Running back is always one of the hardest positions to address in fantasy football. While the right guy can win you a league, the plug-and-play nature of the position combined with the high injury risk makes it hard to justify an early investment. So, if you’d rather load up on other positions early, these five late-round sleepers should easily outperform their average draft position.
Before we begin, we should note that all these players are values relative to their current draft slot. Chances are, nobody on this list will put up a top-five finish, but they should be able to give a good return on investment. Also, all ADP information is sourced from FantasyPros Average Draft Position.
Top 5 Fantasy Football Running Back Sleepers
1. Rashaad Penny – RB37 ADP
D’Andre Swift might be the bigger name, but there is a very real chance that Rashaad Penny is the starter as long as he’s healthy. On a per-touch basis, the former first-round pick was one of the most efficient players in the league, and his film backs that up. Now, he’ll have the benefit of running behind one of the best offensive lines in football alongside a dual-threat quarterback that makes it even harder for opposing defenses to stop the run. Penny is a week-in, week-out starter for as long as he’s on the field. Granted, that might only be six games, but six games of starting running back production is easily worth a selection in the later rounds of your fantasy football draft.
RASHAAD PENNY CANNOT BE STOPPED. 62-YARD TD. #Seahawks
— NFL (@NFL) January 10, 2022
2. Brian Robinson – RB39 ADP
As a rookie, Brian Robinson recovered from gunshot wounds, beat out a proven starter in Antonio Gibson, and earned a sizable workload while finishing with the eighth-best PFF grade out of 60 eligible running backs. While he doesn’t have the highest ceiling thanks to his lack of work in the passing game, the running back has a remarkably safe floor for somebody going in the eighth and ninth rounds of fantasy football drafts. Ron Rivera is still in town, and there is no way that Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett can be worse than Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. He won’t be an RB1, but he can be a safe RB2 you select late while loading up on other positions earlier in the draft.
3. Zach Charbonnet – RB33 ADP
Zach Charbonnet is not going to help out your fantasy football team early in the season. However, with enough patience, he could a league-winning player by the end of the year. Charbonnet and Kenneth Walker are going to split snaps, but the rookie should get the valuable touches. Touchdowns are king in fantasy football, and Walker was historically bad at the goal line last year. Additionally, Charbonnet is a more natural pass catcher, so he should earn most of the running back targets in this offense. We know that this role can be highly valuable in fantasy football, so the running back should carry some standalone value. On top of that, if Walker suffers an injury, Charbonnet is locked in as a top-10 running back.
4. D’Onta Foreman – RB51 ADP
One of Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, and D’Onta Foreman is going to step up as a relevant fantasy football weapon, so you might as well bet on the only guy that’s proven he can handle a large workload. Foreman is the cheapest of the three running backs, and while he isn’t as exciting as the other two, the past two seasons prove he can be an effective early-down runner. Justin Fields’ presence will only make it easier for Foreman to rip off big runs, and this offense doesn’t throw the ball too much, so Foreman’s lack of receiving upside isn’t that big of a deal.
5. Kendre Miller – RB44 ADP
Dating back to the early years of the Sean Payton Era, the New Orleans Saints running back has always been one of the most valuable assets in fantasy football. Alvin Kamara will likely serve a suspension at some point in 2023, and Jamaal Williams is a very pedestrian player. It shouldn’t be too hard for Kendre Miller to win the starting job midway through the season, and if he does, then he’ll probably be a week-in, week-out start.
Alvin Kamara 27 years old
Jamaal Williams 28 years old
Kendre Miller 20 years old with Day Two Draft Capital
5-11 215 with juice.
A fantastic landing spot. pic.twitter.com/dbB9qZJp2I
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) April 29, 2023
Main Photo: Stephen Lew – USA Today Sports