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RB C.J. Spiller

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RB Ryan Mathews

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Outlook: Mathews was the Chargers' first-round pick in 2010, but on the whole has failed to live up to expectations. When he's been healthy, he's generally played well (aside from a few fumbles in important game situations). But he's been in and out of the lineup with all manner of injuries throughout his NFL career. His physical talent is tantalizing: he has excellent power and balance, and deceptive speed for a back his size, and he has put together some impressive fantasy performances for multiple-game stretches. (In 2011, for example, he was the #7 fantasy RB despite playing just 14 games.) On the other hand, between his injuries, inopportune fumbles, and occasional mistakes as a pass-blocker, his fantasy owners in previous seasons have often been left wondering -- why is Mathews on the sideline, his backup in the game, once again? All things considered, Mathews is a high-risk, high-reward fantasy prospect who should be drafted as a high-end RB2, but could realistically finish anywhere from inside the top five to outside the top thirty depending on his ability to stay on the field.


RB Toby Gerhart

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Outlook: Life as Adrian Peterson's backup is officially over for Toby Gerhart. He gets a fresh start in Jacksonville to be the all purpose back in coach Gus Bradley's 2nd year. The Jaguars and coach Bradley are more or less cleaning up the mess that they were left with two years ago and trying to give the team an identity. That identity is going to start with running the football and Gerhart is going to see a lot of touches right out of the gate. If you look at his 4 years in Minnesota as a total, he had some really nice production with 276 carries for 1,305 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. He also was very good in the passing game putting up 77 receptions, 600 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. He should see a big workload in Jacksonville and should have no problems with wear and tear as he has a lot of miles left after serving as Adrian Peterson's backup for the past 4 years.


RB Frank Gore

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Outlook: Frank Gore became the 49ers' featured runner in 2006, his second season in the league, and has been a solid fantasy starter every single year since then. Over the past three seasons, many were predicting that he'd start to decline; but he finished as a borderline RB1-RB2 in each of those seasons. Nonetheless, many this season are predicting yet again that he'll start to decline -- and one of these years, the naysayers will be right. This may be the year. Gore just turned 31 years old, and while he is a versatile RB who can be effective in the passing game, his receptions have dropped sharply since Jim Harbaugh became head coach. Younger backs like Kendall Hunter, Carlos Hyde, and Marcus Lattimore will be clamoring for playing time, and Gore may be spelled more this season than last. You can reasonably expect him to slip from a borderline RB1-RB2 down to a borderline RB2-RB3 in 2014.


RB Rashad Jennings

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Outlook: 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.


Projections

David Dodds's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Toby Gerhart0.00.000.00.0225.09237.038.02771.0168.0
Ryan Mathews0.00.000.00.0250.010506.027.01921.0166.2
Rashad Jennings0.00.000.00.0210.08616.042.03152.0165.6
C.J. Spiller0.00.000.00.0190.08746.039.02852.0163.9
Frank Gore0.00.000.00.0220.09137.018.01311.0152.4

Chris Smith's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT

Bob Henry's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
C.J. Spiller0.00.000.00.0210.010805.035.02752.0177.5
Toby Gerhart0.00.000.00.0235.010006.040.03201.0174.0
Ryan Mathews0.00.000.00.0250.011006.030.02201.0174.0
Rashad Jennings0.00.000.00.0200.08655.048.03602.0164.5
Frank Gore0.00.000.00.0230.09508.015.01300.0156.0

Jason Wood's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Ryan Mathews0.00.000.00.0260.011007.029.02052.0184.5
Toby Gerhart0.00.000.00.0260.010107.043.03251.0181.5
Frank Gore0.00.000.00.0250.010008.023.01600.0164.0
C.J. Spiller0.00.000.00.0205.09255.038.02702.0161.5
Rashad Jennings0.00.000.00.0200.08406.042.02901.0155.0

Maurile Tremblay's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Ryan Mathews0.00.000.00.0254.010926.026.01941.0170.6
Rashad Jennings0.00.000.00.0205.08866.048.03631.0166.9
C.J. Spiller0.00.000.00.0228.09865.045.03091.0165.5
Toby Gerhart0.00.000.00.0255.08868.036.02281.0165.4
Frank Gore0.00.000.00.0226.09987.012.01000.0151.8