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It may be February, but the fantasy football minds at RotoBaller are still hard at work and bringing you research for the 2018 NFL season.

Preparation is key to any fantasy owner's continued success, so taking a preemptive look at how the running back depth charts will shape up come September can be extremely helpful. With that in mind, this article is all about projecting how teams will organize their running back groups in 2018.

A couple of notes before we get started:

  • The depth charts assume full health for all players currently on each team's roster
  • I will be assigning a few rookie running backs to teams based on the following mock draft from Clint Clearwater of phinsider.com and some personal choices based on team fit
  • Keep in mind that this article was drafted in February with very little in the way of free agent acquisitions and updated scouting reports for draft prospects

 

AFC West

Surprise Cut Alert: C.J. AndersonRumor has it that Anderson could be on his way out of Denver after an injury-marred 2017 campaign. A certain Bay area intra-divisional rival is reported to be an early favorite to recruit his services if the Broncos release him in the offseason. The Miami Dolphins have also expressed significant interest.

 

AFC North

Backfield to Avoid: Baltimore Ravens. Alex Collins graded out as the fourth-best running back in 2017 according to Pro Football Focus, but the coaching staff in Baltimore seems afraid to give him the lion's share of carries. With Javorius Allen, Danny Woodhead, and Kenneth Dixon still hanging around, this backfield is one that will produce fantasy headaches.

 

AFC South

Potential Breakout Candidate: D'Onta Foreman. Foreman may not have gotten off to a hot start in his NFL debut, but he showed the type of difference-maker he can be in a Week 11 tilt with the Arizona Cardinals where he rushed ten times for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Although a terrific 34-yard touchdown scamper in that game ended in an Achilles injury, Foreman seems primed to creep into lead back Lamar Miller's workload in 2018.

 

AFC East

A New Time-Share: Buffalo Bills. This might be wishful thinking considering the hefty price that could come with signing him. However, former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount would be an immense upgrade over Mike Tolbert as the between the tackles bruiser in Buffalo's offense and would receive a hefty workload on a team known for its dedication to the ground game.

 

NFC West

New Fantasy Workhorse: Chris Carson. Carson should be able to recover from his catastrophic leg injury last season given how much time he has had to rest. Prior to the injury, he showed he could handle the load as a feature back as the only Seattle Seahawk running back to rush for 90 yards in a game in 2017. If the offensive line can be improved in the offseason and Seattle decides to move on from the Thomas Rawls/Eddie Lacy era, Carson could be a massive beneficiary.

 

NFC North

Biggest Question Mark: Green Bay Packers. With all three of Green Bay's running backs showing promise at some point last season, there are a number of ways that this group could be organized in 2018. Owners will need to follow news on the situation considering how prosperous a rusher could be in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense.

 

NFC South

Big Free Agent Add: Jeremy Hill. Doug Martin's departure from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers generates a need for a bruiser on first downs. Although Tampa Bay's offense as a whole is suspect, Hill will likely not demand a lofty cost to pick up and provide stability for a team that needs to figure out how to get over the hurdles that limited its production in 2017.

 

NFC East

PPR Sleeper: Ronald Jones II. The New York Giants are certain to address their lackluster running back group at some point this offseason and landing the prolific Ronald Jones II from USC could be an answer. In his last college season, Jones averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,550 yards with 19 touchdowns to go with 14 receptions for 187 yards and a score. His low playing weight will likely carve him out a spell-back role to start the year, but he is such a quick and shifty runner that teams would be hard-pressed to not give him an increased workload through the air.

 

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