With Training Camp about to be in full-swing, it’s a perfect opportunity to take a look at some key players that are entering their final year of a contract, looking to prove themselves to their team or multiple teams if they’re likely to hit free agency.

Contract negotiations and holdouts are as typical to fantasy owners as touchdowns and RBBC’s, so let’s take a look at some names you should keep in the back of your mind as you approach draft day.

Let’s get into it!

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There is no denying just how important how important the running back position is to fantasy football roster construction. Once you get past the first couple of rounds, the position becomes a cesspool of what ifs. If you’re in a 12 team league, current ADP data says that only eight picks in the first two rounds won’t be a running back. It’s more important than ever to make the right pick.

Just like with wide receivers, this is a pre-training camp evaluation so my opinion is subject to change going into August. But, as of now, I’m going to let you know what running backs that I don’t see myself drafting this season. When I’m drafting running back early, I’m targeting volume second only to skill. Dual-threat is also something that I look for too. I mostly play in PPR leagues. A lot of the time, the past performance and current off season moves at offensive line can also sway me.

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In the golden age of rookie production in the NFL, it’s only right that I give them their own article. We had two rookies finish in the top 10 in the 2017 season and neither of them were Christian McCaffery or Leonard Fournette. Kareem Hunt, who finished #9, made a late push in the 2017 fantasy draft season at the expense of Spencer Ware’s season ending injury. When it was all said and done, Hunt was going in the third and fourth round in a lot of leagues.

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What is more surprising, that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns or that Corey Clement scored three touchdowns and wasn’t even the top scoring running back in Week 9? Yeah, I guess the first one, but the second part is pretty interesting too. Alvin Kamara scored two touchdowns of his own and added six catches and over 150 yards from scrimmage to eek out the top running back spot for the week.

Kamara is finally helping Saints fans forget about Darren Sproles and appears to be the perfect compliment to Mark Ingram in New Orleans. Despite the handcuff label, as I have discussed with a few readers in the past few weeks, Kamara is still valuable in fantasy, especially in PPR formats. The Saints have made it pretty clear since their bye week that they want to get the ball into the talented young running back’s hands and are carving about 15+ touches for him each week. And it is working, so don’t expect them to go away from it anytime soon.

In Philadelphia, Clement scored three touchdowns in a week where many wondered if he would even be active on gameday with the addition of Jay Ajayi. With Zach Ertz a late scratch, all of Philly’s running backs were active, even Wendell Smallwood. However, don’t get used to Clement finding so much success and that many touches going forward. The Eagles are on a bye this week and will have had two more weeks to get Jay Ajayi up to speed. While Clement will probably be active over the forgotten Wendell Smallwood, most of the touches are going to go to Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. This tweet would say otherwise, but remember this was a blowout in Philly:

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Now that my little Fantasy Football science experiment is over I’m going to change things up a little bit. You wouldn’t believe all the hate mail I got in the past couple of weeks. It seems my ESPN accounts have been locked out and someone even toilet papered my front yard. Enough is enough. Going forward I’m just going to give you my top six picks for the week. The only rule for a pick is that a player cannot be considered a stud to be eligible. Recommending Antonio Brown helps no one.

Before we get started let’s quickly see how I did last week…

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Hello everyone, and welcome to another Wednesday, Rankings Day! In case you haven’t heard, I’m going to be switching up the format for this article. I’m going to keep my blurbs short and sweet, like the Matt/Jay/Tehol do, with more emphasis on the “Tool Time” series, where not only will we have more updated information regarding who’s healthy or not, but also a clearer look at match-ups, and a chance to give you guys more information regarding our Razzball-certified picks for the week ahead.

Enough chatter, let’s get to it!

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The talk of this week at the running back situation has been Wendell Smallwood. If you don’t believe me, take a scroll through the last dozen or so Razzball articles to see the takes and advice. With Darren Sproles somehow breaking his arm and tearing his ACL on the same play, there are touches available in Philadelphia. LeGarrette Blount is still around and actually looked productive on Sunday, and Corey Clement scored his first career touchdown and could rotate into games going forward, but Smallwood is the guy who stands to benefit the most from the Sproles injury. If you don’t believe me, the Eagles offensive coordinator said as much in his press conference on Tuesday. I have the transcript if you want it.

For me, though, there is a more exciting running back to target. Heading into Week 3, we knew two things: 1. There would be a new offensive coordinator. 2. Marvin Lewis has been coaching the Bengals for 15 years without winning a single playoff game. Number 1 is relevant for fantasy owners, while number 2 is simply fascinating.

The position to watch in Week 3 was running back, as it was expected that we could see more Joe Mixon and less Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. And that is exactly what happened. Mixon looked like the complete running back he was projected to be coming out of college, gaining more than 100 yards from scrimmage on 21 total touches. Expect that trend to continue going forward, as Mixon should only get better and the Bengals should continue to ride him.

I talked up Mixon last week as a great buy-low option prior to the change at offensive coordinator. Hopefully, you either drafted and stashed him or grabbed him on waivers last week because he is less likely to be available this week. But if he is, grab him and go. On the flip side, I would also try to hold onto Jeremy Hill and/or Giovani Bernard if you have the kind of league that provides you with the roster/bench space to do so. It looks like Mixon will be the guy, but we have seen before that one week doesn’t mean everything and that injuries happen all the time. If you have to pick one, I would probably lean Bernard in PPR.

To the charts!

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