Last season, Alvin Kamara started his rookie campaign behind Mark Ingram and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson on the Saints depth chart. Because of this he went undrafted in a large majority of leagues. Flash forward six months and the former Tennessee Volunteer finished with 1,554 total yards and is named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Why didn’t we see this coming? He would have literally won you your fantasy league last year if you had just taken him in the very last round. Let’s not make that same mistake again shall we? Here are five running backs that are currently in a less than ideal backfield situation that could emerge as an elite fantasy producer in 2018.
Jordan Wilkins, Colts
With Frank Gore gone and Marlon Mack unimpressive in a limited role last season, the Colts backfield is wide open. Inserting a healthy Andrew Luck back into this lineup returns the Colts offense to it’s previous spot among fantasy hot spots. Wilkins has flashed in training camp thus far and is popular among fantasy experts but most likely a majority of your league mates won’t know his name. Marlon Mack is banged up so Wilkins should have a chance to shine in the remainder of the preseason. Snatch him up around the 10th or 11th round.
Kalen Ballage, Dolphins
Kenyan Drake ran extremely well last season after the team traded Jay Ajayi to Philly. The front office still felt the need to bring in veteran Frank Gore and draft Ballage. What does that tell you? Drake is an explosive player but I would be willing to bet the coaching staff wants to limit his usage in order to get the most out of him when he’s on the field. He’s not built like a three-down back. Enter Kalen Ballage. The 6-foot-2 rookie will be given every opportunity to earn playing time. We saw that in the Dolphins preseason opener when he was the team’s leading rusher. The bad news is he fumbled.
Corey Clement, Eagles
Carson Wentz is coming off an ACL injury. Trey Burton, LeGarrette Blount and Torrey Smith are gone. Jay Ajayi has been largely ineffective. Clement will likely see increased snaps based on all these factors, not to mention he had 100 receiving yards in Super Bowl LII. Don’t be surprised if he steals the starting gig from Ajayi if he struggles.
Jamaal Williams, Packers
Last season Williams didn’t make a start for the Packers until Week 11. From that point on he had 455 rushing yards and for me he’s the back to own in Green Bay this season. Aaron Jones is suspended for the first two games of the regular season and has been nursing a hamstring injury thus far in training camp. Ty Montgomery is still around but his skill set is better served as a receiving back. It’s murky but this is a high-powered offense. If Jamaal Williams can hold off the competition he’s in for a large workload.
Kerryon Johnson, Lions
Here is a list of Lions running backs that have burnt me in the past:
Oh yea plus the Lions haven’t had a 100+ yard rusher since Thanksgiving 2013. AND they were dead last in rushing yards per game last season. So why do I like Kerryon Johnson you might ask?
Honestly I don’t really know. When I watch him on tape he just looks like a complete back. With the injuries to Sony Michel and Derrius Guice he’s my #2 rookie running back off the board after Barkley. Worse case scenario……..Theo Riddick is the passing downs back and Blount is in for goal line work. That still leaves tons of opportunity for the rookie to make his mark.