By Tom McAleese (@McAleeseFFA)
With the preseason heating up this week here’s a list of RB battles to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs Giovani Bernard – I’ve been big on Bernard all offseason and it’s hard to see a scenario, outside of injury, that doesn’t favor Bernard. Plus, Green-Ellis has to be the least exciting starting RB to have on your roster in the NFL, whereas it’s great to have a rookie that’s fun to watch, like Bernard.
As of right now Green-Ellis is listed as the starter, but Bernard’s hands, and quick feet will make it hard for the Bengals to keep the ball out of his hands. Bernard may not have the ideal size, compared to Green-Ellis, for goal line work, but he has the ability to break a long one for a TD.
Who Will Win? Early indications are that Green-Ellis and Bernard will have a 50/50 split, but I believe by mid-season it will be more 70/30 in favor of Bernard.
Who should you own? Bernard is the guy you want to own. It may also be advantageous to own both, but you would have to draft them in back-to-back rounds, with BGE’s ADP at 98.9 and Bernard’s at 111.9, according to Yahoo.
Lance Dunbar vs Philip Tanner vs Joseph Randle – This battle will settle the back-up role for oft-injured DeMarco Murray, which in all likelihood means future starting RB of the Dallas Cowboys. If you watched the Hall of Fame game then I’m sure you were just as impressed with Philip Tanner as I was. Tanner’s 17 yard run in the second quarter was probably the best offensive play of the game.
As of right now Tanner is listed behind Lance Dunbar on the depth chart, with Joseph Randle listed fourth. Dunbar’s lack of use in the first preseason game suggests that the Cowboys feel confident that he will be Murray’s back-up, but after how well Tanner and Randle in played in the HOF Game this battle is far from settled. It has been suggested that Tanner may be on the bubble for a roster spot, but if he continues to play well in the preseason it will be hard to keep him off the final roster.
Who will win? I have to believe that unless Dunbar completely screws up, or one the other guys really shine, Dunbar will be the back-up.
Who should you own? Right now it’s Lance Dunbar, but this is still a fluid situation, and probably won’t be settled till the end of preseason. Whatever guy wins is an absolutely necessary handcuff for Murray. In deeper leagues it may be a good idea to pick up the third string RB on the as well.
Montee Ball vs Ronnie Hillman – This is probably the most intriguing RB battle this preseason, and will probably go on well into the regular season. John fox is known for using multiple backs, and going with the hot hand. Knowshon Moreno could also be thrown into the mix for carries, but the lions share will go to these guys.
As or right now Ronnie Hillman is listed as the starter, although Montee Ball is not far behind. John Fox stated that the depth charts were released only because the league makes them, and that the starter will be based on performance.
Who will win? I honestly don’t think it will matter, but Ball will probably begin the season as the starter. Both guys will be used, and used often. Ball will get early down, and goal line carries. Hillman will be in there on passing downs, and as a change of pace back.
Who should you own? In PPR formats Hillman will have value, but overall Ball will be the best one to own. Of course though it would be best to have both, and with Ball’s ADP at 79.7 and Hillman ADP at 119.5, according to Yahoo, it’s feasible, and smart to draft both.
Tomorrow I will talk about the battle to become Darren McFadden’s back-up, as well as starting RB battles in Green Bay and St. Louis.