Molnar’s Keepers, Sleepers, and Weepers: Running Back – Part One

It’s almost that time folks. With only two months until the NFL Preseason begins, fantasy football prep is now in full swing. Whether it be redraft leagues, keeper leagues, or dynasty leagues, fantasy football players around the world are sharpening their pencils, straightening their glasses, and chilling their beers.

After reviewing my picks at the quarterback position last week, it’s time to turn the page and take a look at possibly the most needed positional group in all of fantasy football. For this week’s edition of Keepers, Sleepers, and Weepers, let’s take a look at the running backs who make our list.

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Keeper: Ezekiel Elliott — Dallas Cowboys

Despite missing six games through suspension last season, Ezekiel Elliott still managed to finish the year as a top-10 running back. Impressive stuff to say the least. Adding to this is the fact that the Cowboys’ pass offense still remains average at best, leading the team to once again rely heavily on the run game.

With Elliott being one of the few true every down backs in the NFL these days, he is a player that can not be overlooked. While he will have some tough matchups this season, expect Elliott to still get a load of touches wherever the Cowboys are on the field, leading him to record a bunch of rushing yards as well as potentially double-digit rushing touchdowns.

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Sleeper: Christian McCaffrey — Carolina Panthers

Bursting onto the scene last year as a swiss army knife running back for the Carolina Panthers, Christian McCaffrey looks set to once again exceed expectations this season. Finishing the season as a top-10 running back in PPR leagues and a top-15 back in standard leagues, McCaffrey’s numbers should continue to grow this season with his increase in workload.

While the Panthers replaced Jonathan Stewart with free-agent pickup C.J. Anderson, McCaffrey remains the odds on favorite to land the majority of offensive reps for the Panthers this season.

A real receiving threat, McCaffrey should see a solid rise in his rushing stats this season thanks to the fact that defensive teams will have to remain wary of his ability as a receiver. While not a player with top-five upside, McCaffrey will be a high-floor RB2 option for your fantasy team week in and week out.

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Weeper: Leonard Fournette

Starting his NFL career like a house on fire, Leonard Fournette was a true RB1 for the first six weeks of the season in 2017. Recording a whopping 115.2 points in standard leagues during those opening six games, Fournette looked set to become an elite fantasy running back.

However, it all came off the rails from there. Missing three games from week seven to seventeen due to injury and team discipline issues, Fournette was the 22nd-best running back over this stretch, finishing behind the likes of Orleans Darkwa, Jerick McKinnon, and Alex Collins just to name a few.

With major question marks over his durability and a lack of true receiving ability, Fournette is a player that looks set for a sophomore slump. With so many healthier and more consistent options available, Fournette presents a major and unnecessary risk for your fantasy team.

 

Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys discuss which second-year players are set to boom, bust and be targeted as sleepers in 2018

Robert Molnar is a featured blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast.  Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook

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