Fantasy football rankings 2013: Sleeper running backs to target late in drafts
There have been a lot of running backs that have gained a lot value, and now chances are they're going to be overdrafted. David Wilson headlines the backs that have moved into the RB1 area and Daryl Richardson has quickly made a case for RB2 status.
In fantasy drafts, picking up backs in the later rounds can go a long way. Fantasy owners that play two backs and a flex should almost always draft at least five backs, so if 12 teams all do that, that's 60 backs. The well can get pretty dry after the first 40, so here are a few back that are picking up some steam.
Joique Bell - He started off as the Lions No. 2 back and he was really under the radar until the preseason started. Bell had 91 yards on seven catches to go with his 6.5 yard-per-carry average in his August action. Reggie Bush has upped his durability lately with 31 games played in his two seasons with the Dolphins, but he played in just eight games in his last year with the Saints.
Knowshon Moreno - The Broncos are going to pass a lot. With that, the protection of Peyton Manning becoming paramount. Second-year back Ronnie Hillman and rookie Montee Ball have failed in this aspect so far. Moreno has been getting most of the snaps with the first team and has the inside track to be the starter in Week 1's game against the Ravens.
There have been some down times with Moreno and the Broncos, so his progress is more about the failure of the other two backs rather than Moreno producing. The team was reportedly close to waiving him last year and his upside is really nothing more than being in a timeshare, so don't get overly exciting about taking him. That said, there are a lot of worse things to do in the teen rounds of your draft.
Mike Tolbert - Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart had a rough offseason. He had to pull out of a golf tournament earlier this summer reportedly because of his ankle injury. Most golfers can play on two sprained ankles, so really just got the ball rolling as we headed to training camp. Stewart still has yet touch the field and there are reports out there that he could miss the entire season. He's already on the PUP list and could be out until beyond Week 7.
Tolbert moves in as the No. 2 back behind DeAngelo Williams, and D-Will has hasn't been the most durable back, either. The Panthers don't have much behind Tolbert and he could get the goal-line carries to begin with, so he's well worth a look late.
Roy Helu - Alfred Morris has the starting job more than locked up and he's even getting some looks in the passing game. He's obviously not indestructible and with the Redskins leading the NFL in rushing last year, ALF's handcuff is going to have some value. Helu has done nothing but impress in the preseason and he could take over a featured role. He's going way behind players like Bryce Brown and Ben Tate, but offers similar upside.
Knile Davis - Another player that has major handcuff appeal is Davis. Jamaal Charles gave the the world quite a scare earlier this month with his foot sprain, but all appears to be well. The injury still gave us some food for thought and Davis is also a carbon copy of Charles with his size and speed. He has been great in special teams, as well, so if your league rewards for kick returns, it's an added bonus.
Christine Michael - The Seahawks have a great defense and they're going to want to run the ball a lot to go with the West Coast-style offense with Russell Wilson at the helm. Marshawn Lynch is going to get just about every carry he can handle, so Michael doesn't have stand-alone value just yet.
Consequently, the more Lynch carries the ball, the greater the chance he can get injured. Beast Mode has 1,600 touches in his NFL career and has been a workhorse. The 27-year-old is coming to the end of his prime and Michael's talent makes him an intriguing pick.
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