Finding the best fantasy football sleepers later in drafts can be difficult. Very few teams are using just one running back for the majority of carries, which makes multiple players on the same team fantasy relevant. We have outlined a few players you should target late in your fantasy drafts.
For my sleeper list, we have identified players who are routinely being selected in double-digit rounds in 12-team leagues. Here are a few additional running backs who offer good value for where they are being drafted but are being selected too high to technically be considered a sleeper.
New Niners starting running back Tevin Coleman has an ADP (average draft position) of 54 in what should be a fantasy-friendly offense with Jimmy Garoppolo back under center. Rookie Eagles back Miles Sanders has an ADP of 68 and has received glowing reports out of training camp.
After missing his entire rookie season, Derrius Guice has an ADP of 71 and should be able to beat out the other Redskins running backs after a few games. Given Lamar Miller’s unfortunate injury, Duke Johnson offers a lot of value with an ADP of 79.
All ADP listed comes courtesy of Fantasy Pros. As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter @JonDAdams with any fantasy football related questions. Here is a look at my list of best fantasy football sleeper running backs for 2019.
No. 1 Jaylen Samuels, Steelers
Samuels’ strength is in his versatility and the Steelers appear poised to use him all over the field in his second season. Samuels played running back, tight end and wide receiver at NC State. The Steelers likely want to make sure not to overwork James Conner which could lead to Samuels getting a good amount of touches this season.
With an ADP of 131, Samuels offers great value in one of the NFL’s top offenses. The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly reported that Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has been using Samuels like a “Christmas toy.”
Samuels is like Randy Fichtner’s Christmas toy that he didn’t learn to play with until the following year. Last year, the Steelers wanted to see if Samuels was a professional football player. This year, he’s been a significant part of their offense, whether it’s been the backup running back or, more importantly, that jack-of-all-trades offensive weapon that can line up just about everywhere.
No. 2 Peyton Barber, Bucs
There was plenty of buzz about Ronald Jones during the offseason, but the preseason indicates Barber is likely to get the most touches between the two backs. Barber gives you a starting running back that can be selected in the double-digit rounds. Bruce Arians’ offense should give Barber a bump in fantasy production, and fans can expect the Bucs running back to be more involved in the passing game this season. Arians has emphasized using a “hot-hand” approach and heading into the season Barber is expected to get the first look.
“If you’ve got a guy that’s got a hot hand, you just keep feeding him,” Arians told ESPN. “Everybody check their ego at the door because it’s all about rushing the football, pass protection [and] doing all of those things. You should have a fresh guy all of the time — that’s the nice thing about it.”
Barber has an ADP of 108 and no running back selected in this range is going to have the backfield to himself. For late-round targets, you want to want look at players like Barber that should have a solid workload.
No. 3 Kalen Ballage, Dolphins
The Dolphins offense is a work in progress, but what we are looking for in the later rounds is opportunity. Ballage is going to split work with Kenyon Drake, who is battling an injury. At 6’2″ and 231 pounds, Ballage is a physical running back who has the measurables to take on NFL punishment. Prior to Drake’s injury, ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe reported that fans can expect a near-even split in workload.
So how should we project the Dolphins backfield? Think New England Patriots-style running-back-by-committee and possibly a less-extreme version of how James White and Sony Michel shared that backfield. An early timeshare prediction could be 45/40/15 touch split for Drake, Ballage and the Dolphins secondary backs (Mark Walton, Myles Gaskin, Chandler Cox and Kenneth Farrow), respectively.
With an ADP of 117, we will take an even split especially given Ballage has upside potential to get even more touches.
No. 4 Devin Singletary, Bills
Rookie running back Devin Singletary has the talent to win the lead-back role in Buffalo. It seems clear that LeSean McCoy is not long for Buffalo. While the Bills have a crowded running back room, Singletary has the most upside.
Take a flyer on him in the later rounds and stash him on your bench in hopes that he can eventually win the starting job. During his three seasons at FAU, Singletary rushed for 4,287 yards and 66 touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry.
No. 5 Matt Breida, 49ers
Breida is the clear 1B to Tevin Coleman in the Niners offense, but Kyle Shanahan is going to use multiple backs. While I like Coleman, he comes into the season unproven in a lead back role.
Breida’s floor is high given he is going to get touches, but he also has upside with the potential to win the job if Coleman underwhelms. While I like the players listed above slightly better, Breida offers a lot of value with an ADP of 110.