- The Seahawks are planning to cut back Marshawn Lynch’s carries but about 40-50 which is just fueling the Christine Michael bandwagon. Michael is closing in on RB2 status for dynasty already and should be a RB1 next year.
- Dynasty owners hoping to squeeze out a little more of Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis probably need to cut bait. He’s battling for a roster spot.
- In other Bengals news, expect Bengals receiver Marvin Jones production to spike up thanks to being named a full-time starter.
- With the news of Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tearing his other ACL, Dallas will probably be without his services for a full year. This means rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens will be a hot commodity in camp.
- There’s no waiting on Ryan Shazier in Pittsburgh as he’s already practicing with the first team. He’ll border on the first round in IDP rookie drafts.
- Despite hip surgery in the off-season, Seahawks Kam Chancellor is expected to be back for the 2014 season. Chanchellor doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the other members of the Seattle secondary but he’s quietly been a reliable DB1/DB2, hovering around 100 tackles a year over the last three years.
- Some welcome news from Arizona where coach Bruce Arians finally concedes what we all knew when he said Andre Ellington was a #1 back. He also said he looks to get him 25 carries a game. Ellington-owners can only hope.
- Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis opened camp behind Giovani Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill on the Bengals depth chart. If Hill plays well, he could be had in the second round of rookie drafts.
- Ravens rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was arrested over the holiday. Taliaferro and Ray Rice’s issues have not looked good for the Ravens. For fantasy purposes, Bernard Pierce may be one of the only running backs left to start the season.
- Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton survived the draft with no serious competition. His dynasty value is still shaky but it appears Dalton dynasty owners can hold on to hope another year.
- In other Bengals news, the Law Firms time is about done after Cincinnati drafted Jeremy Hill from LSU. Green-Ellis dynasty owners can drop him.
- The Giants now expect running back David Wilson to be cleared for camp. Unless you have a deep roster with a taxi squad, Wilson probably isn’t worth keeping.
- Browns receiver Josh Gordon will probably be suspended at least half the year, if not the entire year. It’s a big blow for the Browns after a much celebrated draft.
- Some more fallout from the NFL Draft is the drafting of LSU running back Jeremy Hill by Cincinnati. Not only does it spell the end for BenJarvus Green-Ellis but severely cuts in to any dreams people had for Gio Bernard being a three-down back. Lower your expectations.
- It’s now confirmed that Justin Blackmon won’t be back in Jacksonville for 2014. Blackmon dynasty owners should cut bait unless they have an extremely large roster with a taxi squad.
- Browns receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm and will be out until training camp. It’s another blow for the Browns after potentially losing Josh Gordon for the year.
Click here for the complete updated dynasty RB rankings.
- Top seven remains the same with LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, Giovani Bernard, and Matt Forte.
- The big risers this month include Denver running back Montee Ball. With it becoming increasingly unlikely that Denver brings back incumbent Knowshon Moreno, it will be Ball’s job to lose. Another riser includes Oakland running back Latavius Murray. Currently at the top of the Oakland depth chart now that both Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings are free agents, Murray is 6′ 3″, 223 pounds, and ran a 4.38 40 in the combine last year. Murray could be special.
- The big drops include the previously mentioned Moreno along with the previously mentioned McFadden. It also includes BenJarvus Green-Ellis of the Bengals. With Giovani Bernard expected to shoulder more of the load in 2014, BJGE’s role is going to diminish further.
Click here for updated dynasty running back rankings.
- Nothing new at the top. LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles will be your consensus 1-2 dynasty running backs heading in to 2014.
- A slight drop for Alfred Morris from 11th to 13th, possibly due to concerns with new coach Jay Gruden’s offense. Morris is probably not an RB1 in dynasty leagues but is an ideal RB2.
- Other drops include Darren McFadden from 23rd to 26th. There’s a lot of uncertainty with McFadden heading in 2014 – injuries, free agency, etc. There’s also BenJarvus Green-Ellis from Cincinnati who will take an even bigger back seat to Giovani Bernard.
- The biggest riser (again) is Cardinals running back Andre Ellington from 31st to 23rd. Ellington could be a RB1 in dynasty leagues when (if) he takes the reins.
Currently, Gio is ranked #5 in our dynasty running back rankings. I would say five might be a little high but not by much. One reason is his age as Bernard will still be just 22 entering the 2014 season. Of the running backs to score more points this year (in PPR leagues), the next youngest was Eddie Lacy who is almost a year and a half older.
Production-wise, Bernard had a very good season finishing as a top-15 running back in PPR dynasty leagues. Bernard was in a time-share with incumbent running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis with Green-Ellis getting 56% of the carries as opposed to Bernard’s 44%. Despite that, Bernard gained 695 yards and a respectable 4.1 YPC. However, he did most of his damage in the passing game, where he was second among all rookies with 56 catches. He turned that into 514 yards and a 9.2 yards per average.
Going forward, things seem to be falling in to place for Bernard to be extremely productive. BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ contract is up after the 2014 season which will move Bernard into the lead role. Furthermore, with Jay Gruden being named the new head coach in Washington, Hue Jackson will take over the offensive coordinator duties in Cincinnati. In his last stint as offensive coordinator, Jackson managed to squeeze 1,157 rushing yards (5.2 YPC) out of the oft-injured Darren McFadden plus 507 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns. He should be able to do the same for Bernard.
Physically, Bernard has the build of Ray Rice (Bernard is 5′ 9″/ 208 lbs; Rice is 5′ 8″ / 212 lbs) which should alleviate any fears you may have of his body holding up. Rice had four very productive years with at least 1,500 yards from scrimmage before suffering a drop-off this year (it remains to be seen if he’ll return to form).
Overall, it’s very difficult to get a running back you can consistently rely on in dynasty football. Bernard has that potential, and should be treated, as a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 for at least the next 3-4 years which, in running back years, is a lifetime.
But, I’m a big believer in every player has a price and running backs, of all positions in fantasy football, are the most replaceable. If you were to trade Bernard, be sure to get at least one good, young player (i.e. Keenan Allen) along with picks in your upcoming drafts.
If you have a question for DFFC, be sure to email us at dynastyfantasyfootballcentral[at]gmail.com.
- Bengals receiver Marvin Jones exploded for eight receptions for 122 yards and four touchdowns. It’s fair to say Jones will no longer be under the radar.
- Meanwhile, the Bengals running game didn’t show a lot as BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 33 yards on 11 carries and Giovani Bernard went for 18 yards on five carries. The Bengals got away with little production from the running game this week but won’t be able to forever. Bernard is still highly ranked in dynasty circles.
- Jets receiver David Nelson had a nice little day of eight catches for 80 yards. Even though Nelson is just 26, don’t expect this kind of production to continue. The Jets offense is a bit of a mess and no one is safe.
- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had another double-digit sack day with a tackle for a loss and a pass defended. At just 23 and the anchor of a strong defense, Burfict will be a solid dynasty contributor for many years.
- Quarterback Tom Brady went without a touchdown pass for the first time in four years. Luckily, it appears Rob Gronkowski will be back this week and all will be right with the world.
- Running back LeGarrette Blount ran for a respectable 4.3 YPC in his 12 carries for New England. Of course, he also fumbled in the game so don’t be surprised if Stevan Ridley gets another chance to lock down the position.
- On the other side of the field, Giovani Bernard had 13 carries compared to BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ 19. Dynasty owners can expect the back-and-forth routine this year but Bernard should be good for years to come.
- Bengals rookie tight end Tyler Eifert saw a career-high seven targets to go along with five catches and 53 yards. The changing of the guard could become official soon so now would be the time to jump on the Eifert bandwagon.
- Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes had his best game of 2013 with 12 tackles, two tackles for a loss, a pass defended, and an interception. Spikes had a solid 2012 with 92 tackles but that appears to have been his ceiling. I’d sell high on Spikes right now.
Everybody’s working for the weekend…
- Despite splitting carries and despite the recent fumble issues, the Broncos are preparing for Montee Ball to be a top-tier running back. Now might be a good time to pick him off someone’s roster if you’re playing for next year. Ball is holding steady at 26th in our dynasty running back rankings.
- Seattle receiver Percy Harvin’s rehab is coming along on schedule. Of course, hip injuries are not an easy fix but there may not be a better flyer right now. Tentatively, Harvin’s scheduled to be back around Week 10 or 11. Harvin is still a top-10 option in dynasty ranks.
- Cincinnati running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was limited in practice. It’s almost as if the fantasy football gods planned it this way. Gio Bernard will most likely get a majority of snaps this week. Bernard is a top-15 running back option in dynasty ranks.
- Despite Detroit running back Reggie Bush being inactive last week, Mikel Leshoure saw no action. However, the Lions also turned down trade offers just last week for Leshoure so they may have a master plan. He’s a good taxi squad candidate at this point.
- Washington receiver Leonard Hankerson has started the last two weeks opposite Pierre Garcon and has established himself over Josh Morgan. Hankerson is four years younger than Morgan and is under contract until through next year while Morgan is a free agent after 2013. Hankerson gets the nod.
Don’t forget 49ers-Rams tonight and check back here tomorrow for Friday’s dynasty update.