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Bump and Run

Veteran RBs Find New Homes

by Nick Mensio
Updated On: March 25, 2021, 2:39 pm ET

Veteran RBs in New Spots

 

After he opted out of the 2020 season following his heroic 2019 playoff run, Damien Williams was released by the Chiefs this offseason. 29 next month, he quickly landed on his feet with the Bears where he has a connection to coach Matt Nagy from their time together in Kansas City and OC Bill Lazor from their Miami days. The addition of Williams and Tarik Cohen’s return from a torn ACL are major hits to David Montgomery’s fantasy stock, and he’s a candidate to be way overdrafted this summer. There’s virtually zero chance Montgomery sees the 68 targets he saw last season when he was the only real running back on the team following Cohen’s early-season injury. Montgomery is back in the TD-dependent RB2/3 territory in a bad offense.

 

With Christian McCaffrey banged up all of 2020, Mike Davis set career highs across the board with his 165-642-6 rushing line and 59-373-2 as a receiver, totaling over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in Carolina. He has now parlayed that into a two-year deal with the Falcons where he’ll replace Todd Gurley in Atlanta’s backfield. As it sits now, Davis is atop the depth chart, ahead of Ito Smith. Gurley and Brian Hill remain free agents. The Falcons have the most vacated carries (301) from last season, putting Davis in prime position to be a solid RB2 with some upside in new coach Arthur Smith’s fun offense as long as Atlanta doesn’t add a running back early in next month’s draft. Davis just turned 28 but has plenty of tread left on the tires.

 

Tevin Coleman missed eight games to injuries last season and quickly fell out of favor in the San Francisco backfield. He’s never really been able to stay healthy or handle a big workload, but Coleman has found himself in a pretty good situation after inking a one-year deal with the Jets. Frank Gore is gone, and the Jets have the fourth-most vacated carries (216) from last season. Coleman already knows the offense, following former 49ers coaching staffers Robert Saleh and Mike LaFleur to New York where LaFleur will be running the Shanahan offense. Coleman will get a chance to lead this group that also includes La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams. The Jets easily could use a draft pick on a running back, so this situation bears monitoring, but Coleman is at least back on the fantasy radar.

 

Hilton Stays Home with One-Year Deal

 

After flirting with free agent Sammy Watkins, the Colts decided to send a one-year, $10 million offer to T.Y. Hilton, who inked the pact and will return to the Colts for his 10th season. He was reportedly offered more elsewhere but chose to stay home. With Hilton back in the fold, Indy is rolling with Hilton, Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, and Zach Pascal at receiver barring other additions. 31-year-old Hilton is coming off a strong finish to 2020. He caught all five of his touchdowns last season from Week 11 forward. Carson Wentz is now under center for the Colts, which is viewed as an upgrade on Philip Rivers, even after Wentz's disastrous final year in Philly. Hilton should return WR3 value for fantasy.

 

Rams Land a Deep Threat in D-Jax

 

DeSean Jackson is 34 years old and has missed 24-of-32 games to injuries the last two seasons. Still, he remains one of the more intriguing deep threats in football when healthy. He’s said to be just that right now and is headed home to L.A., joining the Rams on a one-year deal. With Brandin Cooks off to the Texans, the Rams had no semblance of a deep threat last season. And it really hurt Jared Goff. But with Matthew Stafford now under center in Los Angeles, Stafford’s big arm and Jackson’s endless speed will be a fun combination. If he can stay on the field, Jackson will have some huge weeks on the stat sheet. It makes him a very interesting fantasy pick for best-ball purposes. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp will open up plenty of single-coverage opportunities for Jackson downfield, and Stafford loves to sling it.

 

Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants

 

Signaling they may be trading Gardner Minshew sooner than later, the Jaguars signed backup QB C.J. Beathard. Beathard will presumably be the No. 2 to whomever the Jaguars take with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s draft. … The Patriots re-signed RB James White to a one-year contract. White’s fantasy outlook would’ve been so much brighter in Tampa Bay after the Bucs flirted with him in free agency. … Minnesota re-signed special teamer and COP back Ameer Abdullah. … The Bucs reportedly have “made no real headway” with free agent Leonard Fournette, who had also drawn interest from the Seahawks and Patriots. Seattle re-signed Chris Carson, taking themselves out of the mix. … Philadelphia signed Joe Flacco to be Jalen Hurts’ backup. The Eagles could still do more at the QB spot in the next month-plus. … NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport believes Jameis Winston does “have a leg up” on Taysom Hill for the Saints’ starting job. That’s been the word all offseason. … Marcus Mariota agreed to a pay cut to stay with the Raiders after the quarterback market dried up over the last couple weeks.

 

Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants

 

After cutting Jared Cook and Josh Hill earlier in the offseason, the Saints signed ex-Broncos TE Nick Vannett to a three-year deal. He caught 14 balls last season in Denver and is averaging 1.07 catches per game in his 70-game career to this point. Adam Trautman remains the tight end to bet on in New Orleans. … The Lions signed WRs Damion Ratley and Kalif Raymond. They join Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman in Detroit’s turned-over wideout room. … Washington WR Cam Sims signed his $2.133 million RFA tender after a career-best 32-477-1 line last season. … Washington is said to be “monitoring” the availability of flamed-out former Patriots first-rounder N’Keal Harry, who is said to be available for trade. … The Texans waived WR Chad Hansen despite his efforts to stabilize the Houston wideout room late last season after a rash of injuries/suspensions. There’s a new regime in Houston. … The Dolphins re-signed WR Mack Hollins to a one-year deal. He’s mainly a special teamer. … Buffalo re-signed slot man Isaiah McKenzie after his impressive 2020 on limited snaps. He’ll again be quality playmaking depth. … Free agent Sammy Watkins visited the Colts and Ravens this week. … The Chargers re-signed TE Stephen Anderson, teaming him with Jared Cook and Donald Parham at the position following Hunter Henry’s departure. … Houston signed ex-Jaguars WR Chris Conley to a one-year deal. He’ll be a deep-threat depth option who possesses blazing straight-line speed.

 

Nick Mensio

Nick Mensio has been covering the NFL for NBC Sports Edge since 2012. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.