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Every year there are a few players who surpass expectations (Jay Ajayi, Devonta Freeman, Jordan Howard, etc.) who when owned, increase your odds of winning so much greater, and in Fantasy Football, that is all you can control. Without more, here are my 5 breakout running backs that will have you collecting big this upcoming fantasy season:
5. Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook sure does have some big shoes with the departure of Adrian Peterson. Dalvin Cook is already running with the starters early in camp, ahead of Latavius Murray, and expect Cook to continue running with the first team. Cook has the skills to be the featured piece in the Vikings offense. Look for Cook to do big things as a rookie this season.
4. Robert Kelley
Washington has some what of a juggernaut offense but this year, there is a new play caller with head coach Jay Gruden. Jay Gruden was big on red zone rushing opportunities while play calling in Cincinnati, which allowed for Jeremy Hill to be relevant. Yes Washington went out and drafted bruiser running back Perine out of Oklahoma, I predict Kelley to start the season as the starter, and finish the season as the starter.
3. Terrance West and Danny Woodhead
Kenneth Dixon was drafted last year to eventually be the starting back this year, well plans have changed, with Dixon going down for the season that opens the door for Terrance West and Danny Woodhead to see more opportunities. I expect West to dominate 1st and 2nd downs as well as goaline carries. I also expect Baltimore to try to run the ball heavily, especially at the beginning of the year. With Flacco dealing with a back problems, there’s no telling how he will come back. Woodhead is going to enjoy his role in this offense, because last season nobody threw the ball to backs and tight ends more than Flacco did, I expect things to remain the same this year.
2. Paul Perkins
The New York Giants have attempted to become a pass first offense over the past 3 years, I believe that is the case because of a struggling offensive line and also Eli Manning. Another reason why was because they didn’t have any talented running backs, this year Paul Perkins will make a huge leap, he will be a better pass blocker, and the offensive line will have more cohesion which will allow Perkins to be a patient runner, I don’t see any reason why Perkins will not be able to play all three downs, and let’s face it the addition of Brandon Marshall and rookie tight end Ingram will have defenses playing in nickel and dime personnel, which will make running lanes open up more for Perkins to gash opposing defenses.
1. Isaiah Crowell
I know, I know it’s the Cleveland Browns and nothing good ever comes out of Cleveland. Last year Crowell was just shy of 1000 yards rushing, but with an even better offensive line and a schedule that has them playing some of the worst defenses in the league last year, I am looking for Crowell to have a monster season. Add to the fact that the defense has added some new pieces, they should be able to get off the field more often this year, and with truly no quarterback on the roster, Crowell could possibly be a top 5 fantasy back this season.
Honorable mention: LeGarrette Blount, Marshawn Lynch, Joe Mixon and Tevin Coleman.
Written by: Steven Cooke