The NFL running back landscape changes every year. Everyone knows that. But this spring, it's got the chance to change radically.
Not only are the free agent running backs hitting the street among the best players at their position, but the 2023 NFL Draft is chock full of fine young talent.
It's a perfect storm for teams like the Dolphins or Panthers, both of whom don't currently have a lot of capital at the position. It also offers a chance to reboot a run game for teams that wish to move on from older veterans, like the Bears, Bengals, Vikings, Cardinals and Saints might. The Giants and Raiders qualify for this category if they so choose to move on from their starters.
You get the point: As many as 20! NFL teams may opt to reshape their RB room this offseason, leading to some incredible changes in Fantasy values for the position.
Here are the veterans you need to know about
Damien Harris: Injuries have been the primary downfall for the Patriots run-down grinder with a surprisingly strong 4.7 yard-per-carry average. The 26-year-old is the very definition of a late-round sleeper, provided he lands with a team willing that won't sleep much on him.
Leonard Fournette: Still offers veteran know-how and third-down skills. He'll be in a spot where taking him with a pick after Round 7 makes sense.
Devin Singletary: When he played, Singletary wasn't too bad. He's got solid hands, solid speed and juke moves to buy him extra yards. Expect to draft him late.
Kareem Hunt: The one-time first-round Fantasy darling probably isn't going to be a feature back again unless injuries push him into such a role. But he's displayed good hands and red-zone success with the Browns and could easily be a backfield mate who swipes 12 touches every Sunday.
Jamaal Williams: It's hard to see him thrusting his hips for any team other than Detroit. They made a champ out of him just by making him a part-time grinder and a full-time touchdown scorer. He'll be bench depth no matter where he lands.
The landing spots
The Dolphins' cupboard is bare! Aside from Salvon Ahmed, they've got no one at running back. Expect them to pick up a one-cut runner at a discount in free agency and another in the draft. Their most talented RB will be chased heavily in Fantasy.
The Panthers traded Christian McCaffrey and got by on D'Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard for the rest of 2022. Hubbard remains but there's otherwise a clear landing spot for a running back to go and thrive under new coach Frank Reich.
Da Bears can become da bomb on the ground if they find a speedster to match Justin Fields' rushing attack. They already have Khalil Herbert but pairing him with another roadrunner could make things troubling for opposing defenses.
The Bengals haven't committed to Joe Mixon as their running back for 2023. If they pivot off him then their new lead back could be amazing. Imagine this offense with Saquon Barkley or Bijan Robinson.
Is this the year the Vikings put Dalvin Cook into a smaller role -- or off their roster? He seemed to decline in 2022. This offense has already taken a step forward under head coach Kevin O'Connell, they could do it again with a fresher running back in the middle of their huddle.
Cam Akers finally looked like his old college self toward the end of last season, but before that he looked like toast. He was also nearly dumped from the Rams. His contract is cheap but that might not be enough of a reason for Sean McVay to lean on him as his main RB again.