Tuesday - Jan 22, 2019

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VALUE PLAYS: Running Back

Remember the good old days when the prevailing philosophy for fantasy football draft was simply running back, running back, and, oh yeah, running back? That is to say you could get a high-scoring running back as late as the fourth or fifth round and most first-round players were exclusively running backs. My how things have changed. Now if it isn’t one of the Top 3 running backs people just aren’t excited to take a running back. I mean you still have the big names Ezekiel ElliottDavid Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, but, outside of those three, is anyone excited to take a running back in the second or third tier? Sure you could draft Melvin Gordon or LeSean McCoy, but are you going home and claiming victory with one of those picks? So what do you do now with the running back position? I personally fall into the the camp that if it isn’t a Top 3 running back take a top wide receiver and grab a running back later. With this strategy though, how do you choose a running back later? Well I feel you have three options:

Option 1 – The top running back in a time share

This is self-explanatory, a running back who is the lead dog in a time share. Some of these guys are older guys who are nearing the end but are still productive. Some of these guys are just productive enough to have value. These guys have big names but also big question marks along with them. I tend to like getting these guys as my second or third he running back because while not going to win you the week, they are still productive and if nothing else they are consistent. Some of these guys are:

Mark Ingram, New Orleans: This is the quintessential time share back. I always feel no one wants to draft Ingram but everyone who has him is happy with what he gives them. No matter who his running mate is he never gets the full share of the workload. With that being said he has averaged 1,200 total yards and six touchdowns over the last three seasons. He will continue to be the lead back this year but he has a different name backing him up … Adrian Peterson. I understand why people are scared off because of Peterson but I just don’t see him being a huge factor. He didn’t go to New Orleans to be the lead back he went because no one else wanted him as a lead back and New Orleans took a flyer on him as a backup. This tells me that teams desperate for a lead back didn’t want him. I am more afraid of the impact of Alvin Kamara, who is set to play the Darren Sproles role on this team. Ingram is a very good pass catcher out of the backfield and Kamara could limit those opportunities.

Devonta Freeman, Atlanta: I listed Freeman after Ingram because he is going to go much earlier than Ingram and in my opinion isn’t going to give you that much more production. Freeman is the clear lead dog in this duo but don’t be fooled as this is a clear time share and Tevin Coleman is maybe the most talented second back in the league. While Freeman has an impressive nearly 1,600 combined yards over the last two years, Coleman had a near 1,000 combined yards himself but added 11 touchdowns. Now before you go killing me I am not saying not to draft Freeman. What I am saying is be aware that he isn’t close to the Top 3 running backs but will go soon after these guys. If he is there in a good spot, say at the end of the second round or top of the third, take him. If I have to draft him in the first round over a Mike Evans or A.J. Green, I am going wide receiver and I will draft someone else later.

About Michael Carline

Mike is an avid fantasy football player and competes in keeper leagues that are open year round. He is an elementary school teacher by trade so we can only assume that he must also have the patience of a Saint. We hope you enjoy his viewpoint.