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Wayne Gallman

Falcons upgrade running back room

All of the early drafts where those who selected Mike Davis backed him up with Qadree Ollison are now flawed. Atlanta signed Wayne Gallman yesterday and kicked Ollison to the curb. It gives them two of the league's top-performing backups who became starters a year ago.

Neither, granted, is a terribly exciting veteran option. Davis has bounced around the league to several different teams, while the Giants had no interest in bringing Gallman back as Saquon Barkley insurance; instead they signed Devontae Booker.

But both players were fairly impressive in taking over for the top 2 picks in pretty much every fantasy draft last season. Davis in 12 starts averaged over 15 PPR points per game, while Gallman in his 10 starts averaged over 11. Among running backs who started at least half the season, both finished in the top 30 last season.

RUNNING BACKS PER GAME, 2020 (8-PLUS STARTS)
PlayerStRunNoRecTotalTDPPR
Alvin Kamara, N.O.1562.15.550.4112.51.4025.2
Dalvin Cook, Min.14111.23.125.8137.01.2924.6
Derrick Henry, Ten.16126.71.27.1133.81.0821.1
Aaron Jones, G.B.1478.93.425.4104.2.7918.5
James Robinson, Jac.1476.43.524.6101.0.7418.0
David Montgomery, Chi.1571.33.629.2100.5.6917.8
Nick Chubb, Cle.1288.91.312.5101.41.0017.5
Jonathan Taylor, Ind.1481.92.116.698.5.8617.1
Myles Gaskin, Mia.1058.44.138.897.2.5016.8
D'Andre Swift, Det.1050.13.726.376.4.9016.7
Austin Ekeler, LAC1053.05.440.393.3.3016.5
Josh Jacobs, L.V.1571.02.215.986.9.8015.7
Chris Carson, Sea.1256.83.123.980.7.7515.7
Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.1565.33.522.587.8.5615.6
Mike Davis, Car.1253.23.822.175.3.6715.4
David Johnson, Hou.1257.62.826.283.8.6715.1
Antonio Gibson, Was.1456.82.617.674.4.7914.7
Miles Sanders, Phil.1272.32.316.488.7.5614.5
Melvin Gordon, Den.1565.72.110.576.3.6713.8
Kareem Hunt (C), Cle.1248.92.319.468.3.7513.7
Ronald Jones, T.B.1469.92.011.881.6.5713.6
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, K.C.1361.82.822.884.6.3813.5
Kenyan Drake, Ariz.1563.71.79.172.8.6712.9
Raheem Mostert, S.F.865.12.019.584.6.3812.7
James Conner, Pitt.1355.52.716.572.0.4612.7
Giovani Bernard, Cin.1037.23.124.061.2.5012.2
J.D. McKissic, Was.1622.85.036.859.6.1912.1
Nyheim Hines (C), Ind.1623.83.930.153.9.4612.1
J.K. Dobbins, Balt.1553.71.28.061.7.6411.2
Wayne Gallman, NYG1057.91.49.467.3.5011.1
Leonard Fournette, T.B.1230.63.019.450.0.5011.0
Todd Gurley, Atl.1545.21.710.956.1.6010.9
Rex Burkhead (C), N.E.1027.42.519.246.6.6010.8
Darrell Henderson, LAR1148.51.210.458.9.459.8
Adrian Peterson, Det.1240.6.97.748.3.589.2
Damien Harris, N.E.1069.1.55.274.3.209.1
Devin Singletary, Buff.1642.92.416.859.8.139.1
Latavius Murray (C), N.O.1543.71.511.755.5.339.1
James White (3rd), N.E.148.63.526.835.4.218.3
Gus Edwards, Balt.1645.2.68.153.3.388.1
Zack Moss, Buff.1337.01.17.344.3.387.8
Malcolm Brown (C), LAR1626.21.410.136.3.316.9
Frank Gore, NYJ1543.51.15.949.5.136.8
Mark Ingram, Balt.832.3.86.338.5.256.1
Phillip Lindsay, Den.1145.6.62.548.2.096.0
Kyle Juszczyk (FB), S.F.164.01.212.616.6.385.1

Gallman was released by San Francisco, but the 49ers (as per usual) have several strong options at the position, so it was always going to be tough for Gallman to crack that roster (I never fully understood why they signed him). He would be a quality No. 2 on a lot of teams, including Atlanta.

This signing affects Davis, mostly unfavorably. With Ollison (who in his career has carried just 23 times for 53 yards), there was zero chance of Davis ever being pushed out of the starting lineup. Gallman has some chance of doing a little more with his opportunities, so if Davis struggles, maybe Gallman gets a few carries to see what he can do. I don't see anyone in the rankings I'd actually want to drop Davis behind (maybe one or two, but that's mostly just on personal preference/difference of opinion, not because of the Gallman addition), but it makes him a little less appealing. It will probably be a league-wide concern, though, so Davis will be a little easier to select, maybe a round later than he was going previously.

The positive is that if you do select Davis, you can feel a little better about protecting that pick with a proven, functional back that you can select later on. Previously if Davis got hurt, I would have expected Ollison and running back/receiver hybrid Cordarrelle Patterson to play in some kind of a committee. That's still possible, but I think Gallman would be pretty comparable to Davis in terms of workload if he ends up in the starting lineup.

I'm going to call it a slight negative for Davis, but only a slight one. Davis is the guy Atlanta committed a significant contract to back in March, when Gallman was also available. Gallman is a guy they signed as an upgrade to Ollison behind him.

--Andy Richardson

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