Will any player break the single-season all-purpose yards record of 2,696 yards during 2017-18 NFL Regular Season?
NFL Odds: Yes +1200, No -6000
In 2011, Sproles set the record in his first season in New Orleans by contributing in every aspect. He ended the season with 69 returns, 87 rushing attempts, and 86 receptions, and Sean Payton’s desire to put the ball in his hands was evident. Sproles was a playmaker on a team without much explosiveness and that seems to be the formula to look for.
Players to Watch
Tyreek Hill has the best chance to break this record. Although Hill ended the year fourth in all-purpose yards in 2016, the rookie proved that he is a dangerous playmaker. Hill became more and more of a focal point of Kansas City’s offense as the season progressed. He was used as both a receiver and running threat by the Chiefs and Andy Reid will diagnose more packages for him to succeed in in 2017.
Additionally, Hill should see more action as a kick returner. Hill only returned 14 kicks in 2016 and teams kicked away from him or squib kicked a lot of the time. The Chiefs will likely shade him to one side or the other in 2017 and let him grab as many deep kicks as possible. He averaged 27.43 yards a return and could easily rack up 800-900 yards on kick returns alone.
Johnson might be the next best candidate to get the job done. He had 293 carries and 80 receptions in 2016 as Bruce Arians relied on him to carry the load for the Cardinals. Johnson is young enough and durable and can handle the workload if asked to do even more. He still has plenty of room for improvement too as he only averaged 4.2 yards a carry in 2016.
Le’Veon Bell has an outside chance to do it. He might be the best running back in the league and Todd Haley has showed he will use him out of the backfield as a receiver a lot. He averaged almost five yards a carry the last two seasons, but has yet to carry the ball more than 300 times in a season. Bell has also suffered an injury in all four of his seasons in the NFL and underwent groin surgery this offseason.
Even though he’s a rookie, you have to put Christian McCaffrey on this list. The Panthers took McCaffrey at No. 8 and will use him in the return game often. McCaffrey shattered Barry Sanders’ single-season all-purpose yards collegiate record and should immediately be the Panthers primary return man. He will behind Jonathan Stewart in the depth chart at running back, but Carolina will likely try to get him on the field as much as possible and he may see some time in the slot.
NFL Free Picks
Ezekiel Elliott might be considered to have a chance to break this record by some, but he would need at least 2,000 rushing yards to even have a shot. Elliott doesn’t have the hands to be used out of the backfield like either Bell or Johnson and the Cowboys don’t utilize running backs a lot in the passing game.
Although it’s unlikely that anyone breaks the mark, there is enough of a chance that someone does it to bet the ‘Yes’ here. Hill is certainly the most likely candidate, but there are a few others that get it done if things break in their favor. Now that it’s en vogue for running backs to catch a lot of balls out of the backfield too, someone could emerge out of nowhere to challenge the record if his offensive coordinator decides to rely on that dynamic.
NFL Prediction: The single-season all-purpose yards record is broken in 2017-18