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running back camp battles

Fantasy Football: Running Back Camp Battles

Running Back Camp Battles

Shane Swager here, I’ve teamed up with Jason Soukup also known as 2drinkminimum or as I call him 2drink. In this article we breakdown the RB situations on every NFL team.  This will be a breakdown of our perception of the team and how we are assuming each NFL team will use its running backs.  We tried to keep it short and sweet but as you’ll see some got a little bit more long winded than others.  


nfc north rb

Detroit Lions

I personally don’t believe there to be much of battle in this backfield.  Look for Ameer Abdullah to be a RB2 with weekly upside pushing the bar to RB1 numbers. Theo Riddick hopefully returns from his wrist injury expect to him to be the PPR back you’ve come to expect. Zach Zenner is the handcuff to Abdullah and could take some goal line touches.  Also watch second year running back Dwayne Washington.@swagzilla

Green Bay Packers

Ty “Full Monty” Montgomery is currently and without injury will be the Packers RB1, wish I didn’t have to pay a late 3rd for him. Not saying that Rookies Jamaal Williams (10th round ADP) and even Aaron Jones (undrafted in 12 team ADP) won’t get some run this year but its Ty’s job to lose.  As long as his pass protection has gotten a little better, he’s the dude there. @2drinkminimum


Jordan Howard is the solidified starter for the Bears whether I believe in him or not.  This battle for the backup.  Watch for Jeremy Langford to challenge Ka’Deem Carey to be the first on the field after Howard. Langford should win the job and begin to share carries with Howard.  Watch for rookie Tarik Cohen to immediately get some passing work out of the backfield. I see a RB by committee coming even if Howard gets first snaps.  Temper Howard expectations. @swagzilla


Should be an improved purple OL, they brought Latavius Murray (11th round ADP) who is just a plotter that benefited from a Great Oakland line; Jerick McKinnon is a decent passing catching back, the rookie Dalvin Cook does what those do together but better and even at the 4th round ADP…I’ll take it and run or catch. Cook will be better most are expecting but not this guy, check my Fresh Meat rankings and you will see why. Fresh Meat Rankings @2drinkminimum

 nfc south rb

Atlanta Falcons

Devonta Freeman is a top fantasy RB, and he’s being paid to resume the role for a few years.  Tevin Coleman could be in line for more passing routes this year.  In between keeping Freeman fresh and catching passes Coleman can be flex play with huge weekly RB2 upside. –@Swagzilla

New Orleans Saints

Mark Ingram obviously pissed Coach Payton off and the Saints brought Adrian Peterson in, ADP wise going literally side by side in the 6th, I’ll pass unless I went zero RB to start.  I’ll go AP if you make me because he has something to prove and not in the Coach’s doghouse just yet.  Don’t forget about the Rookie Alvin Kamara who isn’t being drafted until the 13-14 round range and we know the Saints produce good PPR backs regardless of who it is and Rookie hot take is going to finish with more points that the other two. @2drinkminimum

Tampa Bay Bucs

Jacquizz Rodgers is said to be in line to get the starts while Doug Martin serves his three game suspension. With rumbling that Rodgers could keep the job if he shows well while Martin serves his suspension.  I’m still going with a bold prediction that rookie Jeremy McNichols is given an opportunity to shine and runs with it.  That said I’m not drafting Doug Martin this year.

(I want to add that this was written before the Thursday night Bucs game)

Wow he looked good I realize that, for now I’m standing by my Martin claim.  Maybe he gets traded. @Swagzilla

Carolina Panthers

The Shiny new toy getting all kinds of buzz and videos of him shaking defenders in practice are fun to watch. Christian McCaffrey going in the middle 3rd seem risky for an offensive scheme that we are not sure what will really look like, 3rd round also means you’re paying for ceiling.  Jonathan Stewart (don’t throw up in your mouth right now) at the end of 9th will probably exceed that pick value as crazy as it sounds, he won’t be abandoned in the run game. –@2drinkminimum


nfc east rb

Washington Redskins

Rob Kelley has an opportunity to be a starting RB in the NFL, he’ll be sharing this amazing opportunity with rookie RB Samaje Perine. I’m assuming Rob Kelley to win this job easy for 2017.  Samaje Perine being a strong handcuff and maybe not worth the price you need to pay in redraft leagues.  Early fumbling issues could have already hurt Perine.  Last but not least look for Chris Thompson to get a lot of the passing work out of the backfield and also compete for touches.  Thompson could be an absolute steal this year with an average ADP of 195 overall in PPR and RB 56 in PPR.  I think he more than returns that fantasy football production.  –@Swagzilla

New York Giants

Paul Perkins didn’t look good in the first preseason game and Orleans Darkwa did, it’s one game with so let’s ease that hype train. Perkins and his 6th round value isn’t overpaying for his ceiling and maybe closer to his floor. I’ve heard for too long about Shane Vereen and his PPR value, even in the 14th round area I just don’t want a guy that can’t stay healthy. Darkwa is listed as the back up to Perkins, expect him stealing plenty of Goal Line and short yardage work (Darkwa currently undrafted in ADP) Wayne Gallman (rookie/Clemson) probably needs at least one injury to make his mark. –@2drinkminimum

Philadelphia Eagles

LeGarrette Blount be the “workhorse” running back. Look for him to get the short down work which will without a doubt include goal line work.  I’m not excited about Blount off a career year at his age.  Could Wendell Smallwood challenge Blount for reps?  While Smallwood isn’t the girthy 250 pound Blount he has the body to handle the load.  While he’s no Shady, Smallwood could fill a much needed role with his elusiveness.  At 34 years old the aging PPR stud Darren Sproles should be owned as nothing more than a late flyer in PPR leagues.  Rookie Donnel Pumphrey could be a spark out of the backfield if given the chance. However he’s likely behind Sproles for the foreseeable future and nothing more than a late stash in deep leagues or dynasty.

***Ryan Mathews cut by the eagles and is currently a FA@Swagzilla

Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension is currently 6 games long but is being appealed as you read this. Many believe it will be reduced, I’m not so sure. If Ezekiel Elliott falls to the 3-4 turn I can’t see myself passing on him there, he’s a league winner period. In the meantime, Darren McFadden currently in the 12th but I could see it going as high as 6th round if the suspension is upheld. I like going after Alfred Morris closer to that 12th round mark or maybe even a little later especially if your draft happens before the suspension appeal takes place, yep you read that correctly. –@2drinkminimum


nfc west rb

San Francisco 49ers

Who wants to know what Kyle Shanahan is doing with this backfield?  I’m at such a loss for words that I expect this one to be a little winded.  Apologies in advance. Carlos Hyde looks to be the presumed start in San Francisco.  I still can’t help but assume the writing’s is on the wall.  I believe this backfield to soon be in the hands of rookie Joe Williams and to be complemented by Matt Breida.  Neither shined as I wanted to see in preseason but both did well in their showing.  Brieda took more touches than any of the backs but Williams did well with his seven.  Joe Williams looks like he wants the job.  I don’t know what to make of Hyde and his two touches for zero yards but to say the least I think Kyle wants to see what he has in the rookies and whether they can move on from Hyde or not.  Last but not least, Kyle Juszczyk could be inline to see snaps at FB and TE and could be a very sneaky play late in your draft. Juszczyk could take goal line carries and be a passing down threat out of the backfield and lining up as a TE. What more could you ask for from a guy you can currently find on waivers?  All that said and we still need to view Hyde as the starter.  I’m staying away from Hyde.  Hopefully he is cut or trades and this backfield gets easier to figure out. –@Swagzilla

Seattle Seahawks

Eddie Lacy getting paid to lose weight while Thomas Rawls taking the first team work in practice. Best Value is Rawls in the 10th (recently drafted him in the 15th of a 10 team ppr league), The Rawls Royce runs like a bowling ball with knives sticking out at all angles, but that ball never lasts. CJ Prosise or CJ Pro”Not-a-GOAT”sise is 9th round ADP and Lacy up in the 7th.  Wait and take the guy in Rawls that is the starter, that way when he breaks down you didn’t invest as much. –@2drinkminimum

Los Angeles Rams

Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp should help open up the run game. It’s Todd Gurley he’s a stud, he’s going return to RB status!  Don’t miss out on this deal!  Lighten up on the dude! Gurl Problems@Swagzilla

Arizona Cardinals

Can’t be as short as Swags with his Gurley love but these backups are a crap shoot.  Do I really need to tell you that David Johnson is pretty good? If you want to take a handcuff with your last pick of the draft then…well ok.  But good luck picking the right one: CJnot2K in a long time, Andre Ellington “not sure if I’m a WR or RB” and rookie TJ Lang dislocated his wrist in the HOF game. Just don’t do it with the Cards Handcuff is concerned. –@2drinkminimum


afc north rb

Baltimore Ravens

Kenneth Dixon getting injured really helped clarify the situation in Baltimore.  Danny Woodhead in the 4th means you are paying for the ceiling but Terrance West in the 8th feels like a much better value.  We do remember that Danny boy is coming off an ACL tear and is on a new team, right? That being said Woody finishes as an RB1 every odd year so that must stay true.  Fine Woody in ppr at value is fine and Twest in standard in the 8th isn’t bad either. –@2drinkminimum

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon will be the workhorse running back in the Cincinnati backfield. Jeremy Hill is the backup to Mixon.  Back from injury and leading teams huddles Giovani Bernard is looking healthy and ready to resume his role as the stud pass catching back.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hill traded.  No need to make a mountain into a molehill I’m already over this Hill. –@swagzilla

Pittsburgh Steelers

At the time of writing this Le’Veon Bell still hasn’t reported yet.  That being said, as long as he doesn’t hold out he is a top 3 pick Max in any format.  Don’t forget about the rookie James Conner, going in the 14th, although he’s dealing with a Shoulder injury but the kid beat cancer so how’s a bum shoulder going to hold him back.  Let us not forget about Fitzgerald Toussaint, as the number 2 RB behind Lev has had value every year. DeAngelo Williams won people some championships just two years ago. Cough, myself, cough. –@2drinkminimum

Cleveland Browns

Isaiah Crowell is the starter in this backfield.  Duke Johnson is the passing down back and may also get work out of the slot.  Duke could be inline for a monster PPR year.  Rookie Matthew Dayes will see an increased role if either Crowell or Johnson were to get injured. Cleveland doesn’t have the deepest RB stable so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Dayes getting worked in as early as week one. –@Swagzilla


AFC south rb

Indianapolis Colts

Old Man Frank Gore currently in the 7th round is a perfect RB2 for your team, especially those out there wanting to go “zero RB.” Gore continually finishes as the RB12 somehow.  I personally don’t believe he finishes that good this year but RB16-24 range isn’t crazy. Robert “Turd Furgeson” Turbin (sorry he really pissed me off last year stealing many TDs away from gore, I have nothing against the man) is showing well in camp, 13th round value make sense if you want to back him up and the rookie Marlon Mack hasn’t quite lived up to the hype just yet. @2drinkminimum

Jacksonville Jaguars

Rookie of the year Leonard Fournette has been put in position to take the league by storm.  He is without a doubt the every down back the Jags need.  Chris Ivory is the handcuff, I’m actually not even interested in ivory in the leagues I own Fournette in.  TJ Yeldon should still see passing downs however will hardly have flex appeal with the addition of Fournette. –@swagzilla

Houston Texans

I like Lamar Miller more than most.  I know they brought D’onta Foreman,  ADP end of 13th isn’t bad, because Coach O’Brien wants to take a little off Miller’s plate so he can hold up for the entire season.  What I think will be an improved offense, even if it is rookie QB taking the snaps, leads to more chances to score; Pair that with a strong defense and game scripts will still lean Miller’s way.  Right around the 2-3 turn, (currently 3.03) will be the sweet spot for Lamar. –@2drinkminimum

Tennessee Titans

DeMarco Murray is the starter, splitting carries with second year RB Derrick Henry.  Call me crazy but I expect Henry to show he deserves 50% of the Titans touches and slowly but surely takes the backfield over. –@swagzilla


afc west rb

Miami Dolphins

I don’t think this is as simple as it sounds.  Sure Jay Ajayi should pound the rock and end of the year the offensive scheme really shifted to power run.  Need the offensive line, mainly the center Pouncey, to stay healthy.  With Smokin’ Jay (please God no) or Matt Moore chucking the ball around I see lots of run heavy scripts as long as the defense can hold their own.  Don’t forget about Kenyan Drake, I like him to make a nice leap in year two, ppr back that could see increased workload if…I mean when the Dolphins fall behind and at a free price tag (15+round ADP) why not take a shot? Even Damien Williams stole some TDs at the end of last year and he is also free, probably for a reason. I will be drinking a lot watching my Dolphins this year. –@2drunkonmyFINS

New England Patriots

Mike Gillislee, James White, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis that order for me.  Who’s knows with Bill Belichick?  I hate to even speculate with this team week to week so to try and assume what happens in 2017 makes me feel inadequate at best, but here goes I don’t believe Gillislee will match Blounts 18 TDs but feel he will get most short down and goal line work.  I think James White plays what’s become known as the “Shane Vereen” role.  James White could arguably have the most upside given his ADP.  He’s a fan favorite and I wouldn’t be surprised if he shares some work with Gillislee. –@swagzilla

Buffalo Bills

LeSean McCoy moving up to RB3 overall most places following the Zeke suspension and with Sammy moving away many think that McCoy could lead the Bills in receiving this year.  As long as his 29 year old body holds up, Shady could push for RB1 overall (yeah I said it).  Just don’t forget about 2nd year Jonathan Williams, Gillislee (now in a Pats uniform) had 8 TDs last year while backing up Shady, I don’t expect that much from Williams but 5 TDs isn’t crazy to think about. –@2drinkminimum

New York Jets (Voldemort)

Fantasy Football Breakdown has made a decision to not speak of this team. I don’t advise anyone from this backfield to help you compete as of now. That said if you have a serious question about this backfield we will do our best to seriously try and help. –@swagzilla


afc west rb

Kansas City Chiefs

All reports seem to point in the direction of Kareem Hunt practicing well and challenging Spencer Ware for the starting role.  Ware produced well early last year but really dropped off once the OL got injured and missed the rest of the season. Ware going in the late 4th to early 5th round and Hunt in the 8th, I’ll take the value of the Rookie (Hunt) in the 8th because by the end of the season I see these two finishing close in overall scoring or The Huntman taking control. –@2drinkminimum

Denver Broncos

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Jamaal Charles is on the team week one you want to own him. CJ Anderson will likely be number one on the depth chart. I don’t see Anderson as the talent that Charles is though.  Jamaal Charles has too much pride to be on that team without a strong role.  I could see him taking on a strong percentage of the workload.  I’m also not ready to count Devontae Booker out.  Said to miss six weeks with a broken wrist Booker could by all means be back by week one.  Rookie De’Angelo Henderson looks promising I think he will still have to get past Booker. Before the injury Booker was a nice breakout candidate. I don’t personally believe that’s changed. –@swagzilla

Los Angeles Chargers

Easy, right? It’s Melvin Gordon and moving on. Not so fast my friend. For PPR drafts that have a deep bench I don’t mind throwing a dart of Brandon Oliver.  Gordon got hurt at the end of the last year and Old Man Rivers has been talking up Oliver in camp. He’s going undrafted, so in a deeper league take that defense one round earlier than you normally would so you can use that very last pick on Oliver…you’re welcome. –@2drinkminimum

Oakland Raiders

Beast Mode is back?  This is perhaps the best offensive line Marshawn Lynch has played behind.  I hate to be cliché here but if Latavius Murray can finish RB12 behind this line I don’t see how Lynch won’t do that or better.  With DeAndre Washington looking like the second RB on the depth chart I’m assuming him to be the Lynch cuff.  I’m skeptical about the role of Jalen Richard, this may seem bold but something has to give here.  We have to make room for Elijah Hood.  With a similar build of the above mentioned Beast Mode I can’t help but wonder if he’s the future.  He’s my darkhorse to take over this backfield if Lynch goes down and I believe Hood to be a must own in dynasty formats. –@swagzilla


Well there ya have it, I’ve enjoyed putting this together with Jason. We may have even given more than we bargained for. From workhorse backs, sleepers, to late steals a couple dart throws and guys we don’t feel are worth a damn.


Find us together on the Fantasy Football Breakdown Podcast, here on or Twitter @FF_Breakdown

I’m Shane Swager find me @swagzilla on Fantasy Life app, @SwagzillaOG on Twitter and Sleeperbot

He’s Jason Soukup find him @2drinkminimum on Fantasy Life app and @FL2drinkminimum on twitter

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