Koerner’s Undervalued Upside Ratings: Fantasy Running Backs to Draft and Stash

Koerner’s Undervalued Upside Ratings: Fantasy Running Backs to Draft and Stash article feature image
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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Austin Ekeler

  • Sean Koerner introduces his Undervalued Upside Rating: A rating to identify fantasy football running backs to draft and stash.
  • It ranks backups (or handcuffs) and committee RBs whose potential upside isn't being fully factored into their Average Draft Position.

It’s this time of year when we start to think we have the running back position all figured out.

Wrong.

The game of football is incredibly violent, and RBs typically endure the most hits week-to-week. It’s also a very tough position to play through when at less than 100%. That’s not to mention it’s very volatile: So many teams have committees in which, any given week, we can see one RB leapfrog teammates to fantasy relevance, relegating his predecessor(s) to fantasy irrelevance.

It’s critical to remember the chaos that’s coming with training camps and preseason games, but more importantly, to use it to your advantage.

I often find people too concerned about what the exact order of the first four picks should be: Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott or Christian McCaffrey. The truth is you can’t go wrong with any of the four. If they all play 16 games, they should put up eye-popping numbers. You’ll be in a real bind if any happen to miss significant time, but you’d chalk that up to bad luck — we aren’t here to predict who could suffer an unfortunate season-ending injury.

It’s much more critical to think about your overall strategy at RB. I always advocate for not drafting a kicker or defense (assuming your league allows it) and instead stashing a couple RBs who could see their value shoot up if anything happens to the RB ahead of them in the pecking order.

The two RBs I targeted as stashes in every 2018 draft were James Conner and Chris Ivory. Conner ended up being a league-winner when Le’Veon Bell’s holdout lasted the entire season, while I simply dropped Ivory right before the season started, when LeSean McCoy’s potential legal troubles had gone away.

There are three to five backs who fit this bill every season. They typically draw the highest bid to acquire in-season, so it’s essential to carry as many RBs with league-winning potential as possible so that you already have them on your roster and can save your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) for other players.

You rarely see a quarterback, wide receiver or tight end suddenly have potential top-flight fantasy value for the remainder of a season as much as you do with RB. That’s the phenomenon I’m attempting to tackle in this piece.

It’s important to not take season-long RB projections/rankings at face value and to instead view them through a complex three-dimensional lens. There’s underlying upside with RBs that’s largely outside of their control — i.e. if a RB higher on their depth chart misses time. That’s why I created the Undervalued Upside Rating to identify RBs who are not only fantasy relevant when every back on their depth chart is healthy, but could see a significant boost if a specific back misses time.

Let’s start by explaining my methodology, then rank the 80 RBs/situations I rated.

Methodology

The Undervalued Upside Rating is about identifying players whose Average Draft Position (ADP) isn’t fully factoring in their upside. It’s important to note that RBs with lower ratings, like Eagles rookie Miles Sanders, can still have high upside — it’s just already baked into their cost.

Here’s how I calculated the ratings:

  1. I created average weekly projections (vs. average defenses) as a baseline;
  2. I then simulated how a backup’s or committee back’s weekly ranking and projected fantasy points would change if a teammate who averages nine or more touches per game were to miss a week;
  3. And finally, I factored in that backup’s or committee back’s ADP to appropriately evaluate them based on their current value since their potential value hinges on factors outside their control.

The rating ultimately compares a backup’s or a committee back’s current ADP to their current role and potential upside role.

Note that I used half PPR scoring for my projections as it’s the most neutral system to grade on. I was also very conservative in my projections given there are so many more factors that will come into play before the season starts. We’ll recalculate these ratings as we get closer to kickoff for a much more aggressive approach.

It’s worth noting that since some backfields feature more than one RB projected to average nine or more touches per game that some players were involved in multiple simulations to account for all the variations. Also, keep in mind that this piece is intended to reflect the fact that the RB landscape could change at any moment, but it’s also subject to those changes.

Note: These are based on my own projections and rankings. You can get the latest with our Fantasy Football Draft Kit.


Jump to Full Table of Ratings


UNDERVALUED UPSIDE RATINGS

1. Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints

Murray’s Weekly Marks with Alvin Kamara In vs. Out:

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Alvin Kamara In vs. Out: 32 vs. 10 (+22)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Kamara In vs. Out: 8 vs. 13.3 (+5.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 35

Murray is one of my favorite RBs to target in early 2019 drafts. He fits the mold of the type of win-win RB I like to target every season in the middle rounds.

Derrick Henry and Tevin Coleman fit this description the best in 2018. The simple way to think about it is these types of backs are expected to be in a two-back committee, their ADP is essentially where I have them finishing if the season goes as planned, but they have RB1/2 upside if their RB counterpart either misses time or they otherwise outright become the workhorse back. Both scenarios came to fruition last season, with Henry and Coleman exceeding their preseason ADPs, which is our main goal in the draft.

latavius murray-fantasy-football
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Latavius Murray

Murray is expected to inherit the Mark Ingram role behind Kamara, which alone can produce 10 to 15 highly efficient touches per week. Murray is likely to beat his current ADP even if Kamara plays all 16 games. But if Murray is ever asked to fill-in for an injured Kamara for any stretch of time, he would vault into the low-end RB1 range and “league winner” status.

2. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Joe Mixon In vs. Out: 53 vs. 27 (+26)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Mixon In vs. Out: 4.6 vs. 9.2 (+4.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 71

No one is entering their draft hoping to snag Bernard in the later rounds.

He’s clearly going to be nothing more than a change-of-pace back to keep Mixon fresh. However, the new Bengals’ coaching staff has made it clear it intends to have a role carved out for Bernard. This makes him a possible emergency BYE-week RB3/Flex in deeper leagues.

Bernard has proven to be a strong fantasy asset if/when Mixon were to ever miss time.

The Bengals did draft Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson to give Bernard some competition, though. Williams is much more equipped to be a true workhorse back while Anderson is an explosive back who doesn’t need many touches to put up big numbers.

Gio is likely worth a dart throw in some leagues, but overall, this is a situation just to monitor for now as no one is going to leapfrog a healthy Mixon this season. >> Jump to Trayveon Williams or Rodney Anderson

T-3. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Aaron Jones In vs. Out: 44 vs. 22 (+22)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Jones In vs. Out: 5.3 vs. 10.5 (+5.2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 61

One common theme this year is to invest in teams that have multiple fantasy relevant backs. I’m finding their ADPs typically reflect what sort of value they’ll return if everyone stays healthy for all 16 games. The point of this piece is to remind people that the RB position, in particular, will not be that predictable.

Jamaal Williams-fantasy football
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jamaal Williams

Williams seems like a steal at his current ADP. Whether you believe head coach Matt LaFleur about the two-back committee, an ADP of RB61 means Williams is practically free considering he’d be a potential low-end RB3/flex once BYE weeks kick in, and potentially a low-end RB2 if Aaron Jones were to miss any time. >> Jump to Aaron Jones

T-3. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Melvin Gordon In vs. Out: 36 vs. 15 (+21)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Gordon In vs. Out: 6.9 vs. 11.5 (+4.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 46

With Melvin Gordon threatening a holdout, all eyes are turning to Ekeler and Justin Jackson as their values would skyrocket if Gordon were to miss any time.

I was already bullish with Ekeler and his ADP. He has a big enough role that I would already have him as a RB3/Flex most weeks Gordon is fully healthy. In the three games MG3 missed in 2018, Ekeler averaged 17.3 touches and would be a rock solid RB2 whenever we can expect that many touches for him.

T-5. Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Derrick Henry In vs. Out: 40 vs. 18 (+22)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Henry In vs. Out: 6.1 vs. 11.2 (+5.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 48

Lewis would shoot up to mid-range RB2 value if Henry were to miss a game. But considering Henry has missed a total of three games since his freshman season at Bama, I would say he’s the most likely starting RB to play an entire 16 game season.

I still have Lewis projected to 10-plus touches a game, which means I also get to create a scenario in which he misses a game. >> Jump to Derrick Henry

T-5. Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Phillip Lindsay In vs. Out: 34 vs. 13 (+21)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Lindsay In vs. Out: 7 vs. 12.3 (+5.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 40

Phillip Lindsay was one of the biggest surprises of 2018 as he became the clear-cut back for the Broncos, but there’s some concern that his smaller frame will allow his body to handle a true workhorse role.

Freeman is likely to have a big enough role in the backfield to command double-digit touches per game. New offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is expected to use a more wide-zone scheme that could actually favor Freeman’s skill set.

As a result, it does seem like Freeman’s ADP is screaming value. He should be able to outperform that even if Phillip Lindsay plays all 16 games, and would crush if/when Lindsay were to ever miss time. I have Freeman pegged as a high-end RB2 in that event. >> Jump to Phillip Lindsay

T-7. Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Derrius Guice In vs. Out: 37 vs. 20 (+17)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Guice In vs. Out: 6.9 vs. 10.9 (+4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 42

The Redskins gambled on the future Hall of Famer to become their lead back at 33 years old after Derrius Guice’s tore his ACL. AP ended up delivering his eighth 1,000-yard rushing season.

Peterson returns for the 2019 season and you would think he has every intention of keeping the lead role, but AP and Guice should hurt each other’s fantasy value when both are healthy. AP’s current ADP seems fair considering the Redskins would likely want their second-round pick from a year ago to run away with the job.

Adrian Peterson-Fantasy Football
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Adrian Peterson

AP would return low-end RB2 value if Guice were unable to suit up, giving Peterson some nice baked-in upside considering there’s still a chance he leads the backfield even with a healthy Guice around. But I’ll probably pass on either back if I can help it. >> Jump to Derrius Guice

T-7. Alfred Blue, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Leonard Fournette In vs. Out: 56 vs. 34 (+22)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Fournette In vs. Out: 4.1 vs. 7.5 (+3.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 76

This is still Leonard Fournette’s backfield. If he stays healthy, I’d expect RB1 type numbers. (Nick Foles should help keep defenses honest and prevent them from stacking the box with eight-men at such a high rate.)

As long as Fournette is healthy, I don’t see Blue providing much value. And in the event Fournette misses time, you’d likely see a split opinion as to whether Blue or Ryquell Armstead would inherit the lead role. Blue excites no one (see: his ADP), but he likely poses the most “value” between him and Armstead.

Still, I’m avoiding both backups until we have more clarity. >> Jump to Ryquell Armstead

T-7. C.J. Anderson, Detroit Lions

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Kerryon Johnson In vs. Out: 45 vs. 24 (+21)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Johnson In vs. Out: 5.2 vs. 9.8 (+4.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 57

There’s a lot of buzz that the Lions are going to be a run-first team with new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Coaching changes are obviously important, but I often find people taking things out of context and giving too much weight to past trends. For four out of Bevell’s five seasons as the coordinator in Minnesota, he had Adrian Peterson in his prime. And for four of Bevell’s seven seasons as the coordinator in Seattle, he had Marshawn Lynch in his prime.

How would you run those offenses?

Even the seasons Lynch was out of the picture, Russell Wilson had the best three-year stretch of his career. No Seahawks back finished in the top 60 in Bevell’s final year in Seattle. Let’s just assume he and most OCs simply tailor their offense with the players they have to work with.

With that said, the Lions’ backfield is a bit of a three-way log jam between Anderson, Theo Riddick and Kerryon Johnson. Anderson is the third-down and short yardage back, but if Johnson were to miss any time, C.J. would enter the RB2 discussion. >> Jump to Kerryon Johnson or Theo Riddick

Jalen Richard-Fantasy Football
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jalen Richard

10. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Josh Jacobs In vs. Out: 42 vs. 34 (+8)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Jacobs In vs. Out: 5.4 vs. 7.5 (+2.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 66

It looked like it was going to be tough trying to peg exactly how the touches would be distributed between first-round pick Josh Jacobs and Isaiah Crowell, but then Crowell tore his Achilles in late April. Now the door is wide open for Jacobs to command a workhorse role for head coach Jon Gruden, who has historically preferred to have a true bell cow back.

If Jacobs were to miss any time, we could see Doug Martin and Chris Warren form an undesirable committee with Richard dominating the pass-catching downs.

Richard seems a tad cheap at his ADP as he should carve out a role with some productive weeks in PPR formats even when Jacobs is healthy, but Richard’s upside is capped from his inability to handle 10-plus touches on a consistent basis. >> Jump to Doug Martin or Chris Warren

11. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Royce Freeman In vs. Out: 22 vs. 11 (+11)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Freeman In vs. Out: 10.4 vs. 13.2 (+2.8)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 22

Lindsay would benefit from any time missed by Freeman, going from a low-end RB2 to pushing low-end RB1 value. It appears the current ADP for both backs is assuming they’ll each play the full 16 games, which poses some built-in value for this backfield.

T-12. Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Kenyan Drake In vs. Out: 53 vs. 26 (+27)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Drake In vs. Out: 4.6 vs. 9 (+4.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 59

Now that Frank Gore is out of the picture, Kenyan Drake has a chance to become a fantasy stud: Expect the new coaching staff to use him closer to a true workhorse role.

The Dolphins are going to be in rebuilding mode and likely trailing most games. They aren’t a team that will be able to support more than one fantasy-relevant back at a time. In the event Drake were to ever miss time, it will be Ballage who would likely vault into the RB2/3 discussion. He’d have quite a few backs to compete with, so there’s still a chance he’d end up in a frustrating committee.

Kalen Ballage-Fantasy Football
Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kalen Ballage

I’m not too interested in finding creative ways to invest in the Dolphins this season (outside of Drake), so I’ll be passing on stashing any of Miami’s backups.

T-12. Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Jerick McKinnon In vs. Out: 28 vs. 18 (+10)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McKinnon In vs. Out: 8.7 vs. 11.3 (+2.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 31

After the injury bug hit San Francisco’s backfield in 2018, where Jeffery Wilson ended up having fantasy relevance for a couple of weeks, the 49ers have the biggest log jam at RB heading into 2019. How exactly it will shake out, no one knows, but there has been reporting that one of either Coleman, Jerick McKinnon or Matt Breida will be a healthy scratch on a week-to-week basis.

This backfield is such a headache that I’d rather not invest too much into it, but if we begin to get more clarity, some value should open up. >> Jump to the 49ers RB worth a potential flier

T-12. Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With David Johnson In vs. Out: 65 vs. 17 (+48)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Johnson In vs. Out: 2.8 vs. 11.3 (+8.5)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 62

Edmonds is the clear backup. Kliff Kingsbury said during minicamp that Edmonds will “have a really nice role in the offense.” It sounds like he could have a role that commands a handful of touches a game even when David Johnson is healthy.

Edmonds is a small back at 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, so I’m not sure he’ll be able to handle 25-plus touches on a consistent basis at the NFL level, but he’s pretty powerful for his size. Even when a defensive lineman or linebacker is able to get to him, he can keep his feet moving and power his way for a few extra yards. At Fordham he had five games total in which he carried the ball more than 30 times. In 2016 he had a ridiculous 17-carry, 359-yard and four-touchdown game (albeit against D-II competition).

Chase Edmonds-Fantasy Football
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chase Edmonds

Edmonds’ rookie production was fairly disappointing, but I think we can look past the brutal 2018 Cardinals offense to the 2019 version, which will be much more fantasy friendly. T.J. Logan, D.J. Foster and Brandon Wilds would just fight for scraps behind Edmonds. He would see the biggest leap of any back if DJ misses time as it would vault him from a bench stash to an RB2.

15. Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Devonta Freeman In vs. Out: 42 vs. 26 (+16)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Freeman In vs. Out: 5.1 vs. 9.8 (+4.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 55

Devonta Freeman should be close to 100% after missing 14 games due to a groin injury that required surgery, but this could be a good backfield to invest in backups.

Smith had his ups and downs his rookie season, but should be ready to take over the “Tevin Coleman role” behind Freeman. Still, if Freeman were to miss any time, there’s a chance Smith maintains a similar role and that rookie Qadree Ollison inherits Freeman’s role. >> Jump to Qadree Ollison

T-16. Wayne Gallman, New York Giants

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Saquon Barkley In vs. Out: 73 vs. 33 (+40)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Freeman In vs. Out: 1.8 vs. 7.2 (+5.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 95

In the devastating event that Saquon Barkley were to miss a game, it would likely be Gallman who would benefit the most in this backfield. I could see him push RB2/3 value, but would likely face competition from the three other backups, making this a situation to avoid.

While this project might seem like a handcuff strategy piece, I want to quickly point out that’s not the goal. When people refer to a handcuff, they typically mean that you have the starting RB and the backup RB who would become fantasy relevant if/when the starter misses time. It’s a strategy that’s meant to raise your team’s floor and avoid disaster.

I’m afraid if you own Barkley and he goes down, Gallman is not going to save you — you’re already screwed.

I play to win each and every one of my leagues, so if I own Barkley, I’m not going to hedge my bets with Gallman. I’d rather take other handcuffs to backs I don’t even own and increase my team’s upside rather than waste bench space that can only become valuable if my first overall pick goes down.

T-16. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Adrian Peterson In vs. Out: 50 vs. 40 (+10)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Peterson In vs. Out: 4.9 vs. 6.4 (+1.5)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 68

Thompson has a pretty secure role in this backfield as the pass-catching specialist, but even he’ll face some competition for snaps once rookie Bryce Love is healthy enough to join the mix.

18. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Kerryon Johnson In vs. Out: 58 vs. 42 (+16)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Johnson In vs. Out: 3.9 vs. 5.9 (+2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 78

Riddick, C.J. Anderson and Kerryon Johnson all stand to benefit if any one back misses time. Theo can only handle so many touches and is more of a high-floor/low-ceiling stash for deeper PPR leagues.

T-19. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With D’Onta Foreman In vs. Out: 26 vs. 22 (+4)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Foreman In vs. Out: 9.1 vs. 10.5 (+1.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 30

Miller has been one of the most boring, yet valuable fantasy football assets at RB the past few years in Houston. He’s churned out solid (if unspectacular) RB2 numbers each of his three seasons in Houston.

Lamar Miller-Fantasy Football
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lamar Miller

The main reason for that is his rock solid job security, but D’Onta Foreman could pose a threat to that in 2019. But no matter what, due to the Texans’ offensive line likely remaining one of the worst in the NFL, I’m likely going to avoid investing too much into this backfield. >> Jump to D’Onta Foreman

T-19. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Derrius Guice In vs. Out: 50 vs. 41 (+9)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Guice In vs. Out: 4.9 vs. 6.1 (+1.2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 68

Our first repeat. (A reminder: That’s part of this concept.)

T-19. Ty Montgomery, New York Jets

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Le’Veon Bell In vs. Out: 74 vs. 39 (+35)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Bell In vs. Out: 1.6 vs. 6.2 (+4.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 103

Le’Veon Bell is going to be the workhorse back for the Jets. This means that none of their backups will have any week-to-week value unless Bell misses time.

Even in the event Bell misses time, I’m not so sure we can safely say which Jets back would become fantasy relevant.

Montgomery and Bilal Powell seem likely to make the team, but there are three fairly talented backs competing to make the final roster. With Adam Gase as the new head coach, it sounds like a nightmare trying to figure out how he would handle that committee, so I’m going to completely avoid stashing any of these backups. >> Jump to Bilal Powell

22. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Chris Carson In vs. Out: 38 vs. 14 (+24)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Carson In vs. Out: 6.8 vs. 12.2 (+5.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 33

Penny fits the same win-win mold I described with Murray, which I like to target in mid-rounds. Penny’s price is fair if he and Chris Carson play all 16 games. If Carson were to miss any time, Penny would push RB1 value as the Seahawks not only run the ball at a high rate, but the depth behind Carson/Penny is a bit weak.

Unlike Murray, who I can’t envision a scenario for which he leap frogs a healthy Alvin Kamara to become the Saints’ lead back, there’s a chance Penny can breakout in Year 2 to unseat Carson from the lead-back throne.

rashaad penny-fantasy-football
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rashaad Penny

Although Penny’s rookie year got off to a slow start, he turned it on toward the end of the season to flash some of his potential. Another huge plus for his stock is the fact that Mike Davis has left for Chicago, making Penny’s path to becoming a serious fantasy asset that much more likely.

23. Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Josh Jacobs In vs. Out: 64 vs. 40 (+24)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Jacobs In vs. Out: 2.8 vs. 6.2 (+3.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 85

Like we highlighted with Jalen Richard, if Jacobs were to miss any time, we could see Martin form an undesirable committee with Richard and Chris Warren.

24. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Christian McCaffrey In vs. Out: 89 vs. 33 (+56)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McCaffrey In vs. Out: 0.9 vs. 7.2 (+6.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 95

McCaffrey plays nearly every snap when healthy, which means his backups get only scraps on a weekly basis. It ultimately led to the Panthers dumping C.J. Anderson in-season. They want to limit McCaffrey’s workload a bit this year, but the truth is no backup will have value as long as he’s healthy.

If McCaffrey ever misses time, the main battle would be between Artis-Payne and rookie Jordan Scarlett. CAP has been with the team for four years now and filled in nicely for CMC in Week 17, when he put up RB10 numbers as the main back. But ultimately, this is likely a situation to avoid altogether as Elijah Hood and rookie Elijah Holyfield could crash the party and make it more of a committee in the event McCaffrey misses time.

I typically don’t like stashing players who offer zero value most weeks, and in this case, it’s still unclear if any of Carolina’s backups would offer value even if the starting role opened up. >> Jump to Jordan Scarlett

T-25. Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Royce Freeman In vs. Out: 67 vs. 41 (+26)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Freeman In vs. Out: 2.4 vs. 5.9 (+3.5)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 90

Kerryon Johnson-Fantasy Football
Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kerryon Johnson

T-25. Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With C.J. Anderson In vs. Out: 21 vs. 12 (+9)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Freeman In vs. Out: 10.7 vs. 13 (+2.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 19

Again, anyone in Detroit’s backfield stands to benefit if any back misses time. If C.J. Anderson misses any time, it would vault Johnson into the RB1 discussion.

T-25. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Dion Lewis In vs. Out: 13 vs. 9 (+4)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Lewis In vs. Out: 12.2 vs. 14.4 (+2.2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 16

The Titans are incredibly thin behind Henry and Dion Lewis, so if Lewis were to miss time, I have Henry jumping closer to a mid-range RB1. This marks another season in which Henry appears to be a value at his current ADP as a high-end RB2, but still has hidden upside depending on the health of Lewis.

T-28. Michael Boone, Minnesota Vikings

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Dalvin Cook In vs. Out: 90 vs. 44 (+46)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Cook In vs. Out: 0.8 vs. 5.2 (+4.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

Murray is now on the Saints, which means the competition to become Dalvin Cook’s backup is wide open. Considering that Cook has missed extended time in each of his two seasons, it seems as if his backup would have a greater chance of actually experiencing the “if the starter were to miss game(s)” scenario.

Boone, has a very low ADP, but still might not be the best candidate in this backfield. >> Jump to Alexander Mattison

T-28. Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Phillip Lindsay In vs. Out: 67 vs. 41 (+26)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Lindsay In vs. Out: 2.4 vs. 5.7 (+3.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 90

T-30. Jordan Scarlett, Carolina Panthers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Christian McCaffrey In vs. Out: 89 vs. 48 (+41)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McCaffrey In vs. Out: 0.9 vs. 5 (+4.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

Again, the likelihood of any Panthers’ backup becoming valuable with or without McCaffrey is low.

T-30. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Marlon Mack In vs. Out: 46 vs. 32 (+14)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Mack In vs. Out: 5 vs. 7.8 (+2.8)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 56

The Colts have an offense worth investing in. However, the RB situation is a bit murky.

Marlon Mack is the clear lead back and is the type I like to target at his ADP. Hines is pretty set as the pass-catching back who should outperform his ADP in PPR formats. >> Jump to Spencer Ware

James White-Fantasy Football
Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James White

T-30. James White, New England Patriots

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Sony Michel In vs. Out: 32 vs. 15 (+17)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Mack In vs. Out: 7.9 vs. 11.5 (+3.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 29

Todd Gurley’s knee has received the most attention this offseason, but I would argue that Sony Michel’s knee should raise just as much concern. The odds of Michel missing game(s) seems very likely, even if they’re just to help him maintain his chronic knee issue.

White will have weekly RB2/3 value in PPR regardless, and would become a solid RB2 with Michel is out, which makes White seem like a decent value at his current ADP.

T-30. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Jamaal Williams In vs. Out: 18 vs. 11 (+7)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Williams In vs. Out: 11.3 vs. 13.6 (+2.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 17

Jones is clearly the best back on the team and his current ADP is right in line with where I have him ranked if everyone is healthy. If Jamaal Williams misses any time, Jones vaults into the RB1 range.

T-34. Mike Weber, Dallas Cowboys

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Ezekiel Elliott In vs. Out: 109 vs. 42 (+67)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Elliott In vs. Out: 0 vs. 5.8 (+5.8)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

Ezekiel Elliott is similar to Christian McCaffrey in that Elliott doesn’t concede much work to his backups. As a result, the backups have almost zero fantasy value unless he misses time. To make things even tougher, the Cowboys added two rookies, Weber and Tony Pollard, who would likely form a committee in the event Zeke can’t play.

Weber is your more traditional back who could handle a workhorse role if needed.

Still, when it comes to backfields like this, I typically avoid them altogether and save my FAAB in the event I can place an aggressive bid when we potentially have a better idea of how it would shake out. >> Jump to Tony Pollard

T-34. Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With LeSean McCoy In vs. Out: 58 vs. 42 (+16)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McCoy In vs. Out: 3.4 vs. 5.5 (+2.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 80

The Bills’ backfield was a mess in 2018, and the lack of depth became an issue toward the end of the season. Weeks 14 and 15 they were so thin they had to give T.J. Ford and even wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie snaps at RB. As a result, their leading rusher was Josh Allen.

Heading into 2019 they have much more depth with LeSean McCoy, Gore, T.J. Yeldon and rookie Devin Singletary. It’s a situation to avoid at the moment, but there’s a very real chance only three of them make the 53-man roster.

My goal in all of my fantasy leagues is to win first place. Therefore I’m not going to target Gore as a potential bench stash, even if he could become lead back if McCoy were to miss time or is cut before the season stats. >> Jump to the Bills RB worth a potential flier

T-36. Chris Warren, Oakland Raiders

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Josh Jacobs In vs. Out: 90 vs. 51 (+39)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Jacobs In vs. Out: 0.8 vs. 4.8 (+4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

Warren has the highest upside of the backups in Oakland.

T-36. Dwayne Washington, New Orleans Saints

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Alvin Kamara In vs. Out: 108 vs. 41 (+67)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Kamara In vs. Out: 0 vs. 5.6 (+5.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

T-36. Spencer Ware, Indianapolis Colts

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Marlon Mack In vs. Out: 81 vs. 42 (+39)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Mack In vs. Out: 1.3 vs. 5.4 (+4.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 100

It’s not yet clear whether Ware or Jordan Wilkins would stand to benefit the most if Marlon Mack were to miss time. Instead of speculating on a specific back, I’d rather wait to see which back emerges as the team’s No. 3 back before investing in either.

T-36. Mike Davis, Chicago Bears

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With David Montgomery In vs. Out: 56 vs. 26 (+30)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Montgomery In vs. Out: 4.1 vs. 9.8 (+5.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 50

The Bears have one of the most crowded backfields to start the season. This can usually lead to at least one of the backs providing sneaky value. Based on ADP, that back is clearly Davis.

If I had to set odds on which of Chicago’s three backs would score the fewest fantasy points this season, it would certainly be Davis. Most people would agree with that, but value is had when others are too confident in the season playing out exactly how we would expect.

The most likely scenario is David Montgomery becomes 1a in the three-way committee and has an excellent rookie season. He’s the most talented back and the Bears spent a third-round pick to get him. Tarik Cohen is cemented in his role as the pass-catching back extraordinaire. But Davis was in a similar spot last season with first-round rookie Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson in Seattle, and still managed to carve out a role that saw him put up RB3 numbers from Weeks 4-11.

Davis is dirt cheap at his current ADP and would likely benefit in a big way if Montgomery or Cohen ever misses time. There’s even a chance Davis claims a prominent role with all three healthy. When a RB has this many “outs” at a cheap price, I usually take notice and invest in him a bit. >> Jump to David Montgomery or Tarik Cohen

T-40. Bilal Powell, New York Jets

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Le’Veon Bell In vs. Out: 108 vs. 42 (+66)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Bell In vs. Out: 0 vs. 5.4 (+5.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

Again, it sounds like a nightmare trying to figure out how Gase would handle a committee if Le’Veon Bell were to miss time, so I’m not stashing any Jets backups.

Justin Jackson-Fantasy Football
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Jackson

T-40. Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Melvin Gordon In vs. Out: 84 vs. 35 (+49)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Gordon In vs. Out: 1.2 vs. 7.6 (+6.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 83

Jackson would elevate to the RB3/flex range in the event Melvin Gordon is out. More importantly, in that situation, Jackson would also be an Austin Ekeler injury away from skyrocketing to solid RB2 with RB1 upside territory.

If it appears Gordon’s potential holdout could spill into the regular season, I’ll make sure to draft Jackson in the later rounds in every draft as I did with James Conner in 2018.

T-42. D’Onta Foreman, Houston Texans

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Lamar Miller In vs. Out: 43 vs. 26 (+17)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Miller In vs. Out: 5.4 vs. 9.4 (+4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 44

Again, I’m likely going to avoid investing too much into this backfield.

T-42. Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With David Montgomery In vs. Out: 28 vs. 21 (+7)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Montgomery In vs. Out: 8.6 vs. 10.6 (+2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 27

Cohen comes at a high price, but wouldn’t jump up too much if either David Montgomery or Mike Davis missed any time.

T-44. Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With James Conner In vs. Out: 78 vs. 41 (+37)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Conner In vs. Out: 0 vs. 6.5 (+6.5)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

After being able to get James Conner in the last round of most of my 2018 drafts, it’s a shame he requires a first-round pick this season. He’s set to be the lead back again with Le’Veon Bell no longer in Pittsburgh.

Snell and Jaylen Samuels could steal some touches in short yardage and pass catching situations, respectively. However, I think they’ll require Conner to miss time in order to be fantasy relevant. >> Jump to Jaylen Samuels

T-44. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Nick Chubb In vs. Out: 38 vs. 12 (+26)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Chubb In vs. Out: 6.6 vs. 12.9 (+6.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 37

I think the smart stash for the Browns is Hunt. Yes, he’s suspended eight games and would likely return to be more of a change-of-pace back for Nick Chubb this season. But he’s also the type of back who doesn’t need many touches to make an impact for fantasy.

Most RBs I stash on the bench either ride my bench for multiple weeks until they either pan out or until I drop them. But in this case, a savvy manager could survive getting a zero from Hunt for half the season, and if Chubb were to ever go down, Hunt would become a potential league winner.

Hunt’s current ADP seems fair, but for an advanced fantasy football player, he’s worth the gamble due to his upside. >> Jump to Duke Johnson Jr.

46. Elijhaa Penny, New York Giants

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Saquon Barkley In vs. Out: 100 vs. 56 (+44)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Barkley In vs. Out: 0.3 vs. 4.2 (+3.9)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

47. Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Tevin Coleman In vs. Out: 39 vs. 31 (+8)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Coleman In vs. Out: 6.7 vs. 8.1 (+1.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 38

Again, I’d rather not invest too much into San Francisco’s backfield until we get more clarity.

jerrick mckinnon-fantasy-football
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jerick McKinnon

48. Rod Smith, New York Giants

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Saquon Barkley In vs. Out: 101 vs. 59 (+42)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Barkley In vs. Out: 0.3 vs. 3.9 (+3.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

T-49. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Ezekiel Elliott In vs. Out: 82 vs. 35 (+47)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Elliott In vs. Out: 1.3 vs. 6.9 (+5.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 79

Pollard is practically a WR, which means he might be able to carve out a role even when Ezekiel Elliott is healthy. Still, like I said with Mike Weber, I typically avoid backfields like this and instead save my FAAB to place an aggressive bid if the situation shakes out a certain way.

T-49. Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Peyton Barber In vs. Out: 49 vs. 25 (+24)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Barber In vs. Out: 4.9 vs. 9.8 (+4.9)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 41

Jones is close to earning the label of a win-win back, but his rookie season was such a disaster that there’s some risk taking him at his current ADP.

After failing to beat out Peyton Barber to start 2018, Jones was inactive for the first three games. Things didn’t get much better even when he did see the field. Out of his 23 rush attempts on the season, I only considered one of them to be slightly above average: In Week 4, when he spun out of a would-be tackle from two defenders to fall forward for three extra yards for a seven-yard gain.

The glimmer of hope heading into Year 2 is a new coaching staff, which could feel like a reset to Jones’ early career. Initial reports have been glowing for Jones, who I would slot as a low end RB2/3 if Barber were to miss any time. The risk in using an 11th- or 12th-round pick seems warranted as he could easily force a true 50-50 split with Barber or win the starting role outright.

51. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Todd Gurley In vs. Out: 50 vs. 15 (+35)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Gurley In vs. Out: 4.7 vs. 11.6 (+6.9)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 36

Todd Gurley has dominated the fantasy football offseason as everyone speculates on his right knee that derailed his 2018 campaign. It’s believed to be an arthritic issue that will get worse over time, but apparently is something that he’ll have to deal with.

We have to imagine the Rams re-signing Malcolm Brown (who was likely headed to Detroit) and drafting Henderson in the third round were signs that they’re worried about Gurley’s knee. I’m going to speculate that we’re likely to see the Rams scale back his workload but he still be effective.

Darrell Henderson-Fantasy Football
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Darrell Henderson

The backup with the most upside is Henderson, but the market for him is pretty expensive until we get more clarity on Gurley’s knee. In the event Gurley misses time, I would have Henderson as a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside. >> Jump to Malcolm Brown

T-52. Qadree Ollison, Atlanta Falcons

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Devonta Freeman In vs. Out: 87 vs. 33 (+54)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Freeman In vs. Out: 1.3 vs. 7.8 (+6.5)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 70

Like I mentioned earlier, Ollison would likely inherit Devonta Freeman’s role if he were to miss time.

Ollison is a bigger back who can handle a true workhorse role. When James Conner missed the 2014 season at Pittsburgh due to a knee injury and his battle with cancer, it was actually Ollison who took over and put up a 212/1121/11 as a redshirt freshman. Ollison and Conner are the same size and have similar skill sets.

Ollison is a back to keep an eye on during training camp and preseason to further assess his upside as a rookie.

T-52. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Mark Ingram In vs. Out: 69 vs. 58 (+11)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Ingram In vs. Out: 2.3 vs. 3.9 (+1.6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 88

The Ravens are likely to lead the NFL in rushing in 2019. Despite a lot of that coming from Lamar Jackson and what appears to be a crowded backfield, there could be some potential upside in stashing certain backups.

Mark Ingram was brought in to be the main back to start the season, and I have every reason to believe that as long as he’s healthy, he should have a secure role. If he were to miss time, it would be likely a three-way committee of Dixon, rookie Justice Hill and Gus Edwards.

Although Dixon showed some potential in his 2016 rookie season, we can ignore him for now. >> Jump to Gus Edwards or Justice Hill

54. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Dalvin Cook In vs. Out: 63 vs. 31 (+32)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Cook In vs. Out: 2.8 vs. 8 (+5.2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 60

The Vikings drafted Mattison in the fourth round to likely be Dalvin Cook’s backup. Mattison has the skills to handle much of Cook’s workhorse role if he were to miss time, and would likely be a low-end RB2/Flex in that event.

alexander mattison-fantasy-football
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alexander Mattison

Mattison’s ADP makes him pretty enticing as a late-round stash given Cook’s injury history. And if you happen to draft Cook, it might be wise to have Mattison as insurance.

T-55. Mike Davis, Chicago Bears

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Tarik Cohen In vs. Out: 56 vs. 33 (+23)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Cohen In vs. Out: 4.1 vs. 7.8 (+3.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 50

T-55. Trayveon Williams, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Joe Mixon In vs. Out: 100 vs. 59 (+41)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Mixon In vs. Out: 0.4 vs. 3.5 (+3.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 106

The Bengals drafted Williams and Rodney Anderson to give Giovani Bernard some competition this season. Williams is much more equipped to be a true workhorse back, but again, this situation is worth monitoring as it’s unlikely anyone will leapfrog Joe Mixon. >> Jump to Rodney Anderson

T-57. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Tarik Cohen In vs. Out: 33 vs. 21 (+12)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Cohen In vs. Out: 7.7 vs. 10.8 (+3.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 25

The most likely scenario in Chicago is Montgomery becoming the 1a back in a three-way committee and has an excellent rookie season. He’s the most talented back, which is why the Bears spent a third-round pick to get him.

Gus Edwards-Best Ball-Fantasy
Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Gus Edwards

T-57. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Mark Ingram In vs. Out: 62 vs. 40 (+22)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Ingram In vs. Out: 3 vs. 6.1 (+3.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 64

Edwards became the lead back almost by default after Alex Collins went on IR after Week 11 last season. But even Edwards doesn’t offer the most upside if Mark Ingram were to miss time. >> Jump to Justice Hill

59. Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Tevin Coleman In vs. Out: 108 vs. 60 (+48)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Coleman In vs. Out: 0 vs. 3 (+3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

60. Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Todd Gurley In vs. Out: 71 vs. 35 (+36)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Gurley In vs. Out: 2.2 vs. 7.1 (+5)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 63

Brown would be the cheapest way to take a flier on the Todd Gurley situation considering Darrell Henderson is no lock to take over the workhorse role if Gurley were to miss time.

61. Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Leonard Fournette In vs. Out: 78 vs. 35 (+43)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Fournette In vs. Out: 1.4 vs. 7.4 (+6)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 67

Armstead has the higher ceiling of him and fellow backup Alfred Blue. But I’m still avoiding either until we have a bit more clarity.

T-62. Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Damien Williams In vs. Out: 54 vs. 30 (+24)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Williams In vs. Out: 4.4 vs. 8.1 (+3.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 43

Damien Williams took over as the lead back for the Chiefs in Week 14 last season and put up RB3 numbers over the final four weeks. Andy Reid has announced Williams as the full-time starting back for 2019, so I guess it’s official then.

We should expect 250-plus touches and a slam dunk RB1, right? If only fantasy football was that easy — it sure would make my job that much easier! Instead, we should expect to look back at the end of the season and laugh at certain players we put too much blind faith in.

To be fair, I’m fully expecting Williams to be a borderline RB1 to start the season. My RB13 rank for him is right in line with his ADP. However, I think he has one of the lowest floors for a top-20 RB. I dub these types of backs as being part of the “frozen pond,” which means on the surface they look safe, but can have their value take a nose-dive in-season.

Carlos Hyde-Fantasy Football
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carlos Hyde

Despite being in the league for five seasons, Williams has yet to have more than 50 rush attempts or 25 receptions in a single season. If healthy, he has a 100% chance of shattering his career highs in every stat. Still, either Hyde or rookie Darwin Thompson could command a larger role, or even pass up Williams outright. I set the odds of that happening at less than 50%, but it’s something we can’t ignore. Oddly enough, both backups’ ADP appears to already factor in this immense upside, so I might let others take fliers on them.

I’ll be much more interested in finding ways to invest in the Chiefs’ high-octane passing game.

T-62. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Jordan Howard In vs. Out: 52 vs. 21 (+31)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Howard In vs. Out: 4.6 vs. 10.8 (+6.2)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 34

The Eagles typically use a heavy committee that turns into a game of whack-a-mole for fantasy players making them tough to trust. They drafted Sanders in the second round and brought in Jordan Howard to hopefully change that!

Wait, what?

That sure sounds like a potential nightmare committee scenario again for the Eagles. There’s no question that Sanders is the most talented back the Eagles have now, but as long as Howard is healthy, it’s going to be a more volatile situation than we’d like.

Sanders isn’t too pricey to pass up on at his current ADP, and if Howard misses time, I would have Sanders become a rock solid RB2. It’s also quite possible Sanders explodes onto the scene as a rookie to become the true workhorse back the Eagles have been hoping for, making a healthy Howard nothing more than a change-of-pace, short-yardage back.

T-64. Rodney Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Joe Mixon In vs. Out: 94 vs. 58 (+36)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Mixon In vs. Out: 0.7 vs. 3.7 (+3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 89

Anderson is an explosive back who doesn’t need many touches to put up big numbers, but once again, this is a situation to monitor for now.

T-64. Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With James Conner In vs. Out: 66 vs. 21 (+45)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Conner In vs. Out: 2.6 vs. 9.9 (+7.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 45

Samuels is the safer backup to take a flier on in Pittsburgh. He stood out as the starter when Conner was out from Weeks 14-16 last season as the RB13, but broke fantasy because on some sites he was also listed as a TE. In those formats, he was the TE2 over that stretch.

Jaylen-Samuels-Best-Ball
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jaylen Samuels

This time around I would have Samuels ranked more as a low-end RB2 since he’d likely concede quite a bit of work (including goal-line carries) to fourth-round pick Benny Snell, who was a bruiser at Kentucky.

66. T.J. Yeldon, Buffalo Bills

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With LeSean McCoy In vs. Out: 70 vs. 58 (+12)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McCoy In vs. Out: 2.2 vs. 4 (+1.8)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 74

67. Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Tevin Coleman In vs. Out: 60 vs. 39 (+21)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Coleman In vs. Out: 3.1 vs. 6.8 (+3.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 53

Right now the 49ers back to take a flier on might be Breida. He goes late enough that it’s not going to kill you to take him in that range if he doesn’t pan out. There are plenty of “outs” where he could shoot up to RB2/3 range, but it’ll take a bit of luck.

It’s worth taking a wait-and-see approach with this backfield for now rather than being aggressive and trying to put too much stock in trying to guess how it’ll play out.

T-68. Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Jerick McKinnon In vs. Out: 108 vs. 81 (+27)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McKinnon In vs. Out: 0 vs. 1.3 (+1.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 110

T-68. Damien Harris, New England Patriots

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Sony Michel In vs. Out: 68 vs. 26 (+42)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Michel In vs. Out: 2.4 vs. 9.1 (+6.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 47

Harris offers the most upside of the Patriots’ backfield. It’s worth noting that the third-round pick out of Alabama started over Josh Jacobs last season, but it was Jacobs who was considered the better prospect, and the Raiders ended up taking him in the first round.

Harris could push RB2 value if Sony Michel misses any time. There’s even the chance that Harris could pass up a healthy Michel as soon as this season. Bill Belichick is rarely predictable and has shown a penchant to outright benching backs for fumbling issues — something Michel has had trouble with in the past.

T-68. Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Damien Williams In vs. Out: 85 vs. 40 (+45)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Williams In vs. Out: 1.2 vs. 6.5 (+5.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 65

Like I mentioned, Thompson or Carlos Hyde could command a larger role or pass up Damien Williams outright. But both of their ADPs appear to factor that upside in, so I might let others take fliers on them.

71. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Adrian Peterson In vs. Out: 85 vs. 40 (+45)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Peterson In vs. Out: 1.2 vs. 6.5 (+5.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 65

Guice’s current ADP seems like a bet that he has greater than a 60-70% chance of out-snapping Adrian Peterson by a sizable amount. But I’ll probably pass on either back.

Rex Burkhead-Fantasy Football
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rex Burkhead

T-72. Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Sony Michel In vs. Out: 60 vs. 46 (+14)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Michel In vs. Out: 3.1 vs. 5 (+1.9)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 58

T-72. Elijah McGuire, New York Jets

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Le’Veon Bell In vs. Out: 76 vs. 56 (+20)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Bell In vs. Out: 1.5 vs. 4.6 (+3.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 72

74. Dexter Williams, Green Bay Packers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Aaron Jones In vs. Out: 87 vs. 42 (+45)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Jones In vs. Out: 1 vs. 5.4 (+4.4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 69

There’s some speculation that Williams could be a better fit for Matt LaFleur’s running scheme, but I mentioned I’m making fairly conservative projections this far out as it isn’t wise to buy into every bit of speculation we come across.

75. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Nick Chubb In vs. Out: 59 vs. 36 (+23)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Chubb In vs. Out: 2.6 vs. 6.9 (+4.3)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 54

Kareem Hunt is suspended for 8 games, so during that stretch Nick Chubb should see all the touches he can handle. If he were to miss any time in the first half of the season we should see Duke Johnson and Dontrell Hilliard split touches which I think would hurt both of their upside. Duke would be the one to take a flier on in PPR formats.

Matt Breida-Fantasy Football
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Breida

76. Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Jerick McKinnon In vs. Out: 60 vs. 41 (+19)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McKinnon In vs. Out: 3.1 vs. 5.8 (+2.7)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 53

77. Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Mark Ingram In vs. Out: 71 vs. 34 (+37)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Ingram In vs. Out: 2 vs. 6.9 (+4.9)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 51

Hill has the potential to be a much more complete back and the upside to push RB2 value in the event Ingram misses time. There’s also a small chance he could even take over Ingram outright even if both backs remain healthy all season. It’s worth noting that in Hill’s freshman season at Oklahoma State he overtook Chris Carson, who was a Senior, as the team’s lead back. We’ve seen just how good Carson has been in his first 2 seasons as a pro, so it could indicate Hill is going to be even better than we think in the NFL.

78. Dexter Williams, Green Bay Packers

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Jamaal Williams In vs. Out: 87 vs. 56 (+31)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Williams In vs. Out: 1 vs. 4.1 (+3.1)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 69

79. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With Kenyan Drake In vs. Out: 97 vs. 54 (+43)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With Drake In vs. Out: 0.4 vs. 4.3 (+3.9)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 71

80. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

  • Weekly Fantasy Ranking With LeSean McCoy In vs. Out: 76 vs. 40 (+36)
  • Weekly Fantasy Points With McCoy In vs. Out: 1.5 vs. 5.5 (+4)
  • Average draft position (as of July 15): 52

The Bills back to take a flier on would be Singletary. He had a very productive career at FAU. In 2017 he had a 12-game stretch in which 11 of the games he put up 100-plus rush yards and two-plus touchdowns. (The lone game he scored “only” one TD he ran for more than 200 yards.)

Unfortunately, he had a brutal combine and ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash, leaving questions about the competition he faced in college. The Bills were willing to overlook this and took him in the third round, likely indicating they still see him as a back who can handle a fairly big workload at the NFL level.

He’s worth a flier in deep leagues.


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