On Second Thought: Running Back Edition

A look at how my thinking about running backs has changed over the preseason.

It’s hard to believe we’re a week away from the NFL regular season. After spending more than four months focusing on every bit of minutiae, every tidbit, every coach’s quote, and adjusting our rankings and projections, accordingly, a lot can change from our original expectations. Here’s a quick look at some of the most significant changes from my initial thoughts back in early May.

On Second Thought...

Justice Hill (BAL) is a part of a young, late-round tier that’s worth targeting

Hill has beaten out Kenneth Dixon and Gus Edwards as Mark Ingram II’s backup, and that’s a prime spot to be in given the Ravens’ propensity to run the ball and Ingram’s less-than-stellar injury history. Hill’s generally available as your fifth or sixth running back but has top-20 upside if the dominoes fall correctly.

Tarik Cohen (CHI) has a meaningful downside if you’re drafting him as an every-week fantasy starter

Cohen was the 17th-ranked running back a year ago and is young, healthy, and in his prime. But head coach Matt Nagy has expressed a desire to play Cohen less, and more importantly, the Bears added two well-rounded backs in Mike Davis and David Montgomery who can play all three downs.

Nick Chubb (CLE) was already an RB1, but he could now push for top-5 honors

Nick Chubb routinely falls into the second round because of an unreasonable fear of Kareem Hunt stealing his thunder in two months. Chubb is a more talented running back. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson Jr has been sent to Houston clearing the way for Chubb to play in all downs and distances.

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) is still worth a first-round pick, but you need a contingency plan

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