The running back resurgence is here. With guys like Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Kareem Hunt taking the league by storm as rookies, teams are more willing to take running backs earlier in drafts. This is true in fantasy football as well. Elliott and Gurley and were early round picks. This year, Saquon Barkley is likely to go high in drafts. It is an extremely deep running back class, and there are plenty of players who could end up being late round steals. One of those players is Rashaad Penny, coming out of San Diego State University.
Best Landing Spots for Rashaad Penny in Fantasy Football
One of the more intriguing teams that could land Penny is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills might seem set at running back with LeSean McCoy, but McCoy is coming into his 10th season in the NFL and is already 29 years old. Wear and tear catches up to running backs quickly, and last season McCoy was second only to Le’Veon Bell with 287 carries. McCoy’s 59 receptions were also tied for fifth among running backs. He has a lot of tread on his tires.
The Bills are looking to draft a quarterback, meaning that they will likely stay a run-first team. Despite posting his lowest YPC average of his career, McCoy still finished seventh in PPR scoring for running backs due to his high volume. Should the Bills move on from McCoy, Penny could roll in and inherit most of those carries.
Even if they decide to keep McCoy for another season, we could see a situation similar to what happened with New Orleans Saints with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. McCoy is a shifty runner, while Penny is more of a straight ahead back. They would complement each other well if used in tandem and both be very fantasy relevant if the Bills decide to draft him.
The Next Big Running Back Tandem
We could see a similar running back tandem situation if the Carolina Panthers decide they want to bring in Penny. The Panthers drafted Christian McCaffrey in the first round last year, so it might not seem like they need a running back, but Penny would be the perfect complement to him.
McCaffrey is more of a pass catching back who does not have the frame to be a feature back. This was evident last year with Jonathan Stewart starting most games even though he was horribly inefficient. McCaffrey acted as quarterback Cam Newton’s safety valve, catching 80 passes for 651 yards and two touchdowns. He only had 435 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The Panthers are another team that loves to boast a physical ground game. Penny would let them run a lot of two back pistol and shotgun formations that would keep opposing teams wondering exactly who was going to get the football. This is another situation where both running backs could be highly successful in the fantasy realm.
Continuing the Cycle
Finally, a great fantasy fir for Penny would be the Washington Redskins. The Redskins acquired quarterback Alex Smith in a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith had one of his best seasons as a pro last year, in large part to boasting a balanced offense behind rookie Kareem Hunt. Hunt was a third round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs, but ended up leading the NFL in rushing yards last season.
Smith could see a similar situation happen with his new team. Penny is projected as a late second or early third round pick. Penny has a similar build to Hunt as well, though as a more upright runner, their styles differ a bit. Still, like Hunt, Penny is quicker than most would expect for a bigger back, and has shown he can catch and make plays from out of the backfield.
The Redskins really don’t have an established rusher on their roster yet. Samaje Perine was their leading rusher with 603 yards, but only recorded a measly 3.4 YPC average. Smith plays best when he doesn’t have to put the team on his back and has a run game to rely on. Because of that, they would definitely love to get a more consistent back than they have now to help carry the load. With Washington, Penny would be in perfect position to be this season’s fantasy steal at running back.
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