It seems as if the Eagles are going to forever doom us with the dreaded running back by committee approach. Despite the clear gap in talent (and upside) between the team’s second round pick Miles Sanders and veteran Jordan Howard, Howard currently leads the team in rushing yardage with Sanders checking in often as a pass-catcher or change of pace back. It concerns me that Sanders has been unable to overcome the plodding Howard, considering the fact that Tarik Cohen (a much less conventional runner than Sanders) virtually ran him out of town in Chicago. Likewise, Sanders’ fumbling issues are a deeply concerning matter, as we have seen several players wash out of the league due to an inability to be trusted with the ball. While the draft capital invested in Sanders was significant, he simply doesn’t strike me as a future lead back, at least for this Philadelphia offense.
Verdict: Selling the Eagles running backs
There’s not much to say here. Ezekiel Elliott is an elite running back on a massive contract. If you have him on your roster you are set for the next 5 seasons. Tony Pollard is an intriguing handcuff to Elliott, considering he was a third round selection by the team, and has performed very well when given the opportunity. Should Zeke ever go down (or get suspended), Pollard would have RB1 upside behind a dominant offensive line.
Verdict: Buying Elliott and Pollard, Selling the rest of the Cowboys backs
New York Giants
Here’s another no brainer. Saquon Barkley may be the most tailor-made running back to ever lace up a pair of cleats. He does everything perfectly, and is a model citizen on top of that. Barring a traumatic injury, Barkley will be in the conversation for best running back in the league for the next decade. He may very well be the most valuable asset in fantasy football. Behind him on the depth chart, Wayne Gallman is a decent backup, but not really a guy worth keeping around unless you have a deep bench. This is a Barkley or bust backfield.
Verdict: Buying Barkley, Selling the rest
Perhaps the most fragile backfield in the league, Washington’s roster currently consists of many intriguing names at the position. First you have Derrius Guice, a highly touted second round pick, who is on pace to miss his first two full seasons in the league. After him you’ve got two solid veteran prescences, in Adrian Peterson (an ageless wonder) and Chris Thompson (great third down back when his lower body extremities are cooperating), who represent the present at the position, rather than the future. Wendell Smallwood has been poking his head onto the field occasionally as well, but he appears to be little more than a warm body while Guice recooperates. One player that really intrigues me from this group is Bryce Love, a former Heisman candidate who would have been a relatively high selection in last April’s draft were it not for an ACL injury suffered in Stanford’s final game of the season. Love, when healthy, is an explosive back, built in the mold of Reggie Bush. Should he brush off this injury and come back healthy next season, Love has a chance to be a real difference maker in this backfield.
Verdict: Buying Love and Guice (low), Selling the Rest