10 RB sleepers to target for fantasy football week 1

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23, 2016: Running back Giovani Bernard
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23, 2016: Running back Giovani Bernard /
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8. Wendell Smallwood

As I alluded to in my top waiver wire pickups, this backfield is wide open and up for grabs. Darren Sproles will be heavily involved on third down and in the passing game, but the bulk of the ground work will be divided between new addition LeGarrette Blount and second-year runner Smallwood – and Blount has far from impressed so far.

In 2016, the Eagles took Smallwood in the fifth round in the NFL draft and expectations were low. His usage as a rookie, in general, was low as well but he showed flashes of brilliance in a couple of important wins for Philly.

In Week 3, Smallwood had 17 carries for 79 yards and his only touchdown of the season as they dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3. In a massive Week 10 win over NFC Champions Atlanta, he recorded 70 yards on 13 runs (5.4 yards per carry). Whether the team had success when using him or he was involved more when the team were looking good, feeding Smallwood was a winning formula.

In Week 1, Philadelphia faces Washington and a bottom-10 rushing defense from last year who are missing their own second-year star Su’a Cravens, who is mulling over a shock retirement. Look for the Eagles to establish their running game early, and they will be quick to move away from Blount if he isn’t performing.