There were a lot of moving parts during the offseason. Many running backs and wide receivers left their teams in hopes for greener pastures elsewhere. There were some big-name running backs who saw their value greatly diminish. Knowshon Moreno and Chris Johnson didn’t do fantasy owners any favors. Here are three running backs that signed with new teams and will get a chance to showcase their talents all while increasing their fantasy value.
Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns: Tate started a career-high seven games while filling in for Arian Foster. He rushed 181 times for 771 yards and four touchdowns. He was also very effective in the passing game, catching 34 passes for 140 yards. Foster will be 100 percent come September, making Tate expendable. He knew that and signed with the Browns.
No longer behind Foster, Tate will be the guy in Cleveland. With a young, explosive offense with (should be) starting quarterback Johnny Manziel and superstar wide receiver Josh Gordon (suspension pending). The improvement in the offense will also be aided by the addition of Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Tate should be drafted as a top-20 running back.
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants: Jennings is another running back to escape from the shadows of a teammate. This time, Jennings will break free of the Oakland Raiders and Darren McFadden and join the Giants. The Giants rushed the ball 38.56 percent of the time last season. This number could have been higher if David Wilson and/or Andre Brown were healthy all season.
Quarterback Eli Manning struggled last season. He threw a career-high 27 interceptions, including six games with more than one interception. The offense lost veteran Hakeem Nicks and the passing game will rely on the inexperienced wide receivers. Jennings finished No. 22 among rushers in ESPN.com standard scoring and should be a top-25 option.
Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles: Before I get people saying that Nick Foles is nowhere near the level of Drew Brees, the Eagles offense benefits Sproles a lot more. The New Orleans Saints have a crowded backfield with Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. The team also has plenty of passing options for Brees.
The Eagles traded backup running back Bryce Brown earlier in the year. LeSean McCoy is still the every-down back while Sproles will take over every so often. He does have a better chance to catch more out of the backfield or in the slot. Behind Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, Sproles could easily be third in terms of total receptions. However, with a lack of rushing yards, Sproles drops to the top 40.