Last week my top free agent quarterback piece was headlined by Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady and the new legend Daniel Jones, who probably earned himself additional millions with yesterday’s impressive playoff performance in a dramatic victory over the more-talented Minnesota Vikings. And why not stick with that Giants’ thread since they are the talk of the town right now? As we rush, spin and stiff-arm our way to my top running back free agents, let’s start off with another Giant right off the top…
Running Back Free Agents
1. Saquon Barkley: He’s my top running back free agent for fantasy because he’s still just 25 years old, and Giants’ head coach Brian Daboll has helped him find a second gear in his game. Saquon has always had the talent and natural ability, but he also needed a coach who made him as focal as he truly needed to be. So yes, Saquon is a “free agent,” but I do believe he’ll end up right back in the best possible landing spot: With the New York Football Giants, building a program that will become aspirational to other free agents on the market as time goes by.
2. Josh Jacobs: “JJ” was consistently underrated heading into the 2022 fantasy football campaign, and I just couldn’t understand it. Still just 24 years of age, Jacobs was positioned in an offensive-minded system with help from Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Darren Waller and others. Well, he smashed despite tempered expectations in fantasy circles, and now he hits the open market rolling with a full head of steam. If the Raiders are successful in their offseason pursuit of Tom Brady, I could see a scenario where Jacobs ends up back in Vegas in a win-now situation for their franchise. If not, why not the Buffalo Bills, where Devin Singletary is a free agent and Jacobs could feast with the offensive balance provided by Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis?
3. Tony Pollard: Come on, who are we kidding here? There’s no way Jerry Jones is letting a young, electric running back leave his beloved Dallas Cowboys in his prime. I love the 1-2 punch with the veteran Ezekiel Elliott because it allows both ball carriers to remain fresh and effective. It’s a dream combo in the backfield and I fully expect Jones to keep that duo intact.
4. Miles Sanders: I don’t love Miles in between the tackles, but he’s an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield and he still gets the job done when he’s forced to grind. Of course we like him in full-point PPR, and I do believe he ends up right back with the high-powered Philadelphia Eagles. We love him in that offense because there’s no direct pressure on him to perform. He can play free and easy as Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith do their collective thing.
5. Kareem Hunt: Here’s a veteran who can be an RB1 for your team if you let him. He’s been playing in the shadow of Nick Chubb in recent years, but I do believe that’ll change this off-season. How about the Chicago Bears, where David Montgomery is a free agent? Justin Fields could use some help in terms of playmakers and Hunt is experienced, physical and versatile. Could potentially be a great match in free agency.
6. David Montgomery: Speaking of Monty, well, here he is. He’s a physical between-the-tackles rusher, one who can wear down an opposing defense over the course of a long game. I don’t find him to be an electric playmaker of any sort, but he’s solid, and he can carry the load for a middling team. Since Damien Harris is a free agent, I could see Bill Belichick liking Monty’s physicality in a 1-2 punch with the explosive Rhamondre Stevenson. Belichick seems to like plodders, no?
7. Jamaal Williams: Will obviously experience TD regression in fantasy formats, but he’s a good, solid veteran nonetheless. I fully expect him back in Detroit, where he is viewed as a voice of reason and locker room leader. In that scenario, Jamaal will still get his redzone touches, but we can expect his conversion rate to drop a tad mathematically.
8. Jerick McKinnon: One of the best pass-catchers at the running back position for quite some time now. He’s shining in KC, and of course, that match made complete sense from the very beginning. Still, KC has been a bit of a revolving door at the RB position over time. I could see them opting not to pay up if McKinnon tries to parlay his big season into a contract above his expected pay grade. Maybe he could be a dynamic pass-catcher paired with Joe Mixon in Cincinnati.
9. D’Onta Foreman: Initially, he was a bit of a Tinman early in his NFL career. One bad break after another, one injury after another. But Foreman has successfully transformed his perception now: He’s a bruiser in between the tackles like the aforementioned Montgomery and his ex-teammate Derrick Henry. Of course, he’s not as good as Henry, but he definitely picked up a lot from him during his brief stint in Tennessee. Foreman did a very respectable job in Carolina despite the lack of offensive balance from Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, PJ Walker and whatever other clown show took snaps for the Panthers.
10. Rashaad Penny: Very tight call in a battle with Alexander Mattison, here. Penny is an electric home-run hitter when he breaks through level one of the opposing defense, but has he proven he can stay healthy and really carry the load at the NFL level? Not really. He’s sort of like Mike White at the quarterback position thus far. I’m going with Penny over Mattison here because of the tantalizing potential Penny provides, but will he ever deliver? That is the question.
I’ll see ya right back here next week for my top free-agent wide receivers!
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 19 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football, basketball and baseball.