Breakout Candidate: Could Marlon Mack Emerge As A Top 25 RB In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When we think about rookie running backs it’s the big names that fill the discussion.  Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook are the players everyone is clamoring to acquire, but as your drafts progress don’t overlook the potential value of another rookie runner.  Drafted in the fourth round (143rd overall) out of South Florida, the Colts’ Marlon Mack has the potential to make a significant impact as soon as Week 1.

The current depth chart alone should tell us about his potential to produce immediately:

  1. Frank Gore
  2. Robert Turbin
  3. Josh Ferguson

Gore is now 34-years old, and sooner or later the production is going to stop.  As it is he averaged 3.9 yards per carry in ’16, breaking just 1 of his 263 carries for more than 20 yards.  That’s hardly a dynamic back, and one that isn’t going to help keep defenses honest.

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Early 2017 Rankings: Top 25 Running Backs: How High does Jay Ajayi Rise, Crowell Borderline RB1 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As more and more NFL teams gravitate towards a committee approach in the backfield, the top tier running backs grow that much more valuable.  Someone who is going to be on the field for all three downs, drive after drive, gives fantasy owners that much of an advantage over the rest of their league.  Who are those running backs?  Who are the prime draft day targets?  Let’s take a look:

  1. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
  2. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys
  4. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
  5. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
  7. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
  8. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will Lamar Miller Be A RB2 Or One Of The Elite In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were high hopes for Lamar Miller, after he signed a 4 year, $26 million contract to leave Miami and head to Houston.  Finally he was set to be utilized as a lead back, something we never truly saw while he was playing for the Dolphins.

In that regard the move was successful, as Miller set a career high with 268 carries in just 14 games.  However the production wasn’t there, as he managed 1,073 yards.  The number may seem solid, but he averaged 4.0 yards per carry so he was hardly efficient with the ball in hands and was instead a product of a heavy workload and a lack of alternatives (Alfred Blue was the second most utilized runner, with 100 carries, but he too struggled with 4.2 yards per carry).

Miller, who caught 47 passes in his final season in Miami, turned 40 targets into 31 receptions and 188 yards (6.1 yards per reception.  Throw in 6 total touchdowns, and it’s hard to label it as anything but a disappointment. Read more

Breakout or Bust: Why Melvin Gordon Should Emerge As A RB1 In 2017

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last season the Chargers owned one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.  You don’t need to look past the key numbers to figure that out:

  • Sacks Allowed – 49 (second most in NFL)
  • Yards Per Carry – 3.3 (second worst in NFL)

It shouldn’t be surprising that they attempted to make sweeping changes in the offseason, spending two of their first three draft picks on potential starters (Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney) and signing Russell Okung to replace King Dunlap.  How big of an impact these moves make remains to be seen, but any improvement should do wonders for incumbent starting running back Melvin Gordon.

It’s easy to overlook Gordon, two years removed from being selected in the first round of the draft (15th overall).  He’s struggled in production, ball security and simply staying healthy since arriving in the NFL, though improved blocking in front of him could help him in all three of those departments. Read more

Top 10 Rookie Running Backs For 2017: An Intriguing Name Rising Up The Rankings & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

You don’t need to be an early round draft pick in order to be a productive running back.  That’s a lesson we’ve all learned by now, with opportunity often being the biggest key.  Which rookies have the highest upside for the 2017 season?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars
You don’t select a running back among the Top 5 picks without the intention to insert him as the centerpiece of the offense.  You can question how productive he’ll be able to be, thanks to being surrounded by a lackluster offense that will allow opposing defenses to focus on him.  Still the carries and opportunities are going to be there and it’s easy to argue that he’s the most talented pure runner from this draft class. Read more

Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 15 Kickers

by Ray Kuhn

This is it. Just one more week that we need to hear about kickers until next season. Or at least until the debate begins as to whether or not we should eliminate the position for 2017.

But not so fast.

We still should not overlook the position, as the upper level kickers can average about nine to ten points per game with the potential for a 15 point week. That could mean the difference between a championship and a painful second place finish. Let’s take a look at how the kickers rank for this week:

  1. Matt Bryant – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
  2. Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Jacksonville
  3. Justin Tucker – Baltimore Ravens – at Cincinnati
  4. Cairo Santos – Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
  5. Stephen Gostkowski – New England Patriots – at Miami
  6. Stephen Hauschka – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  7. Will Lutz – New Orleans Saints – at Atlanta
  8. Sebastian Janikowski – Oakland Raiders – at Denver Read more

Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 15 Defenses

by Ray Kuhn

Stop me if you have heard this before; expected point totals will continue to go down as we get closer to kickoff. To close out the season, all of the games will be taking place on Sunday, and there aren’t many teams who don’t know (or have control) of where they will be next weekend.

Since last week’s games, all we have seen is a steady parade of offensive skill position players who will be bystanders to close out the regular season. That means offense will be at a premium and the risk involved with most defenses should be at a minimum. Let’s take a look at how our options rank for this week:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
  2. Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  3. Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
  4. Arizona Cardinals – at Los Angeles
  5. Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
  6. Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cleveland Read more

Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 50 Wide Receivers

by Will Overton

If you’re paying attention and playing this week then you are clearly playing for something big. Week 17 can be a tricky one to navigate because you never know what a team’s mindset is going into the week and who will play, and who will play part of the game and sit the rest, etc. That said, we’re still here for you and we’re still giving you our best effort as we rank the top receivers played for the week:

  1. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers @ Detroit
  2. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans
  3. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville
  4. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina
  5. Brandin Cooks – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta
  6. Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco
  7. Julian Edelman – New England Patriots @ Miami
  8. Golden Tate – Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Read more

Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 20 Tight Ends

by Ray Kuhn

Things have not been easy this year at the tight end position, and things will likely not get better this week. If there is anything good to takeaway here, and it’s really just an optimistic point of view, it’s that things aren’t going get anymore difficult for the last week of the season. Let’s jump into the rankings:

  1. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
  2. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
  3. Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
  4. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Dallas
  5. Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  6. Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
  7. Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – vs. Green Bay
  8. Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – vs. Kansas City
  9. Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
  10. Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Chicago Read more

Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

This is not going to be an easy week. In fact, it might be the most challenging week there is… Challenging might not necessarily be the right word to use, maybe frustrating or nerve wracking might be more like it.  If you are still playing it means one of two things: Either you have reached the championship, and in that case congratulations, or you are setting a DFS lineup to help ease the pain of the fantasy football season being over.

Regardless of what brings you here, it is commendable as there is nothing like filling out a Week 17 lineup. We already have an abundance of players sidelined as there is no reason to risk further injury when the game means nothing, and more inactive players will likely come this weekend.

The rankings below are based on what we know at this point, but also are very much subject to change based on who actually takes the field. If you are setting a lineup make sure to monitor who will be actually taking the field and try to read the tea leaves as to what the usage will be. We’ll try to note of the situations that might look a little different than they did last week as there are certainly opportunities for value out there. Read more