NFC Team-by-Team Backfield Breakdowns (Updated)
Deciphering all 32 backfields is as important now as it’s ever been. Committee attacks have made those true 3-down workhorses more rare (and valuable). But they’ve also deepened the pool of viable fantasy RBs.
So let’s dive into the NFC backfields and determine how the touches and fantasy points will be divvied. The “top fantasy target” for each team below is the best value at ADP, not necessarily the highest-ranked player in that backfield.
Note: This article was originally published on August 12 and updated on September 1. Updates are in bold.
Don't forget to check out the AFC Backfield Breakdowns.
Top fantasy target: Kenyan Drake
Others in the mix: Chase Edmonds, Eno Benjamin
This looks like Drake’s 1st shot at truly leading a backfield. Over his 3+ seasons in Miami, Drake never topped 133 carries in a year. He averaged 6.2 carries per game over that span and never garnered more than 8.3 per contest for a season.
In 8 Cardinals games after last season’s trade, he averaged 15.4 rushes. Drake’s carry totals didn’t prove especially consistent, and 37.4% of his 123 came in weeks 15 and 16. But Drake absorbed 61.2% of Arizona’s total rushing attempts after the trade. That share would have ranked 9th among all RBs for the season.
Drake also drew 13.4% of Cardinals targets over his 8 games, including 4+ in 6 of his 8 outings. That also would have ranked 9th at the position for the season.
DeAndre Hopkins’ arrival could challenge the total RB slice of the target pie, but it sure looks like the Cardinals want to treat Drake as their clear backfield leader. They used the transition tag (and associated $8.483 million salary) to keep Drake off the open market -- in the same offseason they unloaded David Johnson’s big contract.
"We're just all fired up to watch his progress in Year 2 in the same system being the featured guy," RBs coach James Saxon told ESPN's Josh Weinfuss in late August.
The question on Drake, however, is already health. He spent a few days in a walking boot in August but was out by Aug. 29. The team downplayed the issue. We'll see about his practice participation leading up to Week 1.
Edmonds returns as the #2 back and flashed in limited opportunities last year. You’ll likely remember the huge 27-126-3 trampling of the Giants, in a game Johnson “started” but played only 3 snaps.
Edmonds sprained an ankle the following game and missed the next 3 contests. After returning, he logged just 2 rushing attempts and 2 targets over the season’s final 4 games. And don’t blame Johnson. He collected only 8 rushes and 3 targets over that span.
So Drake appears set for a dominant lead share, with Edmonds the likely #2. Edmonds’ quiet finish to the year, though, could mean an opening for 7th-round pick Eno Benjamin. The rookie racked up 553 carries and 77 receptions as Arizona State’s workhorse the past 2 years. Benjamin brings nothing special as a size-speed prospect, but he’s a jittery, energetic runner who fights to extend plays. We’ll see if he can generate any buzz this month.
For now, it’s Drake early, Edmonds in late handcuff range and Benjamin a wait-and-see.
Top fantasy target: Todd Gurley
Others in the mix: Ito Smith, Brian Hill
Devonta Freeman played 14 games for the Falcons last season. He garnered 58% of the team’s carries and 11.4% of the targets in those contests. Those numbers would have ranked 11th and 13th among RBs for the full season last year. Gurley handled 58.8% of Rams carries in his 15 games last season but drew just 8.1% of targets.
Advanced metrics suggest Gurley ran the ball better than most people think he did last season. His receiving efficiency wasn’t nearly so good. But Atlanta dumped Freeman and quickly signed Gurley when he came available. The Falcons also added nothing else to the backfield.
Freeman finished 18th among RBs in PPR scoring and PPR points per game last season. And he did so on just 6 total TDs, tied for 26th among RBs.
Gurley steps into a terrific situation for his PPR upside, even if he’s not the Todd Gurley of 3 years ago. And neither Smith nor Hill looks like a player capable of infringing on that upside in a meaningful way.
The biggest question here looks like who will emerge as the handcuff. Frankly, we wouldn’t bother chasing after either guy. HC Dan Quinn had recent praise for Hill, who has seemed to work a little ahead of Smith.
Top fantasy target: Christian McCaffrey
Others in the mix: Reggie Bonnafon (and Curtis Samuel?)
There’s not much to say about this situation. McCaffrey’s coming off 1 of the greatest fantasy seasons ever. His receiving numbers alone would have ranked 13th among PPR backs and 12th among wideouts. His rushing numbers alone would have ranked 13th among RBs; 6th in non-PPR.
But then the Panthers added … absolutely nothing to the backfield.
Apparently the new coaching staff also plans to give McCaffrey every touch. And for good reason.
OK, not every touch. Bonnafon did carry 16 times and catch 6 passes as the #2 RB last season. Woo. Hoo. (Do NOT draft Bonnafon.)
Samuel, meanwhile, actually ranked 3rd on the team in rushing attempts last year with 19 -- behind only McCaffrey and QB Kyle Allen.
This year, new HC Matt Rhule has said that he wants to use Samuel “at RB, slot, outside … like he was at Ohio State.” Samuel, of course, began his Buckeyes career as a RB. And even in his final season, he rushed 97 times vs. 74 receptions.
More carries seem likely for Samuel in 2020. That doesn’t give him RB eligibility in 2020 fantasy football leagues. But I figured I’d cheat and talk about Samuel’s path to upside, given that he should see a backfield role.
Top fantasy target: David Montgomery
Others in the mix: Tarik Cohen
Montgomery had no volume issue as a rookie. He ranked 13th among RBs in carries and 12th in total opportunities (carries + targets). Montgomery checked in 8th in the league in carry share (61.3%).
Where he could stand to gain is the passing game. His 6.0% target share ranked just 35th among RBs, while Cohen ranked 3rd in that category. Both Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders, though, rated Montgomery the better-performing receiver in 2019. So there’s reason to believe he might get a bit more passing-down work. (Cohen played 79 more pass snaps than Montgomery in 2019.)
That said, ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson tapped Cohen as Chicago’s top “bounce-back” candidate. Cohen’s combined receiving grade for 2017-18 ranked behind only Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara among RBs. He dipped last season to 24th among 32 RBs who saw at least 40 targets.
HC Matt Nagy said Cohen saw regular double-team coverage last eason. The hope is that more offensive balance -- including a healthier Anthony Miller and better QB play -- helps that aspect.
August ADP finds Montgomery at just RB25 and Cohen at RB34. Montgomery ranked 24th among PPR scorers at the position, while Cohen checked in 27th in a down year.
Unfortunately for Montgomery, an Aug. 26 groin strain is now challenging his start to the season. He has only dropped to RB29 in BestBall10s drafting since the injury, which remains close to our PPR ranking for him. Cohen has seen no ADP rise in the wake of Montgomery's injury. We'll see if the team adds RB help before the opener.
Top fantasy target: Ezekiel Elliott
Others in the mix: Tony Pollard
It’s refreshing to mix some clear backfield situations in amid so many committees, and it doesn’t get much clearer than Dallas.
Elliott held out right up until the start of last season, and then he still handled two-thirds of Cowboys carries. The share might have been even larger, but several blowout victories -- plus a limited Week 1 -- allowed Pollard onto the field for some extra work.
The 4th-round rookie flashed when he got the ball, including a pair of 100-yard games. But Pollard didn’t top 4 carries in any game Dallas failed to win by at least 18 points.
Perhaps this year’s altered coaching staff shifts a bit more work to the young guy, but Pollard is clearly a handcuff only. He is, at least, 1 of the league’s most attractive options in that category.
Top fantasy target: D’Andre Swift
Others in the mix: Kerryon Johnson, Jason Huntley, Bo Scarbrough
We’re not excited about Swift’s debut NFL campaign. We have him 29th across formats right now. But it doesn’t look like too many others are excited either.
Swift sits 24th in August ADP in BestBall10s drafting. FFPC ADP has him 26th in best-ball drafts and 28th in Footballguys Championship drafts. Early FFPC main-event results have Swift at RB19. We’ll see if that holds.
Beyond Swift himself, this doesn’t look like a situation to buy into. We’re assuming Detroit likes him better than Johnson and the rest of the incumbents, given Swift’s 2nd-round draft capital (ahead of Jonathan Taylor, among others). But he lands in an offense that has ranked just 23rd and 21st in rushing yards the past 2 years.
Detroit did climb from 25th in points in HC Matt Patricia’s 1st season to 18th last year, after OC Darrell Bevell arrived. Getting a full season of Matthew Stafford could help further in that category.
But Patricia has stated his desire for a committee approach. That makes sense for the Lions, but it also suggests frustration for fantasy owners.
Swift and Johnson bring similar skill sets, though Swift’s looks better. Huntley, meanwhile, arrived in Round 5 of the draft after catching 134 passes at New Mexico State. And Scarbrough is the only thumper in the group, making him a potential goal-line threat.
Is there upside to Swift the player? Sure. But we’d rather just skip over this situation in lineup-setting drafts. It didn't help Swift that he lost about a week-and-a-half of practices to an unspecified upper-leg injury in late August.
Green Bay Packers
Top fantasy target: Aaron Jones
Others in the mix: Jamaal Williams, AJ Dillon, Dexter Williams
Jones is not going to score 19 TDs again this season. That’s 1 of the easiest projections in all of fantasy. We’ve seen 39 seasons all time of 19+ TDs from scrimmage. Only 7 guys have reached that level twice. And Jones tied for the TD lead while ranking just 10th among RBs in total touches.
So when best-ball drafting season opened with Jones carrying a late-Round 1 ADP, he looked like an early candidate to be our 1st Round Bust. But then a funny thing happened.
Jones started to fall. And he now goes consistently in the middle of Round 2. He’s RB13 in August BestBall10s and RB14 in FFPC drafting to date.
Green Bay spent a surprising 2nd-round pick on Dillon, who proved to be a speed-score freak in pre-draft testing but ran like a 1980s-style bruiser on his college tape -- and caught only 21 passes over 3 seasons as Boston College’s lead back.
HC Matt Lafleur this week praised his “versatile” RB group of complementary pieces. Interestingly, that included singling out a late-round pick from last spring.
“The guy I’m excited to see more is Dexter Williams,” LaFleur said of the 6th-rounder from 2019. “He’s a guy who’s been working really hard in the conditioning phases.”
Williams looked good in leading Notre Dame’s backfield as a 2018 senior but barely got on the field for the Packers as a rookie. It sounds like conditioning was the primary issue.
LaFleur also reportedly talked up Jamaal Williams’ ability to get tough yards, and we saw that Williams prove to be an effective red-zone receiver in 2019.
All told, it could be a crowded situation for an offense that looks like it wants to run plenty. Green Bay dipped below 60% pass last season for the first time since 2015, and GM Brian Gutekunst pointed to the desire to run in explaining the team’s draft approach.
“I think he’s talked to you guys repeatedly about how much he’d like to run the ball and have the pass work off of that,” the GM told The Athletic.
Jones remains the top talent and the best bet to remain prominent in all phases. Though even he carries some risk vs. some other players around him in ADP.
Los Angeles Rams
Top fantasy target: Cam Akers
Others in the mix: Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, John Kelly
The Rams will sport a new leading rusher for the 1st time since 2014. That was the last year in which Todd Gurley did not lead the team in both carries and rushing yards.
L.A. dumped him in March, leaving Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown as the top contenders. But then the Rams surprised many by drafting Cam Akers in Round 2.
Akers steps into an offense that shifted drastically toward the pass last season. The Rams rushed on 45.4% of plays in 2017 and 43.3% in 2018 but just 38.0% last year. That made them just 26th in rushing share, after rankings of 9th and 7th the previous 2 seasons.
Will they shift back in 2020? We’ll see. Dipping from 11-5 and 13-3 to 9-7 last year certainly didn’t help.
But even if the Rams find more team success and run the ball more often in the coming season, that doesn’t necessarily mean we can expect a new workhorse to emerge.
HC Sean McVay has pointed this summer to last year’s 49ers as an example of how to manage a backfield.
“What I thought Kyle (Shanahan) and their players did a great job of is, ‘Hey, we’re going to have an open-mind approach, we’re going to be committed to trying to have some balance and then we’ll go with the hot hand or whoever really expresses himself as deserving of the carries,” McVay said in July.
After Week 7 last year, no Niners RB reached 13 carries in consecutive games.
Does McVay’s admiration mean he’ll match that with the 2020 Rams? Of course not. But it does appear we should head toward 2020 expecting weekly volatility.
Akers comes off an impressive college career behind a BAD Florida State O-line. He ranked among the top 12 draft-eligible RBs in both yards after contact and missed-tackles forced last season and caught 69 passes across 3 seasons.
Henderson had his own flashy career at Memphis, but then barely saw the field as a rookie and watched the Rams draft Akers a year earlier than they selected Henderson. Brown remains as the biggest RB on the roster, though he’s only slightly larger than Akers. Brown also offers little as a receiver, with 20 receptions through 6 NFL seasons. Henderson hasn't helped his cause by losing time to a hamstring strain. HC Sean McVay expects him back for the opener, though.
McVay has also mentioned John Kelly as a contributor. We’ll see about him.
Akers remains the top bet in this backfield, based on L.A.’s moves this offseason. But it’s tough to gauge his role and upside with no preseason to watch and limited info on Rams practices. As long as you’re not overpaying, however, it makes sense to consider pieces of this running game.
Top fantasy target: Dalvin Cook
Others in the mix: Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone
Cook delivered 1 of 2019’s biggest breakouts. He trailed only Christian McCaffrey in PPR points per game and ranked 3rd behind McCaffrey and Derrick Henry in non-PPR. Cook also lost multiple games to injury, however, for the 3rd straight season.
The Vikings watched OC Kevin Stefanski leave for the Cleveland head job after the year, but then merely shifted veteran coach Gary Kubiak from an offensive-advisor role to OC. Stefanski has said he modeled his offense after Kubiak’s, and the new/old coordinator brings a rich history of RB success.
So there’s little reason to worry about Cook, who saw 62.3% of carries and 16.8% of targets before suffering his initial shoulder injury. Those shares would have ranked 8th and 5th among RBs for the season.
Minnesota certainly helped Cook’s volume with the league’s 3rd most run-heavy approach in 2019. That marked the franchise’s largest rushing share since 2008.
Some lean back in the other direction seems likely for 2020, but Gary Kubiak brings a run-favoring history. His 22 years as an OC or HC have produced an average passing share of 54.8%.
And Cook shouldn’t hurt for targets. The Vikings traded WR Stefon Diggs in the offseason, replacing him with Justin Jefferson in Round 1.
Behind Cook, Mattison looks like a straight handcuff. He reached double-digit carries just 4 times all last year. Each came in a game Minnesota won by at least 10.
Boone can be found on Wanted posters. He delivered a 13-56-2 rushing line in a Week 15 drubbing of the Chargers that had no Mattison and watched Cook leave early. Boone then let down anyone who started him in Week 16 (12 touches, 33 total yards, no TDs) before a 17-148-1 rushing line in Week 17.
Mattison still looks like the handcuff to Cook, but it’s tough to know just how much of the role he’d absorb if Cook went down.
Frankly, we’d generally lean in that ADP range toward a RB who might at least catch some passes even when his team’s lead back is healthy.
New Orleans Saints
Top fantasy target: Alvin Kamara
Others in the mix: Latavius Murray, Ty Montgomery
Kamara got knocked off track by a Week 6 high-ankle sprain last season. Then came a knee injury in the ensuing game at Jacksonville. Kamara revealed just this month that he “tore his knee” in that game. Kamara didn’t wind up needing surgery, but the issue did require “a lot of rehab” in the offseason.
Barring some setback or indication that he’s limited this summer, we should expect a better version of Kamara than we got over the 2nd half of 2019. His carry share dipped from 58.1% pre-injury to 43.8% after returning from 2 missed games. Kamara also averaged only 5.4 yards per catch after his return. Compare that with his career 8.5-yard average.
Overall, Kamara also endured a big TD downturn. Over his 1st 2 seasons, Kamara scored on 24% of his total red-zone touches, including 33.9% of his touches inside the 10-yard line. Last year, he scored on just 12.5% of red-zone touches. He ranked just 27th in rushing-TD rate among 39 RBs who garnered 10+ carries inside the 10-yard line.
Bank on Kamara finding the end zone more often in 2020. And he also seems likely to claim more rushing share.
Murray drew 33% of his season carries and 42% of his targets in the 2 games Kamara missed. Even with Kamara still limited after his return from the 2 missed games, Murray drew only 33.5% of Saints carries and 5.5% of targets.
He’s a handcuff, rather than a standalone fantasy option. Of course, Kamara's possible holdout in recent days adds uncertainty to the whole situation and boosts Murray's upside a bit.
Montgomery hits 2020 as the most significant addition to the New Orleans backfield. We’ve certainly seen the upside in Montgomery previously, but he’ll need to prove there’s room for a meaningful role after claiming just 45 touches for last year’s Jets.
Dwayne Washington ranked 3rd among last year’s Saints RBs with a mere 8 rushing attempts. FB Zack Line checked in 3rd among RBs in targets, with 6.
New York Giants
Top fantasy target: Saquon Barkley
Others in the mix: Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman
Barkley dominated backfield work as a 2018 rookie. He led the league in carry share and ranked 3rd among RBs in target share.
A Week 3 high-ankle sprain got in the way last season and might have affected Barkley even beyond his Week 7 return. Barkley averaged just 2.8 yards per rush in the 5 games following his return. (That picked up to 5.5 the rest of the way.) His yards per reception climbed from 7.7 to 10.5 in those 2 spans as well.
Barkley now gets a new coaching staff after spending his 1st 2 seasons under HC Pat Shurmur. HC Joe Judge is an unknown, after spending 8 years coaching special teams for the Patriots. New OC Jason Garrett, however, has spent plenty of time running offenses.
Garrett’s Cowboys teams featured a number of workhorse turns. Even before Ezekiel Elliott arrived, Darren McFadden averaged 18.2 opportunities per game in 2015 and DeMarco Murray 23.6 per game from 2012-14.
The Giants signed Lewis this offseason, but he’s set to turn 30 in September and tallied just 79 touches with the Titans last season. Lewis is just a handcuff -- and a weak one at that.
Top fantasy target: Miles Sanders
Others in the mix: Boston Scott, Michael Warren, Corey Clement, Adrian Killins
Fantasy owners spent most of the offseason waiting for Philly to sign a veteran backfield complement, but that guy doesn’t appear to be on the way. LeSean McCoy has gone to Tampa, Carlos Hyde to Seattle and Lamar Miller to New England.
We’ll see if Devonta Freeman arrives, but Philly hit camp looking ready to make Sanders the 1st true feature back of HC Doug Pederson’s tenure. Sanders’ 179 rushing attempts and 39.4% carry share last season already stand as the top marks over Pederson’s 4 seasons.
After Jordan Howard went down, Sanders jumped from 28.2% carry share to 55.7%, and from 8.7% target share to 12.4%. Both of those rates look sustainable for his 2nd season, if Sanders can prove that the hamstring injury sidelining him for 2 weeks of camp and counting is minor. We'll see about his participation in practices leading up to Week 1.
As it is, Scott sits behind Sanders on the depth chart. Scott saw just 26 carries after Howard’s injury until a Week 16 Sanders injury pressed him into a 19-carry breakthrough against the Giants. Scott also racked up 28 targets over the final 5 games, a span that saw so many Philly WRs injured Freddie Mitchell’s ankle started hurting.
Scott will make for a solid late-round flyer if the Eagles don’t add a RB.
Behind him, Michael Warren, Corey Clement and Elijah Holyfield figure to wage a UDFA survivor tournament. Clement brings 3 years of Eagles service but appeared in only 4 games last season. Holyfield couldn’t stick in a depth-less Panthers backfield before arriving in Philly.
Warren looks like the best bet to actually complement the skills of Sanders and Scott. He’s a 226-pound thumper who racked up 36 TDs and caught 46 passes over 2 seasons as Cincinnati’s starter. Warren will be interesting if he can make the team. And Clement showed us Pederson isn’t scared of playing an undrafted rookie RB. None of those former UDFAs has generated any buzz to this point, though.
Another UDFA from this year, though, has generated some recent press. Killins has seen 1st-team reps at both RB and slot WR, helped by the injury absences of Sanders and Scott. The 5'7, 162-pounder has limited upside by virtue of his size but sports the kind of speed that coaches like to get onto the field.
San Francisco 49ers
Top fantasy target: Tevin Coleman
Others in the mix: Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon
When you’re not sure what to make of a backfield, take the cheapest reasonable option.
Some might say that’s McKinnon in this case, but he remains an unknown quantity coming off 2 years lost to a knee injury.
Coleman, however, began last year leading the San Francisco backfield. He reclaimed that mantle after returning from an injury that cost him weeks 2 and 3. He slipped behind Raheem Mostert in the middle of the year, but then re-emerged for a 22-105-2 rushing line in the playoff-opening win over the Vikings.
More recently, Matt Barrows of The Athletic wrote: “[HC] Kyle Shanahan and [RBs coach] Bobby Turner liked starting games with Coleman because he’s a little bigger and more physical runner than the others. So my guess is that the arrangement will be the same as last season: Coleman starts, with Turner then using his feel for who’s hot that day dictating the snap loads for the rest of the game."
That sounds frustrating for fantasy, and it often was in 2019. Coleman carried 16+ times in weeks 5, 6 and 7 after returning from his injury, but then he only topped 12 carries 1 more time the rest of the regular season. Mostert stayed in the single digits whenever Coleman was on the field until Week 13. He then averaged 14.6 rushes per game from Week 13 through the 3 playoff victories, but Mostert never reached 13 attempts in consecutive games over that span. He also topped 2 targets just 3 times all year.
If the 49ers hadn’t led all RB groups in non-PPR scoring and ranked 4th in PPR in 2019, this might just be a situation to avoid. Instead, consider grabbing the best value among Kyle Shanahan RBs.
Top fantasy target: Chris Carson
Others in the mix: Rashaad Penny, Carlos Hyde, DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer
Dr. Jesse Morse is concerned about the hip Carson fractured late last season. But Dr. Jeff Budoff -- a friend of the Draft Sharks podcast, a Rotoviz contributor and an orthopedic surgeon -- says he’s not worried about risk of re-injury.
Carson comes off a year in which he captured 62.7% of Seattle carries before Week 16 (when he suffered the fracture). That would have ranked 8th in the league for the season. And the Seahawks kept going back to Carson in spite of his fumbling trouble.
Overall, the Seahawks remained among the league’s most run-heavy offenses. They sported the 6th-largest rushing share in 2019 after leading the NFL in that category the prior season. That helped Carson rank 5th in the league in carries.
Carson opened training camp on time but then missed significant time because of deaths in his family. But Carson has returned and looked "great," according to HC Pete Carroll. "Chris has got fresh legs. He hasn't had a snap out here that he didn't look good. So we don't have any hesitation with Chris at all. He's ready to go."
We'll certainly keep an eye out to make sure that's not just typical Rosy Pete Carroll.
Penny, meanwhile, is coming off a December ACL tear that has him looking like a regular-season PUP candidate. Hyde lands in Seattle as a worse version of Carson. Dallas flashed some intriguing talent at Miami after converting from WR, but he’s also a longshot for a big 2020 role. Dallas totaled 293 offensive touches across 3 Hurricanes seasons. Homer looked like just a guy as a rookie.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Top fantasy target: Ronald Jones
Others in the mix: Ke'Shawn Vaughn, LeSean McCoy, Dare Ogunbowale
The Bucs have indicated at various points since last season that they're expecting Jones to step up in his 3rd season. The latest came in the 1st week of August, when HC Bruce Arians said: "RoJo is the main guy. He'll carry the load. All of those other guys are fighting for roles."
What more can you hope to hear from a coach when you're trying to figure out a busy backfield? And Arians had much more to say about Jones.
"He improved dramatically from last April to December," the coach said. "He has shown that he's the guy. He is a guy with a lot of talent. He is excellent in the screen game. His run after catch is good. He put a lot of time in working out and catching balls to improve his hands in the offseason, and it's showing up already."
So it sounds like Arians not only favors Jones to lead the rushing but has also been pleased with his growth as a receiver. If Jones can throw in some pass-blocking improvement, he might just take this backfield over for real. And the best news is that his ADP hasn't changed since those Arians quotes published on Aug. 5. Jones still sits RB31, mid-Round 6 in BestBall10s drafting since then. He's also just RB30 in both FFPC best-ball ADP and in Footballguys Championship ADP.
With Tom Brady now taking the helm of an already productive, there's obvious upside to Jones from mid-RB3 territory.
But what about the rest of the group?
"All of those other guys are fighting for roles -- who goes in second when [Jones] gets tired, maybe who is the third-down guy," Arians said. "But they're all fighting for a role and special teams will have a lot to do with that."
Ogunbowale led all Bucs RBs in special-teams snaps last season (318), followed by T.J. Logan -- whom Arians drafted back with the Cardinals. Logan's a threat to steal a roster spot from 1 of the other guys listed, but he played just 23 offensive snaps last season. So he's not a fantasy factor.
Ogunbowale led Tampa RBs in targets (46) and receptions (35) in 2019, but he only beat Jones by 6 and 4 in those 2 categories -- before Jones' apparent offseason enhancement. Ogunbowale topped 3 catches in just 2 games all last season and totaled a mere 11 carries. As a late dart-throw, he's OK. But don't expect Ogunbowale to become a startable fantasy asset in most leagues.
McCoy ... we'll see. He signed a 1-year deal for the veteran minimum, with no money guaranteed. McCoy's the guy who should be most worried about T.J. Logan sticking on the roster. We're not currently interested in drafting McCoy.
Vaughn, on the other hand, could be interesting if he lingers on the board. Tampa spent a 3rd-round pick on him, and GM Jason Licht called Vaughn "capable of playing all three downs."
At the very least, the rookie looks like solid insurance on Jones, who remains no sure thing. Vaughn's current RB42 ADP sits right in line with our projection for him.
Top fantasy target: Adrian Peterson
Others in the mix: Antonio Gibson, Peyton Barber, Bryce Love
This situation changed when Derrius Guice (allegedly) proved himself to be a horrible person.
Without the highest-upside backfield option, Washington will have to scramble a bit. Peterson remains more effective than he probably should be. Over the past 2 seasons, only 8 players have totaled more rushing attempts. Just 20 RBs have racked up more non-PPR points.
So Peterson heads into his age-35 campaign in the lead for head ball-carrier duties. That doesn’t make him an exciting draft-day option, but it does make him worth a real look at the cheap price he’ll command.
Gibson hits the fantasy season as Mr. Excitement. He rocked a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 228 pounds in February. That’s as good a speed score as you can deliver. But he also managed only 77 offensive touches over 2 seasons at Memphis: 44 receptions and 33 carries.
Gibson produced some electric tape in that limited exposure, averaging 19.0 yards per catch and 11.2 per rush along the way. But we don’t know much about him as a player or how large a role his coaches might trust him with heading into 2020. It sounds like he's getting plenty of work, though.
"Definitely more [reps] than I expected coming in as a rookie. I always expect to play no matter where I go, but sometimes you've got to work your way to that," Gibson said Sunday, according to NFL.com. "I've been getting a lot of reps. I don't know if that's just a rookie thing with them throwing reps at me, but that just shows that they see something in me. I'm ready to handle that. You throw me in there and I'm going to get it done."
Barber should be a big fan of Guice at this point for giving him a chance to make the roster. That doesn’t make us interested in his fantasy outlook.
Love missed all of his rookie season after arriving as a 4th-round pick last spring. But he averaged 6.8 yards per carry amid a nice Stanford career that included 2,118 yards on the ground in 2017. He's an interesting prospect, but there have also been up and down reports on Love's performance in camp. He's a deep hold for dynasty at this point but not on the redraft radar.