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AFC Running Back Depth Charts Analysis

The regular season is right around the corner and each team's depth chart is mostly complete! Before diving into the fantasy season, RotoBaller has you covered with some last-minute running back depth chart recaps for each team, including some useful bits of analysis for players you want to keep on your radar.

Please note that the charts below are based on individual team depth charts and come from RotoWire's projected starting units. The DCs project the real-life pecking order expected to be used by head coaches at the respective franchises, not where RotoWire projects those players to finish in fantasy leagues.

Here are the current preseason depth charts at running back for each division in the AFC.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

AFC WEST

Crawling to an RB1 Role: Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders

There is a clear go-to rusher in Las Vegas: Josh Jacobs. Or is he? The Raiders signed Kenyan Drake this past offseason, and while Jacobs should still be the first rusher in the depth chart entering the season, odds are Drake fights like hell for that privilege and position down the pecking order.

Keep in mind, Jacobs has two RB2-level campaigns as a pro (21st- and eighth-best rusher in PPR leagues), but Drake isn't too separated from those outcomes with back-to-back-to-back top-17 finishes (RB14, RB17, and RB16 lastly). This backfield can turn into a fantasy headache, I know, but keep an eye out for a potential bargain in Drake given his seemingly RB2 role as most fantasy GMs see it.

 

AFC NORTH

Ma' Rookie, Ma' Problems: Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

Leave me alone. If I want to draft a rookie, then I will draft a rookie and deal with the trouble myself. I can navigate those waters, even more, if we're talking about Najee Harris being the freshman I roster. Harris was drafted in the first round of the past NFL draft by the no-rusher-in-tow Pittsburgh Steelers. The first reaction was to call that a proper fit. Now, with the heat of the moment long gone and cold projections applied to Harris for his debut campaign... well, things are looking even better.

PFF is projecting Harris to an RB11 finish, which is on par with his ADP of RB11 and 28th overall player getting off PPR-league draft boards. Harris has the best potential ROI among all four starters in the division (assuming Hunt is an RB2, which he is literally but not really--draft Hunt, please).

 

AFC SOUTH

Good Pass-Catching RBs Never Get Old: Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

We all know there will forever be one and only one name to definite the pass-catching tailback: James White, of all men. But James White is entering his age-29 season, which is not a super-old age but is inching closer to the wrong side of 30. Hines, on the other hand, will still be 25-years-old next year and playing just his fourth season as a pro. And all he's done so far is playing the pass-back role to perfection.

Hines has been targeted 81, 58, and 76 times in the past three seasons, catching 78, 76, and 83 percent of those throws. He's a rusher engineered precisely for PPR leagues, and he's always undervalued, having a couple of top-30 seasons in his career (RB27 in 2018 and RB15 last season). The value can't be higher given his ADP of 141st overall and RB41 at the time of this writing.

 

AFC EAST

Avoid the Fins' Gaskin, Draft Whoever Else:  Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

Gaskin is a consensus high-ADP player this summer because everybody got caught in the Miami-didn't-improve-the-position-in-the-draft narrative. That is right, but that doesn't mean Gaskin is a top-five rusher all of a sudden--I mean, the Dolphins surely bolstered the receiving corps adding a top-tier rookie, a deep threat in Will Fuller, and a rushing QB on top of that.

I'm sorry, but not into Gaskin's hype train, folks. All of the other running backs in the division have sky-high ROI projections because none of them has an ADP above 100th overall. If you ask me, this would be my targeting-order entering PPR-format drafts: Singletary, White, Coleman, Moss, Carter, Harris, Brown, Michel.

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