Will any player break the single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards during 2017-18 NFL Regular Season?
NFL Odds: Yes +1000, No -3500
Adrian Peterson was the closest to knocking Dickerson from his perch just a few seasons ago. In 2012, Peterson ended the season just eight yards short of the record after running for 199 yards in the Vikings’ season finale against the Packers. He topped the 100-yard mark in nine of his last 10 games and could have gotten there if he was more productive earlier in the season.
It’s not just future Hall of Famers like Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson that have challenged Dickerson. Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, and Chris Johnson all were close as well and show that this number is not unassailable.
Players to Watch
If someone challenges this mark it will likely be one of three players. Ezekiel Elliott is likely the best bet to reach the number. He ran for over 1600 yards in 2016 and was one of two running backs to average over 100 yards a game on the ground. Elliott has the best offensive line in the NFL and the unit could be even better than it was in 2016 if everyone can stay healthy. He showed no signs of slowing down at the end of last year and isn’t used as a receiver enough to hurt his chances.
Le’Veon Bell was the other runner to average more than 100 yards a game last season. Bell was suspended for the first three games of 2016, but was one of the most productive backs in the NFL when he returned to action. He has a decent offensive line, but it’s very susceptible to injury and that makes him a riskier bet. Additionally, the Steelers use Bell as a receiver quite often and it’s unlikely that he will get the touches he needs as a rusher to break the record. However, Bell is a potential free agent after the season and if the Steelers decide that they don’t want to re-sign him, they could just play him as much as possible.
The other runner with a chance to unseat Dickerson is LeSean McCoy. Everyone knows how good of a runner he can be and he might be able to unleash his full potential in 2017 after averaging 5.4 yards per carry in 2016. Mike Gillislee is gone and won’t eat up as many carries as he did last season and his offensive line might be even better with some of the offseason additions. If new OC Rick Dennison de-emphasizes Tyrod Taylor in the run game as well, McCoy could get it done.
NFL Free Picks
Aside from these three, it’s hard to see anyone else that can possibly break the number. David Johnson has the same problem as Le’Veon Bell in that he is used out of the backfield as a receiver too much and he doesn’t have a great offensive line either. Jordan Howard is going to be on a dreadful team without a passing attack in 2017 and DeMarco Murray is going to split more time with Derrick Henry this season.
If there is a sleeper that can reach this mark, it will be Jay Ajayi. He had a breakout season in 2016 and his coach Adam Gase wants to put the ball in his hands more than Ryan Tannehill. He has the durability and frame to last the whole season as well.
Working against all this is one simple fact. Only Elliott carried the ball 300 times or more last season. Every player that has reached 2000 yards carried the ball at least 332 times and no runner did that in all of 2016.
With that being said, the ‘No’ option has way too much chalk and the 10-1 on ‘Yes’ isn’t a bad bet at all.
NFL Prediction: The single-season rushing record is broken in 2017-18