As we roll ever closer to the first kickoffs of the regular season, football is starting to take over our minds. Which players are bound to be impactful in 2018? More specifically, which of second-season players are poised to break out? Some of the best sophomore performances are going to come on the defensive side of the ball, like Tre’Davious White, Myles Garrett, Marshon Lattimore, and Reuben Foster. But let’s look at a few second-season RBs who are poised to explode this year.
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The former Stanford star had a productive rookie season, but he was mostly sitting in the back seat with Jonathan Stewart driving the car. But now Stewart is in NY, and Christian McCaffrey will be the number-one back in Carolina. We should see the versatile young back break out now that he’ll be getting the majority of touches. Given his ability to snag receptions, McCaffrey is going to be an all-purpose yards beast in 2018.
The OVER/UNDER on McCaffery’s season rushing yards was set at 625.5 and this to me is a definite OVER if he stays healthy. He could easily have 700 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards out of the backfield
Cook only received the ball 74 times last season due to an injured ACL. Still he managed to put up a pair of touchdowns and average 4.8 yards per carry. The Minnesota offense is looking much more stable now that they have a sure number-one QB in Kirk Cousins. The passing game in Minneapolis should be much better, which will open doors for the running game.
Dalvin Cook will dominate this season if he stays healthy and at +900, Dalvin Cook is in the conversation to finish the season with most rushing yards.
If there is one team that really went to work on their offensive line, it’s the Indianapolis Colts. Lucky for Mack, it also looks like Andrew Luck is ready to get back under center. Marlon Mack is in a position to have a 1000-yard season and with the serious upside of being overlooked by a lot of people. Mack is a sleeper waiting to break out and could be a steal in the fantasy markets as well.
So, mentioning Kareem Hunt is a little misleading because he already broke out during his rookie campaign as one of the most surprising and explosive backs in the league. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry and put up 1,327 on the season, and we can expect more of this from him in 2018. The veteran leadership of Alex Smith is gone, but Patrick Mahomes has some serious upside. We can expect there to be ‘rookie’ mistakes on the part of Mahomes, and this could affect Hunt a little. But overall, he’s just too explosive and talented to let the personnel change hold him back.
Mixon is a longshot to record the most rushing yards on the season at 50 to 1, well behind other sophomores like Kareem Hunt and Dalvin Cook who are at 9 to 1. But nevertheless, he is on the boards and poised to have a fantastic season with the Bengals. He probably won’t be a Le’Veon, Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, or Todd Gurley, etc., but Joe Mixon is going to put up yards and get his share of endzone opportunities.