Late round/waiver wire fantasy backs to target in your fantasy draft

Posted: July 25, 2018 in Football, New entries, NFL

Kerryon Johnson, Lions Running Back – New Lions head coach Matt Patricia is a defensive mastermind and will implement from his time in New England a more balanced ground/passing mix than has happened in Detroit in the past (The Lions were the last place rushing attack (32/32) in terms of rushing yards per game in 2017). As a defense guy, Patricia should rely more on the ground game and as evidenced by their investments in the offensive line this offseason. First round pick Center Frank Ragnow, free agents TJ Lang and Ricky Wagner bring a new-look offensive line for Detroit. LeGarrette Blount could steal some goal line touches from Johnson, but Blount’s best years are behind him and Johnson should have plenty of opportunity to win the starting job after playing big boy football against future NFL talent at Auburn for three years.

Nyheim Hines, Colts Running Back – The Colts, like the Lions have not boasted a fearsome ground game in seasons past. Hines has shown a strong running presence against above average D-1 defenses such as Florida State and Boston College. Hines’ 5’8″ stature mean that his 197-lb weight should not be a deterrent in helping him push through defenses. It should also be mentioned that the Colts organization invested a first round draft pick on Quenton Nelson who should open sizable running lanes for whoever lines up at running back for Indianapolis. Colts RB Marlon Mack has shown value as a gadget back like Tarik Cohen or Duke Johnson with pass catching prowess, Hines should have ample opportunity to earn the starting role as bruiser with low center of gravity.

Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos RB – I obviously am high on this rookie class of running backs. Freeman was an Oregon power back who has a chance to win a fairly open job against smaller back Devontae Booker who never took off in his rookie season. C.J. Anderson provided the physical presence for Denver last season with underperforming QB play. Freeman showed next level play against UW’s top five defense last season with over five yards a clip with more than one hundred yards. Freeman should see more touches to close out games as his build his tailor-made to push into eight man boxes Leonard Fournette style.

Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns RB – Now that the Browns have more reliable QB play they should be able to hand off the ball to fewer eight man boxes in 2018. The loss of Joe Thomas will certainly be felt but the Browns still have strong interior o-line run blocking play and added Austin Corbett for the future. Hyde has never been a sexy option at RB1 but is a reliable workhorse and has a favorable situation in Cleveland. Teammates Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb can threaten to take touches away from Hyde but he should be the favorite as it stands.

Frank Gore, Miami Dolphins RB – Gore entered the NFL when George Bush Jr was the president of the United States. He’s held a starting job since his second season when he ran for 1,695 yards rushing for the 49ers. The Dolphins brought in the league’s top free agent run blocking guard in Josh Sitton and return a quarterback who isn’t Jay Cutler. The involvement of rookie tight end Mike Gesicki should also open up more space near the line of scrimmage for Gore to do his job. Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake showed last season he’s more than capable of being the workhorse if Gore goes down or can’t perform well.

Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles RB – Depending on the size and intelligence of your fantasy league, Ajayi might end up being a first round pick or a late round gem. Ajayi overall boasted the strongest running back play from 2017. While the Eagles will spread the ball around at RB more than say Dallas or the Giants will, their ridiculous offense should still give Ajayi plenty of touches and points with sixteen full games and a full off-season to learn the offense. The Eagles retain an absurdly talented offensive line and have a passing attack to push back linebackers to give Ajayi more space to move the ball.

Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers RB – Breida is truly a late round pickup. Jerick Mckinnon looks to get the bulk of the carries but he has spent most of his career splitting time with another back. Breida is not the pass-catchiest of backs. As a matter of fact, in PPR leagues you should get nowhere near Matt Breida. In other leagues Breida can be a steal. He averaged four plus yards per carry as a rookie and six plus ypc against the Jaguars supposed league’s best defense.

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