With the aftermath of the NFL Draft settled for now, we have a clear picture of some early Fantasy Football winners and losers. There were of course many displaced or potentially displaced veterans at every position, but perhaps none more so than at running back. There was an influx of RB prospects from the top of the draft all the way through the undrafted free agent signees. Leonard Fournette will immediately push aside Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon for feature back duties. Christian McCaffrey will be an impact PPR asset for the Panthers, splitting time with Jonathan Stewart. While Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook enter seemingly crowded situations, they should both be able to take over RB1 duties for their respective teams before the end of the season, if not the end of the summer. What about some of the other teams that either did or did not spend draft capital on the position?
New York, New York by Tha Dogg Pound
“New York, New York: big city of dreams. And everything in New York ain’t always what it seems. You might get fooled if you come from out of town. But I’m down by law, and I’m from the Dogg Pound.”
The good news for Paul Perkins is that the Giants didn’t take a running back during the first two days of the draft. They did take Wayne Gallman, the Clemson back with solid but not spectacular ability. He should top out as a complement to Perkins, but not threaten his job unless things really go sideways. Perkins will be an intriguing RB2 option in drafts this summer, albeit a risky selection. In dynasty, he seems like a candidate to be overvalued. Perkins is perhaps best dealt while his value is high and he sits atop the Giants depth chart. Shane Vereen’s role will limit Perkins total upside, as he pilfers five targets per game. Gallman is flier material in redraft, but not much more without a strong summer performance.
Heavy Horses by Jethro Tull
“Iron-clad feather-feet pounding the dust, An October’s day, towards evening, Sweat embossed veins standing proud to the plough.”
Melvin Gordon was able to shake Danny Woodhead and the Chargers did not do much to replace the void. Consider that excellent news for Gordon, who should be a Top 5 RB when healthy. While his career yards per carry average sits under four, he’s caught 74 passes in 24 games and managed 12 TDs last season. With a lack of workhorse backs, Gordon will be a sought after property in dynasty formats. I would not be opposed to selling if you are getting an elite receiver in return. Otherwise, hold him and wait for a strong start before you shop him around. Gordon has the upside to be the best back in Fantasy this year.
Battle by Colbie Caillat
“You’ve got them on your side. And they won’t change their minds. Now it’s over. And i’m feelin like we’ve missed out on everything. I just hope it’s worth the fight.”
Ty Montgomery became a hot commodity last season after a move to the backfield, and rightfully so. Can it continue? The Packers addressed their lack of RB depth by adding three backs in the draft, with two of particular interest immediately. Jamaal Williams will top out as an early down grinder, but he should get the first crack at a piece of the job with Montgomery. Aaron Jones is the real wild card to keep an eye on. Jones is a SPARQ freak with major game-breaking potential. Devante Mays was also added as a big-bodied RB with surprising quicks for his size. Look for Montgomery to have RB2 value initially, especially in PPR formats. Williams could earn a role on first and second down, as well as at the goal line.
Wear You Out by Buddy Guy & Billy Gibbons
“I’m gonna wear you out. Yes I’m gonna wear you out. I ain’t slowing down. Until I wear you out.”
Spencer Ware is being leapfrogged too quickly by many Fantasy analysts. Yes, rookie Kareem Hunt brings in a well-rounded skill set and overall game, but Ware was really impressive until he started to get banged up around midseason last year. The Chiefs also dealt with injuries on the offensive line which contributed to Ware’s general ineffectiveness in the season’s second half. Hunt is a Top 20 rookie draft selection, but there’s a good chance he is more of a handcuff than an impact player as a rookie. Given a chance at redemption, Ware has RB2 upside and that could come at a value in redraft formats and dynasty leagues alike. Charcandrick West did nothing to solidify a role last year and he should get immediately passed up by the talented rookie.
Teach Me How To Dougie by Cali Swag District
“Teach me-Teach me how to dougie. Errybody love me Er-Errybody love me. Errybody love me you ain’t messin’ with my dougie.”
Doug Martin reportedly looks to be in great shape and the Bucs have made it seem like they are going to keep him rostered for the upcoming season. He is suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season, but Martin remains a cheap RB2 for redrafters. In keeper/dynasty leagues, his inconsistency will drive you crazy, but his value is too low to consider moving him. Instead, grab Jeremy McNichols in your rookie draft and solidify the backfield. Jacquizz Rodgers was impressive last season and that earned him a two-year contract with the Bucs, but he’s nothing more than depth. Charles Sims is a nice change of pace back and an excellent receiver, but he’s not really a threat to become a starter. If anyone is going to emerge as a true handcuff, I would bet on McNichols, but this could be a messy 2017 for Fantasy owners. Plus, head coach Dirk Koetter even mentioned the possibility of McNichols not even making the team, but that would be surprising.