By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Every rapper makes this claim. Or fantasy football team owner. Or any wannabe with a handful of change in his wallet instead of Benjamins and Jacksons.
But running backs? I mean, it’s built into their name, isn’t it?
Remember when you went into a draft and you absolutely HAD to take a running back with your first pick? Even your second and third picks?
Yeah, those days have come and gone. Some team owners appreciate the nostalgia and can’t break the habit, but by all accounts, running backs have become devalued in fantasy.
But let’s be honest. There are still some talented guys at the position. And they are being drafted too low. But some more than others are really being drafted too low.
For instance, I have Lamar Miller as my number one running back in fantasy this year. Yes, there is plenty of risk. It’s not everyday that a running back changes teams and goes on to lead fantasy in points scored at the position. But this isn’t your everyday free agent transaction. Texans running backs have been pretty solid in fantasy for a long time.
Lamar Miller has been under-utilized in Miami for too long. He can run, he can catch and he has sprinter speed. They have a dynamic wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins who can keep the defense honest, leaving him with plenty of running room. Plus, there have only been three running backs to have 1200 total yards in the last two years. Matt Forte and Frank Gore are two. Want to guess the other?
His average draft position? 15.8.
My number 1 running back, and you can get him for a 2nd round pick.
Want some others who are coming in a lot cheaper than they should? I’m glad, because you’re getting some.
Matt Forte (ADP: 44.2)
Another guy on that list mentioned above, Forte is another running back changing teams after playing nine seasons in Chicago. The Jets want to run the ball, and did pretty well with Chris Ivory last year. They have good receivers there in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who has a grasp of the offense. Forte came back okay after his injury last year and still managed to top 1200 total yards. He’s being drafted as RB17; I have him ranked at RB13. In 10-team leagues, you can get him in the 5th.
Danny Woodhead (ADP: 78.0)
Um, kind of crazy, right? Is he a household name? Not really. But really, name me a White running back not named Mike Alstott that is?
Last season, he finished third in Skrip Club scoring. THIRD! He’s currently being drafted as RB27. I have him ranked at 17 as I do feel like Melvin Gordon will start making more of an impact, but the Chargers are going to throw. And just when you think they are going to run, they’re going to throw some more. Woodhead is their pass-catching running back. And he’s being drafted in the eighth round!!! Even in a 12-team league, he’s a 7th rounder. Way too low!
Duke Johnson Jr. (ADP: 81.7)
We know who the Bengals are, right? They reside in Cincinnati. They play in the AFC North, and by all accounts, they’ve been pretty good.
They have two pretty solid running backs. Jeremy Hill finished 10th in Skrip Club scoring in 2014 (he struggled a bit in 2015 but still finished 22nd) and his running mate, Giovani Bernard, the pass catcher, finished 16th in 2014 and 17th in 2015.
Their offensive coordinator was Hue Jackson.
We know who the Browns are, yes? They reside in Cleveland. They play in the AFC North, and by all accounts, they’ve been pretty terrible.
They have two decent running backs. Isaiah Crowell, a rookie in 2014 – just like Jeremy Hill – came on for a few solid games to finish the season 35th among RBs. His running mate that year was another rookie, Terrence West, who finished 40th. In 2015, they drafted Duke Johnson and used him primarily as a pass catcher. Crowell finished 33rd and Johnson finished 25th.
Their head coach going into 2016? Hue Jackson.
Duke Johnson is better than a 9th round pick folks. I have him ranked 19th going into the season, and the current RB19 is going at the end of the 5th round. Thank me later.
Jay Ajayi (ADP: 119.6)
Is he unproven? Very. So much so his own team wasn’t yet ready to hand him the starting job and brought in Arian Foster to potentially take carries and starts away from him. Here’s how many games Foster has missed over the last four seasons, starting in 2012: 0, 8, 3, 12.
Foster has an ADP of 66.0 as RB23. Ajayi is a 12th rounder. I have him at RB37 and he’s being taken as RB39. Not a huge gap, but not the point here. We talk about value all the time guys. Play the odds. Foster will miss games and you can get the presumed backup at half the price. You could always use a lottery ticket folks.
Want a few more? Glad you asked.
Theo Riddick (ADP: 121.2; drafted as RB40) is ranked as my RB30.
Charles Sims (ADP: 123.9; drafted as RB41) is ranked as my RB27.
James White (ADP: 137.1; drafted as RB50) is ranked as my RB43.