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2017 fantasy football RB profiles, projections (1-40)

2017 projections coming soon ... stay tuned.

Many hoped for a breakout season from Johnson, but few expected the second-year pro to amass 2,118 total yards and 20 total touchdowns. Those accounted for 36 percent of the Cardinal's team offensive yards and 42 percent of the team's touchdowns -- both insane marks. Johnson's ability as a pass-catcher makes him a difference maker in all fantasy formats -- he finished 11th in the entire league in targets -- and provides him with a safe weekly fantasy scoring floor. Even if the Cardinals are trailing, or the offense sputters with Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald aging, Johnson should be able to get his. There's no true competition behind him for touches or red-zone vulturing, further increasing his fantasy appeal. He's a top-three draft pick thanks to his extremely low-risk, even higher-reward skill set.

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2016 stats: 293 att | 1,239 yds | 16 TDs | 120 tgt | 80 rec | 879 yds | 4 TD | 327.8 fantasy points

It's rare that we enter a season without question marks surrounding Le'Veon Bell and 2017 is no different. This time around we don't know how well he'll be recovered from March surgery on his core, though the timetable was believed to be around six weeks. When healthy (and not suspended), Bell is the best all-around back in the league. Since 2013, only three players ( LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte) have more yards from scrimmage than Bell, and each has played in at least 12 more games. With Ben Roethlisberger aging, the team funneled 28 touches per game through Bell in 2017. Odds are that workload comes down a bit with Martavis Bryant expected to return, but Bell is one of the few dual-threat workhorses in the NFL and the Steelers will lean on him again.

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2016 stats: 261 att, 1,268 yds, 7 TDs, 94 tgt, 75 rec, 616 yds, 2 TD, 242.4 fantasy points

What's next for Elliott after leading the league in rush attempts and rushing yards as a rookie? That's the question fantasy fans want to know as they prepare to select the former Buckeye with a likely top-three pick. The Dallas offense will lean on Zeke again (including the playoffs he saw 377 touches in 2016), so while he might fall slightly short of his 2016 totals, he's a near lock to post 1,000-plus rushing yards and 10-plus touchdowns. Just 14.69 percent of his fantasy points came from inside the five-yard line, supporting the notion that he isn't reliant on goal-line plunges to score in fantasy.

2016 stats: 322 att, 1,631 yds, 15 TDs, 39 tgt, 32 rec, 363 yds, 1 TD, 293.4 fantasy points

It was a rough start for McCoy in Buffalo, as he battled hamstring and knee injuries for much of the 2015 season. Fully healthy in 2016, McCoy reminded the world why he's one of the top backs in the league. He dominated the backfield opportunities, commanding nearly 62 percent of the carries and targets. Mike Gillislee is now in New England, so there's little competition behind McCoy for touches or vultured scores. Shady will need to learn a new offensive system with Rick Dennison serving as coordinator under new head coach Sean McDermott, but Dennison has a history of leaning on the running game. In his nine years as an OC he's featured a top-12 rushing offense in yards six times. As of right now, the stars are aligning for another RB1 year for McCoy.

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2016 stats: 234 att, 1,267 yds, 13 TDs, 57 tgt, 50 rec, 356 yds, 1 TD, 248.3 fantasy points

The fantasy shine on Murray in Tennessee diminished once the team drafted Derrick Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. However, Murray proved why the team traded for him by turning in a major bounce-back campaign that resulted in a fifth-place fantasy finish in both standard and PPR. Despite the draft capital the team sunk into Henry, the coaches gave Murray over 73 percent of the backfield targets and touches and he rewarded them with nearly 1,700 total yards. The team showed no signs last year of a 50-50 timeshare, and head coach Mike Mularkey reiterated this offseason that the starting running back job belongs to Murray. Until that changes on an actual football field, Murray will be a fantasy RB1 moving forward.

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2016 stats: 293 att, 1,287 yds, 9 TDs, 67 tgt, 53 rec, 377 yds, 3 TD, 240.8 fantasy points

As a fifth-round rookie buried behind incumbent Jeremy Langford on the depth chart, Howard had a seemingly long path to success. Fortunately for him (and fantasy owners), that path was shortened in Week 3 when Langford left with an ankle injury. From Week 4 on, Howard made his presence known, amassing the fifth-most rush attempts (240) and third-most rushing yards (1,246) in the league. He crossed the century mark on the ground seven times in 10 starts and finished the season with nine straight games with 99-plus total yards. That being said, the Bears underwent an exodus of talent this offseason. Gone are Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Alshon Jeffery. The 2017 Bears will be starting Mike Glennon at quarterback and Cameron Meredith at wide receiver. If this unit struggles mightily, and they could, Langford might be an innocent fantasy casualty. However, his volume should be able to keep him afloat even in a disaster scenario, giving him a relatively safe RB1 outlook.

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2016 stats: 252 att, 1,313 yds, 6 TDs, 50 tgt, 29 rec, 298 yds, 1 TD, 201.1 fantasy points

It only took a season for Melvin Gordon to go from "bust" to "must-start" in fantasy. Part of his 2016 success came from the unfortunate season-ending injury to Danny Woodhead in Week 2, but the other part was Gordon seeing a ton of volume and making the most of it. We say "make the most of it" because his offensive line and supporting cast were decimated with injuries, which eventually caught up to Gordon himself. With Woodhead now gritting his way up and down the gridiron for the Ravens, Gordon's path to touches is clearer than ever. From Week 2 to 13 (the games in which he was the primary back), Gordon saw nearly 88 percent of the backfield opportunities. That number should come down a bit, but with the rest of the offense healthy again expect Gordon's effectiveness to rise as well. While his touchdown total (12) may dip with more mouths to feed, Gordon should still see the volume to finish as a solid RB1 in what should be a high-powered offense.

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2016 stats: 254 att, 997 yds, 10 TDs, 57 tgt, 41 rec, 419 yds, 2 TD, 209.6 fantasy points

Much of the 2016 offseason was spent hand-wringing over how badly Tevin Coleman would depress Freeman's fantasy value. Turns out, that was much ado about nothing. The Falcons offense was so potent that both Freeman and Coleman could thrive, though Freeman led the way in the workhorse role he established two seasons ago, with 60 percent of the carries and 61 percent of the targets coming his way. Where Freeman really makes his fantasy hay is in the red zone, though, as he saw 67 opportunities inside the 20-yard line (50 carries, 17 targets) compared to 32 for Coleman. Even with Kyle Shanahan no longer calling the shots, Freeman is a near lock for fantasy RB1 production as a key cog in the Falcons high-powered offense.

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2016 stats: 227 att, 1,079 yds, 11 TDs, 65 tgt, 54 rec, 462 yds, 2 TD, 230.1 fantasy points

From offseason fantasy darling to nearly being cut to setting NFL records, Jay Ajayi's 2016 season was a wild one. He didn't even travel with the team in Week 1, but after he took over the starting job from an injured Arian Foster in Week 5, Ajayi took off like a runaway freight train. He became the fourth back in NFL history to rush for 200-plus yards in consecutive games, and the second player to rush for 200-plus yards three times in a season (Tiki Barber, 2005). From Week 6 to the end of the season, Ajayi led all running backs in rush attempts (229) and rushing yards (1,155). With the Dolphins offense finding new life under Adam Gase, Ajayi has the look of a low-end RB1 for 2017.

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2016 stats: 260 att, 1,272 yds, 8 TDs, 35 tgt, 27 rec, 151 yds, 0 TD, 188.3 fantasy points

This time a year ago, many believe Gurley should be the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy after he was the RB5 as a rookie despite playing in essentially only 12 games. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. Gurley battled the disastrous trio of a subpar offensive line, a pedestrian passing attack, and his own bad habits/inefficiencies. The result was an RB20 finish even though he saw 71 more touches than his rookie year. Now, Gurley will look to rebound in the offense of Sean McVay behind a restructured offensive line with the addition of Andrew Whitworth. Ultimately, Gurley's success will likely be more tied to the success of the passing game and Jared Goff. If the sophomore can up his game, Gurley's odds of rebounding increase. If not ... well, 2017 could look a lot like 2016.

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2016 stats: 278 att, 885 yds, 6 TDs, 58 tgt, 43 rec, 327 yds, 0 TD, 155.2 fantasy points

The inefficient committee of running backs in Jacksonville is no more. This is now Leonard Fournette's backfield, and the bruising runner from LSU figures to see a 20-touch per game workload, if early reports from Duval County are to be believed. Fournette could cede some pass-catching work to T.J. Yeldon, but this team didn't draft Fournette fourth overall to have him be a two-down back. An Ezekiel Elliott rookie season shouldn't be expected, but fringe RB1 production is certainly well within Fournette's range of outcomes.

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2016 stats: -- att, -- yds, -- TDs, -- tgt, -- rec, -- yds, -- TD, -- fantasy points

Few players enter 2017 with as many question marks surrounding them as Carlos Hyde. How will he fit in Kyle Shanahan's zone running scheme? Can he stay healthy after missing 14 games through his first three seasons? Will rookie Joe Williams, whom Shanahan traded up to draft, eat into Hyde's workload? Reading the summer tea leaves, it appears Hyde will have every opportunity to hold onto the starting job as the incumbent veteran. When healthy, Hyde has been a dynamic playmaker thanks to his combination of speed and size. He finished 2016 as the RB14 despite missing three games with injuries and being limited in others. His 4.6 yards per carry ranked eighth among backs with at least 200 attempts. There's certainly upside for Hyde in a Shanahan offense that has produced five top-20 fantasy rushers in the past five years, though the risks will force his draft stock out of the first couple rounds.

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2016 stats: 217 att, 988 yds, 6 TDs, 33 tgt, 27 rec, 163 yds, 3 TD, 165.1 fantasy points

Finally free from the Dolphins, Miller was set to finally see a massive workload and fantasy players were thrilled. While the touches were there for Miller in 2016 (299 to be exact), the scoring opportunities were not. A number of factors contributed against Miller, including the ineffective offense led by Brock Osweiler, an offensive line riddled with injuries, and his own average play. With a better quarterback under center (it'd be hard to play worse than Osweiler) and a healthy offensive line (last year's second-round pick Nick Martin will be back), perhaps Miller can turn his opportunities into more fantasy points this time around. Risks remain throughout the offense, however, making Miller a better second or third-round option in drafts.

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2016 stats: 268 att, 1,073 yds, 5 TDs, 39 tgt, 31 rec, 188 yds, 1 TD, 160.1 fantasy points

Beast Mode is officially back. This time around, though, Marshawn Lynch will be donning the Silver and Black of his hometown and joining the high-octane offense of the Oakland Raiders. As long as Lynch's health is in good order (he missed most of 2015, his last season, with a back/core injury), the bruising back figures to at worst be an RB2 in fantasy. The Raiders boast one of the NFL's best lines (2.4 yards before contact allowed in 2016 for their backs), and last year Latavius Murray amassed nearly 1,000 yards and scored 12 times. Lynch is a far superior player to Murray, and even less than 100 percent of his top form he should be able to put up comparable, if not far superior numbers. Lynch's value right now is hovering around the second or third round, though a strong training camp might push him even higher.

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2016 stats: -- att, -- yds, -- TDs, -- tgt, -- rec, -- yds, -- TD, -- fantasy points

For the past two years, C.J. Anderson has entered the season filled with promise ... only to have that dashed by injuries and somewhat unexpected backfield committees. Anderson's 2016 season was undone by a torn meniscus in Week 7, though subpar quarterback play and a shoddy offensive line weren't doing him any favors before that. Heading into 2017, the offense welcomes back Mike McCoy at coordinator, which could benefit Anderson. The two were on the team together back in 2013, when McCoy coaxed a career year out of Knowshon Moreno (with the help of Peyton Manning, of course). Anderson will need to fend off last year's fourth-round rookie Devontae Booker in training camp, but Booker struggled as the featured back once Anderson went down and could face an uphill battle to significant touches. Anderson carries plenty of risk given his injury history and the offensive line/QB struggles, but he should slide solidly into that middle tier of RB2s this fall.

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2016 stats: 110 att, 437 yds, 4 TDs, 24 tgt, 16 rec, 128 yds, 1 TD, 86.5 fantasy points

With long-time star Jamaal Charles out of the picture, the Chiefs running back job is Spencer Ware's to lose. With Charles mostly on the shelf a season ago, Ware led the way with 65.4 percent of the backfield carries and 46.7 percent of the backfield targets. Ware's touchdown total suffered because six different players scored a rushing touchdown from inside the five for the Chiefs in 2016, though two of said players (Charles, Dontari Poe) are no longer with the team. Ware's workload should be pretty safe, though his scoring upside in the Chiefs middle-of-the-pack offense will be a bit limited. All told Ware looks like one of the safer RB2 options in the game for 2017.

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2016 stats: 214 att, 921 yds, 3 TDs, 42 tgt, 33 rec, 447 yds, 2 TD, 160.8 fantasy points

The Panthers are hoping Christian McCaffrey, whom they selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, can provide a much needed spark to their offense. The most dynamic dual-threat in college football seems up to the challenge, already being moved all over the field in offseason workouts. With Jonathan Stewart entering his age-30 season, the team will likely look to reduce his workload, while also targeting McCaffrey out of the backfield more than they've targeted backs in the past. He won't be the featured back yet, but he looks likely to see consistent touches in an offense ready to bounce back after a disappointing 2016. McCaffrey's name, pedigree, and potential will cause him to go in the first four rounds of most drafts -- potentially higher in PPR formats as well.

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A trendy late-round sleeper last August, Crowell's up-and-down 2016 was surely frustrating, though in the end he wound up as the RB15 in standard leagues. Crowell will be playing for a new contract in 2017, which could add some incentive for him to finally cross the 1,000-yard plateau. The Browns still need an answer under center, but if the position improves (or at least becomes more stable) in 2017, Crowell could be a sleeper once again. He saw 28 carries and six targets in the red zone a year ago, scoring five times on nine attempts inside the five-yard line. More scoring chances would certainly help lift Crowell's ceiling, but for now, his role as the primary rusher who sees plenty of targets (53 in 2016) cements him as a rock-solid RB2.

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2016 stats: 168 att, 704 yds, 6 TDs, 18 tgt, 12 rec, 82 yds, 1 TD, 165.10 fantasy points

Perhaps the most talented all-around back in this year's rookie class, Joe Mixon figures to be the leading option in the Cincinnati backfield, despite the presence of both Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. The Bengals backfield has struggled with inefficient play and injuries the last two years, which leaves the door wide open for Mixon to come in and take over. The former Sooner offers a rare blend of size, speed, power and finesse that he combines to make him a mismatch at most levels of the field. If Mixon can walk the straight and narrow and prove to the coaches he means business -- the pressure will be on due to his high-profile college assault case -- it likely won't be too hard for him to secure the leading duties in what looks like an offense primed for a bounce back. Mixon's ceiling is higher than any other rookie rusher, and that alone will force him higher up draft boards than many probably anticipate.

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2016 stats: -- att, -- yds, -- TDs, -- tgt, -- rec, -- yds, -- TD, -- fantasy points

Once considered one of the safest picks in fantasy, back-to-back injury-plagued seasons mired with weight issues quickly took Eddie Lacy out of favor. Perhaps a fresh start with the Seattle Seahawks will serve him well. The Seahawks need a replacement for Marshawn Lynch, and per ESPN's Mike Clay the only back with a higher average yards after contact than Lacy since 2011 ... is Lynch (min. 310 carries). Lacy will need to keep his weight in check (it's built into his contract) and fend off Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, making this a must-watch training camp battle for fantasy. Russell Wilson's pass attempts have increased each year of his career, meaning there are fewer carries to go around. However, the Seattle offense is a potent unit, and if Lacy wins the lead back duties he should have plenty of scoring opportunities and a workload worthy of low-end RB2 consideration. It was a limited sample size, but he did average a career-best 5.1 yards per carry in 2016, despite weight and ankle issues.

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2016 stats: 71 att, 360 yds, 6 TDs, 7 tgt, 4 rec, 28 yds, 0 TD, 38.8 fantasy points

After a decade with Adrian Peterson as the face of the franchise, the Vikings had to move on. They're hoping the transition will be smooth with talented rookie Dalvin Cook attempting to fill Peterson's massive shoes. The team also signed Latavius Murray this offseason, but traded up for Cook and will likely lean on him more than the veteran. Cook brings more versatility to the offense as a runner and pass-catcher than Peterson used to offer or Murray currently offers, which should help his fantasy output. The committee here is worrisome, but if Cook can take a firm hold of the leading spot he'll still have RB2 upside in fantasy. Right now, he looks like a solid middle-round pick in fantasy drafts.

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2016 stats: -- att, -- yds, -- TDs, -- tgt, -- rec, -- yds, -- TD, -- fantasy points

Why do the Saints hate Mark Ingram? Or, perhaps the more appropriate question, is why won't they just let him be great? Ingram completed a career renaissance a few years back, but the team rarely gives him the touches deserved by a back of his caliber. Despite having to fight for nearly every opportunity, Ingram managed the first 1,000-yard campaign of his career in 2016 (with a career-best 5.1 yards per carry) and threw in 10 total touchdowns for good measure. As a reward for his efforts, the team signed Adrian Peterson to a two-year deal this offseason. Sigh. Now, Peterson is coming off of a major knee injury, is 32 years old, and should cede passing down work to Ingram (among others). But this arrival puts a major damper on what should have been a rock solid RB2 outlook for the former Heisman Trophy winner. Ingram remains attached to a high-octane offense and will certainly have big games, but projecting them figures to be next to impossible at this stage of the season. Draft him as a low-end RB2, but prepare to be frustrated.

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2016 stats: 205 att, 1,043 yds, 6 TDs, 58 tgt, 46 rec, 319 yds, 4 TD, 196.2 fantasy points

As the fourth or fifth wide receiver on the Packers, Montgomery wasn't on the fantasy radar to start the season. That all changed when the team was forced to switch Montgomery to running back, paving the way for one of 2016's hottest fantasy debates. Now officially a running back for the Pack, Montgomery looks like a fantasy dynamo thanks to his ability to both run between the tackles (5.9 yards per carry) and routes out of the backfield (44 receptions). If given enough opportunities in Green Bay's loaded offense, Montgomery could be one of the best fantasy sleepers in 2017.

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2016 stats: 77 att, 457 yds, 3 TDs, 56 tgt, 44 rec, 348 yds, 0 TD, 96.5 fantasy points

The year is 2017, Frank Gore is 34 years old, and as far as we can tell, still keeping Father Time at bay (for now). The Colts seem to believe so as well, as they barely addressed the running back position in the offseason, re-signing noted touchdown vulture Robert Turbin and drafting home-run threat Marlon Mack in the fifth round. Gore has seen 300-plus combined targets/rushes in each of the last two years, but his usage took a troubling turn last year -- especially in the red zone. In 2015, Gore saw over 67 percent of the backfield opportunities inside the 20, but that fell to 51.5 percent in 2016, with Turbin stealing seven rushing touchdowns inside the 10-yard line. While the Colts made minimal moves at the position, they acquired and kept players with abilities Gore no longer possesses at his advanced age -- powerful goal-line scorers and speed demons. Even though Gore should lead this backfield in touches, losing out on the high-value ones will cap his fantasy ceiling. Gore looks like a low-ceiling flex option for 2016, with far more risk than upside.

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2016 stats: 263 att, 1,025 yds, 4 TDs, 47 tgt, 38 rec, 277 yds, 4 TD, 176.2 fantasy points

It took awhile, but last year's leader in rushing touchdowns finally found a new home for 2017, and it's in the Eagles nest. LeGarrette Blount's arrival in Philadelphia seemingly sets up a pretty clear workload distribution in the backfield, with early-down and goal-line work falling on his broad shoulders, while scat back extraordinaire Darren Sproles will handle the passing down work. The Eagles had the fifth-most rush attempts inside an opponent's 5-yard line last year, and Blount led the league with 24 attempts in that space. His fantasy ceiling won't reach top-10 heights like he hit last year in the Patriots' high-octane offense, but Blount looks to be a nice RB2/RB3 option with the Eagles.

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2016 stats: 299 att, 1,161 yds, 18 TDs, 8 tgt, 7 rec, 38 yds, 0 TD, 225.9 fantasy points

The promise of Abdullah's early-season performance (120 total yards, TD in Week 1) dissipated just as quickly when he suffered a torn ligament in his foot in Week 2 and landed on IR. Now fully healthy, he'll look to reclaim the No. 1 RB spot in a backfield that averaged 3.5 yards per carry without him. Abdullah's ceiling might be limited with Theo Riddick eating up some of the passing targets, but after back-to-back disappointing seasons, his name value should take a hit on draft day. If it all breaks right for Abdullah on the gridiron, 2016 could be a true breakout campaign for the former Nebraska star.

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2016 stats: 18 att, 101 yds, 0 TDs, 5 tgt, 5 rec, 57 yds, 1 TD, 21.8 fantasy points

Even though Tevin Coleman never took over the backfield from Devonta Freeman, as some on Twitter thought he would, he did find plenty of fantasy success. With Freeman entrenched as the lead back, Coleman became the matchup buster, getting deployed all over the field to exploit opponent weaknesses. Coleman finished the year as the overall RB17, scoring double-digit points in eight of his 13 games, with two 20-plus outings. The big questions for Coleman are how effectively can new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian deploy him, and what will the workload distribution look like. In 2016, Coleman saw 15-plus touches just twice, while Freeman crossed that mark in 15 of his 16 games. For now, Coleman is best treated as an RB3/flex with upside.

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2016 stats: 118 att, 520 yds, 8 TDs, 40 tgt, 31 rec, 421 yds, 3 TD, 160.1 fantasy points

A long-time rotational player for the Jets, Bilal Powell received an extended chance to shine at the end of the season, and he was one of the lone bright spots on the team. As the de facto featured back from Week 14 to Week 17, Powell racked up 411 rushing yards, 141 receiving yards and three total touchdowns, which was good enough for him to be the RB2 in that span. However, Matt Forte is still a Jet (for now), so this figures to be some sort of committee backfield, at least to start. Some beat reporters already believe Powell will be the team's lead back, but that's hard to trust given the timing of the report. Of the two backs, Powell has much more upside and it'd make more sense for the team to give him more touches and see what he can offer for the future, seeing as Forte is 32 and nearing the twilight of his career. Powell offers excellent upside as a low-end RB2 thanks to his dual-threat abilities as a runner and receiver and can be landed in the middle-to-late rounds of most drafts.

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2016 stats: 131 att, 722 yds, 3 TDs, 74 tgt, 58 rec, 388 yds, 2 TD, 139.0 fantasy points

Paul Perkins was a trendy sleeper pick in fantasy drafts last year, but barely made a statistical impact until late in the season, and even then, his fantasy impact was minimal. With Rashad Jennings out of the way, it makes sense why head coach Ben McAdoo would call Perkins his starter this early in the offseason. Perkins rookie season didn't instill much confidence for a true fantasy breakout, but the Giants offensive line was a mess last year. Perhaps, with some new line help and an upgraded passing attack thanks to the additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, Perkins will find the sledding easier between the tackles. He'll need to make the most of his touches, either way, to be truly fantasy relevant, as Shane Vereen, Wayne Gallman, and Orleans Darkwa all lurk, waiting to steal opportunities. For now, Perkins is a high-upside potential starter to grab in the middle rounds, but drafters need to be prepared for a potentially disastrous committee to emerge in New York.

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2016 stats: 112 att, 456 yds, 0 TDs, 24 tgt, 15 rec, 162 yds, 0 TD, 61.8 fantasy points

The starting running back job in Washington has been in flux since the team parted ways with Alfred Morris. And while Rob Kelley had success last year after ousting the uneven Matt Jones, Samaje Perine might be coming in to do the same thing to Kelley. Perine is a bruising, powerful back who seems like a match made in heaven for Jay Gruden's offensive desires and a perfect complement to pass-catching scatback Chris Thompson. Perine figures to compete with Kelley throughout training camp for starting reps, and our guess is he earns them at some point this season. He's an excellent high-upside later-round pick.

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After racking up 120 total yards and a receiving touchdown in Week 1, Woodhead's rip-roaring start to the 2016 season came to a halt when he suffered a season-ending ACL tear the following week. Now back to full health, the 32-year-old will catch passes from Joe Flacco in Baltimore, after signing with the team in free agency. Woodhead figures to have a large role early on, especially with second-year back Kenneth Dixon serving a four-game suspension. Woodhead's fantasy ceiling is lower than in year's past though, as he's coming off his second major injury in the past three years and is part of a crowded, but unsettled, backfield. Draft accordingly.

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2016 stats: 19 att, 116 yds, 0 TDs, 8 tgt, 6 rec, 35 yds, 1 TD, 21.1 fantasy points

After 10 seasons in Minnesota, Adrian Peterson is heading south to the Bayou. Peterson signed a two-year deal with the Saints this offseason, clouding the fantasy outlook of their backfield. With Tim Hightower out of the picture, Mark Ingram's stock was rising, but now Peterson comes in to, at worst, be an early-down, goal-line hammer (Hightower led the team with 10 carries inside the 5-yard line), but more likely a more heavily involved complement to Ingram. Risk does surround A.D., however. After all, he is a 32-year-old back with 2,418 career carries coming off his second major injury in the last several years. Nevertheless, the scoring potential will be there for Peterson and he's motivated to chase a Super Bowl and numerous records. He'll be a risk-reward RB3.

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2016 stats: 37 att, 72 yds, 0 TDs, 6 tgt, 3 rec, 8 yds, 0 TD, 6.0 fantasy points

Riddick is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league, and his 67 targets last year tied for eighth among backs, though he only played in 10 games due to injuries. He notched four-plus catches in nine of those games, finding the end zone six times in total (five receptions, one rush). Riddick's workload could take a hit with a healthy Ameer Abdullah back in the mix, though at this point Riddick is more of a receiver than a running back. He's an excellent flex in PPR formats, and a low-end option in standard.

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2016 stats: 92 att, 357 yds, 1 TDs, 67 tgt, 53 rec, 371 yds, 5 TD, 108.8 fantasy points

The NFL offseason is often long and unforgiving. When 2016 wrapped up, Kenneth Dixon was looking like a prime sleeper candidate after a solid rookie campaign. Then he was hit with the double-whammy of a four-game suspension and the arrival of grit king Danny Woodhead. Now, once Dixon returns he will have to fight for carries behind Terrance West and Woodhead, who will have a whole month to establish themselves as an effective 1-2 punch. Fortunately, Dixon's believers won't need to invest too heavy of a draft cost into the former Louisiana Tech star, as he'll plummet to the very late rounds in most drafts.

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2016 stats: 88 att, 382 yds, 2 TDs, 41 tgt, 30 rec, 162 yds, 1 TD, 72.4 fantasy points

How much does Matt Forte have left in the tank? That's the question to wrestle with when considering drafting the long-time fantasy stud. The 31-year-old is coming off an injury-plagued 2016, where too much of the Jets offense fell on his shoulders from the outset -- he accounted for nearly 40 percent of the team's total opportunities (rushes/targets) by Week 12. Down the stretch, he was outplayed by Bilal Powell, too. Coming off arthroscopic knee surgery, Forte should remain the starter, though his workload figures to be split more evenly with Powell, per reports. There's plenty to like about a back of Forte's caliber at a draft discount in fantasy, but the negatives (age, committee, bad offense) are starting to pile up and might form a substantial barrier on his quest for one more successful fantasy season.

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2016 stats: 218 att, 813 yds, 7 TDs, 43 tgt, 30 rec, 263 yds, 1 TD, 153.6 fantasy points

Kelley came from relative obscurity to win the starting job in Washington mid-way through the season after Matt Jones struggled. From Week 8 on, Kelley was the RB13 and finished 2016 as the RB26 overall. However, he averaged just under four yards per carry as the lead back and only crossed 80 yards rushing three times in nine games. Perhaps that's partially why the team went on to select Samaje Perine in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Kelley will have the early shot at being the starter, but Perine is a more prototypical bruising back and should cut into Kelley's workload regardless. Kelley's status as a sleeper has taken a significant hit, and he now carries significantly more risk with Perine and Chris Thompson likely to earn touches out of the backfield.

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2016 stats: 168 att, 704 yds, 6 TDs, 18 tgt, 12 rec, 82 yds, 1 TD, 120.6 fantasy points

With Jamaal Charles no longer with the team, the Chiefs needed to bolster their running back corps and might have found a future star in Kareem Hunt. The small school (Toledo) prospect won over the hearts of draft and fantasy analysts alike with his tantalizing combination of speed, vision, and ability on the field. Hunt likely will jump Charcandrick West on the depth chart, but will have to contend with Spencer Ware for touches early on. If Ware can capture the form he flashed at times last year, he's likely to hold onto the starting gig. But if not, Hunt has the all-around tools to be an absolute stud in an Andy Reid-led offense. He'll be worth a late-round flier at worst.

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2016 stats: -- att, -- yds, -- TDs, -- tgt, -- rec, -- yds, -- TD, -- fantasy points

Doug Martin was hit with a four-game suspension late last season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy, and has three games remaining to serve. If offseason reports of his health, fitness, and mental preparedness are to be believed, then Martin could be gearing up for a bounce-back campaign. The Boise State product's career has been punctuated by peaks and valleys, with three disappointing 400-yard seasons peppered around two 1,400-yarders. Given his suspension, Martin will likely come at a big discount in fantasy drafts, and his ceiling could be sky-high in the Buccaneers reloaded offense. Owners will have to live with Martin burning a hole on their bench for the first three weeks of the season, but the potential reward could be greater than that loss.

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2016 stats: 144 att, 421 yds, 3 TDs, 16 tgt, 14 rec, 134 yds, 0 TD, 71.5 fantasy points

The Jonathan Stewart era appears to be coming to an end in Carolina. While he managed to up his touchdown total to nine last year (after scoring nine the previous two years combined), Stewart has also missed nine games in the last three years, has hit the dreaded 30 mark in age, and has seen his yards per carry decline in three straight years. Oh, and the team drafted running back dynamo Christian McCaffrey with the eighth overall selection back in April. Stewart restructured his contract this offseason to be more cap-friendly, giving him one more year at least to #KeepPounding. Unfortunately for fantasy purposes, that might mean pounding the rock on early downs and a few goal-line opportunities. His fantasy ceiling is significantly lowered as the Panthers appear to be transitioning their offense into a more modern mold.

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2016 stats: 218 att, 824 yds, 9 TDs, 21 tgt, 8 rec, 60 yds, 0 TD, 138.4 fantasy points

As a former Heisman Trophy winner and second-round draft pick, much is expected out of Derrick Henry. Unfortunately for his fans, those expectations may need to be put on hold for another year. The Titans drafted Henry after trading for DeMarco Murray and asserted Murray would be the starter all offseason. They backed that up on the field, with Murray receiving over 72 percent of the backfield rushing attempts (Henry saw about 27 percent). So far, the drumbeat coming out of the Music City has been one indicating Henry will stay in a complementary role, while Murray is the featured back. This limits any breakout potential for Henry out of the gate, but he'll remain one of the top high-upside handcuff candidates to stash. If Murray were to go down with an injury, Henry would be a borderline RB1.

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2016 stats: 110 att, 490 yds, 5 TDs, 15 tgt, 13 rec, 137 yds, 0 TD, 92.7 fantasy points

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) makes a deep catch as Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Kyzir White (44) trails on the play during an NFL football game , Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif.

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