Best Ball Running backs to target in the final rounds
Whether you are in a 17th/18th round on Underdog or 19th/20th Draftkings, finding the best late round best ball running backs can make or break your team. They best way to find is if you can find a back who has limited value now, but is one injury away from a major role. The top handcuff best ball running backs (Alexander Mattison, A.J. Dillion, etc) are going far earlier in the draft.
Given the other players going in those ranges, there is typically a high opportunity cost if that player can’t produce enough to justify the draft spot. By drafting guys later in the draft in similar situations, you are still potentially getting a similar upside, without passing on more valuable WRs, TEs, and QBs.
Hasan Haskins: ADP- Underdog: 204 | Draftkings: 217
– One guy who’s ADP has already started to creep up is the Titans Hasan Haskins. Tennessee selected Haskins in the 4th round as the primary early down back-up to Derrick Henry. Haskins was a strong between the tackles runner at Michigan, and is the perfect fit for this role. Last season in 9 games D’Onta Foreman in this role had 566 yards and 3 TDs filling in for Henry.
Haskins will of course need Henry to miss time, but that isn’t that far fetched of an idea. Henry dealt with a serious foot injury last season that cost him 9 games in the regular season. Henry is also now 28 and has a lot of wear on him from the past four seasons. With the Titans being a very run centric team, Haskins offers a major upside if he ever gets the opportunity.
Chris Evans: ADP- Underdog: 233 | Draftkings: 226
– The Bengals are looking to take 3rd down duties off Joe Mixon‘s plate this season according to reports. Last season it was Samaje Perine who took over this role, part way through the season. Early reports are that Chris Evans is expected to surpass Perine on the depth chart for this role. Evans is a far better athlete than Perine and could give the Bengals a more explosive weapon in passing situations.
If Evans does get the 3rd down work, he could have stand alone value far higher than this late round ADP. If Mixon ends up missing time as well, Evans could become the majority option in this high powered offense.
This situation is still a bit murky, as it’s possible that Perine keeps the 3rd down work and back-up job. The value that you are getting here warrants the risk. When you are searching for late round best ball running backs Evans makes a great final piece.
Tyler Badie: ADP- Underdog: 268 | Draftkings: 231
– J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are both recovering from late summer ACL injuries last season. The early reports are that the Ravens will take a cautious approach with their health, and limit their workload. It’s possible that one or both could even start the year on the PUP list. This could open up the number 2 back role at least early in the season.
Badie was just a 7th rounder, but the buzz around him has been strong. It looks like Badie might have already surpassed Justice Hill on the depth chart. That leaves just Mike Davis left for him to beat out.
Baltimore is another very run friendly offense so if Badie can earn a major role, it should be quite valuable. The one downside here is that the Ravens don’t throw to their backs enough. If that does change Badie has the skill set to fill that role.
Matt Brieda: ADP- Underdog: 284 | Draftkings: 228
– Brieda is probably better for more of a 20th round format (Draftkings or SF Underdog), but he is a solid dart throw. Brieda is set to be Saquon Barkley‘s primary back-up. Barkley has missed a fair bit of time over the last three seasons. Even if it’s just a couple of games, this could be a decent role. The Giants have a new offensive minded coaching staff and invested heavily in their offensive line.
Brieda has always dealt with his own injury woes, but when he’s been on the field he’s been explosive. He has a career 4.9 yards per carry average and has never been below 4.3 in a season. Brieda has also been a capable receiver out of the backfield as well. So if Barkley were to miss any time, Brieda could fill his role completely.
Now there is no guarantee he does keep the back-up role or that he doesn’t get injured. Still for a lotto ticket in round 20, it’s a solid investment.
Benny Snell Jr.: ADP- Underdog: 341 | Draftkings: 230
– Snell is set to once again be the Steelers primary back-up running back, behind Najee Harris. He is competing in this role with Anthony McFarland, but the general thought is Snell is the guy.
On paper this role is extremely small as Snell managed just 36 carries and 4 targets last season. Back-up running backs combined for only 51 total carries and 12 total targets behind Harris. Even worse Snell wasn’t very effective last season managing just 2.7 yards per carry. So why should he be on our 20th round radar?
Simply put the opportunity is too good to ignore. The Steelers don’t typically use a committee approach, so if Harris were to go down Snell could be looking at 15-20 touches. The Steelers also made some investments in the offensive line. New quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are a better fit for this offense, which could help them run the ball better.