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The Shot Caller's Report - Wk 1 Running Backs

By Colby Cavaliere | 9/10/20 |
Bye Weeks: N/A
QBs | RBs | WRs

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Jonathan Taylor @ JAX

From the second he walked on the field and dominated the country as a freshman, Taylor was destined for the NFL. The most physically gifted and productive runner in the 2020 draft, Taylor lasted until the 2nd round before Indy scooped him up. He’s going to love playing behind the meanest offensive line in the NFL, and while Marlon Mack muddies the waters a little, Taylor is going to lead this team in touches from the go. I think the Colts can and will build a lead in this game, and lean on Taylor to grind out the rest. Rivers should be able to get the team in multiple scoring opportunities, so while the rookie from Wisconsin might not have a boatload of touches, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit paydirt a few times. Get Taylor in your lineup as an upside RB2.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs HOU (THU)

CEH might not be the physical specimen that Taylor is, but he has a more direct line to touches, is an elite receiver, and just happens to play on the best offense in the NFL. Selected at the end of the first round, Edwards-Helaire benefited greatly from the opt-out of Damien Williams. He’s been talked up all off-season by coaches and teammates, and while he will likely cede some touches to Darrel Williams, the former LSU Tiger has the skills to be hyper efficient with his chances. Andy Reid offenses have made fantasy studs out of just about any runner who earns starter’s reps, so CEH should produce numbers simply by default. In a bizarre offseason, rookie runners aren’t as handicapped as other skill positions might be, so don’t hesitate to get the rookie in your lineup.

Dalvin Cook vs GB

At the moment all is quiet with Cook and his contract. There is a chance that by the time this article goes live, Cook has decided to play hardball and hold out, and in that case, just imagine Alexander Mattison’s name in this slot! With the Packers still smarting from their drubbing at the hands of the 49ers in the playoffs (Mostert just scored again) and the Vikings breaking in some new pass catchers, look for Minnesota to run the ball early and often against Green Bay. His 154 yards on the ground last year against the Packers was a season high. Cook’s production dropped off significantly in the 2nd half of the season, so don’t be shocked if they manage his carries early on, especially in games that are in-hand. That shouldn’t be the case in a hotly contested division game against a bitter rival, so start Cook without hesitation.

Devin Singletary

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Devin Singletary vs NYJ

A fumbling problem and the emergence of rookie Zack Moss have taken much of the luster off Singletary’s fantasy outlook. Mega explosive with the ball in his hands (5.1 yards per carry last season), Singletary is going to get the opportunity to lead this backfield, but the fumbling issue seems to be a big enough deal that the first time he puts the ball on the ground could cost him significant playing time. Certain coaches have been famous for harshly punishing fumblers, and the presence of Moss might make that an easier call for McDermott. With his touchdown scoring severely capped by Allen and Moss, Singletary could be in for a tough go in standard leagues this season. I want to see just how real the hype is for Moss before I commit to Singletary as a starter.

Jacksonville RBs vs IND

With the release of Fournette the “Tank for Lawrence” plan is in full effect. Jacksonville will rely on a perennially injured 3rd down back (Chris Thompson), and undrafted players Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) and James Robinson to carry the mail on a team with the lowest projected win total. 2019 5th round pick Ryquell Armstead has two stints on the Covid list and is unlikely to play much early in the year, but should be a part of the rotation eventually. Some combination of these guys should be rostered but starting someone Week 1 seems like madness.

Ronald Jones @ NO

The old adage “actions speak louder than words” applies perfectly to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Despite lauding Jones as “the guy”, Tampa spent a 3rd round pick on Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the spring, added Shady McCoy over the summer, and recently helped Leonard Fournette stay in Florida by signing him to a one-year deal. Jones has also missed some recent practices with a foot injury. Jones was good, but hardly special last season, so it’s not impossible to see Fournette lead this backfield in carries as soon as Week 1. This is one of several backfields that I want no part of, at least until the pecking order shakes out.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers