Fantasy Stock Up/Stock Down: Running Backs

From Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, to OBJ and more, we will see a lot of players wearing new uniforms this upcoming season. How will these players’ new situations impact their fantasy stock? Let’s take a look.

Today, I will share my opinions on running backs and next week I will do the same for receivers.

Le’Veon Bell:

The last time we saw Bell in action was about 19 months when he put up a pedestrian (by his standards) 155 yards on 25 touches (9 catches) and two touchdowns.

Gase has historically done well with running backs as a head coach the last few years in Miami and he will definitely create opportunities for Bell to be Bell. Expect Darnold to settle in more this year and their line to be more sturdy as they acquired Osemele in a trade with Oakland.

However, I just don’t think he will be as productive as he was with Pittsburgh. His situation in Pittsburgh was perfect: HOF QB, best WR, and one of the best offensive lines. He is still a beast who will give you big numbers but there is a slight bust potential especially if you draft him too early.

It’s easy to expect his numbers to go down from his time as a top 3 fantasy RB in Pittsburgh. The only question is if you draft him before or after James Conner.

Verdict: Stock down

Mark Ingram

Ingram has consistently been valued at a solid RB-2 over the years. Since 2014, he has ended the year ranked as follows:

  • 2014: 15th
  • 2015: 15th
  • 2016: 10th
  • 2017: 6th
  • 2018: 28th (17th projected for a full-season)

Yes – all of this success and consistency came with the Saints, but don’t overlook Ingram. Baltimore is the best landing spot for Ingram. He is only 29, but the most important thing is his light workload (average of 194 total touches per season) and his limited competition in Baltimore for bulk touches in their run-heavy offense.

Ingram never quite reached the RB-1 tier, but expect him to continue his solid RB2 positon.

Verdict: Stock neutral

Tevin Coleman:

Coleman leaves his clearly defined role in Atlanta and enters a potentially chaotic three-pronged backfield in San Fran. Coleman, a career committee guy, joins fellow bannerman Jerick McKinnon and the third-year Matt Breida.

I don’t think any of these three will get the lionshare of touches, but I am intrigued by Coleman as he enters the prime of his career. He knows Shanahan’s system from his time in ATL very well and can versatially play all three downs. Historically and statistically, he performs above-average per touch and has an impressive touch per touchdown ratio.

I think his 5.12 ADP is a fair estimate, but I think he provides serious low RB2/Flex value. While I think no 49ers RB will hog the ball, I think his ceiling is higher than his ADP suggests, especially in PPR leagues.

Verdict: Stock up

Jordan Howard

2017 was a great year for Howard as he was a 1000-yard rusher, averaging over 4 yards per carry. His production and touches faltered with the rise of Tarik Cohen and now Howard plays for the Eagles. Howard brings stability to a team that hasn’t had the same RB lead the team in rushing since 2014.

Expectations and excitement is high for rookie Miles Sanders who was the second RB drafted in April. Regardless of the rookie’s camp buzz and how the preseason goes, Howard will certainly get the majority of early down carries for the first month of the season until Sanders gets more experience.

Sanders is the more elusive, faster option and is looking like the upside play in the Philly backfield. Not to mention, Howard is non-existent in the passing game.

Verdict: Stock down

Latavius Murray

New Orleans is the ideal landing spot for Murray and he will do a great job replacing Ingram. The Saints are outspoken about not overworking Kamara so expect Murray to get an uptick in carries. With Brees continuing to age (while still being amazing), I expect the Saints to run the ball much more heavily and Murray should get over 10 touches per game.

In his career with Oakland and Minnesota, he has provided underrated value without putting much tread on the tires. Over his career, he has averaged over 4 yards per career and almost 7 touchdowns per year. And that was in Oakland and Minnesota. I think it’s fair to say his situation is much better in New Orleans, where two years ago they had two RBs in the top six of fantasy scoring.

I don’t look at Murray as a handcuff to Kamara, I think he is a viable RB2 or Flex. Given where he will probably be drafted, I really like Murray.

Call his stock a 2009 Disney Movie that makes you cry in the first five minutes…because it is UP!

Verdict: Stock up

Stay tuned next week for my analysis on AB, OBJ and the other receivers who changed teams this offseason.

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