James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
Well it looks like Le’Veon Bell’s holdout is going to run into the start of the season as he has yet to report to the team. This opens the door for Conner to have a full workload in Week 1. The team has been very impressed with the second-year running back all preseason and he’s ready to carry the load while Bell is on the sidelines being a diva. I expect Conner to get around 20 touches on Sunday and should have a very nice fantasy day. If you weren’t smart enough to handcuff Bell with Conner then I feel sorry for you because 100 total yards and a score seems like a real possibility this weekend.
Detroit Lions Running Backs
The Lions have four capable running backs right now who all have certain skills and makes it a nightmare for fantasy purposes. LeGarrette Blount is the goal line back, Theo Riddick is the pass catching back, Ameer Abdullah is the big play back and Kerryon Johnson is the rookie back with upside. Detroit wants Johnson to separate himself from the pack early and be the guy, but that’s a lot to ask from the young player. At this point, I wouldn’t start any of them. Johnson and Blount should be owned, but not started. Johnson could be very good down the road so keep an eye on him and add him if he’s available in your league.
Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville
Cole is now the top receiving option for Jacksonville after Marqise Lee was lost for the season due to injury. This isn’t necessarily a good thing since his quarterback is the inconsistent Blake Bortles. But, he should still see double-digit targets most weeks and if Bortles has improved his accuracy at all then Cole could be a nice surprise this season. He did have a few big games at the end of 2017 and has all the tools to be a solid pass catcher. Cole should be treated as a WR3/FLEX in Week 1.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay
I’ve been high on Williams all preseason and now I feel even better about him after his head coach came out yesterday and said he’s poised to have a big year. With Aaron Jones suspended the first two games of the season, the backfield belongs to Williams and I don’t think he ever gives it up. As long as he stays healthy, Williams has a chance to make a big jump in production this season. I know Green Bay likes to throw the ball, but Williams will get his touches. At worst he’s a RB2 to start the season so get him in your lineup.
Lock of the Week
Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami
Drake is in line to have a breakout season and solidify himself as a bell cow for Miami. As long as Miami gives him the ball, he will produce and could play his way into a first- or second-round fantasy pick next year. He has all the attributes a top flight running back needs and head coach Adam Gase has stated that they want to give him a full workload. Drake does have a tough matchup to start the season against Tennessee, but I think he’ll still touch the ball 20-25 times and find the end zone. He’s a must start and don’t be surprised if he’s your RB1 by Week 2.