With NFL season coming closer and closer (and I mean close, we have TWO days until official kickoff!), breakouts, busts, bounce backs and more are being predicted left and right.
I recently had a project for a Digital Design class that I am taking this semester in which we had to create 3 GIFs and post them publicly on the internet. I figured that there was no better way to use this project than for the Fantasy Forecast website. I have included the GIFs that I had to make in this article and each GIF represents a running back that I personally think will have a bounce-back season in 2016, starting with Ameer Abdullah of the Detroit Lions.
The hype train was in full effect for Abdullah last season as he was even compared to Barry Sanders, but to say he was a let-down is being generous. He struggled to grab control of the backfield committee in Detroit and constantly lost carries to Joique Bell and Theo Riddick.
This season’s outlooks is a bit different. Coming into the preseason nursing an injury and sitting out the first two games, he only say 4 carries in his preseason debut for 16 yards, but did have a 15-yard touchdown called back while he looked fully recovered from his shoulder injury. Abdullah also recently said that he “wants and expects” to receive the bulk of the carries for the Lions this season. With the departures of Joique Bell and Calvin Johnson, the Detroit Lions’ offense is headed in a somewhat new direction this season, and if Abdullah can demonstrate his explosion that’s displayed below (I mean..LOOK AT THAT CUT MY GOD), I think he could become the young centerpiece of a new-look offense. (The GIF was made by yours truly)
The second running back that I think will have a bounce-back season is one that burned me pretty badly in season-long formats, former Ohio State standout Carlos Hyde. Hyde absolutely TORCHED the Vikings in week 1 last season, rushing for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It’s safe to say that he never repeated anything close to that for the rest of the season. He ended up having to finish his season early after dealing with a stress fracture in his foot for the majority of the year, something that was assumed to drastically affect his performance.
His 2016 outlook is a bit brighter. With the combination of up-tempo offensive-minded coach Chip Kelly and a healthy foot (albeit he’s already suffered a concussion this preseason), Hyde should see increased usage and increased production this season. While it is tough to sell Carlos Hyde as a high-end RB2 like most figured he would be last season, his ADP of 41 in standard 12-team leagues is quite appropriate, and I personally believe he will end up producing 3rd round value when the season is said and done. If you need any additional convincing to give him a second chance, take a look at this filthy spin move from his game against the Vikings in week 1 last season (and yes, I made this GIF too).
The third and final running back (and the final GIF I had to make) that I think will return to form this season is LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills. I talked extensively about McCoy in my “Bold Predictions” article last week so I won’t go too in depth here, but I am still all aboard his train this season. Karlos Williams is no longer a threat to steal carries and McCoy should easily be an every-down back with his superior pass catching and his ability to absolutely demolish a defender’s ankles in the open field. While he was rather injury-plagued in 2015 (what’s new, it comes with the territory of owning LeSean McCoy), he still showed flashes of his 2013 explosion, shown below. (I promise this is the last time I’ll remind you I made these GIFs).
If he can maintain a clean bill of health (no Bills pun intended) and if the Bills stick to their power-run scheme that they’ve adopted the past number of years, McCoy could be in for a huge year and could serve as an incredible value pick in the 3rd round with his RB1 potential.
Thank you for reading my rather unconventional article that helped me knock out an assignment for class! I am working on a Week 1 article over the next couple of days and will have that posted as soon as I can. Remember to follow @FanForecast on Twitter so you too can dominate Fantasy Football this season!