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Onto the mailbag:
Q: Thought on guice and ballage
— Chris W.
I’ve been tooting the Derrius Guice horn all offseason and I’m not gonna change my tune now. He had 11 touches in Week 3 of the preseason for 44 yards which is a good clip for someone making their way back from ACL surgery. People aren’t sold because there’s Adrian Peterson in his way but I’m not worried. I think he’s still at a discount in most drafts so if you have the opportunity to get him in the middle of the 6th round, do it and never look back.
I’ve also been talking up Kalen Ballage this offseason mainly just because someone has to carry the ball in Miami and it seems that person will likely be Ballage. I’m not as high on him as I am about Guice, there are other players going at the back end of the 9th round that I’d rather have than Ballage (primarily Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Royce Freeman).
Q: Best safe-floor/high-ceiling RB to go with at #4 if Elliott isn’t signed by Sunday? (.5 PPR) Johnson? Bell? Conner? Other?
— Keith K.
That’s a good question Keith because all those backs you listed have their warts. Everyone is expecting the Cardinals offense to be wildly explosive, which it very well may be, but that offensive line looks like one of the worst in the NFL and we’ve seen David Johnson struggle before when he gets no help up front. Le’Veon Bell, while in a great situation, hasn’t played football in 20 months. And his coach has come out in public saying he wished his team hadn’t signed him to sooooo much money. Not exactly great. James Conner I’ve been worried about all offseason because I’m just not sold that he’s a lock for the starting gig in Pittsburgh. It seems the Steelers can roll out any running back and get fantasy value from them and they have a propensity for pushing their backs until they break.
From the three you mention, I’m most confident in DJ, followed by Conner with Bell in a pretty comfortable third. But there’s a back not on your list who I think is the right choice at #4 overall (assuming Ezekiel Elliott still is unsigned): Nick Chubb.
Chubb ran for almost 1,000 yards last year and put up eight touchdowns on the ground on a Browns offense that was still figuring itself out. Now, with Baker Mayfield a year older and of course Odell Beckham Jr in tow, I’m thinking Chubb will have even more rushing lanes to work with as defenses won’t be able to stack the box or really commit to the run at all with Beckham on the field. Plus the Browns traded away Duke Johnson and Kareem Hunt isn’t touching the field until like Week 10 which means this backfield is Chubb’s and Chubb’s alone.
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