Not every pre-conceived notion is accurate or needs to be stuck by. I wrote in my ‘Undraftables’ series that training camp can change my opinion on player usage and team role. That has happened in a few cases. In the interest of being an open book to the readers that give me a job, I’m going to call myself out on some of my ideas earlier in the preseason. I like a lot of what I wrote in the early summer months. I’m still fading Mike Evans, I don’t want any Lamar Miller or Michael Crabtree, so on, so forth. On the bright side, there are only three players that I have flip-flopped on!

Christian McCaffrey

What I wrote on June 20th:

“Christian McCaffery actually finished 10th among PPR running backs in fantasy football in his rookie season. I’d say that’s a pretty decent finish for his 2017 preseason ADP. Still, we could feel the disappointment from fantasy owners who were clamoring for him to become the every down back in Carolina (or at least average more than 7.3 carries per game). The 80-catch season is where he made his nut. Finding the end zone 7 times helps too.

So wouldn’t you assume going into his second year there is nowhere to go but up? Well, former Panthers offensive guard, Andrew Norwell signed a nice deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars leaving Carolina even more depleted on the offensive line than they were before. This won’t complicate things for McCaffery’s pass catching prospects, but I wouldn’t expect an astounding improvement on the 3.7 yards per carry that he averaged last year.

The Panthers made a very wise decision and signed C.J. AndersonC.J. Anderson ran for 1,000 yards last season and was on the field for just over 50% of offensive snaps for the Broncos. C.J. also graded out as the 6th most effective running back in the NFL last year according to PFF. I believe that Anderson will hit the ground running (DAD JOKE!) and eat up the majority of carries so I wouldn’t expect an improvement on McCaffery’s 2017 share. As far as the passing game goes: Greg Olson, and Curtis Samuel are healthy and they drafted Maryland’s D.J. Moore in the first round. Cam Newton is going to have a lot of options that he didn’t have last season outside of McCaffery. McCaffery should have a fine season, but not good enough for me to want to draft him late in the second round. Take Chris Thompson five or six rounds later in PPR.”

We have to take preseason with a grain of salt. These are not real games so coaching staffs don’t want to show their hand on the finer points of their offensive game plan. Preseason is when the easy plays are called so the new players can get reps along with the veterans. Still, at no point in this preseason have I felt that the Panthers have any interest in giving C.J. Anderson enough work. This is clearly Christian McCaffery’s backfield. I now believe that he will have the volume to go along with his skill set to warrant his current ADP. Christian McCaffrey actually improved as the season went on in 2017 and he’s shown big play ability so far in the preseason.

Ronald Jones II 

On May 21st I wrote:

I expect the talented rookie to pull away and get the starting job with relative ease although I do expect Barber to be involved as well. Jones has drawn a lot of comparisons to Chris Johnson. A speed-demon running back with a smaller frame. I watched his highlight tape in April and I was thoroughly impressed with his breakaway speed. I think he is going to be special.

Well, times have changed since this little excerpt. Ronald Jones hasn’t been able to fully grasp the offense and pass protection and Peyton Barber has excelled tremendously during training camp and taken the starting running back job by the horns. The good news is, I still am a fan of Ronald Jones at his price in dynasty. I still believe that he is a dynamic talent and whether it be later on this season, or in 2019 and beyond, Jones will be productive.

Royce Freeman

In the same article as above I wrote:

“I think that Royce Freeman is a talented back who had a great career at Oregon. However, I’m weary to invest in him this season in fantasy football. The Broncos offensive line was pretty terrible last season and Devontae Booker will likely compete for carries again this season. Last year was very frustrating for C.J. Anderson owners. He seemed like he was playing a lot better than the results and a lot of that can be attributed to a light workload. It’s the situation and not the player.”

I hope that Denver gives Freeman the vast majority of the carries in 2018. My concerns of usage have alleviated quite a bit, but they are still there in the back of my mind. I knew Freeman was good, but he’s been downright impressive this preseason. He might be good enough to limit the damage of a sub-par offensive line. I’m now taking a gamble of Freeman at his ADP in any draft that I can. He has the best chance of the backs ranked outside of the top 20 to crack the top 10 by season’s end. Hey, at least I was correct to be concerned about Rashaad Penny!

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  1. itErtzwhenEifert says:
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    Hi @MB, I have Todd Gurley as my RB1, should I drop one of my following bench players for his handcuff, Kelly? .5 PPR

    -Christian Kirk
    -Carson
    -Jamaal Williams
    -Duke Johnson
    -G Alison
    -M Ryan

    • MB

      MB says:
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      Yeah, Alison

  2. AP says:
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    Just curious, and looking for opinions: I’m in a standard league with keepers, and I’ll be starting my season keeping Ajayai and Kamara with late round picks. So, that’s a decent start at RB. I will have the #7 pick in the draft this weekend, and given the other players off the board for keepers and my position, I am relatively certain I will be choosing from either Hopkins or Melvin Gordon at that spot. So, I like both, but I’m looking for opinions to sort of break the tie. On one hand, I love Hopkins. Love him. On the other hand, it feels like every year you can’t have enough RB’s, and the group will be picked pretty clean by keepers and other picks when it comes back to me in the 2nd round. Thoughts?

    • MB

      MB says:
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      @AP: I’d grab Hopkins and grab the best available RB in the 2nd

  3. Billy says:
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    Would you drop DJ Moore or Galloway to add Keenan Cole ?

    • MB

      MB says:
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      Nope. I like Dede

  4. e says:
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    So I didn’t end up drafting a kicker and now I need to drop someone for week 1. Which one of my bench guys would you drop?

    Peyton Barber
    Kenny Stills
    Keelan Cole
    James White
    Geronimo Allison
    John Brown

    • MB

      MB says:
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      John Brown

  5. Joshua says:
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    In a 12 tm PPR keeper league (2 keepers per team) w/ no flex position. Keeping Davante Adams, Adam Theilen, and Jerick McKinnon. Who would you take with my first pick: Jordan Howard, Joe Mixon, or Rob Gronkowski.

    • Joshua says:
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      @Joshua: Also where are you picking Royce Freeman? Late 3rd/Early 4th?

      • MB

        MB says:
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        I got him in the 4th of a 10 tm half PPR this past weekend, just to be safe. 3rd might be a reach, very comfortable with it in the 4th

  6. Shifty says:
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    The best part about all the Penny stuff is that I was able to get him at an absurdly tremendous discount in my dynasty start-up league the other night. He went for $12 on a budget of $250

    Oh, and I’m completely with you regarding CMC and Freeman. I think Freeman could really be the next bellcow fantasy back

    • MB

      MB says:
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      Thanks man! Yep that’s a very good value. Nice!

  7. Dave Kemper says:
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    There are 12 good RB’s in a 12 Team PPR Leagiue(Gurley, Bell, Johnson, Barkley, Elliott, Kamara, Hunt, Fournette, Gordon, Cook, McCaffrey, Freeman), and then a drop off Who is your next three RB’s in a 12 Team PPR League starting 2 RB,s, 2Wr,s, 1TE and 1 Flex in the starting line-up. Thanks!

    • MB

      MB says:
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      Mixon, Howard, Collins.

  8. SwaggerJackers says:
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    Thanks for the updates on your impressions of some of these guys. These last few days before fantasy drafts are so important to gain worthwhile insights for this season, not the info people were writing about 2 months ago. So much has changed!

    I feel like Royce hype machine is full steam ahead now. I like him, but my only remaining draft is a 16 team PPR and I’d have to take him as my RB2 around pick 47. Hoping to have 1 WR and 1 RB when that pick comes up so it’s probably not a great gameplan considering he’s not a pass catcher, right? He’s right around the Alex Collins, Kenyan, Ajayi range in default ESPN rankings.

    • MB

      MB says:
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      No problem! Yes it is, he doesn’t project to be a big pass catching back but that could change

  9. steve stevenson says:
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    In a 0.5 PPR I have Ajayi as my RB2. Since he’s a little banged up and the Eagles play early next week, would you drop any of Blount, Godwin or K. Cole to grab Clement as a cuff, or hold? If I hold I’ll slide Barber into RB2 and start Mack, Godwin or Cole at Flex.

    • MB

      MB says:
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      I absolutely would. I’d hold onto Blount and probably drop Cole

  10. Brian says:
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    Do you believe Packers will cut Cobb or trade him ? Allison’s on waivers and I was wondering if I should grab him and drop DJ Moore or Galloway ?

  11. Justin says:
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    hey half PPR. 10 person league. heres my team: what you think?

    QB: Ben roth, mariota

    WR: keenan allen, ty hilton, golden tate, allen robinson, sammy watkins, kelvin benjamin

    RB: zeke, joe mixon, burkhead, kerryon johnson, peyton barber, corey clement

    TE: jordan reed

    • MB

      MB says:
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      Excellent

  12. Dylan says:
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    I have Kamara as RB1 with Gordon RB2 and Cook at Flex
    BN Dion Lewis
    BN Chris Thompson

    I have Walker at TE

    Should I trade Kamara and Walker for Gronk and Jordan Howard?

    • MB

      MB says:
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      Yes you should

  13. Mac says:
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    hey man, 10 person half ppr league. here is my team:

    QB: ben roth, prescott

    WR: Antonio Brown, allen robinson, corey davis, marquise goodwin, kenny stills

    RB: CMC, fournette, alex collins, lynch, tevin coleman, jamaal wiliams,

    TE: Njoku

    what you think?

    also i need to drop someone to grab a kicker for week 1. who should be the drop? do you recommend keeping a 2nd QB incase big ben gets hurt. QB waiver is quite slim as most ppl in my league took a backup QB.

    • MB

      MN says:
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      @Mac: I’d drop Jamaal Williams for him. No, 10 teams it’s easy enough to stream

  14. Brian says:
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    Half point ppr would you trade C Mac and Doyle for Ertz and Derick Henry ?

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