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Regular Season, Updated: 8/17/17

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 Joe Williams, SF (Bye: 11)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 210   DOB: 1993-09-04   Age: 23
College: Utah   Draft: 2017 Round 4 (15) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017 (Projected)SF 104 425 3 17 114 1 77.9  

Outlook: It's still early so the hype train hasn't yet left the station, but rumblings about Joe Williams are starting to get louder as we head into his rookie season. Williams flashed tremendous speed and big play ability in college which will delight many fantasy owners who are bored of what we've seen in recent years with the San Francisco offense. His size and speed combination would seem to indicate that he'd be a late-down back, but what we've seen from him on the field has been quite the opposite. Williams is not a good, or even a decent pass protector at this point which will certainly hurt his potential to be on the field on obvious passing downs. Not only that, but he doesn't catch passes particularly well. In fact, Williams caught just nine total passes in his senior season at Utah and dropped a whopping five of the 30 total passes that went his way throughout his college career.

Unless he completely transforms from the type of player he was in college, Williams' road to playing time will likely have to come in early down relief of the team's starter, Carlos Hyde. Hyde does have an injury history that could give fantasy owners some hope, but the likelihood is very low that Williams touches the ball a significant number of times in a game where Hyde is healthy. Williams does have some long-term upside in dynasty leagues due to Hyde being in a contract year, but he'll need to make the most of the few touches he does get in order to be seriously considered as the long-term answer for the team at running back.

 DeAndre Washington, OAK (Bye: 10)
Height: 5’8”   Weight: 204   DOB: 1993-02-22   Age: 24
College: Texas Tech   Draft: 2016 Round 5 (4) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016OAK1386 467 2 17 115 0 70.2 5.4
2017 (Projected)OAK 95 485 3 22 166 0 83.1  

Outlook: Prior to the signing of Marshawn Lynch, the DeAndre Washington hype train for 2017 was in full effect. The 5'8" back was effective as a rookie, rushing for an impressive 5.4 yards per carry while entrenched in a running back by committee fantasy nightmare alongside Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard. Murray was the lead dog in that backfield but did miss some time in the middle of the season. During that time, it was Washington who saw his snaps increase most significantly, nearly out-snapping Richard by a 2-to-1 ratio while Murray was out. Lynch will almost certainly see the lion's share of the early down snaps for the Raiders in 2017 and while Richard is better suited to handle passing down duties, it could be Washington who is really the "handcuff" to Lynch if there is one to be had. This means that while Richard will likely outscore Washington on the season, Washington's upside might actually be higher. Either way, this situation is unpredictable and there's a good chance that both Washington and Richard will go undrafted in many leagues.

 Jamaal Williams, GB (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 212   DOB: 1995-04-03   Age: 22
College: Brigham Young   Draft: 2017 Round 4 (28) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017 (Projected)GB 117 515 4 6 46 0 80.1  

Outlook: While he lacks elite size, speed, or athleticism (hence the 4th round pick designation), Williams tape stands out, showing a nifty one-cut runner who churns out tough yards, and has exceptional vision and leg drive. Despite missing three games last season, Williams still eclipsed the 1,300 yard mark to go along with 12 touchdowns. On most NFL offenses he's probably at best a low-upside back-up, but on Green Bay, I think he has some special potential to carve out fantasy value. Much like former Packer James Starks, Williams is a smart, versatile back who can be the main ball carrier if called upon. His lack of elusiveness is made up for the fact he'll never see run blitzes or stacked boxes, and can instead use his instincts and field vision to find small creases and get to the next level of the defense. His size and power should make him a favorite at the goal line as well. With Lacy and Starks the Packers had a versatile 1-2 punch that could whittle down the clock, but make splash plays as well. I think Williams has a chance to contribute to the Pack, as well as your fantasy team this year, and is a fantastic late round flier if you can grab him there.

 Jeremy Hill, CIN (Bye: 6)
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 233   DOB: 1992-10-20   Age: 24
College: Louisiana State   Draft: 2014 Round 2 (23) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014CIN16222 1,124 9 27 215 0 187.9 11.7
2015CIN16223 794 11 15 79 1 159.3 10.0
2016CIN15222 839 9 21 174 0 155.3 10.4
2017 (Projected)CIN 119 452 4 9 60 0 75.2  

Outlook: Hill's career arc has trended way down since his glorious rookie season. In recent years his utter lack of big play ability and role in the passing game has held the offense back, and combined with the injury to Gio Bernard, led Cincinnati to take the risk of adding Mixon in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft. Ball security and confidence has seemed to sap Hill or his effectiveness, this despite the Bengals sticking with him through thick and thin. And that's the rip. This coaching staff has maintained staunch support for the 4th year back, so he's going to have a role. Let's not forget that Hill has scored 30 touchdowns in his career and has averaged 10-plus fantasy points per game all three seasons. I know he's struggled mightily and Mixon was added to the mix, but Hill is barely being drafted as one of the top-50 running backs currently and I think that's criminally low. I don't see the huge regression in carries that most do, and he'll still be the preferred option at the goal line. His PPR value is dreadful, but in standard leagues I'd be more than happy to add a 24-year old runner that has finished as the RB21, RB14, and RB10, despite "under producing". Cincinnati will stick with Hill until Mixon forces their hand. Watch this backfield closely this preseason. Hill could provide some huge value compared to where you can get him in drafts.

 Jonathan Williams, BUF (Bye: 6)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 220   DOB: 1994-02-02   Age: 23
College: Arkansas   Draft: 2016 Round 5 (18) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016BUF827 94 1 1 0 0 15.4 1.9
2017 (Projected)BUF 99 416 4 13 83 0 73.9  

Outlook: The departure of Mike Gillislee to rival New England opened the door for second-year running back Jonathan Williams to assume the No.2 and short yardage role for the Bills, a team that ranked first in team rushing yards in each of the past two seasons.

Williams, a powerful 5'11", 220 former fifth-round selection in the 2016 NFL draft from the University of Arkansas, had a lackluster rookie season in spot work with 94 yards on 27 carries and a rushing touchdown. But his role is certainly going to expand in 2017, as the Bills will likely look to limit LeSean McCoy's carries to keep him fresh, and Shady is not a very effective short yardage ball carrier.

Also, Williams' value would shoot through the roof if McCoy were to get injured, which is not out of the question considering Shady has yet to play a full 16-game season in his two years with the Bills.

 Shane Vereen, NYG (Bye: 8)
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 205   DOB: 1989-03-02   Age: 28
College: California   Draft: 2011 Round 2 (24) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014NE1696 391 2 53 447 3 113.8 7.1
2015NYG1661 260 0 59 495 4 99.5 6.2
2016NYG533 158 1 11 94 0 31.2 6.2
2017 (Projected)NYG 75 345 2 39 326 2 91.1  

Outlook: The oft-injured Vereen has been a disappointing, yet consistent member of the Giants since joining the team in 2015. The former Patriot averaged 6.2 fantasy points per game in each of his two years with the G-men, with 2016 being an injury-shortened campaign in which he managed to play in just five games. He is the clear third-down back and passing option for Manning out of the backfield, with a defined role that makes him much more valuable in PPR formats than standard leagues. With no more than four touchdowns in any of his six NFL seasons, including his best year as a pro in 2013, Vereen is a fringe play for PPR owners in deep leagues.

 Giovani Bernard, CIN (Bye: 6)
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 205   DOB: 1991-11-22   Age: 25
College: North Carolina   Draft: 2013 Round 2 (5) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014CIN13168 680 5 43 349 2 144.9 11.1
2015CIN16154 730 2 49 472 0 132.2 8.3
2016CIN1091 337 2 39 336 1 85.3 8.5
2017 (Projected)CIN 85 356 1 35 316 2 85.2  

Outlook: Bernard was having trouble holding a ton of value even before going down in Week 10 with a torn ACL. Outside of a huge 9-catch, 100-yard receiving day in Week 2, Bernard wasn't producing his typical numbers in the air, failing to surpass 50 yards or 5 receptions. Seeing as much of his value in standard leagues (and especially PPR leagues) came via the air, this was a letdown for fantasy owners. Cincinnati seems to have never seen Bernard as a lead back, and with the addition of rookie Joe Mixon, this is more evident than ever.

The good news for Bernard is that his recovery from ACL surgery seems to have been flawless, and he's making noise in camp. I don't think the Bengals anticipated having Bernard for meaningful snaps to start the season, but now that they do, this will change the backfield rotation significantly. Look for Jeremy Hill to remain the goal-line back, and for Bernard to be the 3rd down and no-huddle option. At least early on, look for Mixon to be sprinkled in, and Bernard to be good for 8-10 touches a game. I don't know that this changes much as the season goes on, so I have real trouble finding a place for Bernard in standard leagues. It's simply not enough volume for a guy who averages around 4 yards-per-carry for his career. So while the injury risk isn't as big as it once was, the development of Mixon weighs more heavily on Bernard's value. Add Gio as one of the last runners on your roster and hope Mixon gets off to a slow start I guess.

 Samaje Perine, WAS (Bye: 5)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 233   DOB: 1995-09-16   Age: 21
College: Oklahoma   Draft: 2017 Round 4 (7) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017 (Projected)WAS 104 456 3 9 66 0 70.2  

Outlook: A talented and physical running back that set the NCAA single-season rushing record (427 yards) in 2014, Perine landed in an interesting spot behind Rob Kelley in the Redskins backfield. With a comparison of Michael Turner by some NFL scouts, Perine does not have the shiftiness of a Le'Veon Bell or the burst of a young Adrian Peterson, but he is a powerful runner similar to Kelley that will fit will in Jay Gruden's rushing scheme. He's the favorite to spell Kelley on early downs and has an outside shot to take over the starting role at some point during the season.

 Chris Thompson, WAS (Bye: 5)
Height: 5’8”   Weight: 187   DOB: 1990-10-20   Age: 26
College: Florida State   Draft: 2013 Round 5 (21) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014WAS23 12 0 6 27 1 9.9 5.0
2015WAS1335 216 0 35 240 2 57.6 4.4
2016WAS1668 356 3 49 349 2 100.5 6.3
2017 (Projected)WAS 57 287 2 50 365 2 89.2  

 Charles Sims, TB (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 214   DOB: 1990-09-19   Age: 26
College: West Virginia   Draft: 2014 Round 3 (5) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014TB866 185 1 19 190 0 43.5 5.4
2015TB16107 529 0 51 561 4 133.0 8.3
2016TB751 149 1 24 190 1 45.9 6.6
2017 (Projected)TB 69 284 1 29 244 2 70.8  

Outlook: Sims has not been able to live up to the promise he flashed at West Virginia. Most of that can be attributed to an assortment of injuries that have derailed two of his three years as a pro. Even when healthy, Sims has not been able to find the end zone and Tampa's decision to draft a similarly talented player, Jeremy McNichols, shouldn't excite fantasy owners. At best, Sims will overcome his health woes and be used in a limited third-down role unless injuries knock out multiple players above him on the depth chart. Both Sims and McNichols have already dealt with injuries this off-season but are on track to battle with Peyton Barber during training camp. Like most rookie running backs that make their living in the passing game, McNichols faces a steep learning curve in pass protection before getting anywhere close to the field on game day. Barber needed multiple situations to break his way before getting onto the field last season and even then he had paltry results. He is best left on the waiver wire-if he even makes the team out of camp.

 Dion Lewis, NE (Bye: 9)
Height: 5’8”   Weight: 195   DOB: 1990-09-27   Age: 26
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
2017 (Projected)NE 58 266 1 39 305 2 75.1  

 Jalen Richard, OAK (Bye: 10)
Height: 5’8”   Weight: 207   DOB: 1993-10-15   Age: 23
College: Southern Mississippi   Draft:
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016OAK1684 492 1 29 194 2 86.6 5.4
2017 (Projected)OAK 67 316 1 33 245 1 68.1  

Outlook: An undrafted rookie seemingly stuck behind two other young tailbacks on the Oakland roster, few could have predicted that Jalen Richard would provide the pop as he did in 2016. Richard finished the season with a whopping 5.9 yards per carry average - good enough for second in the NFL among running backs - and was also a productive receiver out of the backfield. While he never carried the ball more than 10 times in a single game and only scored three total touchdowns on the season, Richard was able to provide six double-digit PPR days to his fantasy owners. It appeared as if Richard may have a significant role increase in 2017 when Latavius Murray left in the offseason, but the addition of Marshawn Lynch certainly hurts the upside of both Richard and fellow second-year back DeAndre Washington. Richard's role in the offense shouldn't change substantially, however, as Lynch has never been a great pass catcher. Look for Richard to approach 40 catches this season which, combined with a handful of carries each week, should give him some low-end flex appeal in PPR formats, especially in games when the Raiders fall behind on the scoreboard.