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5 Short-Term Running Backs Atop The Depth Chart (Maybe)

5 Short-Term Running Backs
Photo Credit: Nazrul Islam

My short term memory could use some improvement. Yet certain things stick out my mind, especially when it comes to Fantasy Football.

I can tell you probably every short-term running back I have used over the years to secure a key weekly win. Whether it was now otolaryngologist  Samkon Gado (for those wondering whatever happened to him) or Zest Body wash spokesperspon Ironhead Hayward or my favorite short-term running back, Justin Forsett,  I remember them all.

The short-term running back is worthy of a poets sonnet and a scientist’s research: Suddenly burning across the sky while chewing up massive amounts of yards only to often be found as a simple footnote years later.

Sometimes the short term running back steals the starters job and runs with it. Other times, they are the RB1 for such a short period, we don’t even remember weeks later that they were once an RB1.

So let’s start with a team who might be one of the greatest sources of the short term running back (Anyone remember Reggie Cobb? Probably not! How about Bobby Rainey, anyone?

5 Short-Term Running Backs

Short-Term Running Back or The Real Deal?

Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay

So Tampa Bay cut Doug Martin. Barber, meanwhile, will definitely be collecting a paycheck this year. He was re-signed to a Buc-friendly $635,000 one year deal. Barber saw a lead dog’s share of 78 carries the final five weeks of the season and with Martin gone, Barber currently sits atop the depth chart. He also hauled in 12 passes over the final five weeks too. So Barber might be an incredible value, but let’s not fire the cannons just yet.

A 3.9 YPC average screams “meh.” And it would be one thing if Barber had a nose for the end zone. Even if we project his 2017 out to 300 carries, he still wouldn’t hit double-digit touchdowns. And the Bucs are not a team that had a lot of success recently running the ball; they had zero runs of over 10 yards last year. Not that the Bucs really liked running the ball last year as they had the third highest percentage (62.32%) of passing plays last year.

So let’s review: Barber does not have a nose for the end zone, and an unimpressive rushing average playing for a team that was one of the more pass happy teams last year. Now, I do think the Bucs are likely to run the ball more in 2018, but I think that’s because the Bucs will bring in someone else to play running back. Barber might currently be the RB1, but I wouldn’t expect it to last long.

C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos

So Anderson rushed for over 1,000 yards last year. He is owed a reasonable $4.5M each of the next two years. In his five year career, he has never averaged less four yards per carry. Sounds pretty good, right?

Except the Broncos seem intent on making Devontae Booker the bellcow or perhaps even DeAngelo Henderson.

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers

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Williams led the Packers in rushing last year with 556 yards and currently sits atop the depth chart. Aaron Jones was battling a knee injury at the end of last year. However, something tells me he will be battling Williams for the lead back job.

Lamar Milller, Houston Texans

See my discussion about D’Onta Foreman from last week.

Alex Collins, Baltimore Orioles

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Collins was one of the most valuable running backs last year. In what was a disappointing year for the Ravens, Collins was certainly one of the few bright spots. The “Irish Dancer” slipped, cut, and juked his way to over a 1,000 combined yards and an impressive 4.6 YPC. Collins started the 2017 year on the practice squad. He has to be happy being tendered a contract this offseason.

But that happiness might be short lived. Kenneth Dixon might be a chucklehead, but he’s also the more talented back. His size alone enables him to be more of a power back. I expect Collins to open the year the lead back. But my gut tells me that by years end it will be Kenneth Dixon.

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