Sleeper RB

By: Fantasy Football Dude

Published: May 29th, 2018

Running back is one of the hardest positions to predict if there isn’t some sort of clear cut starter or an idea of how the running back responsibility will be divided it becomes very frustrating to figure out. With these guys we are about to list we will give you guys either in committees that might have a good fantasy role or guys who could become the full time starters.

  1. Alex Collins, Ravens
  2. Austin Ekeler, Chargers
  3. Jeremy McNichols, 49ers
  4. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars
  5. Jalen Richard, Raiders
  6. Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers
  7. Peyton Barber, Bucs

Alex Collins, Ravens

  • Alex Collins had a solid year last year and i might be pushing him as a sleeper candidate but the main reason I believe people are sleeping on him this year is that everyone I have talked to think that Collins year was a fluke and he is going to see a huge drop off. I am here to tell you why he will end up having an even better year this year.
  • Collins last year was cut by Seattle and the Ravens picked him up. Now to start the year West, Allen, and Woodhead were suppose to man the running back duties but west was ineffective, Woodhead got injured which opened the door for Collins to start to see some time on the field and every time he got touches he made the most out of them. He showed excellent vison running between and outside the tackles and making the most of his limited touches to start off. Then once the Ravens let him take over he didn’t disappoint. He almost ended the season with 1,000 yards on the ground which is pretty impressive considering he didn’t start getting the majority of the snap until after a few weeks.
  • Now the one downside of Collins game might be his receiving skills but now getting a full off-season in the ravens offense and showing to be at least capable of handing some passing work he could be a even better running back this year. And with the Ravens offense brining in better WR options to hopefully open up the run game it could help Collins cross over into 1,000 yard club and he might even cross over 1,500 total scrimmage yards.

Austin Ekeler

  • Ekeler is one of my favorite players heading into this year that you will be able to get as a steal. Ekeler in limited time last year showed he was more than capable of handing some of the running back duties when asked. But he struggled a little at time as most rookies do. But he could end up being surprisingly nice piece on your fantasy team.
  • The biggest reason why I love Ekeler this year he is that he reminds me a lot of Woodhead in the Chargers offense and he was starting to establish that role for himself. He showed great ability to make plays in space along with catching passes all over the field and on top of that ran very well in and outside the tackles. He also is a little bigger than Woodhead which should work in Ekeler advantage.
  • Gordon’s workload has been crazy the last few years, of course for fantasy that is great because you only want to see him touch the ball but this year it might be a little different. Ekeler showed last year he can take some pressure of Gordon’s massive workload and I would fully expect Ekeler to start to get 10-15 touches a game this year. Ekeler will end up being a solid fantasy option even with Gordon on the field and he is a guy you need to look into when you start to get into the later rounds of your draft.

Jeremy McNichols

  • McNichols had a rough rookie season being drafted by Tampa then getting cut before the season and then eventually getting pickup by 49ers. Now McNichols is more of a Dynasty sleeper but also not sleep on him to much in redraft leagues either and I’ll tell you why right now.
  • McNicholes during the draft process last year showed all the tools to be a sucessful running back in the NFL but for whatever reason in Tampa he struggled and lead him to be cut before the season. When you look at his time as a starter in Boise State he was a dominate running back and showing the skills to be a 3 down back. He is a little short but has a build to take the abuse of the NFL. On top of being an excellent running back he showed a very good ability to handle a receiving workload.
  • Now entering his first full off-season with the 49ers he will most likely be competing for the 3rd running back spot with Joe Williams who was horrible last year but the 49ers loved him in the draft process so he will get a shot. But McNichols can shoot up the depth chart very easily. Micknnon is no question the starter given the money they handed him this off-season but the backup role could be won over Breida. The 49ers running back room is something to keep an eye on for sure to see how it plays out.

T.J. Yeldon

  • Last year Fournette was able to put together a great rookie season while helping the Jags make the playoffs for the first time in a while. But Yeldon was able to show off his skills at different points of the season.
  • Now Yeldon’s greatest ability is catching the ball out of the backfield and that is where I believe his biggest contribution will come besides being the direct handcuff to Fournette. In some limited opportunity last year he showed he can make plays and make things happen. Yeldon is still young enough to where he is still developing his game and learning how to figure things out.
  • Yeldon is only a handcuff in almost all league but now with Ivory gone he is the 2nd running back on the depth chart and has a chance to carve out a nice role as a receiving back in this offense and take some of the pressure of Fournette.

Jalen Richard

  • Over the last 2 years Richard has been underutilized in the Raiders offense. Over those 2 years and his limited touches he has been able to almost average over 5 ypc in both season along with being dangerous any time he touches the ball. Last year the Raiders offense took a major step back but this year they should be much better.
  • Coming into his 3rd year Richard is the better back between Washington, Martin and himself. He is more explosive and has showed he can make things happen on limited amount of touches. I think when training camp rolls around and pre-season games start the Raiders will realize how good he really is and make sure he is on the field whenever possible.
  • Richard is the perfect complement to Lynch. Lynch has an aggressive running style and his a bigger bodied back. Richard has the speed and quickness to make people pay along with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. I think this is the year where you see Richard come out of no where to make a real impact in fantasy this year.

Cameron Artis-Payne

  • The last couple years we had to deal with the plodding Stewart every week but this year Carolina has been able to add C.J. Anderson and have 2nd year back Christian McCaffrey. So their running back room should be even better this year. CAP is a guy who over the last few years has shown a solid ability to make plays when given the opportunity.
  • CAP is walking into camp as the handcuff to Anderson. Anderson is going to be given every opportunity to be the starting 1st & 2nd down back and he is coming off his best year as a pro. But the one thing about Anderson is he has always been someone who in banged up during the season. With CAP I am more relying on the fact that Anderson will not hold up all year and CAP has shown in limited time over his career he can be an effective back. This year might be the chance for him to get on the field consistently but that is all dependent on Anderson.

 Peyton Barber

  • Barber coming into his 3rd year got some opportunities last year to start and showed pretty well rushing and receiving. He got the bulk of the running back snaps and earned himself a chance to start this upcoming season.
  • Now the Bucs just drafted Ronald Jones who will compete for the starting role in Tampa. But as we head into the year this could turn out to be a shared backfield as Barber has more of a frame to handle goal line & short yardage work while Jones would handle some of the carries to go along with receiving duties.
  • Barber might carve out a nice role for himself this year in Tampa but whoever wins this starting spot on this team has a real shot to be a fantasy stud given how explosive this offense can be going into this year along with the fact that whoever is running out of this backfield is going to very rarely see stacked boxes.

 

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