Arizona Cardinals: Keaontay Ingram
James Conner has never played a full season and has missed multiple games every year of his career but one. He’s also 28 years old. Ingram, meanwhile, is easily the most athletic back on Arizona’s depth chart and should have no problem securing Arizona’s RB2 role.
Chicago Bears: Khalil Herbert
Herbert has no ties to the new regime in Chicago and has questions regarding his receiving ability and his pass protection. Rookie Roschon Johnson will absolutely provide competition for playing time, but Herbert finished first in rush yards over expectation last season. He was one of three backs to rank top-five in RYOE and rush yards after contact, along with Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb (maybe you’ve heard of them?).
For what it’s worth, Herbert also played extensively with the first team during Chicago’s preseason debut. David Montgomery is gone, and the Bears’ offense should be much better in 2023 with an improved offensive line, Justin Fields’ continued development and the addition of DJ Moore.
Herbert has a wide range of fantasy outcomes, putting him in definite sleeper territory.
Cincinnati Bengals: Chase Brown
Samaje Perine is gone, while Joe Mixon looked in serious decline last season and could be suspended in 2023. Brown has strong workout metrics and flashed receiving ability during his debut. Chris Evans will act as the team's passing-down back, but Brown has real fantasy upside as Cincinnati’s RB2.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Tank Bigsby
Bigsby has opened eyes throughout camp, and he might immediately replace Travis Etienne on passing downs and in short-yardage situations. Etienne is a real threat to rush for 2,000 yards but has struggled in those aforementioned areas. Whether Bigsby has standalone value remains to be seen (Etienne has star potential), but he’d have a ton of fantasy juice should injuries strike.
Las Vegas Raiders: Zamir White
White has elite speed and is the clear backup RB in Las Vegas. Josh Jacobs is back with the team but he's missed all summer work, and history has been unkind to running backs the following year after leading the league in touches. There are multiple paths to White seeing real touches in 2023.
Miami Dolphins: De’Von Achane
Achane is dealing with a shoulder injury and may enter the season as Miami’s RB3/4, but his path to a bigger role got easier with Dalvin Cook signing in New York and Indianapolis already rejecting one of the Dolphins' trade offers for Jonathan Taylor. Jeff Wilson Jr. is already injured this preseason, has averaged eight missed games over the past three seasons and has never reached 130 carries during his career. Raheem Mostert is 31 years old, has been even more injury prone than Wilson and just set a career-high with 181 carries.
Minnesota Vikings: Ty Chandler
Minnesota’s backup RB is wide open with Dalvin Cook gone and Alexander Mattison set to take over the lead role. Chandler became the favorite after “jumping out” during Minnesota’s first preseason game, while rookie DeWayne McBride has struggled. Chandler has good speed and after-contact and receiving ability as well. It remains to be seen whether Mattison can hold up over the first full workload of his career, and the Vikings’ offense should remain productive.
Philadelphia Eagles: Rashaad Penny
Penny has an extensive injury history and likely carries more risk than most running backs, but he also has “league-winning” fantasy upside in his range of outcomes. Penny had one of the best collegiate seasons of all time, totaling 2,383 yards from scrimmage with 25 touchdowns over 13 games during his final year at San Diego State. He’s the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per carry (minimum 300 rushes) — ahead of Bo Jackson and Jamaal Charles.
Penny just turned 27 years old (and has low career mileage), excels in yards after contact and may break charts in Philadelphia’s system. He’s outproduced Derrick Henry when given 12+ carries in a game during his career.
Penny now joins a highly successful Eagles offense that lost Miles Sanders to free agency and sports one of the league’s best lines. Jalen Hurts will steal touchdowns, but Sanders had the fourth-most red-zone rushes and scored 11 touchdowns last year in this role. Penny hasn’t been used heavily in the passing game, but Hurts targeted RBs at one of the league’s lowest rates last season. He’ll have to fight D’Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell for touches, but Penny still has fantasy upside.