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RB Paul Perkins | New York Giants | 2nd Year
2016 Stats: 112 carries for 456 yards, 0 TD, 15 receptions for 162 yards
Upon being drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, Paul Perkins was immediately on the radar as a deep fantasy sleeper. But he was buried on the depth chart for most of the season, despite Shane Vereen being injured early and Rashad Jennings looking bad (3.3 yards per carry).
Over the final four games last season, Perkins had 271 yards on 62 carries (4.4 yards per carry). That stretch ended with, and was highlighted by, a 21-carry, 102-yard effort against the Washington Redskins in Week 17. The Giants had some late rumored interest in free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, and Adrian Peterson was open about his interest in signing with them. But the only addition to the running back depth chart was fourth-round pick Wayne Gallman, and Jennings is gone. All offseason Perkins has been touted as the new starter, and position coach Craig Johnson has suggested he can be a three-down back.
Just nine of Perkins’ 136 touches and targets last season came in the red zone, and he did not score a touchdown. Vereen has been a productive receiver, with 158 receptions over 40 games form 2013-2015, so as long as he’s healthy a passing down role is in the cards. Gallman may take some touches too, but all indications still point to Perkins getting the first shot at early down work and he’s the favorite to lead the backfield in touches.
What should be a good Giants offense raises everyone’s fantasy tide, and it’s worth noting Perkins had the team’s only 100-yard rushing game in 2016. Opportunity is knocking for him, and his ADP as June winds down (pick 6.08 and RB30 in 12-team standard leagues, via Fantasy Football Calculator) has built-in upside.
Even with the prospect of 200-plus touches and the upside to finish this season as a RB1, Perkins has a least one notable threat to his workload and he’s not in line to be a primary red zone option. The downside potential is reduced by the reasonable draft day investment, but I’m not fully on the Perkins breakout bandwagon.
210 carries for 940 yards, 4 TD; 25 receptions for 238 yards, 1 TD
Breakout Percentage: 40%