Fantasy Football Draft 2014: Running Back Value Picks
Taking a Look at Some of the Undervalued Players at Running Back
August 25, 2014
All this month, we’ve been breaking down the fantasy football draft season by checking out some of the sleepers and busts that could appear on your radar while you’re on the clock. This week we’ll be looking at value pickups, and though these guys cant’ be classified as outright sleepers, they’re likely to return quite a bit of bang for your buck.
Today we’re checking out the running back position, which is a very important slot on your fantasy roster. There aren’t too many reliable names out there anymore, but these guys should be able to deliver above their respective draft positions.
Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: Jennings seems to be a popular sleeper candidate this year, so he’s not necessarily taking anyone by surprise. Still, he should deliver some nice value on frequent touches now that he’s been thrust into the spotlight due to injury (David Wilson).
Jennings had some great runs against a solid Jets rush defense in their preseason meeting (the Snoopy Bowl), and will get most of the touches in the regular season. The only real threat to keep an eye on here is the presence of hotshot rookie Andre Williams behind him (Williams might snipe some goal-line carries), but all in all Jennings seems like a nice pickup in the mid-20s among running backs.
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Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Speaking of mid-20s pickups who could pay off handsomely, you’ll likely find Richardson around in there as well. It’s a little weird seeing him down that low, especially considering the fact that he was a top-shelf pickup just a year ago. He failed to get it going in Indy last year, however, and his stock has tanked.
That said, we’re going to take the optimist’s role here and say he’s going to get it going in 2014. The Colts have been working hard to improve their ground game this off-season, and the fact that Richardson has had some time to get comfortable in the system will work in his favor. Ahmad Bradshaw is waiting in the wings in case he screws up, but Richardson will stay on top if he can get it going early.
Chris Johnson, RB, New York Jets: Let’s move on to the aforementioned Jets, specifically new guy Chris Johnson. He had a good game in the Snoopy Bowl as well, posting 77 yards of total offense. Along with fellow vet Chris Ivory, he’ll make a potent one-two combination in the New York backfield.
Last year’s stats may give you pause in drafting Johnson, but we’d take him all day as a flex guy. You can probably get him in that capacity as well; He’ll be going in the late-20s or so.
Davonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: The rookie Freeman brings some much-needed fresh legs to the Atlanta backfield, and that’s good news for fantasy owners. He got some rushing and receiving touches with the first team in the Falcons‘ most recent preseason game, and ended up playing well.
Oddly enough, we think Freeman will come off the board right around the time Steven Jackson does, but Freeman may end up giving better value in the long run. Jackson may under-perform--or worse, get injured--and Freeman will be right there to catch the slack.
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