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RBs

Preseason Wk 3 RBs, Pt 4 – Phong Ta

And thus ends the final night of tuneups for the Starters. Let’s take a look at the final 6 teams.

 

San Diego Chargers

So, good news. Melvin Gordon has FINALLY shown some signs of life as a RB in the NFL. He looked decisive and explosive against the Vikings.

The bad news is that if you take away the 39 Yard TD run that honestly even I could have turned into a 15-20 Yard gain(he was that untouched), Gordon had a YPC of just 3.5 on the other 12.
Anyway, Danny Woodhead has looked equally lifeless behind the Chargers’ O-Line this preseason, compiling a meager 14 Yards on 7 carries and a single catch, albeit it did go for 25 Yards. Gordon is being afforded every opportunity to make the backfield his and rightfully so. Woodhead is a solid player in his own right, but he’s not a guy you ask to carry the rock 275 times and catch it another 50. Gordon has that kind of potential, but he needs to show some kind of consistency.

Right now Gordon is going at 58th overall, end of Round 5, and for me, that’s simply too high a price to pay for a RB who has yet to show any sort of consistency in his NFL career, be it in the preseason or games that actually matter. If he somehow slips to me Round 7 I’d gladly take him then simply for the fact that he has a chance at 300+ touches this season. Alas, I know he won’t fall that far, so I’m unlikely to have him any League this fall.

As for Woodhead he has an ADP of 86th overall, the beginning stages of Round 8, and that’s a spot I’m comfortable taking him at. Gordon hasn’t shown us much of anything this preseason aside from 2 plays, so Woodhead should be locked in for a good workload this season. With the loss of Stevie Johnson he should take over a lot of the slot receiver, short yardage work, making his ADP of 52nd overall in PPR Leagues a bargain, having averaged 78 catches his last 2 healthy years.

Bottom line, unless Gordon slips a couple of rounds or you’re a brave(or foolish) gambling man, Woodhead is the guy to own in the San Diego backfield.

 

Minnesota Vikings

What is there to ask here, it’s the All Day Show in Minny, and it’s staying that way until the Cyborg we know as Adrian Peterson decides to retire.

Peterson is a complete 3 down RB who year after year shows us he’s not to be doubted. Tore up his knee? No biggee. Coming off of another 300+ carry season, no problem. Missed damn near an entire season? He just comes back to lead the NFL in Rushing Yards for the 3rd time.

There’s nothing to say here beyond you can take Peterson Round 1 and be confident in your choice. There’s nothing to worry about here unless you think he’s due for another freak injury, which is the only reason he’s missed significant time. Otherwise, aside from his suspension in 2014, he’s never missed more than 2 games in a season.

 

Arizona Cardinals

This one just kinda comes down to do you believe in David Johnson or not. He has everything going for him right now. He’s a true 3 down workhorse runner who can do it all. He’s better between the tackles than Chris Johnson and a better receiver out of the backfield than Andre Ellington. His Head Coach, Bruce Arians, rides his top RB almost to a fault, as more often than not his lead RB ends up missing a bit of time due to injury.

Aside from Todd Gurley, David Johnson was easily the most impressive rookie RB in 2015. He had a very good 4.65 YPC, caught 36 passes for 12.7 Yards apiece and added 12 TDs just for good measure. With a solid O-Line in place and Palmer and company keeping opponents occupied through the air, all systems are go for David Johnson to make a serious run as the #1 RB in Fantasy this season, and #1 overall for any non-QB.

 

Houston Texans

Much like with David Johnson, this backfield comes down simply to how much faith you have in Lamar Miller. He’s by far the most talented RB on the roster and it isn’t even close. He can run it up the middle with power, break it the outside if there’s nothing there, or turn a simple screen pass into a 40 Yard TD. Defenses can’t try to consistently put out 8 man fronts to slow him down either, or they risk DeAndre Hopkins getting behind them on a consistent basis for the 2nd year in a row. On top of that, everyone knows that the Texans have always had a preference for a workhorse RB over a committee(see Arian Foster from 2010-12, 2014).

Miller has all the makings of a Top 3 Fantasy RB this season. But there is one caveat to all of this; Can he stay healthy when given a true workhorse RB’s weekly 20+ touches?

There’s legitimate concern with that point. Philbin knew his job was on the line in Miami last season, yet still refused to let his most talented offensive player loose on opposing defenses. One has to think there’s a reason for it.

Personally I’m willing to take that chance. Miller has averaged just under 260 touches the past 2 years and still played a full 16 games in both. His current ADP towards the end of Round 1 is well worth the risk.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Here’s a 2 man backfield you can trust for certain.

Yes, Jeremy Hill had a huge sophomore slump, but he’s been decisive, explosive and hard hitting this preseason. He seems to be back to his old self, and can be had for a mere Round 4 price tag. That’s one heck of a bargain for a guy who has averaged over 20 touches a game for his career. Plus with the losses of Jones and Sanu, and the injuries to Eifert and LaFell, it would surprise no one if the Bengals go even more run heavy this season. The Jeremy Hill bounce-back campaign is real.

As for Giovani Bernard, he’s another guy I like a lot. His TDs saw a steep decrease down to 2 last season, but now he’s pretty clearly in line for even more receiving work this season. As I said earlier, Eifert and LaFell are dealing injuries, which quite possibly means that the only real competition he has for targets beyond Green is rookie Tyler Boyd. TDs are also a fickle beast, but consider this. The Bengals had 15 Pass TDs from within 10 yards of the goal line last year. With Sanu and Jones gone and Eifert and LaFell hurt, odds are Bernard is in perfect position to the 8 TDs he had as a rookie.  With an ADP of early Round 7 in Standard Leagues and early Round 6 in PPR, Bernard is a Top 20 RB candidate you can have for the price of an RB3 or Flex Player.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Another 2 man committee, this one likely won’t be as fruitful as its Cincinnati counterpart, but still offers solid value.

Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon are seeing about even playing time for the most part, but how they are being used is quite different. Ivory is handling most of the 1st and 2nd down carries, as well as short yardage and goal line work. This will make him a much better bet for Standard Leagues, where he’s going in the middle of the 6th Round. Jacksonville wants to be more balanced on offense this season, which is good for both Ivory and Yeldon, but particularly Ivory. He should be in line for 225-250 carries. Add that to what should be almost exclusively him near the goal line, Ivory feels like a safe bet for a Top 24 finish amongst RBs for 2016.

As for Yeldon, he’s seeing most of his work on 3rd down, and also as a receiver. He may not get as many carries and TDs as Ivory, but he’ll have most of the backfield targets to himself. Target him in PPR Leagues where he looks like a virtual lock for 40+ catches as a Flex Player/Bye Week Fill-In. With a mid Round 9 asking price, he’s well worth the pick.

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RBs

Preseason Wk 3 RBs, Pt 4 – Phong Ta

And thus ends the final night of tuneups for the Starters. Let’s take a look at the final 6 teams.

 

San Diego Chargers

So, good news. Melvin Gordon has FINALLY shown some signs of life as a RB in the NFL. He looked decisive and explosive against the Vikings.

The bad news is that if you take away the 39 Yard TD run that honestly even I could have turned into a 15-20 Yard gain(he was that untouched), Gordon had a YPC of just 3.5 on the other 12.
Anyway, Danny Woodhead has looked equally lifeless behind the Chargers’ O-Line this preseason, compiling a meager 14 Yards on 7 carries and a single catch, albeit it did go for 25 Yards. Gordon is being afforded every opportunity to make the backfield his and rightfully so. Woodhead is a solid player in his own right, but he’s not a guy you ask to carry the rock 275 times and catch it another 50. Gordon has that kind of potential, but he needs to show some kind of consistency.

Right now Gordon is going at 58th overall, end of Round 5, and for me, that’s simply too high a price to pay for a RB who has yet to show any sort of consistency in his NFL career, be it in the preseason or games that actually matter. If he somehow slips to me Round 7 I’d gladly take him then simply for the fact that he has a chance at 300+ touches this season. Alas, I know he won’t fall that far, so I’m unlikely to have him any League this fall.

As for Woodhead he has an ADP of 86th overall, the beginning stages of Round 8, and that’s a spot I’m comfortable taking him at. Gordon hasn’t shown us much of anything this preseason aside from 2 plays, so Woodhead should be locked in for a good workload this season. With the loss of Stevie Johnson he should take over a lot of the slot receiver, short yardage work, making his ADP of 52nd overall in PPR Leagues a bargain, having averaged 78 catches his last 2 healthy years.

Bottom line, unless Gordon slips a couple of rounds or you’re a brave(or foolish) gambling man, Woodhead is the guy to own in the San Diego backfield.

 

Minnesota Vikings

What is there to ask here, it’s the All Day Show in Minny, and it’s staying that way until the Cyborg we know as Adrian Peterson decides to retire.

Peterson is a complete 3 down RB who year after year shows us he’s not to be doubted. Tore up his knee? No biggee. Coming off of another 300+ carry season, no problem. Missed damn near an entire season? He just comes back to lead the NFL in Rushing Yards for the 3rd time.

There’s nothing to say here beyond you can take Peterson Round 1 and be confident in your choice. There’s nothing to worry about here unless you think he’s due for another freak injury, which is the only reason he’s missed significant time. Otherwise, aside from his suspension in 2014, he’s never missed more than 2 games in a season.

 

Arizona Cardinals

This one just kinda comes down to do you believe in David Johnson or not. He has everything going for him right now. He’s a true 3 down workhorse runner who can do it all. He’s better between the tackles than Chris Johnson and a better receiver out of the backfield than Andre Ellington. His Head Coach, Bruce Arians, rides his top RB almost to a fault, as more often than not his lead RB ends up missing a bit of time due to injury.

Aside from Todd Gurley, David Johnson was easily the most impressive rookie RB in 2015. He had a very good 4.65 YPC, caught 36 passes for 12.7 Yards apiece and added 12 TDs just for good measure. With a solid O-Line in place and Palmer and company keeping opponents occupied through the air, all systems are go for David Johnson to make a serious run as the #1 RB in Fantasy this season, and #1 overall for any non-QB.

 

Houston Texans

Much like with David Johnson, this backfield comes down simply to how much faith you have in Lamar Miller. He’s by far the most talented RB on the roster and it isn’t even close. He can run it up the middle with power, break it the outside if there’s nothing there, or turn a simple screen pass into a 40 Yard TD. Defenses can’t try to consistently put out 8 man fronts to slow him down either, or they risk DeAndre Hopkins getting behind them on a consistent basis for the 2nd year in a row. On top of that, everyone knows that the Texans have always had a preference for a workhorse RB over a committee(see Arian Foster from 2010-12, 2014).

Miller has all the makings of a Top 3 Fantasy RB this season. But there is one caveat to all of this; Can he stay healthy when given a true workhorse RB’s weekly 20+ touches?

There’s legitimate concern with that point. Philbin knew his job was on the line in Miami last season, yet still refused to let his most talented offensive player loose on opposing defenses. One has to think there’s a reason for it.

Personally I’m willing to take that chance. Miller has averaged just under 260 touches the past 2 years and still played a full 16 games in both. His current ADP towards the end of Round 1 is well worth the risk.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Here’s a 2 man backfield you can trust for certain.

Yes, Jeremy Hill had a huge sophomore slump, but he’s been decisive, explosive and hard hitting this preseason. He seems to be back to his old self, and can be had for a mere Round 4 price tag. That’s one heck of a bargain for a guy who has averaged over 20 touches a game for his career. Plus with the losses of Jones and Sanu, and the injuries to Eifert and LaFell, it would surprise no one if the Bengals go even more run heavy this season. The Jeremy Hill bounce-back campaign is real.

As for Giovani Bernard, he’s another guy I like a lot. His TDs saw a steep decrease down to 2 last season, but now he’s pretty clearly in line for even more receiving work this season. As I said earlier, Eifert and LaFell are dealing injuries, which quite possibly means that the only real competition he has for targets beyond Green is rookie Tyler Boyd. TDs are also a fickle beast, but consider this. The Bengals had 15 Pass TDs from within 10 yards of the goal line last year. With Sanu and Jones gone and Eifert and LaFell hurt, odds are Bernard is in perfect position to the 8 TDs he had as a rookie.  With an ADP of early Round 7 in Standard Leagues and early Round 6 in PPR, Bernard is a Top 20 RB candidate you can have for the price of an RB3 or Flex Player.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Another 2 man committee, this one likely won’t be as fruitful as its Cincinnati counterpart, but still offers solid value.

Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon are seeing about even playing time for the most part, but how they are being used is quite different. Ivory is handling most of the 1st and 2nd down carries, as well as short yardage and goal line work. This will make him a much better bet for Standard Leagues, where he’s going in the middle of the 6th Round. Jacksonville wants to be more balanced on offense this season, which is good for both Ivory and Yeldon, but particularly Ivory. He should be in line for 225-250 carries. Add that to what should be almost exclusively him near the goal line, Ivory feels like a safe bet for a Top 24 finish amongst RBs for 2016.

As for Yeldon, he’s seeing most of his work on 3rd down, and also as a receiver. He may not get as many carries and TDs as Ivory, but he’ll have most of the backfield targets to himself. Target him in PPR Leagues where he looks like a virtual lock for 40+ catches as a Flex Player/Bye Week Fill-In. With a mid Round 9 asking price, he’s well worth the pick.

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