As we get to the weeks that are usually past the trade deadline in dynasty leagues (I am in one without a trade deadline, which is fun, but crazy during the playoffs when teams get into arms races), it’s time to look ahead to next year and target speculative players to fill end of the bench spots when we are eliminated from the playoffs. We’ll go position-by-position over the next four weeks and separate players out into Snorkel, Scuba, and Submarine levels to serve dynasty players of all levels. This week, the mercurial world of running backs.
Phillip Lindsay, MIA - Lindsay’s career has fallen into a black hole since the Broncos rescinded his restricted free agent tender and he chose to play in Houston. Luckily for him a team with long term opportunity in the backfield claimed him and he could still get significant action before the end of season. Anytime a back has produced as consistently as Lindsay who isn’t past his prime (27) is free on the wire, you should consider it.
Khalil Herbert, CHI - Herbert looked like he more than belonged when he got a chance to start this year. David Montgomery has played well enough to earn an extension, but patience should be rewarded if you hold Herbert.
D’Ernest Johnson, CLE - Johnson will be a restricted free agent next year. If the Browns tender him at anything more than an original round level, it will show that they value him enough to pay him as much as a reliable veteran costs in free agency. If they leave him exposed to an offer with no draft compensation, then a team that has a similar running game to the Browns could covet him and give him an opportunity. He has proven that he can get the value out of the zone blocking scheme when it is executed well.
Mike Boone, DEN - Boone has barely gotten on the field this year, but when he has, his top end athleticism has popped at times. He’s lined up to be the #2 behind Javonte Williams next year and probably get more work than Williams fantasy teams would like.
Marlon Mack, IND - Mack hasn’t gotten much of an opportunity in Indianapolis this year because Jonathan Taylor is playing at an all-pro level. Kene Nwangwu and D’Onta Foreman are showing us that the achilles tear isn’t necessarily the death knell of a back’s pro career. Mack will get a chance to win a spot in a backfield somewhere without Taylor next year.
Kylin Hill, GB - Hill seized the #3 job in camp and was earning work with the offense when he went down with a torn ACL. Next year the Packers backfield will still belong to Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, but Hill has much more potential than his seventh round draft capital indicates and should be stashed away if roster size allows.
Eno Benjamin, ARI - Through two years, he has yet to really make a mark, but James Conner and Chase Edmonds will both be free agents, so there’s an opening for Benjamin to do more in what should be a good offense as long as Kyler Murray is around.
Craig Reynolds, DET - Reynolds has redraft appeal right now anyway after his impressive debut in Denver. He has the special teams value and versatility to stick as a #3 and it appears that the team prefers him to Jermar Jefferson right now.
Ty’Son Williams, BAL - Williams has dat burst and he looked promising in his early season work, but he quickly fell out of favor. There reportedly was trade interest in Williams, so we weren’t the only ones to see something in him.
Chris Evans, CIN - Evans had a good enough summer to make the team as a sixth round pick. He has some refined skills in the passing game and measureables that fit in among NFL running backs. Samaje Perine is under contract next year at a reasonable 1.4 million, so Evans is more of a deep league stash.
Xavier Jones, LAR - Remember when he was going to be an important part of the Rams backfield? He was waived/injured in the preseason and ended up on injured reserve, but at least for a moment it seemed like the Rams were open to him playing a role in their offense. When he’s healthy he could get another chance.