The rankings journey is finally coming to an end and we are all thankful. Well at least I am. I’m excited for my next series that will be a section by section draft guide like I did last year. Today I’m going to focus on the bottom feeder starters, running backs on the brink of being starters, a few handcuffs.
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Tight End Rankings – 1-20
31. Tevin Coleman
Tevin Coleman was not exactly who we thought he was when he took over as the lead back after the Devonta Freeman injury in Atlanta. He struggled to live up to expectations, as lofty as they were. But, he did manage to finish as the PPR RB19 and found the end zone 9 times. Perhaps it was the lack of production in the passing game that left a bad taste in fantasy owner’s mouths. This ranking could get better if Coleman projects to pull ahead of McKinnon and Breida for the lion’s share of the backfield work, but McKinnon and Breida both have a lot of talent and experience.
32. Latavius Murray
I don’t project that Latavius will take over the Mark Ingram role entirely for the Saints. That’s one of the reasons that I like Alvin Kamara so much. However, at a 46.8% snap rate last year, he scored 6 touchdowns on 24 red zone attempts and caught 22 passes. I don’t think that his snap rate will be 46% with the Saints, but he is the handcuff that I would want in a very solid offense. Even if you don’t own Alvin Kamara he is worth a buy.
33. Lamar Miller
I’m obviously not a Lamar Miller believer and I don’t think that he is the best running back on the Texans. However, he is the starter. Miller did pop for a couple of games last season but he still doesn’t have touchdown upside and isn’t reliable enough week to week in the yards department or passing game. I wouldn’t be surprised if D’Onta Foreman has more touches than Miller this season.
34. Austin Ekeler
I like Justin Jackson more as a pure running back but there is always the chance that the Chargers and Melvin Gordon reach an agreement in August or September. If that happens, Jackson will not be fantasy relevant, but Austin Ekeler will still have a role catching the ball out of the backfield and toting the occasional carry. After finishing 16th in running back receiving and getting some work on the ground as well, at the very least, Ekeler is a week to week flex option.
35. Kenyan Drake
ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe is predicting a nearly even timeshare between Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. I don’t know enough about the Dolphins coaching staff or camp to dispute this quite honestly, so let’s roll with it. If they split work, I believe Drake to be the better pass catcher and most experienced back so I give him the slight edge in an ugly situation. Poor Kenyan Drake is never going to get his respect.
36. Dion Lewis
Dion Lewis had a great start to his career in the Belicheck regime, but he wasn’t able to pull away from Derrick Henry in the Titans offense. Eventually Derrick Henry pulled away from Dion Lewis towards the end of the season. I believe wholeheartedly in Lewis’ talent in the running and passing game but there is no way that Lewis can’t supplant Henry in the red zone. This gives Lewis a very low ceiling.
37. Jerick McKinnon
Jerick McKinnon was supposed to be the perfect fit for Kid Shanahan’s offense and then a torn ACL ended his 2018 before it even started. He still fits the scheme, but a competition for touches and probably not being at his best one year after surgery will lower his ceiling.
38. Miles Sanders
39. Peyton Barber
Peyton Barber had a couple fantasy relevant weeks last season, but just like Lamar Miller, he’s a pretty uninspiring draft selection. While ranking 9th in the NFL in carries and 10th in red zone touches, Barber turned in a RB30 performance for the season. Barber simply doesn’t execute his opportunities at a high enough level and will likely lose a big chunk of his workload if he is not able to turn things around early in the season.
4o. D’Onta Foreman
If D’Onta Foreman is close to 100% himself after the Achilles injury, he is really going to push Lamar Miller for touches. So far this preseason, the feedback from writers and the coaching staff has been positive in regards to his recovery and explosiveness. During his rookie campaign he averaged 4.2 YPC in a change of pace role.
41. Kalen Ballage
Kalen Ballage is the other half of the Miami split backfield. He averaged 5.3 ypc last season in a very small sample size of 36 carries.
42. Ronald Jones II
You have two choices: You can either buy into the running back that he was last season with Tampa or you can go by what you’re hearing from the coaching staff in the preseason. From a preseason standpoint, Jones has put on weight and impressed coaches. Barber will likely begin the season as a starter in the newly implemented offense. I also don’t want a running back in this offense without seeing any preseason action.
43. Justin Jackson
If Melvin Gordon misses a big chunk of time because of his holdout, Justin Jackson could prove to be very useful to your fantasy teams on first and second downs. When Jackson saw some snaps during Gordon’s injury last season, he was averaging over 4 YPC. Even if Ekeler gets the majority of the work, Jackson should still be a value.
44. LeSean McCoy
I don’t want any part of him or his diminishing skill set. There is a possibility that he is cut during the preseason. If I’m taking any Bills back, I’m taking my chances on Devin Singletary late in the draft.