Bob Lung breaks down which consistent running backs are going undervalued this draft season.
This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Bob head to Big Guy Fantasy Sports.
Every year as fantasy owners head into their drafts, they are always looking for the “sleepers” or undervalued players. The Clutch Games system identifies undervalued players that most systems can’t. These are the players who are consistent week after week but don’t normally have huge games. These players slip down and can be drafted at great value.
I’m going to break these players into three different sections based on their ADP. The sections will consist of Early Picks (Rounds 1-to-4), Middle Picks (Rounds 5-to-9) and Late Picks (Rounds 10 and higher). I will identify those picks who are undervalued based on their current ADP. This way if you want to pick a player early, you can and still get good value based on what round you draft them. Or you can wait until the middle or late rounds and get great value just as easily. It’s your call!
We’ve examined quarterbacks. Let’s now take a look at running backs.
Early Round Picks (Rounds 1 – 4)
Jamaal Charles (KC)
Charles is coming back from a torn ACL. But let’s remember that Adrian Peterson came back from a torn ACL and rushed for 2,000 yards the next season. While I don’t expect Charles to do that, I believe he is still worth a first-round pick. However, his current ADP is RB8/pick 21. That’s late second round! If I can draft Antonio Brown or Julio Jones and still get Charles, then my prayers are answered. That’s great value for an early draft pick at running back.
Matt Forte (NYJ)
If Forte had a poor season last year and then went to the Jets, I probably wouldn’t even talk about him in this article. But since Forte ranked second in consistency in 2015 with an 85% Clutch Rating and goes to a team with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, he’s on my radar. Now, let’s sweeten the pot with the fact that Forte’s current ADP is RB14/pick 42 and this makes his value outstanding in the middle of the fourth round.
Middle Round Picks (Rounds 5 – 9)
Frank Gore (IND)
There is always so much value in veteran players because everyone loves to hype the “young studs” in fantasy football. Well, Gore was extremely helpful last year to his fantasy teams and will be this year as well. Gore ended 2015 ranked 14th in total points and 19th in consistency and yet his current ADP is RB32/pick 85. Yep, you read it correctly, he is being drafted as a late RB3 in the 7th or 8th round. Do you see the value here? I know I do!
Justin Forsett (BAL)
If your dad used the term “falling like sacks of wet cement” as much mine did, then you’ll know how Forsett feels. In 2014, Forsett was top 10 in both total points and consistency. Last season, he missed six games due to an ARM injury and still ended the season ranked 22nd in consistency. So, if his current ADP was around RB22-RB28, then he would be “at value” and that’s where I would expect to draft him. However, his current ADP is RB37/pick 105! He’s being drafted as an RB4 in the late ninth round. Man, I will be drafting him in every league I that I’m in this year if he’s falling that far.
Late Round Picks (Rounds 10 +)
James Starks (GB)
Many fantasy owners are writing off Starks in 2016 because they assume that Eddie Lacy is in great shape and will assume his full-time spot. He has and he will…somewhat. Starks really showed the Packers last season that the committee theory can work for them. So, while Starks may see some reduction in touches, that won’t be drastic. Starks will still fulfill the third down back role and be a great benefit to teams in PPR leagues. His current ADP is RB57/pick 165. This is great value for a late-round running back.
Andre Ellington (ARI)
Sometimes the really deep sleepers can help lead fantasy teams to the playoffs or a championship. Let’s be honest, last year no one was promoting players like Devonta Freeman or Kirk Cousins or Gary Barnidge! Yet, those players all were practically unknown on draft days. So, here’s my deep sleeper for 2016, Ellington. He’s currently the third running back in Arizona behind David and Chris Johnson. Yet, just two years ago, he had a 92% Clutch Rating before being injured. He still has tremendous burst and could be huge if one or both of the Johnson’s miss any significant time in 2016. His current ADP is RB65/pick 200. If you have a deep bench, grab him and stash him. He may lead you to the title.