Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons
Ito Smith had a nice 2018 season, filling for the injured Devonta Freeman. Smith was still forced to play second fiddle to Tevin Coleman but was able to average 3.5 yards per carry and add four touchdowns, doing so with just 90 carries on the season.
With Coleman now in San Francisco Smith should be secured as he #2 behind Devonta Freeman. The Falcons defense was an atrocity last season. Constantly playing from behind forced Atlanta to abandon the run game. Assuming they don’t have the same injury trouble of the defense Atlanta should have a chance to be a good team next season. Which means they will commit to the run more. Freeman, the usually durable and versitale back will give up some carries to Smith to avoid injury. I like Smith’s chances to be a late round selection especially for Freeman handcuffs.
Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs
The great mystery of Carlos Hyde will continue in Kansas City. Is Carlos Hyde a legit option as a RB1. He will split time in KC to start the season behind last season’s end of the year darling Damien Williams. Williams has never seen more then 13 carries in a game or more then 50 carries in a season.
Chief running backs are always a target for me in any format as Andy Reid loves to punch it in on the goal line. The arm of Patrick Mahomes also opens up the middle of the field and the check downs. Hyde has the talent to be a top back if Damien Williams can’t be consistent.
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
This one is simple, there is word out that Todd Gurley may not be 100% going into the season. Henderson was a college star at Memphis rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns in his final season. Henderson’s transition to the NFL should be seamless in the Los Angeles system. Last season we saw how CJ Anderson got off his coach and was able to make an impact for the Rams.
Todd Gurley is the obvious #1 back but if anything happens to Gurley, Henderson will be a steal for anyone that takes him.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
Once upon a time there was a future star named David Johnson. Johnson had a tough season; injuries and a rather odd game plan slowed the offense and the fantasy scoring in check. Edmonds stepped in for the injured Johnson and showed that he can be productive. With Kliff Kingsbury at the helm everyone on the field becomes fantasy relevant. Edmonds is a handcuff to start the season but can quickly become a featured back as the season progresses.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
The Bears shocked many by moving workhorse back Jordan Howard in the offseason. Presumably opening it up for their spread offseason and a large amount of Tarick Cohen. While Cohen will be a must in a PPR format, a sleeper will be 3rdround draft picks out of Iowa State David Montgomery.
It’s hard to believe that the Bears will just feature Cohen as a solo back. Mike Davis was signed in the offseason to be a bruiser back, but he has been around the block and not found his niche in the NFL and there is no reason to think he will in this system. Look at Montgomery late in case you are not a believer in Cohen.