks signed the former Packer to what is essentially a one-year "prove it" deal, including numerous production incentives and even some much talked about weight incentives that he has already begun to achieve. The added pressure and accountability should help Lacy stay in shape but it also goes to show that Lacy is not yet fully trusted by the coaching staff.

He's likely the most physically skilled runner on the team but Lacy's job is one of the least secure in the league and there's no guarantee that he even makes it out of the pre-season as the team's top back. Not only that, but with the league moving toward running back by committee, Lacy could end up leading the team in touches while only getting around 50 percent of the carries. He's also unlikely to get much passing down work as long as C.J. Prosise remains healthy. Unless he returns to his impressive touchdown efficiency from his early days in Green Bay, the lack of touches could lead to Lacy being a frustrating player to own and a bit of a bust for fantasy purposes.

Still, the upside is huge for Lacy, especially given his dwindling ADP. If he can secure the role as the team's primary red zone runner as he did in Green Bay, there should be plenty of opportunities for Lacy to get back to the fantasy producer he was early in his career. Still just 27 years old, one could argue that Lacy is just now hitting his physical prime.

 Doug Martin, TB (Bye: 1)
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 223   DOB: 1989-01-13   Age: 29
College: Boise State   Draft: 2012 Round 1 (31) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014TB11135 494 2 13 64 0 67.8 6.2
2015TB16288 1,402 6 33 271 1 209.3 13.1
2016TB8144 421 3 14 134 0 73.5 9.2
2017 (Projected)TB 164 720 4 22 176 1 119.6  

Outlook: In 2016, Martin reminded fantasy owners of just how disappointing he can be before checking himself into rehab prior to the end of the regular season. So what can we make of his outlook for 2017? The facts begin with his four-game suspension that started at the end of the 2016 season. That means he has only three games left to serve and will be able to return Week 4 just in time for four straight games against quality defenses (NYG, NE, @ARI, @BUF). Martin's injury history (dating back to college) includes four lower body injuries and one shoulder injury. That isn't that much worse than the average back these days but knowing that he could miss a game or two is worth noting when you are considering investing in a player already tabbed to miss three games. The good news is that he is on the right side of 30 and the team is on the upswing. Though many fantasy owners will likely avoid the Muscle Hamster, there are still miles left on the tires that shouldn't be ignored. Martin should return to his role of lead dog in the backfield making him a solid bet to get at least 80 total yards each week he plays. That may not be RB1 material but there is a place for a veteran running back that can catch the ball out of the backfield. The key will come down to what each owner is willing to pay for his services or how much of a discount is required to take on a player that is probably a RB2 at maximum value and best valued as a quality RB3 outside the top 25 fantasy running backs.

 Theo Riddick, DET (Bye: 7)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 200   DOB: 1991-05-04   Age: 26
College: Notre Dame   Draft: 2013 Round 6 (31) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014DET1320 51 0 34 316 4 60.7 4.7
2015DET1643 133 0 80 697 3 101.0 6.3
2016DET1092 357 1 53 371 5 108.8 10.9
2017 (Projected)DET 87 349 1 75 582 3 117.1  

Outlook: Well on his way to yet another 80-plus reception season, Riddick played in only 10 games last season due to not one, but TWO injured wrists. After off-season surgery, Riddck is back and ready to be a dominant PPR back once again. Despite missing six games, Riddick was well inside the top-10 in targets for running backs with 67. Basically serving as a de facto receiver for Detroit, Riddick's five receiving touchdowns paced NFL backs. With Abdullah back to full health, look for Riddick's rushing attempts to be nearly invisible, meaning his truest value comes in PPR leagues, where he is solid starting option. This offense, while improved, should still struggle getting the ball downfield, meaning there should be plenty of check-down attempts to keep Riddick owners happy.

 Adrian Peterson, NO (Bye: 5)
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 217   DOB: 1985-03-21   Age: 33
College: Oklahoma   Draft: 2007 Round 1 (7) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014MIN121 75 0 2 18 0 9.3 9.3
2015MIN16327 1,485 11 30 222 0 236.7 14.8
2016MIN337 72 0 3 8 0 8.0 2.7
2017 (Projected)NO 151 636 5 18 116 0 105.2  

Outlook: Adrian Peterson has made a living out of proving people wrong his entire career. So it's not out of the ordinary that he will be picking up right where he left off entering 2017. Injury and off-field issues have devolved Peterson from being a consensus top fantasy player to a total crapshoot. He is slated to be Mark Ingram's backup so fantasy owners shouldn't expect more than 150 touches. Can a part-time Peterson be useful to fantasy owners? Absolutely. In shallow leagues, Peterson is a quality handcuff to those investing in Ingram. In twelve team and deeper leagues he is on the fringes of being worth the risk of a roster spot due to opportunity, not talent. Two years ago the former Viking produced a 4.5 YPC and over 1,700 total yards. He has plenty of motivation to succeed and a team that loves to put the ball in the hands of its playmakers. The downside is that unless the team departs from their pass happy ways, Peterson is not a lock to see double-digit touches with Ingram atop the depth chart or enough goal line carries to become a dependable touchdown vulture. New Orleans will undoubtedly give Peterson every attempt to add a few receptions to his stat line but that only adds to his upside not his projections. If you can stomach the risk, Peterson is only a few opportunities away from being a quality fantasy asset.

 Rob Kelley, WAS (Bye: 5)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 228   DOB: 1992-10-03   Age: 25
College: Tulane   Draft:
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016WAS14168 704 6 12 82 1 120.6 8.6
2017 (Projected)WAS 183 786 5 10 72 0 115.8  

Outlook: Kelley ran away with the starting job beginning Week 8 last season taking over for fumble-prone Matt Jones, who is out of the picture and buried on the depth chart. Rookie Samaje Perine, and third-down back Chris Thompson join Kelley as a likely three-headed monster for Jay Gruden in 2017.

"Fat Rob" finished with a respectable 704 yards and seven total touchdowns in 2016, but his 4.2 yard per carry average, including 3.4 in his final four games did not separate him enough to make him the clear-cut starter in 2017 but is instead penciled in to receive the bulk of the carries on early-downs the time Week 1 rolls around. With Perine, a talented rookie taken in the fourth round out of Oklahoma in the mix, Kelley could be in for a timeshare or lose his starting role altogether depending on how well Perine plays to start the season. Expect Chris Thompson to play his usual third-down role and garner 2-7 rushing attempts per game.

 LeGarrette Blount, PHI (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1986-12-05   Age: 31
College: Oregon   Draft:
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014NE15125 547 5 10 54 0 90.1 6.0
2015NE12165 703 6 6 43 1 116.6 9.7
2016NE16299 1,161 18 7 38 0 227.9 14.2
2017 (Projected)PHI 163 685 6 4 34 0 107.9  

Outlook: Blount led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (18) and set a career high in rushing yards (1,161) in 2016 as a member of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. As is often the case with the Patriots, who are masters of maximizing production while not paying for past performance, Blount was rewarded with a lowball offer and a free agent signing for below market value with the Eagles.

Although Blount is big and relatively agile for his size, he is not elusive and only excels as a powerful between the tackles running back (as evident to his subpar 3.9 YPC average last season.)

In Philadelphia, Blount joins a crowded group of running backs in which four running backs combined to carry the ball 353 times for first-year head coach Doug Pederson. The former Chiefs offensive coordinator proved that he prefers to use a backfield by committee, which could limit Blount's effectiveness for fantasy owners in 2017, as Blount received 299 carries in New England last year.

Despite these concerns, Blount will have significant value in standard leagues if he is given the majority of goal line carries in what appears to be a much-improved Eagles offense. If the team does not release Ryan Mathews and the two players share duties, Blount will be a nightmare for fantasy owners, as Pederson is unpredictable in how he uses his running backs.