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The first installment of this series set the table for the backup running back landscape, plus notable starting roles to track in the weeks leading up to Week 1. The first full week of the NFL preseason provided plenty of running back rotations in question and ripe for change. Here is a full recap:
Cardinals: Keaontay Ingram was out this week, and Corey Clement notably played. The interesting point here is Ingram was woeful as a 2022 rookie, and Clement was sneaky good as a receiver. Clement has a fighting chance to win the RB2 job. Stay tuned on the rotation in the next week or two should Ingram and Clement both be active for a game.
Corey Clement was already rumored to be a factor for the RB2 role.
Ravens: Justice Hill drew the 'start' with Gus Edwards playing after Hill. J.K. Dobbins is trending towards being active for Week 1, so this is for the RB2 role, but notable for Hill, who has juice when healthy. If Baltimore is more of a spread and speed offense, Hill could fit better than Edwards.
Bills: Latavius Murray is alive and well. With Damien Harris out this week, Murray was his typical productive self. The book is not closed on the RB2 role in Buffalo as Murray, like Frank Gore, is the 30s running back you do not want to see on the depth chart if hoping to coast to beating him out for depth chart hierarchy.
Bengals: A hearty split between Chase Brown and Chris Evans with Trayveon Williams out keeps Cincinnati's RB2 role up in the air. Evans is the one to be most skeptical of, considering the team's reluctance to use Evans much beyond a strict receiver in spots.
Cowboys: Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle split time. Dowdle was the RB2 on paper, but Davis was the first on the field this week. With Ronald Jones II suspended to start the season, this is a high-leverage and valuable spot to spend a spec bench roster spot on in fantasy leagues until further clarity is present.
Colts: Evan Hull rising is one of the bigger running back stories of the week. Hull played the first drive with the starters, and Deon Jackson followed on the second drive. Hull looked the part of a Rex Burkhead type with smooth movement and two-way ability. With Zack Moss tending to a broken arm, the Week 1 RB2 role could be open for Hull to seize and not look back.
Vikings: Kene Nwangwu was dinged up and missed the game, paving the way for Ty Chandler to be the clear starter and challenger for the RB2 role. Until Nwangwu and Chandle rotate in a game together, this is a fluid situation to monitor. Chandler is worth a pick-up in leagues, at a minimum.
Patriots: With Rhamondre Stevenson off, Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris, and J.J. Taylor split time in a rotation. Taylor was more limited to passing situations and change-of-pace work. The notable competition is Strong versus Harris. Strong has yet to show the 4.3x speed from his pre-draft workout or stand out in any meaningful way. Harris looks the part of at least a two-down grinder and is capable of a bigger workout if Stevenson misses time. However, New England signed Ezekiel Elliott early this week to render the other three backs unlikely to unseat the veteran Elliott for the RB2 role without an injury. Elliott will impact Stevenson's workload more than Harris or Strong projected previously.
Eagles: Where to begin...Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott were off this week, and the two highest pedigree options, albeit new to the team, in D'Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny, were active. Penny is the most concerning as he played deeper into the game than Swift, but this depth chart is wide open if this week's handling of the backs is any Week 1 indication.
Chargers: Joshua Kelley had a clear edge over Isaiah Spiller in snaps and routes (both more than double) as the clear favorite for the RB2 to Austin Ekeler. Larry Rountree is a cut outside of essentially Chargers-only fantasy leagues.
Titans: Tyjae Spears is rising with quality movement to his game. In the Titans' opening game, Spears was right there with Hassan Haskins in the rotation, tight competition for the role behind Derrick Henry.
NOTABLE DEPTH RUNNING BACKS
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