Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Five Fantasy Football Running Back Sleepers

Running backs are the staple to fantasy football, and on my fantasy roster, the running back position is just as important as paying my entrance fee each year. Everyone knows Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster and Doug Martin are some of the top fantasy football players in the backfield, but what about the forgotten few that can see some action at RB2 or Flex? Let's take a look at the top 5 fantasy football running back sleepers.

Andre Brown

What makes Andre Brown a sleeper pick?

Andre Brown is already designated as the third down, short-yardage running back for the New York Giants. However, he could end up being a solid replacement for Wilson if either a)his injuries start to creep up (they will) or b)the fumblitis gets caught again.

Where should I draft him in my fantasy football draft?

You can get him as a solid round 10 to round 13 pick. If you are able to grab him, towards the end of the draft, you got a damn good fantasy football player to plug in. He should be a starter by the end of the year, and will be a situational / match-up player as the weeks go on, so RB2 or Flex could be a definite spot for Brown on most teams.

Danny Woodhead

What makes Danny Woodhead a sleeper this year?

Danny Woodhead, as a third down back in New England last year, got 76 rushes for about 300 yards, as well as 446 in the air, with three more touchdowns. In Sand Diego this year, the Chargers are asking Woodhead to do much the same, however, with Ryan Mathews in front of him, and not dealing with the rotating running back of the week that was the Patriots, he could be a starter by the middle of the year.

Where should I draft Woodhead this season?

If you picked up Mathews, then handcuff Woodhead (any round past 9 is fine). If you are not handcuffing, you are betting on his receiving totals or on Mathews getting injured early and often...in which case, rounds 12 through 15 is a normal spot, with round 14 being the target.

Ben Tate

What makes Ben Tate a sleeper in my draft?

In 2011, he rushed only 175 times for 940+ yards and 4 touchdowns. Last season, he had only 65 rushes for only 279 yards, and barely any receiving yards or catches (he did go 11 for 11 in the air). What makes this interesting is the fact that Arian Foster is nursing a bad back, that is causing, not only soreness, but stiffness in his legs. Running backs need to run, and if your starter is having leg problems, this could mean a ton of fun for the backup.

Where should I draft Ben Tate?

If you get Foster, round 7 isn't bad. However, without, rounds 9 through 12 are acceptable, and if you get him in round 12, you might just have drafted another 1000 rusher this season.

Vick Ballard

What makes Vick Ballard a fantasy sleeper?

Last year, in his rookie season, amid much transition and pressure, Ballard rushed for 800+ yards and 2 touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 152 and a touchdown. His true value dropped whenever the Colts signed Ahmad Bradshaw. That aside, Bradshaw has, shall we say, a mistress known as injury, that, if she casts her spell this season, could leave Ballard as the unquestioned starting running back in Indy.

Where should I draft Vick Ballard?

Once again, if you are handcuffing, rounds 8 to 10. Otherwise, round 11 through 13 are where drafting him might mean money. The problem with this running back especially, is that I have an overwhelming feeling, he will see more and more playing time than not, with Bradshaw's injury-filled fantasy football career.

Ronnie Hillman

What makes Ronnie Hillman a good fantasy football sleeper?

Well, he is playing on Denver, which is a pretty good indication he will see the ball. Next, he is playing at a position in transition; so as Montee Ball makes his way into being a true starting running back, Ronnie Hillman could get reps numbering 12-18 per game. Finally, his coaches see him as dependable and capable of being a starting option, something Moreno doesn't have because of injury, and Ball isn't 100% of a guarantee yet because of his rookie status.

Where should I draft Hillman?

Well, this one is tough, because you might not. His sleeper status in fantasy football is such, that Ronnie Hillman could be a bench pickup. Really, it comes down to your strength of team, where you handcuff your running backs and what kind of space you have to take some chances. Most of Hillman's numbers could come earlier in the year, rather than later, due to Montee Ball and how much he emerges as the #1 he was drafted to be. In deeper leagues, I could see him going round 14 or later in 12 or more team leagues.

That's it for my look at some of the best fantasy football running back sleepers. Be sure to check out my next break-down of fantasy sleepers, this time, the wide receivers of the NFL, coming to you on Saturday. Also, be sure to check out the Fantasy Football Toolkit, as always with The Mad Scientist, coming to you tomorrow night!

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