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Who’s At Risk of Losing Jobs?

The 2017 RB class was a good one. The promising 2017 class looks to have already supplanted some of the starters from 2016. Fournette has taken over from Ivory & Yeldon, Hunt has taken over from Ware, Cook has taken over from Latavius Murray, and at some point Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine, and Christian McCaffrey are like to see expanded roles too.

The 2018 RB class also has considerable talent. The likes of Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Bo Scarborough, Ronald Jones, and many others could be set to take the jobs from a few more NFL RBs in 2018. As such, it may be wise to consider selling some of these players before their value plummets and they are backups.

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Terrance West/Kenneth Dixon/Buck Allen:

The Ravens haven’t had a bonafide starting 3-down back since Ray Rice. They’ve been scraping by with mediocre guys to get the job done the last few years and it hasn’t really worked. Joe Flacco cannot lead the attack by himself and I believe it may be time for them to consider one of the leading backs in this class. It was reported that Harbaugh was interested in Fournette prior to the 2016 draft.

Terrance West has never amazed anyone in over 4 years in the league, and that’s not going to change. He looks to return some low end value this year while the backfield is hurt, but that’s not going to last very long. The same can be said for Buck Allen. We know full well that he’s mediocre and nothing more. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none. Cash in for anything you can get.

Kenneth Dixon may have missed his opportunity. The 2016 4th round pick failed to make anything of his opportunity behind West in 2016, finishing with a measly 382 yards and 2 TDs. He was then suspended for PEDs, followed by a torn meniscus ending his 2017 campaign already. I have the impression that Harbaugh won’t be too forgiving and will have Dixon on a very short leash, given the aging Ravens roster.

Frank Gore:

Frank Gore has held down the fort well. The never-aging veteran has performed honorably the last couple of years in Indianapolis. However, due to the fact he is approaching 35, it may be a good time to bring in a replacement. Sure, they drafted Marlon Mack, but I don’t think many people are under the impression that he is a feature back.

The Colts desperately need an improved O-line and run game to take the pressure off Andrew Luck. In the same way that the Jags drafted Fournette to take pressure off Bortles and the O-line, I expect the Colts to target a game changer in the backfield. This will likely be your last chance to get any sort of return for Gore. If you can grab a 2nd round rookie pick for him, take it.

Bilal Powell/Matt Forte:

The Jets are in full rebuild mode and it doesn’t make much sense to keep going with Powell (29), and Forte (32). I fully expect much of the offense to be rebuilt in the very near future. O-line, QB, WR, and TE could all use upgrades and they will likely use their high picks to address some of those needs.

Forte likely doesn’t hold much value for a trade as is, but there’s a niche out there who favor Bilal Powell. Thus there may be some trade value for him if he’s able to put a few big games on the board.

Ameer Abdullah:

Detroit has lacked a solid short yardage, early down, goal-line back for a while now. The likes of Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure, and Jahvid Best leave a lot to the imagination. Theo Riddick has certainly excelled in his passing down role, and it looks like they fancy Ameer Abdullah to get first crack at the early down role.

However I believe he will be on a short least also. Now playing in his 3rd NFL season, this could be an all or nothing campaign for Abdullah. If he fails to impress or injuries hit him, then they may finally look to take one of the top 2018 backfield runners. As an Abdullah owner, I’m keeping a keen eye on the first few weeks of the season before deciding how to proceed.

Isaiah Crowell:

I fully believe Crowell can have a breakout of sorts in 2017. I think with improvements at QB and to the Cleveland O-line, he can put together a productive campaign. However, he is likely hitting free agency at the end of the season, and if he doesn’t perform to the hype, then they can easily be looking to bring in a replacement.

Duke Johnson appears to be evolving towards a hybrid WR/RB role so he won’t be the guy to take over. I’m treating Crowell similarly to Abdullah and keeping close tabs through the early portion of the season.

Of course, these aren’t the only guys at risk. RB is such a volatile position with high turnover; no one is safe. The obvious safer players are Elliott, Bell, and Johnson with some of the current rookies likely to be given a leash for a couple of seasons at least. But beyond that, guys like Gurley, Perkins, Doug Martin may be here one day, and gone the next. Be savvy and cash in before it might be too late.

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About Jon Diment

Dynasty has caused many fights with all my friends, and I'm totally okay with the fact that fantasy football is now consuming our lives. The thrill we get every Sunday is like no other and makes it all worth it. I hope that my advice helps make your dynasty teams good enough to take your mind off life's other troubles. Currently working in business operations for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. Follow me on twitter: @DynastyJon