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RB Rashad Jennings
The New York Giants are looking to reinvigorate a moribund offense that could neither run the ball nor keep it out of the opposing defenses' hands. With David Wilson's health concerns and Andre Brown signing with Houston, GM Jerry Reese moved quickly to sign Rashad Jennings to a four-year, $10-million deal with $3 million guaranteed. The question is whether Jennings is up to the challenge of being a feature back. Last year Jennings started 8 games for the Oakland Raiders and played well, averaging 4.5 yards per rush and scoring 6 rushing touchdowns. He showed more power, instinct and vision than his more heralded teammate Darren McFadden. Yet, Jennings is 29 years old this season and was a complete non-factor in four seasons in Jacksonville. Jennings should be on the field a lot in 2014, but don't get overzealous in your expectations -- particularly with rookie Andre Williams finding an immediate role as the goal-line back. He's a high upside fantasy RB2 at best, but more likely rates as a fantasy RB3.
RB Ray Rice
Ray Rice's outlook is muddy at best. He went from elite to downright bad last season; he has a brand new offensive coordinator this season in Gary Kubiak; and he had very public and quite humiliating legal issues this offseason after assaulting his then-fiancee (now wife) and having part of the incident captured by a security camera. Due to that incident, Rice has been suspended for two games to begin the season. On the field, Rice was plagued by injuries last season. In theory, he should return to the pre-injury player he always was prior to 2013. However, a small back like Rice who has amassed as many touches as he did in a four-year window between 2009 and 2012 could simply be losing the ability he once had. At just 27 years old, lean toward the former scenario (recovery from 2013 injuries) but also expect the coaching staff to preserve him by giving him less workload just in case it's the latter.
RB Shane Vereen
Vereen had some injury issues in 2013, and is still dealing with a wrist fracture that - according to ESPN Boston - is still healing. The hope is he will be ready for training camp. Vereen is a serious threat to steal plenty of carries from current starter Stevan Ridley and has the ability to both run through the tackles and catch balls out of the backfield. For now we expect him to split carries but he'll make up a lot of yards receiving. Vereen could also take over if need be full time. For now we see him as a solid RB2 whose combined yardage will make fantasy owners very happy.
RB Ben Tate
Ben Tate was brought to Cleveland via free agency to be the starting running back on what would be a pass-heavy (or at the very least, a well-balanced) attack. However, with star receiver Josh Gordon's suspension and the potential for a rookie starting quarterback, the Browns will have to lean toward a run-heavy attack. The good news for Tate is that Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan has had a lot of success in the running game. The bad news is that opposing defenses will be focusing on the run, and Tate has had a spotty-at-best injury history in limited action behind Arian Foster in Houston. Cleveland also brought in two rookies to compete with Tate and potentially form a committee of backs.
RB Chris Johnson
Former Titans running back Chris Johnson has definitely lost a step or two over the last few years. You can point to some questionable offensive line play in Tennessee as well as an injury which he's still recovering from (and which required surgery that will have him missing OTAs per ESPN New York's Kieran Darcy) but he's absolutely lost a step. He won't have to carry the load--he will share time with Chris Ivory. That should make him a value as a low-end RB2 or a high-end RB3. He'll get plenty of carries and accumulate yards but not enough of those (or enough touchdowns) to elevate into the top of the RB2 ranks.
David Dodds's projections
Chris Smith's projections
Bob Henry's projections
Jason Wood's projections
Maurile Tremblay's projections