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NFL Fantasy: Running Back Stock Watch

Each year as fantasy general managers we formulate and peg certain guys to be worthy as a fantasy star or starter. Then there are those guys who we try to evaluate as players who could transform into a star as training camp and preseason plays out throughout the month of August. In the wake of recent news, intuition, and performances I’ll be looking at the stock of several players at the running back position.

Risers

Duke Johnson – Duke leads all NFL running backs in receiving yards since he was drafted in 2015. The Browns made it crystal clear that they did not see a bigger role for Johnson in their offense. In steps Houston trading away a conditional fourth-round pick to acquire a more than capable back behind Lamar Miller. Johnson has the ability to thrive on every opportunity with an aging Lamar Miller who is a competent back on the downside of his career. Last year Johnson saw under 90 touches with the Browns and could easily become the go-to option by doubling or even tripling his touches in Houston.

Devin Singletary – Singletary comes in as the young and upcoming talent the Bills might finally have found. Not many believe that NFL veterans LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore can withstand an entire season of carrying the rock. McCoy had his worst season last year at 3.2 YPC and can’t seem to stay healthy for an entire season. With Gore going into his 15th season it’s unlikely that he will push anyone for a starting position. If I had to gamble on one Bills running back Singletary would be my guy. The Bills need to evaluate and give Singletary the opportunity to grow.

Tony Pollard – Let’s be honest for a moment. If Ezekiel Elliott plays this year he is the guy. Zeke has two rushing titles in his first three seasons. He would have most likely led all three if it wasn’t for his off the field issues. There’s still a chance Zeke takes a page out of Emmitt Smith’s book and sits out a couple of games. If that happens Pollard is the clear favorite as he has been the lead back throughout training camp. He has impressed everyone from Dak to Jerry Jones with his speed, athleticism, and running ability. In his preseason debut, he rushed four times up the middle for 16 yards. Even if Zeke comes back before the opener against New York we could see Pollard as the change of pace back Dallas makes a playoff push.

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard, center, carries against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

Fallers

Melvin Gordon – At this point, this should be no surprise. The man is obviously talented and a superstar. He is simply here because we are witnessing Le’Veon Bell 2.0. If Gordon decides to come back and play with the Chargers, which is unlikely, he is a top-5 option. Fantasy owners and Gordon himself need to hope for a trade at this point.

Tj Yeldon – How times have changed for Yeldon in the last couple years. Signing a two-year contract earlier this year, Yeldon is on the verge of being cut by the Bills. In the preseason opener, we saw Yeldon fumble one of two carries. As talked about earlier the Bills now have Singletary who is on a rookie contract and seems to be a younger, superior version of Yeldon.

Jerick McKinnon – McKinnon’s stock has fallen for one reason and one reason only, injuries. The man is extremely capable and talented when he is on the field. McKinnon missed the entire 2018-2019 season with an ACL injury. He has recently joined a slew of injuries for the 49ers so far this year with a setback in his return from the injured ACL. The Niners are optimistic he will be ready to go week one. This set back has certainly dropped his fantasy stock.

For more on the NFL and fantasy football check out the Forums Page on Overtime Heroics and follow me on twitter @FootballRaw.

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