Chris Ivory: Bills Backup Running Back Could See More Touches

There are reports regarding LeSean McCoy in the news on Tuesday. The details of the news is not for this post, but the only important takeaway is that the Bills and the NFL are currently reviewing the matter. Regardless of the outcome of that investigation, McCoy could still face penalties from the NFL.

With that in mind, it’s important to monitor the outcome for fantasy and gambling purposes. McCoy is the centerpiece of the Bills offense, and one of the top individual offensive producers in the NFL. The Bills finished the regular season fourth in rushing attempts, averaging just over 30 rushing attempts per game. Nearly sixty percent of those went to McCoy, who also added 59 catches, seventh-most among running backs.

With that production in mind, and with Tuesday’s news, let’s look at the other running backs available on the Bills roster.

Buffalo Bills RB Depth Chart

This list is unofficial. The first official depth chart will be released on the Bills’ official website during training camp.

Chris Ivory

It’s a third team in four seasons for Ivory, who rushed for over 1,000 yards with the Jets in 2015. Jacksonville added him in 2016 hoping to add a spark to their backfield, and they ended up adding Leonard Fournette in the draft the following offseason. Ivory saw his lowest workload since 2012 last season, but saw a bump in usage during Fournette’s three-game absence. Ivory got his most work in a Week 8 win over the Bengals, posting a mediocre 20 carries for 70 yards.

Taiwan Jones

Serving mostly as a special teamer, Jones is in contention for the team’s kick returner role. He joined the Bills last season after six seasons in Oakland, and finished the season with zero rushing attempts and one reception on two targets.

Marcus Murphy

A former seventh-round pick by the Saints, Murphy worked his way up from the Bills practice squad to contribute in very limited action last season. He got some run in the team’s finale against Miami, and might have impressed some coaches by finishing with seven rushes for 41 yards. The Bills kept five running backs on the roster last season so Murphy’s spot is probably safe, but he’ll likely get a look if touches open up in Buffalo’s backfield.

Travaris Cadet

Having played for five NFL teams at 29 years old, Cadet is a true NFL journeyman. Cadet and Jones were the only players to return kicks during Bills minicamp, so it appears Cadet will at least contribute on special teams. Cadet is primarily a receiver, having rushed only 49 times in six seasons. But he’s only two years removed from a reasonably productive season in New Orleans, catching 40 passes and scoring four touchdowns.

Keith Ford

Former Texas A&M back Keith Ford signed a deal as an undrafted free agent to join the Bills in April. Ford started his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, and went on to have two productive years as an Aggie. He was a finisher in his senior season, leading the team with 12 rushing touchdowns.

Chris Ivory Fantasy Value

Already being drafted as a handcuff for McCoy, Ivory should see a definite bump in his average draft position with Tuesdays news. As we’ve seen in previous situations involving other players, these investigations can drag out and hang over a player for months. McCoy will likely plummet in drafts, which gives risk-takers an interesting proposal in what should be the middle to bottom of the second round.

Before the news, I was staying away from Buffalo because I already think their offense will struggle. But whether it’s A.J. McCarron or Josh Allen under center, the offense will likely lean heavily on the running back. If that happens to be Ivory, I wouldn’t mind taking him some time after the 10th round. Ivory is currently ranked RB67 in FantasyPro’s PPR rankings, and that number is expected to rise at least 10 spots if McCoy is forced to miss any time.

Recommendation: Don’t draft in July.

Source: Heavy Sports