Fantasy Football: Rising Patriot Headlines Top-3 Deep Sleeper RBs

Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Running Backs Week 5

Getty Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots

It’s fair to say the running back position in fantasy football has become quite top-heavy in recent years. The Christian McCaffreys and Saquon Barkleys of the world highlight a group of approximately six elite options before you see a somewhat sizable drop-off.

However, that’s not to say there aren’t viable options beyond them. But how far beyond them? We’ve highlighted a trio of deep sleeper running backs who, combined, have rushed for fewer than 1,000-rushing yards over four NFL seasons.

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Don’t Sleep on These 3 RBs

3) Benny Snell Jr. | PIT | ADP: RB68

James Conner has missed nine games over the past two seasons. Pittsburgh’s starting running back also struggled mightily with efficiency in 2019. Conner averaged a combined 2.8 yards per carry over six of his 10 games on the year. Furthermore, Conner only carried the rock 16-plus times in two games all last season.

Snell, on the other hand, carried the ball 16-plus times on five different occasions over an eight-week span to close out the year. His lack of usage in the passing game certainly limits his ceiling, but the Kentucky product still remains a player to keep a close eye on.

2) Nyheim Hines | IND | ADP: RB49

Jonathan Taylor will steal all the offseason hype, and rightfully so. However, Taylor averaged just 14 receptions over his three-year run at Wisconsin.

Philip Rivers-led offenses have had a running back rank within the top-seven of most targeted players at their position in two of the past three seasons. That’s without even delving into the Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead years.

Hines’ 81 targets back in 2018 ranked seventh-most league-wide amongst running backs.

1) Damien Harris | NEADP: RB56

Besides James White’s cementation in the receiving back role in New England, the Patriots’ backfield is currently a crapshoot. In return opening the door for Harris, whose buzz has been steadily growing despite having just four-career rushing attempts to his name.

Patriots may be without their two rushing touchdown leaders from last season come Week 1. Brandon Bolden (3 TDs) has opted-out, while Sony Michel’s (7 TDs) injury status is up in the air. On top of that, free-agent signee Lamar Miller hasn’t rushed for more than five touchdowns in a single season since 2015.

Harris, who’s been taking “quite a few reps” at practice, racked up two 1K-yard campaigns during his Alabama days, including 20 rushing touchdowns during his final two seasons in Tuscaloosa. The former No. 1 RB recruit in the nation has impressed Bill Belichick during camp and has a chance to nail down New England’s lead-back gig on first and second down as well as serve as a red zone option.

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