2019 Fantasy Football - Dynasty Buys - Running Backs





By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

When looking for players to acquire in dynasty, you will always need to take risks and get creative, especially before the draft and free agency. I have a list here of some obvious and some not-so-obvious players I am looking to add to my dynasty teams this spring.

Damien Williams, Chiefs
This one is obvious, but there is also plenty of risks, as Williams doesn't have a history that secures him an every-down role next season. The good news for his prospects going forward is that he played exceptionally well after Kareem Hunt was released, averaging 5.1 yards per carry while also excelling in the passing game, plus Spencer Ware is a free agent, who will likely move on. Williams has given himself a leg up on anyone who will challenge him for touches and made it less likely that Kansas City reaches for a running back early in the 2019 NFL Draft.



Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
Last season, I thought Penny would be able to win the lead back job due to the draft capital Seattle had in him, but he wasn't ready early due to injuries and fatness, so Chris Carson took over and had a strong season that should continue to give him the lead job going into next season. So, Penny does not have a defined role going into 2019, but he did show up last year in limited work, rushing 85 times for 419 yards and two touchdowns for a respectable 4.93 yards per carry. Mike Davis played well too, but he is a free agent this offseason. Penny's play and draft capital should push him into a more consistent No. 2 role on the most run-heavy team in the league, and on this team, nobody's job is completely safe, which could end up giving Penny a shot at the lead-back role. Either way, I still like his long-term outlook.

Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Cook is still considered by many to be poised for a strong fantasy career, so there won't be a significant discount, but I still consider his ability to be right up there with the first couple running back tiers and Latavius Murray is a free agent, and if he leaves, Cook should solidify his workhorse fantasy status. His injuries are what allows us to buy somewhat low on him compared to his upside, and he's still on a team with a good defense. That defense will help him see rushing attempts in close games, while the Vikings' offense remains strong with two of the best receivers in the game, allowing Cook more red-zone opportunities and hopefully no Murray to cut into goal-line work.



Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon, Ravens
The Ravens have decided to go with Lamar Jackson as their quarterback, which means the running backs in Baltimore should continue to see high volume. Alex Collins is a free agent and had a poor 2018, so he is likely gone. That leaves Edwards and Dixon, both who had positive results when on the field. The Ravens have had trouble keeping running backs healthy, so there is a possibility they'll invest in someone like free agent Mark Ingram, but I don't think there is any reason to count on that happening. But whatever happens, Edwards and Dixon should be in the mix, and that means plenty of opportunities in the Ravens' offense, where running backs ran the ball 193 times for 1,048 yards once Lamar Jackson took over as the starter in Week 11. The only team to have more running back carries was Seattle, which averaged 4.87 yards per carry to the Ravens' 5.43 yards per carry, the best in the league. Jackson's threat as a runner will continue opening up holes for these backs, and I'm looking to buy both.

Devonta Freeman, Falcons
Freeman's dynasty ADP has fallen fast after his lost 2018 season, as he is now roughly the 24th running back off the board in dynasty leagues. That creates a buy-low opportunity I think could be profitable. Freeman finished in the top-13 fantasy running backs in 2015, 2016 and 2017 before ankle and groin injuries torpedoed his 2018 season. 2017 was his worst season, but it was also an awful season for the Falcons' offense as a whole, and he still finished 13th in the running back totals while missing two games. He'll be 27 years old for the 2019 season and still should have some gas in the tank after spending much of his career in a time-share with Tevin Coleman. Coleman should leave in free agency, and Ito Smith will likely take his place. Smith averaged a paltry 3.5 yards per carry in his rookie season and will need to earn his touches behind Freeman. There is always worry about injuries after an injury-shortened season, but I'm willing to take the risk for a discount on Freeman in one of the NFL's best offenses.



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