Do you hear it? The banter between Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson on Fox NFL Sunday, the sound of ESPN alerts notifying last minute active/inactives, and the singing of the Nation Anthem. 7-grueling months have passed since the last meaningful snap of NFL football, and only 3 days separate us from the classic Chris Collinsworth NBC slide-in. Will they hit us with the left or right slide-in this Thursday? 

Over Labor day weekend, NFL teams made critical roster cuts to finalize their 53 man rosters. The NFL did not disappoint with this years’ share of trades, cuts, and acquisitions days before the 2019 kickoff. Let’s take a look at the multiple backfields that were impacted over the weekend…

Kansas City Chiefs

Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson

Within an 8-hour window, KC traded Carlos Hyde to the Houston Texans and signed Bills roster casualty LeSean McCoy to a 1-year, $4 million contract ($3 mil. guaranteed, per Adam Schefter). McCoy reunites with Big Red, Andy Reid, his former head coach in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, Shady’s 1-year deal has a higher guarantee than what Damien Williams received this offseason.

The Aftermath

Darwin Thompsons stock immediately plummets to waiver wire-watch list status for most 12-team redraft leagues, unless you have a bench larger than 7 roster spots. With a crowded backfield, it will be difficult to predict consistent usage to justify rostering him. Damien Williams carried a huge question mark all offseason, making him arguably the hardest RB evaluation for fantasy football. Damien never surpassed 50-touches in his first 4 years in the NFL, but the Chiefs have been preparing Damien to take the reins as the #1 back in Andy Reids offense. Now with McCoy in the mix, hopefully, we can get Damien at a price we can stomach. Prior to McCoy, Damien was drafted as the RB12 in the 2nd round. If he slides into the 5th round range, I’m willing to pull the trigger. LeSean McCoy turned 31 in July but is only 1 full NFL season removed from rushing over 1,100 yards and grinding out 287 rushing attempts. Don’t expect McCoy to be a ‘bell-cow’ back in this offense but a complimentary piece to Damien Williams. The Kansas City Star Chiefs beat reporter, Brooke Pryor, writes that McCoy will get “a large percentage of the reps along with starter Damien Williams.” McCoy showed he still had some juice in the Bills 3rd preseason game against the Lions, posting a healthy 6.2 yards per carry, taking 6 attempts for 37 yards. Target McCoy in the 7-8th round range, ahead of guys like Jordan Howard and Latavius Murray. Darwin remains a dynasty target, late round grab for keeper leagues, and end of season stash if/when McCoy begins to wear down. 

Houston Texans

Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson Jr. 

Along with acquiring Carlos Hyde from the Chiefs, the Texans made a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins. Sending two future 1st round draft picks, the Texans received former first round Left Tackle Leremy Tunsil to help protect the blindside of Deshaun Watson

The Aftermath

Duke’s history in the NFL is a 3rd-down, change of pace, receiving back. After Lamar Miller went down with a torn ACL, it was only a matter of time the Texans acquired a back to shore up this backfield. Hyde finds himself on his 5th NFL team since entering the NFL, which does not bode well for his long term stock value in Houston. Hyde is in a pass heavy offense that has the offensive weapons to spread defenses out allowing for lighter defensive fronts. Hyde’s body frame, 6′ 229lbs, fits the traditional early down and goaline role compared to Dukes 5’9″ 210lbs. I’m still low on Houston’s overall running game with a tough strength of schedule, pass first offense, and Deshaun Watson who likes to scramble. Hyde fantasy value is touchdown dependent, and Duke has better overall value and upside in full-point PPR leagues. In Rudy’s freshest projections, he has Duke projected to finish RB27 and Hyde RB48. 

Buffalo Bills

Devin Singletary, Frank gore

Buffalo cut their 2018 starting running back, LeSean McCoy

The Aftermath

Since getting drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 NLF Draft, Singletary’s stock has continued on an upward trajectory with no end in sight. Devin rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his 3 seasons at Florida Atlantic, reaching over 1,900 yards in his sophomore season on 301 carries. Ageless wonder, Frank Gore still remains on the roster and will vulture some goal line/early down touches. 4-year vet, TJ Yeldon is on the roster as well but I’m not scared of him getting in the way of this Singletary rocket ship set for blast-off. Singletary carries a lot of upside in an offense expected to take steps forward under 2nd year QB, Josh Allen, and that made improvements to its offensive line during the offseason. Rudy currently has Singletary finishing as RB31 and Frank Gore RB52. Gore is only worth a roster spot for RB needy owners or deeper formats. I’m willing to take Singletary in the 5th round range (James White, Phillip Lindsay, Tarik Cohen). It’s Singletary time in Buffalo!

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson

The Aftermath

This news merely cements Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson’s value in this backfield, unless Melvin Gordon comes crawling back to the Chargers with his tail between his leg and accepts their offer (unlikely). Nothing new to add to this situation that has not already been covered previously. I love Ekeler in full PPR leagues, and Jackson deserves a spot on all fantasy rosters. Ekeler will cost at least a 5th round pick. Jackson’s ADP still sits in the early 14th round, but expect this to skyrocket over the next couple of days. Look to grab Jackson in the 8th/9th round. For a more in depth breakdown of my thoughts on Ekeler and Jackson, check out my AFC West Fantasy Preview from early August.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman

The Aftermath

This news reaffirms our love for Matt Breida as a later round steal. Both Tevin Coleman and Breida are great middle round targets for those owners employing an zero-RB strategy. Shanahan’s offense is fantasy friendly for RBs and his offenses have a history of supporting two fantasy relevant running backs. Coleman will cost you a middle 5th round pick and Breida a middle 7th round pick. Breida presents more upside and carries the cheaper price tag. Place your bets on Breida, who averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry in 2018. Check him out lined up out in the slot during SF 3rd preseason game….

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard, Ezekiel Elliott

The Aftermath

The highly inflated price of Tony Pollard will fail to yield a return now that Zeke is reported to return. Pollard is not worth rostering in most redraft formats, unless you own Zeke. For Zeke owners, this is your chance to pick up your handcuff as Pollard owners are likely to drop him to waivers. Pollard will get play as a change of pace back in this offense after shining during the preseason. Unfortunately, it will not be enough to rely on a weekly basis for fantasy, unless Zeke were to miss any time. 

Miami Dolphins

Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage

The Aftermath

The Dolphins weren’t expected to be a great team prior to this weekends trade news, but at this point MIA is clearly in full tank, IDGAF about 2019, mode. Sending their best offensive lineman, Leremy Tunsil, and their best deep threat, Kenny Stills, to Houston. This offense has little hope in 2019. I liked Drake and Ballage as cheap mid-late round fliers earlier in the preseason. Now, I don’t know if either are worth rostering. This MIA team that will struggle to string together first downs, yet alone get in favorable situations to yield fantasy relevant opportunities for its running backs. The o-line will be putrid and negative game scripts should keep Ballage on waivers. Drake still holds, some, value in PPR leagues. Neither back should be drafted at their current price. It’s hard to envision MIA in a lot of scoring positions to make Ballage’s “goal line” role worth a roster spot. Luckily for Drake, his stock has dropped over the course of preseason with his foot injury. His foots looks ready to go for week 1. I’m only taking Drake if we can get him in the 7th round or later. 

 

 

  1. Prog Nation says:
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    Great tidbits Nic. Already have had my draft. I have both Darwin Thompson and Melvin Gordon. McCoy, Hyde and Justin Jackson are available. Drop both Thompson and Gordon for either of those 3? Or should I stash Gordon for a while.?

    Thanks.

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      Thank you.. For sure drop Darwin. I think Picking up Jackson makes the most sense for you. I’d put Hyde at the bottom, if i were to rank those 3. Jackson is more valuable to you as a Melly owner. McCoy won’t yield an immediate return until probably 2-3 weeks into the season, depending on how modified Andys offense is, terminology, protections etc. from when McCoy was with Andy in Philly. This should give us enough time to know how this Gordon situations is going to look for the rest of the season, If one of your league mates doesn’t nab McCoy already. If you’re already at the screw it point with Gordon then get wild with it and just drop him and Darwin both for Jackson and McCoy, but i dont think dropping an early/mid round draft pick before the season starts is the best move. need to wait it out for at least 1-2 more weeks.

      thanks again for the comment.

  2. Thesportsguy says:
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    14 teams,..5 PPR..picking 12th…choice of keeper, Mack in the 7th or mike willams in the 9th

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      depends on how comfortable you are with the Colts offense. Im going to go with keeping Mike Williams here. without Gordon, the Bolts will probably end up passing more.

      in 14 team, mack is going in the middle of the 2nd round, a 5 round value for you. Mike williams is going towards the end of the 3 round, a 6 round value for you. Go Mike here.

      thank you for the comment, sportsguy.

  3. steve stevenson says:
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    What do you think the Texans’ WR situation looks like w/ Stills in the fold? Where are you drafting Fuller, Stills and Coutee now?

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      I think both Fuller and Coutee have been slipping a lot this season because of the known injury history with both receivers. If anything, i think this hurst Fuller more because Still will play outside more than the slot. less of an impact for Coutee that plays primarily out of the slot. still love Fuller in best ball but for season long, im down grading Fuller a full round, he’s currently going at the end of the 6th round. ill probably wait until the end of the 8th beginning of 9th round. Coutee is still pretty cheap at the end of the 11, wouldn’t move him too much..maybe in to the 12th round.. honestly I think Duke hurts Coutee value as well. ive been pivoting from HOU receivers in general, very volatile week-to-week

      • James Bolger says:
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        Would you drop Coutee & pick up Pettis, WR SF from waivers?

        • Nic Romero

          Nic Romero says:
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          yes!

  4. Water boy says:
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    Hey Nic! Seeing if you can help with my RB core.

    It’s .5 ppr

    I have DJ, Dalvin Cook, David Montgomery, Tevin Coleman, Darwin Thompson, pollard, Justin Jackson, Dion Lewis

    My WRs are obj, thielen, Josh Gordon, Dede Westbrook, AJ green, MVS, John brown

    1.) I received the most outrageous offer; he wanted my Adam thielen in return I’d get brieda. Would you counter or don’t deal with people like that? I do want brieda to then own the SF backfield but not at that price. Would MVS or Dede for brieda be more reasonable?

    2.) the news of McCoy to K.C. screws me with my Darwin so of course I’m dropping Darwin but to add who is the Q: these RBs are available, CJ Anderson, Gore, Dare (RB from TB), Yeldon, ty Montgomery, Mike Davis (to cuff my David Montgomery), or Mattison to cuff my cook?

    3.) what to do with pollard trade him to Zeke owner for Geronimo Allison? Emmanuel Sanders? What about to another owner my pollard for his miles sanders? Or Curtis Samuel?

    4.) received an offer do it or hell no? I send David Montgomery I get Evan Engram. He’s rostering 3 TEs I think he wants something because his RBs aren’t too hot his RB1 is Mark Ingram

    On pollard here is the Zeke owners roster :

    His RBs Zeke , Fournette, Josh Jacobs , Hyde, Gio Bernard, jalen richard, jaylen Samuel
    His WRs Hopkins, Robert woods, DJ Moore, Emmanuel Sanders, Allison, Moncrief, Tyreel Williams

    Thanks man!

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      1. if you can get Breida for MVS that would be sick. I LOVE dede this year so tough to give him up. maybe package MVS.darwin if he doesn’t take MVS..but just go back with MVS first. unless this is a keeper league you might want to hang on to darwin.

      2. Mattison, no question.

      3. no pollard for Gmo nor Sanders. Pollard is a top 20 rb if Zeke continues to hold out. i think im hanging on to pollard until more comes out about Zeke.

      you have a sick overall roster. i would feel comfortable heading in to the season with what you have..don’t force anything just because you want to make a deal.

      good luck, and thank you for the comment.

      4. hell no

  5. Allan says:
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    Thoughts on Sanders value after Eagles released Smallwood and Adams?

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      Sanders has huge upside. i dont think it changes much with smallwood and adams out. didn’t think they were a threat over the course of the offseason/preseason. he’s currently going at the end of the 5th round, i wouldn’t draft him much earlier. if he’s your guy than go ahead and spend that late 4th/early 5th round pick. he’s going as the 30th rb off the board and rudy currently has him projected to finish rb31, so price accurately. keep in mind they brought sproles back and howard will be a headache to start the season. if you draft sanders dont bail on him if you dont see production right out of the gate.

  6. southside dom says:
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    10 team standard scoring. I drafted Pollard and the Zeke owner is feeling desperate. Do I sell now at a slight profit or wait it out and hope for a James Conner/even better deal?

    Currently he’s offering Justin Jackson, 1 for 1. I’m deep at upside RBs. I was thinking potentially Pollard/McDonald for Engram? Or something to get DJ Moore?

    Here are our respective squads:

    Me: Wentz, Murray | CMC, Carson, Sanders, Singletary, Henderson, Pollard | OBJ, Woods, Westbrook, J. Brown, D. Hamilton | McDonald

    Him: Rodgers | Zeke, Chubb, Freeman, Breida, J. Jackson | Evans, ARob, Moore, Sutton, Coutee, Boykin, Samuel

    Appreciate your thoughts

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      I do believe the Zeke deal gets done sooner than later, so if you’re able to flip Pollard for better long term value i am all about it. since Zeke still has time left on his current contract, its different than Bell situation last year. Zeke can’t really hold out the whole season, technically he could but not likely.

      in standard, i view McDonald and Engram pretty equal. Rudy has them scoring within 9 points of each other so i would try to get more value than Engram. maybe Pollard/hamilton for Jackson/Moore. or something along those lines. if you can get Breida straight up for Pollard that would be sick, if they’re desperate you might get them to bite on that. pollard/mcdonald for jackson/engram is almost just a even swap and you’re hellping out your competition by giving him his insurance policy on zeke, i’d like to try and get more in return.

      dont feel forced to make a deal just because that owner is desperate, sometimes the best move is no move if you can’t find anything that makes sense to you.

  7. Gio says:
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    Half ppr…Took the gamble zeke and Gordon …. have pollard but couldn’t get Ekeler. Ekeler owner won’t trade him. Would you move Gordon for any of Jacobs, Mack or Michel?

    Other rbs are Conner, l. Murray and Howard.

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      if you think you can get Jacobs or Michel, i would make the deal. Jacobs was a 3rd/4th round pick and Michel a 5th/6th round. try for jacobs first, then michel. unless you’re willing to hold on to Gordon until he returns or gets traded. personally im not that high on Mack this season but if you’re just completely done with dealing with the gordon situation, im sure there are other people that would say make that trade. good luck and thanks for the comment.

  8. toolshed says:
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    I drafted last week and took ballage as one of my reserves. Most reserve rb are roater. Looking at who is available l, would you rather take a chance on c Thompson, Jalen Richard, ogunbowale, gallman. .5 ppr. Thanks

    • toolshed says:
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      This was a great article btw. I wish my draft didnt happen already

      • Nic Romero

        Nic Romero says:
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        thanks Tollshed, I literally have the same predicament. i have Ballage is a couple of spots. based off the draft capital invested, we need to wait to see after week 1-2 to see how Ballage does. all of those names will most likely still be on the waiver. if you’re just done with Ballage then, I have a couple of shares of christ thompson .Ogunbowale has upside but im out on any RB in TB. thank you for the comment and good luck.

  9. Trader says:
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    My team below in 12 teamer, redraft, non-PPR league. Seeking advice on trade targets.

    Wentz
    Conner, Michel, Lindsay, D Williams, D Harris as handcuff
    OBJ, Thielen, C Davis, Geronimo, Samuels, Coutee
    Walker, Reed
    Saints
    Prater

    1. Mike Sanders went in the 8th round cuz we are dumb. Should I target him?
    2. Thielen was based on various ratings. Hold or move now? Got him in Round 4 so has value?
    3. Thoughts on Singletary? I grabbed D Williams instead even with McCoy. Betting Mc Coy is done. Gulp
    4. Had a choice between OBJ, M Thomas and JuJu. Went OBJ on upside but having some buyer’s remorse. Thomas better?

    Not thrilled with my team. Bluntness appreciated

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      honestly your squad is solid. i don’t think there is an area where there is a glaring whole or weakness. in non-ppr d.williams did lose some value with McCoy coming in to town but thats the only spot i would say could use some depth, but i wouldn’t be willing to give up OBJ. Thielen is great for PPR but we still have him as a top 20 WR in standard leagues. if you think you can trade thielen/williams and upgrade at RB and get a solid WR in return then maybe you explore it but dont force it. you invested a 4th round pick so i would recommend getting equal value in return. Mile Sanders is a better value in PPR than standard, dont think he’s someone you HAVE to go after unless you’re really just trying to move off Williams. I like Singletary long term but with Gore in town, this hurst Singletary’s value in non-ppr leagues. Gore will get his fair share of goal line work. we have OBJ as wr3 overall in non-ppr and Thomas wr5. i think you made the right call there.

      thanks for the comment and good luck this season!

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