Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
Eagles insider Jimmy Kempski wrote this week that Sanders has "quelled concerns about his ability in pass protection and as a receiver out of the backfield.” That’s been our biggest hesitation with the rookie. He’s looking like the favorite to lead Philly’s backfield in carries this season, so a decent-sized role in the passing game would likely make him a weekly fantasy starter.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
He continues to inch up our rankings the longer Melvin Gordon’s holdout lasts. We’re projecting Ekeler to handle somewhere around two-thirds of the backfield work (with the other third going to Justin Jackson) if Gordon’s holdout extends into the regular season.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Chiefs
Thompson’s strong August has leapt him ahead of Carlos Hyde on the depth chart and earned him 1st-team reps in practice. Now, only Damien Williams stands between him as a super-valuable role as Kansas City’s lead back.
Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
He dominated 1st-team work in Dallas’ 2nd preseason game and looked good doing it. Pollard carried 5 times for 42 yards and a score and caught 1 ball for 9 yards. We’re still skeptical that he’ll have fantasy value alongside Ezekiel Elliott. But if Zeke’s holdout costs him regular-season games, Pollard will be a strong fantasy play.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
We’ve heard all summer that Sanders looked good in his return from December’s torn Achilles. Then we saw it with our own eyes in Monday night’s preseason game against the 49ers. Sanders took this end-around for 19 yards and also had a 45-yard catch negated by a holding penalty. Remember that he was sitting 15th among WRs in PPR points before that injury last year.