The initial week of training camp is mainly about letting players obtain feet back under them following a long offseason. Most teams only put pads on and started hitting within recent days, and there is not too much it is possible to study from professional football players playing two-hand-touch that will translate to Sundays.
Still, I thought today will be a good time, in the center of our RB preview week, to update you on where every team’s backfield stands. I am scouring every beat writer’s Twitter timeline and newsfeed for all you need to learn about where things stand heading in to the first preseason game of the growing season. Yep, football is on your own television — or computer or tablet, that is 2022 in the end — screen at 8 p.m. ET, because the Jaguars and Raiders start in the Hall of Fame game on NBC. Or, more accurately, the Jaguars and Raiders backups start tonight, because we shouldn’t be prepared to start to see the names of way too many people we realize on the market this week.
But we’re able to learn something tonight. I, for just one, am excited to see rookie Zamir White play for the Raiders, because he’s among the best late-round sleepers, so hopefully he’s on the market. In exceeding each team’s RB depth chart and hierarchy in the current newsletter, White is among the non-starters I identify as potentially moving quickly up Fantasy draft boards with an excellent preseason and camp, so I’d want to see him log off to an excellent start tonight.
In tomorrow’s newsletter, I’ll proceed through how each one of the top 12 running backs in ADP could bust, check out the best ADP values and who I’m fading at the positioning, and I’ll answer a few of your running back questions send them my way at Chris.Towers@ViacomCBS.com with the topic line “#AskFFT” to be included. And you will want to be sure you have a look at Jamey Eisenberg’s latest Busts column to see who he’s avoiding.
But also for now, here’s the most recent you should know about every backfield in the league.
Wearing down every RB depth chart
The Cardinals seemingly want multiple backs involved, but it isn’t clear whether which will be Benjamin or Williams. Conner has handled plenty of injuries through the years, but if he is able to take on a more impressive role in the passing game than he previously for a lot of last season, he’s got top-five potential in this offense. I lean Williams because the backup to possess at this time, though it is not clear from camp reports yet if you have the lead on the other.
- No. 1: Cordarrelle Patterson (presumably)
- Backups: Damien Williams, Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, Qadree Ollison
Patterson may be the do-it-all guy who’ll split out wide, although Falcons have managed to get clear they would like to be cautious along with his usage after he faded down the stretch. Williams got the initial crack with the initial team, but with Williams out Wednesday, Huntley and Ollison got some additional reps with the very first time. Allgeier gets his reps too, so that it doesn’t appear to be there is a ton of clarity here. Fantasy analysts are betting on Allgeier, the rookie, but I’ve got my eye on Huntley as a deep sleeper.
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you want to subscribe.
Thanks for registering!
Monitor your inbox.
There is one processing your subscription.
Dobbins is looking to be equipped for Week 1, but he figures to be worked in somewhat slower than he otherwise will be or even for the injury. With Edwards more in doubt for the beginning of the standard season, that leaves open the chance that Davis could possibly be Fantasy relevant in early stages at this time, I’m assuming he’ll obtain the first crack at it, although coaching staff hasn’t really tipped its hands at this time. Based on the Ravens official site, expect the preseason games to function as real test.
The surprise here’s that Moss appears like he might matter a lot more than we expected. He was inactive sometimes toward the finish of last season, so his role will probably drop to whether Buffalo opts to help keep three true running backs active on game day. But this may be more of chaos than we expected and given Buffalo’s background as among the worst offenses for running backs in Fantasy, any split figures to render whoever the lead back is really as a fringe Fantasy option.
All three backs figure to be active on game days, though coach Matt Rhule did mention that Hubbard’s role might tilt more to the special teams side, at the very least provided that McCaffrey is healthy. It may be among those situations where Foreman may be the backup when McCaffrey is healthy while he and Hubbard split work if anything happens to McCaffrey. I don’t believe either of the backups has much appeal in drafts.
It appears like Ebner and Evans are competing for the third-string role, with Herbert locked in because the backup. Predicated on how he looked last season 197 yards in two games as a starter Herbert has real RB2 appeal if anything happens to Montgomery, but he does not have much value when Montgomery is healthy.
Perine and Evans are competing to function as backup to Mixon, and that role has some standalone value, though insufficient to matter for Fantasy if Mixon is healthy. Perine is in the lead at this time, as coach Zac Taylor acknowledged recently, however the battle isn’t over at all.
We realize how this works: Chubb is really a dynamite rusher and Hunt is among the best complementary backs in the league. Provided that both are healthy, they take sufficient in one another to limit Chubb to more of an RB2 role, while Hunt is really a flex. But he remains among the highest-upside backups in the league. What we’ll have to watch a lot more than anything may be the NFL‘s just-announced selling point of Deshaun Watson‘s six-game suspension. The league was pushing for a season-long suspension, and which could be in play. This offense will be a lot less interesting with Jacoby Brissett because the QB.
Regardless of the protestations of Fantasy players everywhere, the Cowboys remain focused on Elliott. Actually, owner Jerry Jones recently said he still wants Elliott to function as “focus” of the offense, though he added there’s “room for Pollard while Zeke is within.” So, it appears like it’ll be nearly the same as last season. For what it’s worth, Elliott was probably much better than you remember before his early-season injury he averaged 101.4 yards per game with six touchdowns in the initial five games.
Lions coach Dan Campbell is acknowledging that the team needs to be careful in managing Swift’s workload after he’s got struggled with injuries in his first two seasons. He’s got Austin Ekeler/Alvin Kamara-esque upside as a pass-catcher and may be considered a top five Fantasy RB, but expect WIlliams to obtain 8-12 carries most weeks, much like last season.
That is going to be considered a split backfield in the same way it had been last season, though with the lack of Davante Adams, more could be asked of both in the passing game. Aaron Rodgers praised Dillon’s growth in the passing game because the team acquired him, but Jones still figures to function as primary pass-catcher from the backfield. For his part, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso recently wrote about why he thinks this is actually the year Dillon gets control because the team’s primary back.
- No. 1: Unclear Marlon Mack, Rex Burkheadand Dameon Pierce competing for the role
- Backups: See above.
At this stage, it appears like an open competition with Mack and Pierce getting the majority of the buzz. Whether that eventually ends up being true once the games matter is really a different question, but Pierce may be the guy most Fantasy players are gravitating towards. The thing is, this figures to become a bad offense and neither Pierce nor Mack profiles as a large pass-catcher, so there’s probably just low-end RB2 upside for whoever wins. It isn’t a thrilling battle at this time.
The Colts have spent all offseason discussing finding methods for getting Hines more involved after he took a step back last season, but we realize this offense runs through Taylor. We might see more two-RB sets, but Hines still profiles as only a low-end PPR starter even yet in a best-case scenario.
- No. 1: James Robinson/Travis Etienne
- Backups: Ryquell Armstead, Conner Snoop
Basically every report about Etienne out of camp has been positive, and he quite definitely appears like he may be the team’s best playmaker. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll dominate carries Robinson is healthy coming off his ruptured Achilles and appears like he’ll prepare yourself to play in Week 1. Needless to say, as Cam Akers showed last season, there is a huge difference between “prepared to play” and “prepared to make a direct effect” with this particular injury, so Robinson remains firmly outside the top 100 in ADP. I love drafting him there.
Pacheco has surprisingly seen some use the first-team offense, and his speed (4.37 40-yard dash) will make him another weapon in this offense. The question is whether he’ll have the ability to carve out a pass-catching role, or if he’s competing more for early-down work. Whether it’s the latter, it’s harder to obtain worked up about him.
Williams is among the more controversial backs in Fantasy this season. He’s a talented player with a knack for breaking tackles, but he spent the majority of his rookie season in a frustrating timeshare, and Gordon is back. Williams may be the lead back this offense, but he’s continuing to split use Gordon in the first-team offense, if you thought Williams would render Gordon irrelevant, that has been never likely to function as case. Williams is really a risk at his early-second round ADP, however the upside especially in case of a personal injury to the 29-year-old Gordon remains considerable.
White missed the initial week of camp having an injury, that is always a negative sign for a rookie. Still, the Raiders rejected Jacobs’ fifth-year option, so there is no long-term commitment with either of the very best two backs on the depth chart here. If White impresses in camp, there’s another shot he’s got a genuine role come Week 1.
Your competition behind Ekeler remains spacious, which is potentially an extremely valuable role, both as Ekeler’s complement and potential injury replacement. I’m pulling for Spiller to win the work, but at this time it appears like he’s working more with the next and third teams. He’s got an opportunity to change that as camp continues on, and I’m ready to have a chance on him in the ninth-round range. .
Akers didn’t look great in his return from the ruptured Achilles last season, and I remain skeptical that he’ll hit the upside some envision. However, if he’s healthy and effective, he’s more likely to dominate touches in this offense, and that matters for a whole lot. Monitor Williams, who suffered a broken foot but could possibly be back prior to the end of training camp. Darrell Henderson is okay, but his inability to remain healthy has seemingly soured the coaching staff on him, so Williams can work his way in to the next-man-up role.
The Dolphins have already been nearly impossible to obtain a continue reading in camp in the last two seasons there just doesn’t ever appear to be much to set off from reporters on the hierarchy, that was how exactly we went from an expected competition between Matt Breida and Malcolm Brown in 2020 to Gaskin dominating snaps in Week 1. At this stage, things look truly spacious, though Edmonds and Mostert experienced some absences from camp in recent days, that could give Michel a chance. He’s a dark horse to become a viable starter in what we be prepared to be a highly effective rushing game in the mold of San Francisco’s.
You understand how it operates here. When Cook is healthy, he dominates. When Cook isn’t healthy — a thing that happens a lot more than you’d like from your own first-round pick, despite the fact that he’s mostly were able to avoid lengthy absences since his torn ACL Mattison is really a top-five back.
The Patriots are playing things so near to the vest that they’ve refused to mention an offensive coordinator this year, so don’t expect them to just turn out and reveal if Stevenson has usurped Harris. However, he’s probably the most high-upside back on the roster, with the capacity of providing an identical bruising rushing style to Harris while also seemingly having more trust as a pass-catcher. Don’t ignore Montgomery, however he appears to have a leg through to the pass-catching role which has typically been White’s when healthy. White had 13 targets in the initial two games last season, so Montgomery may have some appeal for zero-RB builds in early stages.
A potential suspension continues to hold over Kamara’s head, given the felony battery charge he could be facing. However, he previously his preliminary hearing postponed to late September, also it increasingly appears like that situation might not be resolved in the legal system until following the season. That likely means the NFL won’t drop with a punishment until next season, if.
Barkley has already established lots of positive what to say about Brian Daboll’s offense, which figures to become more creative in how they get him the ball. Barkley continues to be seeking to recapture his rookie season glory days, but I believe you can at the very least assume that, if healthy, he will not be ceding touches and snaps like he was last season. Breida and Brightwell likely only matter if something happens to Barkley and remember, his ankle injury last season originated from stepping on someone’s foot.
Hall has been lining up all around the formation in camp up to now, and the expectation remains that he’ll start. However, the expectation also remains that the Jets will utilize multiple backs. Hall gets the potential to be always a difference maker, but this offense must be much better than it had been last season for him to become a huge Fantasy contributor. That upside will probably be worth chasing, though I’m a little less than the consensus on Hall at this time.
The Eagles are rotating backs in camp a lot more than this past year, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com, with one recent stretch showing Sanders getting 10 reps with the initial team while Boston Scott got five; Sanders also got nine reps with the next team. Gainwell appears to be working more with the next team, but he remains the trunk to focus on here, for me; we realize Scott is more of a change-of-pace back, but Gainwell may be the No. 1 guy if something happens with Sanders, who’s entering the ultimate year of his rookie contract.
There’s been some talk this offseason about limiting Harris’ workload, but I’ll think that when I view it. And I haven’t seen much reason to believe Harris is actually likely to split work in the backfield a thing that really hasn’t happened through the Mike Tomlin era in Pittsburgh. Snell remains the backup, but he’s given little reason in his career to believe there’s much cause to be worked up about that.
Mitchell is coming off offseason surgery on his knee and struggled to remain healthy as a rookie, but all indications are he remains the principal back for the 49ers. That said, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan did at the very least hint at some frustration with Mitchell’s trouble remaining healthy, saying, “but we are in need of Elijah to obtain back to practicing and being in keeping with that because what he did his first year was great, but in the event that you miss that much, it’s not created to last.” Here’s another quote that caught my eye, though: “”In the event that you didn’t know much better. You would believe that Trey Sermon and Jordan Mason were the very best running backs on the team.” Sermon fell into Shanahan’s doghouse last camp, nonetheless it appears like things have gone far better these times, and he’s an intriguing late-round target for Fantasy entering Year 2.
Penny enters camp because the presumed starter after Chris Carson‘s retirement, but Walker looms as a talented young runner prepared to part of if Penny falters. Injuries have already been the principal thing holding Penny back throughout his career, and that is always a problem here. As may be the quality (or lack thereof) of the offense. Penny hasn’t been a lot of a pass-catcher either, so there is not huge upside here unless he’s consistently breaking off long runs like he did late last season when he averaged 134.2 yards in the ultimate five games.
The Buccaneers like White enough they invested a third-round pick in him, and several viewed the Arizona State back because the best pass-catcher at the positioning appearing out of college. However, coach Todd Bowles still discusses Fournette such as a three-down back, so we ought to expect him to stay that. White might put in a more explosive element to the passing game, but Fournette’s capability to play all three downs is quite valuable to the offense. And the ones concerns about Fournette carrying excess fat during minicamp look completely during the past now. He’s a good RB1.
Maybe we won’t see Henry in the preseason to help keep him fresh, but Henry will probably dominate touches for the Titans when healthy. That last qualifier needed to be added for the very first time after he suffered a broken foot and missed the next half of the growing season, also it makes the massive 28-year-old a risk given his physical style and workload history. Hilliard looked decent in a more impressive role with Henry out last season, however the Titans leaned on D’onta Foreman more heavily, and Haskins could fit that mold more naturally if something were to occur to Henry again.
Robinson, the team’s third-round pick, has earned a lot of praise in camp, to the stage where some Fantasy analysts are beginning to get antsy in what it could mean for Gibson’s value. Those concerns are fair, though it isn’t clear if Robinson is truly a threat to Gibson’s first-team role yet. Another mouth to feed within an offense that already heavily features McKissic because the pass-catching complement is really a concern, but Gibson still has room to have a step forward being an all-around player, so I’m not writing him off at this time. Given just how much hype there is around him this time around last year, I love the thought of buying low on which is currently a fifth-round ADP.