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NFL Today: Which Back Will Soar for the Eagles?

August 16, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
D'Andre Swift was the presumed starter for the Philadelphia Eagles.
D’Andre Swift looked great in the preseason opener, but he may not be the feature back. (Philadelphia Eagles)

Anthony Richardson will be the starting QB in Indy; the Jets’ backfield suddenly looks crowded after signing Dalvin Cook and activating Breece Hall; and Lamar Jackson is getting a chance to provide input on the Ravens’ playbook. Let’s see what else is going on in the NFL as we head into the second week of preseason action.

Who is the Lead Back in Philadelphia?

When the Philadelphia Eagles traded for D’Andre Swift, it seemed like either he (most likely) or the previously signed Rashaad Penny would take over as the featured running back in the wake of Miles Sanders being allowed to leave as a free agent.

However, both Swift (who flashed his mad skills — see video below) and Penny were active in the preseason opener while the Eagles rested their stars — including previously presumed backup RB Kenneth Gainwell.

Suddenly we have to ask: has Gainwell moved to the top of the depth chart while we were thinking about the MLB stretch run? If that’s the case, he’s a major sleeper, while Swift looks like a reach at his current ADP (78.2).

Hey, we’ve always been enamoured with Swift’s potential — especially when he was on a Detroit team that didn’t have a lot of talent — but this situation scares us.

Throw Penny into the mix, and suddenly Philadelphia’s backfield looks like a Fantasy minefield. So, in order of preference at this point, we suggest targeting Gainwell, followed by Swift (but not as early as he’s been going) and then the talented, but injury-prone Penny as a deeper option.

But honestly, this is a dangerous situation, so pay close attention to how things play out Thursday against the Browns before committing fully in any one direction. RBBCs tend to be Fantasy anathema.

Seattle Seahawks RB Injury Issues

Another running back room that has seen more questions than answers during the preseason is that of the Seattle Seahawks, currently +3500 to win the Super Bowl as per Fanduel.

Starters Kenneth Walker III (groin) and Zach Charbonnet (shoulder) were both dealing with injuries and then Kenny McIntosh hurt his knee recently. So… panic time, right? Especially given Seattle’s recent history with RB health.

Maybe not.

Walker, who looks like a solid RB2 for 2023, and Charbonnet — a strong RB4 option — have both returned to practice, and McIntosh isn’t likely to miss more than another week before he’s ready to get back on the field as well.

Seattle’s defensive line could be a worry, but it seems like you don’t need to fret about its backfield — for now, anyway.

Atlanta Poised to Take Next Step

The Atlanta Falcons took a nice step forward in 2021, improving from 4-12 to 7-10, but were unable to build on that last year, leaving them five seasons removed from their last non-losing campaign.

However, this streak is very much in danger in 2023.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder is driven to be better in his sophomore season (perhaps even useful as a bye week option in two-QB formats) and this team will be running wild with Tyler Allgeier (who merely racked up 1,035 yards as a rookie last year) and Bijan Robinson, the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft who could be a top five RB as a rookie.

Worst to first in the NFC South? It could happen.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Mind blowing but true, the Rolling Stones have now been active for over six decades. In 1989, they released their 21st album, Steel Wheels, featuring “Sad Sad Sad” as the lead track.

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