The 2018 NFL Regular Season will be here before we know it. Before the season actually starts, we will have already made our picks in our season long NFL Drafts. A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog about the top running backs heading into the summer.
This week, I'm publishing a blog about the running backs that should be on your radar. These running backs most definitely won't be drafted in the first four rounds of any season long NFL Fantasy Draft. No worries, all 10 could turn out to be diamonds in the rough RBs this season.
NFL Fantasy: RBs That Should Be on Your Radar
1. Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins
Last season, Drake only had 133 carries. That's much less than most workhorse running backs. He figures to be a valuable workhorse running back this season because he won't have to battle Jay Ajayi for carries. That means he could get around 15 to 20 carries every game.
Even if Drake doesn't get those carries, he'll still produce in the passing game. Drake is one of the better pass catching running backs in the NFL. I think he has a good season with the Miami Dolphins. If QB Ryan Tannehill comes back strong, his season will be even better.
2. Rashad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
One of 4 rookies on my list was the second running back drafted after the New York Giants took Saquon Barkley second. Barkley should be a top flight running back this season. Rashad Penny also has a chance to be a top flight running back.
The key for Penny will be how well the Seahawks offensive line comes together. If the Seahawks' O-line can play the way it used to when Beast Mode ran wild, forget it. Penny could rush for close to 1,500 yards and score 8 to 10 touchdowns.
3. Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line isn't great. It might not have to be if Ronald Jones II displays the awesome ability in the NFL that he showed while a USC Trojan. Coming out of high school, Ronald Jones II was the highest rated running back. USC didn't always use him the way that they could have.
Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter knows that if the Buccaneers have any hopes of contending with the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers in the NFC South Division, they must protect QB Jameis Winston. Winston has underperformed since breaking into the NFL as a #1 draft pick. Most of the fault falls on the shoulders of the Buc's rushing attack, which has spent way too much time leaning on Doug Martin.
RJII could pay instant dividends. I think he's worth a long look.
4. Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns
The Browns also have very good running back in Duke Johnson Jr. The difference between Duke and Carlos is that Carlos can bang through the line in addition to catching the football out of the backfield. Carlos Hyde should get the bulk of the carries for a Cleveland Browns offense that will be much, much better at the QB position even if Baker Mayfield doesn't start.
The Browns signed former Buffalo starting QB Tyrod Taylor. Taylor finally has some weapons around him in WRs Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon. Hyde is another weapon that the Browns should use often. Hyde is good enough to set things up for Taylor to Gordon and Landry.
5. Isaiah Crowell, New York Jets
Crowell, who was Cleveland's starting running back last season, couldn't have found a better situation than what he finds playing for the New York Jets. Crowell's abilities are far reaching. He never got the carries he needed to get going in a Browns' uniform. The Jets will give him the carries because they're breaking in a rookie QB, Sam Darnold.
Even if Darnold doesn't start, NYJ's entire offense should revolve around a strong rushing attack. That means, Crowell could be a 20 carry per game beast. Again, when he gets the carries, Isaiah's effective. I love how things are setting up for Isaiah Crowell this season. I also have no doubt that he gets the start over the oft-injured Thomas Rawls.
6. Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans
The Titans hired the Rams' offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur. Then, the Titans signed Dion Lewis away from the New England Patriots. Lewis can catch the football. He can also rush with the football. Most fantasy lists former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry as their starter. Henry is a bruising back. He could start. But, Lafleur threw the ball like a madman to Todd Gurley last season.
Lewis is a much better pass catching RB than Derrick Henry. LaFleur will call Dion's number in plenty of scoring situations.
7. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins
Guice was ranked as the second best running back in this year's draft. I'm still not sure why he fell so far down in the draft. My gut tells me that he makes amends big time by producing a stellar rookie season. Like some of the other rookies on this list, Guice goes to a great situation. Washington signed veteran QB Alex Smith. Smith threw the ball to Kareem Hunt with abandon last season. If Guice can prove he's capable of catching the football, he could be invaluable to Washington's goal of winning the NFC East Division.
That makes Derrius a pretty good fantasy football RB that might be available in Round 6 or beyond.
8. Sony Michel, New England Patriots
The Patriots made a splash by drafting Sony Michel with their second Round 1 pick. Michel can flat out fly. He's also proven to be a decent pass catcher. The Patriots, no doubt, hope that Michel replaces the production they've lost after Dion Lewis signed with Tennessee. If Michel gains coach Belichick's trust, he'll have plenty of opportunities to put up fantasy points.
9. Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
Cohen is too good of a running back for the Bears, who want to open up their offense this season, to leave on the bench. I predict he's more than just a handcuff to starter Jordan Howard. Heck, he might see as many carries as Howard. If Tarik's available in the later rounds, don't hesitate to draft him.
10. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
Just like Cohen in Chicago, Aaron Jones in Green Bay is listed second on the depth charge behind Jamaal Williams. Williams looks like a decent running back. He doesn't have the speed, hands, or cutting ability that Jones has, though. The Packers could decide to just go with Aaron. When they did that last season, he responded with some huge games.