Any time after the NFL Draft is a fine time to release initial projections. Most teams' rosters are very close to what they'll be in July when training camp starts. For Fantasy purposes, this year that's true everywhere except running back. Well, even at running back it's true on most teams. The problem is that we don't know exactly which teams aren't done at the running back position. That matters because Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt are all sitting out there as free agents and potential landmines for some running backs who currently look like they could be Fantasy starters. Here are the five backfields I think are mostly likely to see significant additions before the start of the season.
As of now, the Cowboys have Tony Pollard, Malik Davis, and Deuce Vaughn at running back, but as long as Elliott remains a free agent, Pollard's potential workhorse role will be in serious doubt. He set a career high with 232 touches last year and I currently have him projected for 295 if he's sharing with Davis and Vaughn. Any of the veterans could put a dent in that number and knock Pollard out of Round 1 consideration.
Javonte Williams is coming off a major knee injury and his timetable is still very much up in the air. Samaje Perine touched the ball 133 times last year, which was his most involvement since his rookie year back in 2017. Williams and Perine both project as low-end No. 2 backs right now, assuming the former gets off to a slow start but eventually receives 60% of the work. The longer we go without Williams being cleared, the more likely it seems we'll see another back added in Denver. That probably means burying Williams in the projections, but it will hurt Perine's ranking as well.
The Dolphins brought back Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert and drafted speedster Devon Achane, but I'm still not sure they have a back on the roster who can handle a starter's workload for more than a month straight. If Dalvin Cook becomes available, this becomes far more likely, but I wouldn't rule out the Dolphins adding one of the other backs with a proven ability to handle a big workload.
Other teams that could still add a veteran: Cincinnati Bengals (if they cut Joe Mixon); Minnesota Vikings (if they cut Dalvin Cook); Kansas City Chiefs; New York Giants (if Saquon Barkley holds out); New England Patriots; Cleveland Browns.
Here's my early look at 2023 running back projections: