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Ranking the top fantasy running backs in the NFC East

Ranking the top fantasy running backs in the NFC East

We previously argued that the NFC East is the top division when it comes to fantasy football wide receivers. There will be no such attempt with the running backs.

[2017 NFC East Running Back Rankings]

Ezekiel Elliott* rocks, but the Dallas Cowboys standout is the only obvious RB1 among the four teams. It's quite possible a true lead back will emerge with the Eagles, Giants and Redskins, but all have question marks with that top spot. There are young bucks -- Samaje Perine, Wayne Gallman -- entering the fray. There are second-year options -- Robert Kelley, Paul Perkins -- ready for more. There is a new guy -- LeGarrette Blount -- entering a very different offense from the one he scored an NFL-high 18 touchdowns in one year ago. There are veterans -- Darren Sproles, Chris Thompson, Shane Vereen -- not conceding their opportunities. 

Fantasy running backs are the most coveted options because of scarcity and constant uncertainty. Here's an attempt at trying to clarify the NFC East candidates ahead of the 2017 Fantasy Football campaign.

* Speaking of Elliott, it would be stunning if he suffered from a sophomore slump. There's the talent and that stellar offensive line. The biggest fear might involve quarterback Zak Prescott taking a step back now that opposing defenses had a full offseason to study his game. Otherwise, Elliott is a clear contender as the overall No. 1 running back along with Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell and Arizona's David Johnson followed by a group including Buffalo's LeSean McCoy, Chicago's Jordan Howard and Los Angeles Chargers starter Melvin Gordon.

2017 Fantasy Football Links:

Rookie running backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

Rookie wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans

Rookie quarterbacks - No. 1, Deshaun Watson, Texans

* NFC East wide receivers -  No. 1, Odell Beckham Jr., Giants

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 


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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back