A Tale of Two Cities – the NFC RBs: Same Player, New Destination. Who stands to improve?
There were plenty of off season moves this year, but not all of them put players in better situations. Here, I take a look at the either improved or still stagnant chances of veteran running backs in their new homes.
Frank Gore, Indianapolis -> Miami: I never thought the day would come when Frank Gore wasn’t the lead back on someone’s team, but he’s nearing 35 and Kenyon Drake is the big dog in Miami, where the stalwart veteran has landed. For the first time in over a decade, Gore is unlikely to top 1,200 yards and doesn’t make for much in fantasy aside from insurance on Drake. At least he’s by the beach…
Chris Ivory, Jacksonville -> Buffalo: Ivory, in my opinion, may actually improve on his most recent season now that he’s a Bill. Buffalo runs the ball more than any team in the league, and they need all the offensive weapons they can get. Mike Gillislee was very productive in the 2nd back role his last season in Buffalo, scoring 8 TDs on 600+ all-purpose yards, and I think Ivory is going to remain usable in deeper leagues.
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay -> Oakland: Martin was already losing usefulness in Tampa, and now he can serve his deserved role as a backup behind Marshawn Lynch in Oakland. New coach John Gruden has an affinity for Buccaneers though, and a seemed dislike of Lynch, so it looks like he’ll give Martin a real shot. I don’t foresee the “Muscle Hamster” taking much if any of Lynch’s shine though.
Dion Lewis, New England -> Tennessee: Just when we thought Derrick Henry would have free reign over the Tennessee backfield, the Titans had to go and pick up Dion Lewis, which is actually not a bad move for anyone involved except for Henry. As it stands, it will be a split backfield, much like it was last year in Tennessee, except Lewis probably won’t replace Henry on the goal line with any regularity like DeMarco Murray did. I think there’s actually enough action to go around to keep both backs viable in fantasy, though I am not bullish on what would have been a breakout year for Henry.