So first off, let me just say that it has been one heck of a weird first half of the 2017 Fantasy Football season. If I’d told you going into the season that not a single one of LeSean McCoy, Jay Ajayi, DeMarco Murray or David Johnson would be in the Top 10 for RBs come Week 6, none of you would have believed me. Heck, some of you would have understandably called me an idiot. Yet here we are a month and a half into the NFL season with just that having happened.
However, this has also given us a chance to evaluate all RB situations for the remainder of 2017, and I think I’ve figured out a few struggling and/or underneath the radar RBs to put your faith in going forward. So without further ado, here we go.
Okay, so I get it. Most everyone has been burned by McCoy this season as he was likely your 1st or 2nd round pick. The age 29 RB Curse sadly got to him as well, a subject I actually tried to write an article on this offseason, but could not find quite enough evidence to my liking to release it. But that said there is still a spark of hope for McCoy this season, and it lies in his schedule.
McCoy got a very tough slate of games to start 2017 off with. In 4 of 5 games he’s played the 14th or better rush defense, including having to play the 2nd and 5th ranked Broncos and Panthers. But once we get past Week 7, where he’ll play the 12th ranked rushing defense of the Bucs, it’s pretty smooth sailing.
Starting with Week 8, McCoy will play only a single rush defense currently ranked higher than 19th, which is the Saints in Week 10. After them it’s a lot of much easier rush defenses to contend with for McCoy, who continues to be used heavily in Buffalo, averaging just shy of 23 touches per game. Combine that with such an easy slate of games ahead of him, I fully expect McCoy to bounce back big time in the 2nd half of 2017.
There’s not much to say here besides the fact that holy cow, New York needs to run the football a LOT from here on out. As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Giants are hurting at WR, having now placed 3 of them on IR, including their top 2 WRs in Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall. On top of that their expected top RB Paul Perkins is currently nursing bruised ribs. So with that, in came Orleans Darkwa, who impressed last week in a featured role.
In Week 6 Darkwa was handed the keys to rushing attack for the New York and responded wonderfully, putting up 117 yards on 21 carries against the vaunted Denver rush defense no less. With the Giants in dire need of some consistency on offense, darkwa is looking like just what they need, and is looking like a good bet to produce in the second half of the 2017 Fantasy Football season.
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara
So in fairness to Ingram and Kamara, the relatively slow start is not entirely on them. I say relatively because Ingram is 14th in both Standard and PPR while Kamara is 29th and 19th in Standard and PPR respectively, which is not THAT bad.
The 3 headed backfield of Peterson-Ingram-Kamara never found its footing and made it hard for any of the 3 to get enough touches to be Fantasy relevant on a consistent basis. But with Peterson now shipped off to Arizona and the Saints having decided on a 1-2 punch of Ingram and Kamara, well we got to see how well that combo works in Week 6. Both Ingram and Kamara got cooking against the Lions, and I expect them to keep finding success in their now much better defined role son offense.
I would expect Ingram to continue to be the more consistent Fantasy option between the two as he will likely see in the area of 20 carries and 5 targets a game, whereas Kamara is more likely to be in the 10 carry, 5-10 targets a game sort of area. Ingram will also be the goal line, further making him the better option of the two. That said, both will likely do well for the remainder of 2017 and will likely be RB2/3 material for the rest of the season.