Rob Sullivan | Dec 7, 2018 | 0
Quarter Pole – Running Backs
Back in June, I wrote my debut article for DynastyRedZone.com; Way Too Early Bold Predications piggybacking off episode 3 of the Dynasty RedZone Podcast with Rick Butts and Nicolai Groves. I’ll just leave this here so you can revisit that beauty https://dynastyredzone.com/sullys-way-too-early-2018-bold-predictions/
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Current top 12;
12. Christian McCaffery – CMC is the 12th ranked RB thru 4 weeks and he has only played 3 games. McCaffery will continue to be a feature part of the Carolina offensive attack and will continue to climb these rankings.
11. Kareem Hunt – Hunt started slow, with a week 1 performance under 5 fantasy points. He has bounced back and had a season-high 26.5 in week 4. He is averaging 15.7 points per game and seems to back to RB1 form. Hunt will remain inside the top 12 this season.
10. TJ Yeldon – Yeldon wasn’t on my radar for this season, in fact, he was a RB I was targeting for 2019 when he enters free agency. TJ is the benefactor of the lingering injuries to the Jaguars #1 RB Leonard Fournette. I am not sure when Fournette will be back, but I don’t see Yeldon being in the top 12 much longer.
9. Carlos Hyde – Hyde finished last season as RB8 in PPR scoring and has picked up right where he left off. The Browns seem to like Hyde and his touches have basically pushed Duke Johnson to the side. I would expect rookie Nick Chubb to see an increase in touches as the seasons moves along. If Hyde maintains his touches he will maintain his spot in the top 12. If I had to bet, I would lean towards the Browns losing more than they win. If that happens they likely look towards to the future and increase Chubb’s role. If and when this transpires, Hyde will struggle to stay in the top 12 and will land as a solid RB2.
8. Marshawn Lynch – Lynch has been involved in the Raiders offense more than I anticipated. I was expecting Doug Martin to have more of a presence for Oakland. Martin has been horrible and Lynch has scored in three of four games this season. Lynch is averaging 17 carries and 4 targets a game. If he can hold up with this workload he has the potential to remain in the top 12. I just don’t see it. Lynch will likely fall out by the middle of that season.
7. James White – White has been a pleasant surprise for his owners so far this season. White has benefited from early injuries to Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. He also benefits from being trusted by Tom Brady. His usage has been evenly split on the ground and in the air. White has caught 22 of his 30 targets for 193 yards and 3 TD, adding in 21 rushing attempts for 110 yards and an additional score. White’s pass-catching ability will keep him in the RB1 conversation. White is this year’s version of Duke Johnson with rushing ability.
6. James Conner – James Conner fell into the starting role in Pittsburgh due to Le’Veon Bell’s dislike of the Franchise Tag. Conner has seen almost all the touches in the Steelers backfield and has performed well. He started strong in week 1 and has seen a decline as the weeks have passed. Rumors of Bell’s potential return and his diminishing productivity will make it difficult for Conner to remain in the top 12 much longer.
5. Ezekiel Elliott – After the first four weeks of the season, Elliott is the leading rusher in the NFL. Dallas is struggling in the passing game and the entire offense seems to be built on the back of Zeke and the legs of Dak Prescott. If Zeke can hold up to this workload. he will continue to hold his spot in the top 5.
4. Saquon Barkley – Saquon has really impressed me. He was far and away my 1.01 rookie this year, but I didn’t fully believe the hype. After watching him play behind that terrible offensive line I am sold. Barkley has rushed for 260 yards thru four weeks, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He has been running for his life and is making something out of nothing on almost every play. In addition to his rushing, Eli Manning is targeting him often. He has 35 targets on the season and 27 catches. Saquon will finish this season inside the top 5 and will be a fixture on this list for years.
3. Melvin Gordon – Gordon is another RB that I whiffed on in my preseason predictions. I envisioned a situation in which Austin Ekeler started to see more touches in this offense and it has an impact on Gordon’s productivity. Ekeler has seen an increase in touches, but it hasn’t impacted Gordon at all. Gordon is a stud and if healthy he will remain in the top 5.
2. Todd Gurley – Not much really needs to be said about Gurley. I predicted him to be the #2 overall RB this season. He is involved in all aspects of the Rams high octane offense. I do not see any reason other than injury will prevent Gurley from finishing the season where he currently is.
1. Alvin Kamara – Kamara is currently the best player in fantasy, it is that simple. Mark Ingram returns in week 5 and there are many that feel it will have a negative impact on Kamara, I am not one of those. Kamara has amazing ability on the ground and catching passes. I have Kamara as my #1 RB at seasons end.
Revisiting my Breakout and Bust Predictions
Breakout RB: Jerick McKinnon – a torn ACL on the last play on the preseason practice play makes this prediction a moot point. We will have to wait until 2019 to see if McKinnon will take off in the Kyle Shanahan offense. Coming back off a torn ACL will not help his value.