Back in June, I wrote my debut article for DynastyRedZone.com; Sully’s Way Too Early Bold Predictions piggybacking off episode 3 of the Dynasty RedZone Podcast with Rick Butts and Nicolai Groves. I revisited the predictions after Week 4 concluded and it just seems logical to do the same at the midpoint of the season.
After 8 Weeks (7 for some), here are your top 12 RB’s.
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CURRENT TOP 12;
12. Tarik Cohen – Tarik Cohen has taken off in the Bear’s offense since the start of week 4. After week 3 Tarik was the 45th highest scoring back in PPR formats. Since then he has been the 6th highest scoring back averaging 23.5 points per game. The Bears schedule gets more difficult in the second half and with running backs like Joe Mixon, Philip Lindsay and Adrian Peterson lurking close behind, it may be difficult for Cohen to hold onto his RB1 status much longer.
11. David Johnson – DJ was my preseason RB#6 and seeing him at RB11 at the midpoint is both disappointing and encouraging. It’s disappointing that a player with this amount of talent is averaging 14.5 points per game. It’s encouraging because before I looked it up I would have figured there was no way he was near the top 12. With the change in Coordinators in Arizona, there is hope that DJ is utilized to take advantage of his talent. I am hopeful that he has a solid second half and climbs closer to the 6th spot I predicted he would be.
10. Ezekiel Elliott – Zeke is this low mainly due to having a bye in week 8. The bye week cost him two spots in the rankings. He hasn’t had as dominating of a year in part due to the offensive line in Dallas not being as dominant and due to a wonky ankle. His workload is huge and if he can hold up he should land in the top 5. Clearly, my prediction that Zeke would finish as the #1 overall RB in 2018 isn’t happening.
9. Christian McCaffery – CMC is a safe bet on an annual basis to find himself in the top 12 mainly due to his ability to catch the football. CMC has seen his carries increase this season as well. Having already had their bye week, I see CMC landing right around this area at the end of the season.
8. TJ Yeldon – Yeldon has benefited from the injury to Leonard Fournette. In week’s 4 & 5 Yeldon averaged 24.6 points per game and since has declined to an average of 14.6 in week’s 6-8. The Jaguars are reporting that Fournette will return in week 10. Fournette’s return will have a dramatic impact on Yeldon rest of season and the recent acquisition of Carlos Hyde will not help either. I expect Yeldon to hold onto his pass-catching role in the Jags offense but that alone will not be enough to keep him in the top 12.
7. Melvin Gordon- Missing a game with an injury and a bye week will have a negative effect on your rankings. That is exactly what Melvin Gordon has experienced since his 35-point week 6. Assuming Gordon comes off the bye week healthy in week 9, he should pick up right where he left off, and bounce back into the top 5.
6. Kareem Hunt – Workload in a talented offense that scores a ton will keep Hunt in the top end of the RB1 conversation the remainder of the season. Hunt will likely maintain his average of 20.7 points per game.
5. James White – White continues to perform at a high level and remains a must-start RB1 on a weekly basis. White is heavily involved in the Patriots passing game and is averaging over 21 pints per game. Sony Michel possesses the ability to catch the football as well and may see his role increase in that area once he returns from injury. I do not think it will be enough to take White off the field and as a result, White may just hang around in the top 12.
4. James Conner – The second-year RB was thrust into the starting role in week 1 after Le’Veon Bell decided not to report and sign the franchise tag that the Steelers slapped on him. Well, its week 9 and there is still no Lev Bell and James Conner is making the most of it. RB 4 at the midpoint, not bad for a RB most us didn’t rank this season. Where this goes from here is very murky, to say the least. I still believe that Bell doesn’t see the field this season for Pittsburgh. Even if he does its hard to see a scenario in which Bell takes Conner out of the picture.
3. Alvin Kamara – Kamara the only RB in the top 12 this season with multiple 40+ point games finds himself at #3 after being the top-ranked RB after week 4. Kamara’s averaged 34 PPG in the first 4 weeks. Mark Ingram is back and is cutting into his productivity. Since Ingram’s return, Kamara is RB8 with an average of 22.5 PPG. Kamara was on bye in week 6, and the top tow RB on this list have yet to have their bye weeks. It is possible that Kamara jumps to RB2, but I do not see him catching Todd Gurley.
2. Saquon Barkley – This kid is amazing. The consensus 1.01 in rookie drafts this year has not disappointed. Saquon has already broken the Giants rookie record for catches and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. As long as Eli remains the QB in New York, you can count on numerous targets to go along with his numerous carries. I am betting on Saquon staying in the top 3 this season
1. Todd Gurley – Entering week 8 Todd Gurley had scored more touchdowns than 8 teams in the NFL. Gurley scored in his 11th straight game this past week for the Rams, to tie the Rams record. He has scored 15 TD on the season and is the 4th player in league history at least 15 TD’s in the first 8 games of the season. Gurley remains the RB1 and overall top scoring fantasy player in PPR scoring.
REVISITING MY BREAKOUT AND BUST PREDICTIONS
Breakout RB: Jerick McKinnon – a torn ACL on the last play on the preseason practice play makes this prediction a moot point. We will have to wait until 2019 to see if McKinnon will take off in the Kyle Shanahan offense. Coming back off a torn ACL will not help his value.
Bust RB: Marlon Mack – Mack has struggled to stay healthy this season. Mack is averaging 15 points per game this season and that average would have him in the top 12 if he hadn’t missed time. Since returning from injury in week 6, Mack has averaged 23.7 PPG and is RB4. By prediction of Mack being a bust may not be the best one. I would caution owners however that the match-ups Mack has had in the past few weeks are some of the best and his schedule is about to get much more difficult. I may be right here after all but I wouldn’t bet on it.