After years of serving as Adrian Peterson’s understudy in Minnesota, Toby Gerhart is ready to become a workhorse back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gerhart is going to walk into fantasy production solely based off opportunity and volume, which makes him at least a top-20 running back, in my eyes.
Gerhart is a good running back, and many people may forget that after living in Peterson’s shadow. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry during his first four seasons, and now will be a true workhorse. The Jaguars already stated that they envision him seeing 300 touches this year, which is terrific volume. Also, playing behind Peterson has kept Gerhart, a bruising back, fresh, and there isn’t a ton of wear and tear on his body. Having said that, I think he could definitely handle such a workload for the Jaguars this season, and there is absolutely no competition at the moment. You don’t have to be the best back to be relevant in fantasy. Just ask plodding Shonn Greene and his top-15 fantasy finish back in 2012, where he ranked ninth in the league in attempts (276).
The Jaguars have one of the worst offensive lines (and offenses, for that matter) in football, so scoring chances may come at a premium. Their projected offensive line has a combined 97 career starts in the NFL and were the 31st-ranked run blocking team in football last year. But Gerhart is good enough to still produce anyway, forcing a missed tackle on 18.7 percent of his touches throughout his career. He’s a lot more elusive than people think. The Jags also averaged just 2.9 red zone scoring chances per game last year, so that may be a concern, too.
The more I read about Gerhart, the more I like. He is going to be an absolute bell cow on a team with limited offensive weapons. Talent and opportunity almost always translate to fantasy success, and Gerhart has a lot of both. He could be a dark horse to lead the league in carries this season.
Bye Week: 11
Projected Round: 4th
Auction Value: $4 (via ESPN)