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It’s hard to believe the NFL regular season is here, but Week 1 gets underway on Thursday. If you're like me, you still have several key drafts to complete in the next few days. After spending more than four months focusing on every bit of minutiae, every tidbit, every coach’s quote, and adjusting our rankings and projections, a lot can change from our original expectations.
Running Backs Who Changed My Mind
Christian McCaffrey (CAR) may be the No. 1 RB, again
For me, McCaffrey’s lack of durability and uncertainty at quarterback initially put him outside the first round. But a healthy, strong camp and the addition of Baker Mayfield have brought me to the consensus view on CMC. If healthy, no one has as much upside – particularly in PPR formats.
Saquon Barkley (NYG) is going to be a league-winner
The stars have aligned for Barkley; it just took me a few months to see it. He’s healthy, playing for a new contract, and the Giants' supporting cast is devoid of any other reliable playmakers. Before Barkley’s injuries, we saw how explosive he was, and his skill set makes him a rare back who can produce in any game script. Whether he’s rushing for 1,000 yards and catching 80 passes or rushing for 1,500 yards and scoring 10 goal-line touchdowns, he will be one of the league’s few true workhorses.
Tony Pollard is talented, but fears the Cowboys would morph into a 50/50 backfield were unfounded. Owner Jerry Jones has repeatedly emphasized the importance of Elliott remaining the centerpiece of the offense, and what Jones wants, Jones gets. Furthermore, Elliott is healthy after playing on a torn PCL in 2021. Finally, Pollard has been working with the receivers as a slot option to get on the field more because Elliott isn’t going to leave the field often.
Chase Edmonds (MIA) is one of the best values on the board
Mike McDaniel will implement the same offense Kyle Shanahan and his father Mike perfected over the years, which means a productive rushing attack. Early in the summer, I viewed Chase Edmonds as the likely starter, but the depth chart was packed with veterans, and it was hard to commit fully. But Edmonds was the shining star throughout camp, and I now believe he’ll be an every-down back as long as he stays healthy. Yet, his ADP remains buried alongside other committee backfields.
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