After the 2018 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos went out and signed some un-drafted free agents (just like every other team). Little did they know that one of these free agents was going to be a vital part of their offense.
Running back Phillip Lindsay from the University of Colorado was able beat the odds and make the Broncos after a strong preseason showing. That performance continued into the regular season as Lindsay rushed for over 1,000 yards while also making the pro-bowl.
No one expected 5’8″ 190 pound running back to do anything close to what he did. He was great for Denver and fantasy owners who decided to scoop him from their waiver wire after a good performance week 1 against the Seahawks. But now Lindsay is in year two, and people know what’s coming from the lightning quick back. You can see that in his average draft position of 6.02 in 10-man leagues.
But who is this year’s Lindsay? Who is the running back you will be able to scoop up off of waivers and have an immediate impact on your team? The answer may surprise you, but it is Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Dare Ogunbowale.
Just like Lindsay last year most do not know who Ogunbowale is heading into the season, but the former Wisconsin Badger has a wide-open opportunity to make a splash with Tampa this season.
It has been reported that Ogunbowale is expected to open the season as the Buccaneers’ passing-down RB. If that’s the case then Ogunbowale should be on the field a lot. Tampa ranked fourth in pass attempts last year, and new head coach Bruce Arians loves to throw the ball. In his last two years leading the Arizona Cardinals (2016 and 2017), his offense ranked third and fifth in pass attempts.
Ogunbowale has also been impressing this summer while the two other Tampa tailbacks (Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II) have not. Even during the regular season last year neither Barber or Jones showed anything special for the Bucs. You can try and blame that on the offensive line, but Joe Mixon had a terrible o-line in Cincinnati last year but was still able to lead the AFC in rushing.
Ogunbowale has been playing later in games against reserve players unlike Jones and Barber, but Lindsay was also playing against second and third stringers at this time last year. As we all know, Lindsay turned out fine.
If Ogunbowale impresses in the passing game with his reported role, he may earn more touches on the ground. That’s especially true considering he has relatively low level of competition ahead of him in the backfield. So don’t blink now because Ogunbowale could end up as Tampa’s lead man sooner rather than later.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)