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Every season, there are backup running backs who end up being difference-making players for your league. Often, they are found on the waiver wire, but everyone has access to the waiver wire.
Instead of giving the rest of your league a shot at these game-changers, it would be more proactive to go after a few of them in your draft. To help you out, we asked the Footballguys staff to give us their favorite backup running back targets.
Here are their thoughts.
I am Hector the Collector in terms of backup running backs, so this question is like asking a car guy which they like or a pizza fan about their favorite slice. Deep down the answer is "so many I cannot count".
For brevity sake, I will mention a few of my deeper favorites as the top-end incoming rookies are the low-hanging fruit for upside, and I wrote in early July on the landscape as a whole.
The best backup running backs are the ones with clarity of their backup status where if the starter is out, they would inherit a strong, unchallenged workload. See guys like Latavius Murray or Chase Edmonds (for a game) from last season. Alexander Mattison, Kareem Hunt, and Tony Pollard certainly qualify as well.
My favorite deeper options as 2020 could provide the 'perfect storm' of missed games across the fantasy landscape are prototypical options capable of a three-down role. Carlos Hyde could be the Week 1 answer in Seattle with Rashaad Penny (likely?) on the PUP list and Chris Carson rehabbing as well. Damien Harris is a multi-year Alabama starter who saw very little run as a Day 2 rookie. A Sony Michel absence paves the way for a Year 2 breakout possibility. Ryquell Armstead is interesting in Jacksonville but the addition of Chris Thompson is a passing game limitation to Armstead if both are healthy in a Leonard Fournette absence to temper expectations.
For the perfect storm, A.J. Dillon is my favorite deeper talent stash in 2020 where he could be the offensive centerpiece by later in the year especially if Aaron Jones misses time. Jamaal Williams is a jack-of-all-trades back but Dillon could unlock the run-centric potential of the new-look Green Bay offense.
If the question was "Which player -- with a clearly established starter ahead of him -- has the best skill set to provide RB1 production?," the answer would be Kareem Hunt in a landslide. But when deciding who to target, price must be considered. And Hunt's price point slots him in the portion of drafts stocked with value wide receiver talent.
Going further down the board, Tevin Coleman is intriguing. His skill and offensive scheme provide for a 20-point upside any time he's given 15 or more touches. In the event that Raheem Mostert is injured or allows his current displease with his contract situation to linger into the season, Coleman could provide multiple RB1 weeks at a cheap price.
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