Arguably, no position is more scrutinized in fantasy sports than fantasy football running backs. Whether you agree with handcuffing your early round selections, try to handcuff your opponent’s top round selections, or disagree with the idea entirely, you should be targeting talent.
Opportunity often trumps talent when it comes fantasy football running backs. On that note, below are three fantasy football running backs who are talented, have an opportunity to carve out a weekly role with their team and stand to have excellent seasons if an injury causes them to climb their respective depth charts.
ADP Data was pulled from MyFantasyLeague’s early season MFL10 and MFL25 Drafts.
Fantasy Football Running Backs: Handcuffs with Upside
RB Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons – 123 ADP: The Falcons addressed running back last season with the signing of Steven Jackson, and did so again by selecting Freeman in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Freeman is a well-rounded back, who boasts excellent blocking ability already and reliable mitts in the passing game. Jacquizz Rodgers looms, but his career 3.6 YPC is underwhelming. Freeman will have to prove he can be as effective as Rodgers to fully supplant him. There is no reason to expect he won’t, especially given that Freeman is bigger, faster and at worst, just as explosive. Steven Jackson missed time last season and turns 31-years old in July. Freeman stands to eat into Jackson’s carries and potentially earn as much playing time as he is ready for.
RB Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks – 124 ADP: The Texas A&M product has work to do and sits below Marshawn Lynch on the depth chart, but his explosiveness and upside is legit. Michael has already received plenty of praise from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and will be in full apprenticeship mode for a potential promotion in 2015. Lynch has been a workhorse to the tune of 901 carries since joining the Seahawks in 2011. Keeping the starter healthy will be a priority and spelling him with Michael is a means to do so. Robert Turbin lurks, but his 2013 3.4 YPC isn’t much to be excited about, highlighting Michael’s trumping talent. Michael is an automatic Lynch handicap and depending on how big a role he carves out he could be flex worthy in the right matchups.
RB Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams – 154 ADP: A lack of ‘ideal size’ makes Mason a perfect compliment to power-runner Zac Stacy. Mason should be utilized on passing downs immediately and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has already said Mason will play a change-of-pace role for the team. He went for 1,979 combined yards and 24 touchdowns last season at Auburn. His nifty footwork and ability to change directions abruptly compliments his vision and was on full display in the SEC last season, which of course, is widely considered the conference with the toughest defenses in the nation. Mason has the big-game experience to be a factor this season and only Benny Cunningham to beat to land second on the depth chart. For his part, Mason says he fully expects to compete for the starting job.
Who are the fantasy football running backs you’re targeting in the later rounds?