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Fantasy Football Observations from Week One of the NFL Preseason: Running Backs

By Travis Pulver - 6 years ago in Daily Fantasy, NFL News

The NFL preseason has begun which means that NFL fans and analysts will soon be overhyping any and every early standout—it happens every year. A few rookies and/or young guys play well in limited reps in a meaningless preseason game, and people are ready to put them in the Hall of Fame.

This is not to say that the players people are overreacting about played poorly. No, they did play as well as those over-hyping them are saying. Some of them could become significant players in daily fantasy play this year.

But let’s not forget something very, very important.

It’s only preseason.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get excited about them. Baker Mayfield did look great against the Giants (11-20 for 212 yards and two touchdowns). But Tyrod Taylor looked great as well, and Browns head coach Hue Jackson has been adamant that Taylor is the No. 1 QB in Cleveland.

But let’s save quarterbacks for another day. Instead, let’s take a look at how some of the rookie running backs played:

•    Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions: He’ll have to fight for reps with LeGarrette Blount and Theo Reddick. But if he can keep averaging 4.9 yards a carry (seven carries for 34 yards; had a 57-yard run called back) and contribute in the passing game (five receptions for 33 yards), he’ll get on the field.
•    Saquon Barley, RB, New York Giants: Was there ever any doubt that he could be a daily fantasy beast? Yes, his overall body of work didn’t amount to much (four carries for 43 yards). But if you saw him rip of 39-yards on his first carry, you’d understand the excitement surrounding him.
•    Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins: Kenyan Drake is expected to carry the load. But in today’s NFL, no one carries the load alone. While Ballage may be known more now for getting kicked out of the huddle by Ryan Tannehill, he did play well in his first game (ten carries for 37 yards; three receptions for 23 yards).
•    Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens: He went undrafted out of Rutgers. But if he can continue to average 4.8 yards a carry (12 carries for 58 yards; helped by a 25-yard run), he could give Joe Flacco the rushing attack he’s been missing.
•    Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns: It was disappointing to see the Georgia standout gain only 11 yards on 15 carries. But before we throw him out, let’s see how the rest of the preseason pans out for him.
•    Bo Scarbrough, RB, Dallas Cowboys: He isn’t going to take any carries away from Ezekiel Elliot, and he did most of his damage (nine carries for 33 yards and one touchdown) on one run (28 yards). But it was a really nice run.
•    Ralph Webb, RB, New England Patriots: the rookie out of Vanderbilt didn’t have an excellent per carry average (3.3 yards; 14 carries for 46 yards). But he did have some nice runs and scored twice. With Sony Michel on the mend, he is getting an opportunity to make a name for himself; so far, so good.

Week 1 fantasy football advice

•    Trenton Cannon, RB, New York Jets: Isaiah Crowell is expected to be the leading man this season for the Jets. But should he have injury issues as he did in Week One, Cannon (11 carries for 40 yards) may be the next in line.
•    Chris Warren, RB, Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden knows he needs to find Derek Carr a reliable running game. If the former Texas running back can have more nights like the one he had against the Lions (13 carries for 86 yards; long of 26), he may have it.
•    Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos: Case Keenum is going to need a good run game to take some pressure off. Freeman didn’t do much (four carries for 38 yards and a touchdown). But if his 23-yard touchdown run is any indication, he could be in for a big rookie season.

Going forward

It is, of course, way too early to make any decisions about anyone. But many of these guys gave fans and daily fantasy players something to be excited about. For preseason NFL football, can we reasonably expect more than that?


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