Whether its with players or coaches, there are always plenty of roster moves each offseason. Those moves tend to open up opportunities for other players. Here are 5 running backs ready for a break out season.
1. Dalvin Cook (RB - )
If Cook can stay healthy for 16 games, he could have a career season in 2019. His injury risk is real so we don't want to sugarcoat it. He tore his ACL in Week 4 of his rookie season in 2017 and battled a hamstring injury last year. In his two seasons in the NFL, he's missed 17 of the 32 regular season games. If you can handle the risk, the reward just may be worth it. In the 15 games that he played, he averaged just over 14 fantasy points (PPR). Last year, when Kevin Stefanski assumed the offensive coordinator role, Cook averaged almost 17 fantasy points (PPR) per game. With an improved offensive line, Cook has an opportunity to break out on a team that has every intention of leaning on the run game.
He's currently ranked 12th among running backs making him a low-end RB1. With a favorable schedule ahead of him, his ADP has him going near the middle of the second round.
2. Damien Williams (RB - )
We're not particularly concerned with the arrival of Carlos Hyde in Kansas City. We know what Williams can do both as a runner and a pass-catcher. His tremendous finish to 2018 and the numbers Kareem Hunt delivered over the previous year and a half point to the high ceiling that comes with his new starting job. Hyde, meanwhile, looks like more of a solid handcuff with availability in Round 9. Williams is in an Andy Reid offense and offers plenty of excitement for fantasy owners looking for a running back with huge upside.
He's currently ranked 16th among running backs making him a high-end RB2. He's going to go off the boards near the mid/end of the second round.
3. Marlon Mack (RB - )
Last year showed us that Mack can be a starter in all formats. He's running behind a great offensive line in an offense that is efficient and puts up points. For Mack to be a regular fantasy stud, he needs to stay healthy. The fact that he's been dealing with a hip ailment this offseason is reason for some concern, but we want some of those points that the Indy offense is sure to put up. It would be nice if Mack was more involved in the passing game given that Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and potentially Spencer Ware all do a nice job in that facet of their game. Of all those backs, Mack is the one to own and is in a great position to break out in 2019.
He's currently ranked 15th among running backs making him a high-end RB2. Mack is coming off the boards at the start of the third round.
4. Kerryon Johnson (RB - )
Johnson averaged almost 14 fantasy points (PPR) per game last year before suffering a knee injury in Week 11. While he was incredibly efficient (5.4 yards per carry), he was also under-utilized. The Lions have indicated that they plan to run the football more this year, so as long as Johnson can carry the load, is given plenty of touches, and can stay healthy, he has the potential to be a significant contributor to your team on a weekly basis.
He's currently ranked 19th among running backs making him a low-end RB2. With a favorable schedule this year, look for him to come off the boards near the end of the third round.
5. Kenyan Drake (RB - )
Talent has never been the question with Drake. The real question has been usage. With Frank Gore gone, Drake will need to battle Kalen Ballage for the starting role. While both guys are talented, Drake has the upper hand. When he was the featured back during the final five games of 2017, he averaged 118 yards per game. Last year we got to see his efficiency catching passes out of the backfield, and it's that pass catching edge that will serve him well as he breaks out in 2019.
He's currently ranked 24th among running backs making him a RB2/RB3. Look for him to be taken at the start of the fifth round.
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