With Week 1 on its way, many of you have probably already participated in drafts and are looking to pick up some value that may have slipped through the cracks. While the RB field is thin this year there are a few guys that may very well be on the waivers that have league-winning situations. These guys are perfect bench candidates for Week 1 to see how their situation plays out.
A huge note of advice before diving deep into this article will be to secure your handcuffs. Certain players like Zeke or Dalvin Cook have a very clear handcuff i.e. Tony Pollard or Alexander Mattison, who should massively produce if either of the starters goes down with an injury. If you have the extra bench spot these are the guys you should be rostering in my opinion. Now this does not apply to every top RB, only those who have a defined and clear handcuff.
Top RB Post-Draft Pickups
McKinnon has not played in over two years now due to injury. However, he was given a sizable contract, especially considering that he was the starter in Minnesota for only one year. Shanahan obviously loved his style of play and made him one of his top targets in his first season as head coach. The reports out of camp already look glorious for him, constantly getting open in the passing game, and looking sharp in his cuts.
He is often undrafted even in 12 team leagues when in my opinion he clearly will be above Coleman in the depth chart. He is more talented than Coleman in every facet of the game and has more explosive ability to score points with limited touches. This would be a great player to bench going into Week 1 to see how the snap counts play out. In a pinch I would even say that he is startable in deeper leagues; however, you most likely would be drafting him if your league requires you to push Mckinnon into the starting role.
I was very much against this pickup early on in the offseason. However, the more you look at how little Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack have produced in the passing game, the more it makes sense to see how many targets Hines gets in the first week. Phillip Rivers is the check down king, leading all QBs these past three seasons in check downs to the RB. Hines has shown an intuitive ability to catch passes out of the backfield. It really is a match made in heaven between these two.
It will all come down to how much Hines plays because when he does he will have a great chance of being targeted. This is a nice stash similar to Mckinnon for a wait and see approach; however, there is much less upside with this pickup then there would be with Mckinnons. This is probably only a pickup in PPR and in standard leagues, I would steer clear.
Thompson will be the third-down back for the Jaguars. With the cutting of Fournette, it is obvious that Doug Marrone is confident in his backfield of Armstead and Thompson. However, Thompson is still floating between undrafted and extreme late-round pick up even after the cutting of Fournette. This is absurd considering the number of points he brought to fantasy players as a pass-catching back in a worse offense and better defense when he played at Washington. In PPR and .5 PPR leagues I think he is a must pick up off of your waivers.
The only downside to Thompson is his injuries. He will get injured and he will not play a full 16 games. However, he rarely gives you the game where he is active and does not play. As long as Thompson is active for the Jaguars I would be willing to take the risk on him and he should be a great bench option for your RB depth.
The Washington backfield is an absolute mess. As of right now, it seems that both Peterson and Gibson are ahead of Love in the depth chart. However, what makes me so excited about Love is his talent. He was a 1st round value, maybe even top 10 pick, until his injuries during his last season at Stanford. He had to sit out all of last year with Washington due to those injuries, but now he is back and healthy. The reports out of camp are that he looks good and like his old self.
If Bryce Love is fully back then I do not see a world where he does not begin to leapfrog the depth chart and produce in games. On top of the sheer talent, you have reports of Gibson being banged up in camp for the second time. If Gibson’s health is not holding up this bodes well to getting more carries for Love. If you need depth at the RB position and have a roster spot to let Love sit in, I highly recommend taking the chance on him due to his extreme upside.
Evans should bring you the coveted two-for-one play here in the Tennessee backfield. Not only is he the clear handcuff to Derrick Henry, who struggled with health issues late in the season due to his workload, but he also should be the receiving/third-down back. I highly doubt he gets the amount of work to be a week in and week out starter with Henry healthy. However, he may be an okay flex play some weeks depending on his workload and he is the handcuff for an insanely productive position as the Titans #1 RB.
Evans should be a target for you if you drafted Henry in the first round. However, anyone looking for a great lottery ticket play, who may very well have a decent floor, look no further than Darrynton Evans. He should be available in just about every league, and I have even seen him last long into rookie drafts of dynasty leagues. He is a player I would 100% take the chance on.
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