Top 10 Running Back Sleepers
If you miss out on some of the big name running backs in your drafts, here are some players I love in the later rounds of your drafts to could outplay their ADP.
Cam Akers: ADP = RB27
Currently being drafted as the RB27 (6.10), Akers has the potential to be a workhorse back in Rams' offense. The Rams have shown little belief in Darrell Henderson and Malcom Brown is nothing more than a complementary back. Last year Todd Gurley saw 254 touches while also ranking 3rd in the NFL in red zone touches. If Akers can see a similar workload, he will be an amazing value capable of putting up RB1 numbers but with a much smaller investment.
J.K. Dobbins: ADP = RB33
Dobbins capped off an incredible career at Ohio State last year by rushing 301 times for just over 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. He added to that with 23 receptions and 247 yards with two more touchdowns. He opted not to test at the combine, but it's safe to say he's an athletic kid based on his winning of the Nike Athletic Combine in 2016, just edging out Cam Akers. His 146.76 SPARQ score was the best in the country. Now he finds himself in Baltimore on the most athletic team in the NFL. It's obvious Baltimore's emphasis is on athleticism based on their recent picks of Lamar Jackson, Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin, Justice Hill and Devin Duvernay. Good luck trying to catch them. Dobbins may take a little while to get going being stuck behind Mark Ingram, but don't let that scare you off. He has elite RB1 upside and could be a league winner come season's end.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn: ADP = RB30
Bruce Arians has said this offseason how he wants running backs who can catch the football and pass block. He wants a back that won't come off the field. That back is not Ronald Jones, who never caught more than 14 balls during any season at USC. Keyshawn Vaughn can catch, which was evident by his 28 receptions last season at Vanderbilt, and is a good pass blocker. Despite playing alongside a horrendous offensive line, Vaughn was able to flourish in the SEC with 2,712 yards and 24 TDs in his two seasons at Vandy. He’s a strong downhill runner with prototypical NFL size and solid agility. Vaughn has all the upside in the world if he can win the starting job.
David Montgomery: ADP = RB24
After being highly overvalued in 2019, David Montgomery is looking to thrive in the underdog role for 2020. He is still the only true workhorse back on the team and has receiving ability that gives him a safe floor but also higher upside than many understand. Last year was bad, but don’t let that scare you off of him in 2020.
James White: ADP = RB35
The Patriots offense will look drastically different for the first time in 20 years with Tom Brady leaving for Tampa. The team does still have OC Josh McDaniels however and are projected to be one of the lesser offenses in the league. For the first time in a long time, the Pats will likely find themselves in numerous negative game scripts and will likely be checking the ball down to White often, giving him a safe PPR floor, but likely a lower ceiling than we are used to. White still has RB2 upside.
Matt Breida: ADP = RB42
Breida was top 10 in yards per carry in 2019. His ability to create his own yards had been his saving grace since joining the league. What hasn't been is his ability to stay healthy. Multiple ankle injuries have hindered his performance over the past two seasons. Now in Miami, he will be sharing a backfield with Jordan Howard, who will likely demand most of the early down and goal line work. However, expect Breida to clean up in the passing game as the 3rd down back, and with Miami projected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, garbage time should run aplenty giving Breida nice flex and depth appeal late in your drafts.
Tarik Cohen: ADP = RB42
Surprisingly, Cohen managed to catch 8 more passes in 2019 than he did during his incredible 2018 season when he finished as the ppr RB12. Unfortunately Cohen could only muster up a 3.3 YPC and 0 TD’s. The Bears offense was anemic with Trubisky under center, there was poor OL play and Nagy struggled to make adjustments. 2019 was as bad as it gets and Cohen still managed to hold PPR value. That was his floor. Expect a bounce back in 2020.
Nyheim Hines: ADP = RB55
The arrival of Philip Rivers to Indy should be seen as a good thing for all running backs associated with that offense. While Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack grind out the early down work, look for Hines to clean up in the passing game. He ranked 16th in both yards and receptions in 2019, but you can expect that to go up with check-down king Rivers. Hines makes for a great flex option in 2020.
Antonio Gibson: ADP = RB47
It's easy to get excited about the measurables of Gibson, 6'0", 228 pounds, 4.39 40 yard dash, 11.2 yards per carry and 38 receptions during his final season at Memphis. He an athletic freak and a sneaky good receiving weapon. It's also easy to see that he may have a hard time carving out a full-time role in Washington. He will be competing with Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson for carries, and we are unsure how much he will be used as a wide receiver. He's most likely going to be used in some sort of gadget role. The Redskins did invest an early 3rd round pick to grab him though, so he should at least be added to your watch list. Monitor his situation, because he does have upside.
Ryquell Armstead ADP = RB64
It’s hard to believe, but Leonard Fournette had 100 targets last season. The Jags declined his 5th year option and there have been rumors the Jags might trade him. It's also not out of the question for Fournette to miss games due to injury or possible preservation if he's trying to get a new contract for a different team come 2021. If that happens and Armstead sees any significant workload, he could step right in as a high floor back with 100 catch upside. He's a great pass catcher out of the backfield, but has the size (220 pounds) to be more than that. He doesn't have Fournette's upside by any means, but he has enough to be priority handcuff worthy for anyone who drafts Fournette in 2020.