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Which RB3s Have RB1 Potential? (2018 Fantasy Football)

Aug 31, 2018

We recently examined later-round WRs that carried WR1 upside. Of course, we aren’t going to leave running backs out of the discussion.

Our writers take a look at players with ADPs over RB24 to provide you with current RB3s that have a legitimate shot at finishing the season as RB1s.

The ADP numbers below come from our consensus ADP for PPR leagues.

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Kerryon Johnson (DET): RB29
When looking for a potential RB1, you need to find someone who can play on all three downs, which is why Johnson is the perfect target. While many seem to be concerned about LeGarrette Blount around the goal-line, my argument is that Blount on the field would make Jim Bob Cooter’s offense entirely too predictable. Johnson was taken with a second-round pick, highlighting how badly the Lions felt they needed security at the position. While Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah are still in the mix, Johnson has looked phenomenal in the preseason, and the Lions will be looking for every reason to showcase their young talent. Again, he’s no guarantee with all the mouths there, but he doesn’t even need injury to hit RB1 status.
Mike Tagliere@MikeTagliereNFL

Aaron Jones (GB): RB42
Aaron Jones is currently suspended for the first two games of the season but has a chance to run circles around Jamaal Williams when he returns. He was the far more impressive rookie last season and the Packers’ offense shouldn’t miss a beat with Rodgers back in action.
Joey Korman@leaveit2divac

Jamaal Williams (GB): RB34
I’ll have to disagree with Joey on this one. Aaron Jones had a better season rushing the football, but his pass-catching abilities limit him to early-down work only. Williams has the potential to be an every-down back, and he’ll have two weeks to prove it. Ty Montgomery has already shown that he isn’t durable enough to sustain a full RB workload, and his role should be scaled back this season. Williams accounted for over 800 yards and six total TDs last season despite only starting in seven games. He brings versatility and durability to the table with none of the off-the-field headaches presented by Aaron Jones. Now that Aaron Rodgers is back and the offensive line is healthier, Williams has clear RB1 upside.
Zak Hanshew@ZaktheMonster

Carlos Hyde (CLE): RB26
There are so many legit contenders for this honor (Dion Lewis, Tevin Coleman, Rex Burkhead, Jamaal Williams, Chris Carson), that it is hard to pick just one. But I’ll go with the guy who finished as a top-10 fantasy RB just last season and is locked into the starting job on an up-and-coming offense. I’m not sure why so many people are sleeping on Carlos Hyde, who posted at least 1,150 yards and eight scores in each of his final two seasons in San Francisco. Yes, Kyle Shanahan got the most out of Hyde last year, but Todd Haley is no slouch as an offensive strategist either, and Hyde is set up nicely for a heavy workload and goal-line duties. Duke Johnson may limit Hyde’s receiving upside to some degree, but he should still add some value there as well.
Andrew Seifter@andrew_seifter

Hyde might not even end up as Cleveland’s top back this season. Nick Chubb is the new shiny toy and Duke Johnson might be the most underutilized talent in the NFL. But, Hyde finished as a Top-12 RB last season so it makes sense that he has the best chance to do it because he’s already done it. He was the 14th-ranked RB in 2016, as well. Last year, he earned nearly 1,300 all-purpose yards, 59 receptions, and eight touchdowns for a struggling team that went through three different starting quarterbacks. New Cleveland offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, has a successful track record of utilizing his running backs. We all know Le’Veon Bell‘s success but DeAngelo Williams was a fantasy star when he filled in for Bell and Jamaal Charles made a lot of fantasy owners smile with his pass-catching opportunities.
Jamy Bechler – @WinningDFS101

Chris Carson (SEA): RB36
It’s no longer just Pete Carroll swooning over Chris Carson. Last year’s seventh-round pick has returned from a fractured leg to earn Seattle’s starting spot over rookie first-round selection Rashaad Penny. Although an RB1 finish is a stretch for the RB26 in four healthy games last season, opportunity is half the battle. The Seahawks drafted Penny to re-establish a floundering run game, but Carson looks poised to instead receive a heavy dose of touches.
Andrew Gould@andrewgould4

Peyton Barber (TB): RB40
If this is in progression then I will support Joey and disagree with Zak. Aaron Jones was a prolific receiver in college so we cannot let a small rookie sample taint the truth. However, this is a segway to my choice, Peyton Barber. He’s built like a three-down back (5’11” 225-lbs), is more athletic than most people think, was productive last year and just so happens to be the best pass-catching back remaining on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now that Charles Sims is on IR. He’s a between-the-tackles grinder, is a great blocker, has shown elusiveness and resilience in the past, and despite the fact that everyone “wants” Ronald Jones to be the primary back, remains the best option for the Bucs. If last year and this preseason are any indication, then he’s a steal in every type of draft as he is considered an afterthought. Strange considering he has been touted as the one to start in Tampa Bay. Pick him up late and reap the rewards of his potential. Sometimes it is sexy not being sexy.
Marc Mathyk – @Masterjune70

Marlon Mack (IND): RB39
Someone has to step into the void in the Colts backfield and Mack has the talent and size to be their three-down back. Of course, whether he actually plays three downs will depend on his ability to protect Andrew Luck on passing downs. Mack showed some versatility last season with 21 receptions, and while his 3.8 yards per carry is hardly impressive it’s important to remember that many defenses stacked the box and tried to force the Colts to beat them through the air. There’s nobody else on the depth chart with Mack’s well-rounded skill set, so I expect him to approach RB1 production provided he stays healthy.
Tim McCullough@TimsTenz

So there you have it, players currently drafted as RB3s that have RB1 upside. More questions? Let us know @FantasyPros, and check out our other collaborative advice below.

Who’s Your RB1 in Standard-Scoring Leagues?
Who’s Your No. 1 Overall Pick in PPR drafts?
Who’s Your Must-Have Player?
Which Players Deserve a Second Chance?
Which Players Will You Never Draft Again?
Which Player Will Be 2018’s Top League Winner?
The Most Common Fantasy Football Draft Mistakes
Who’s Your RB5 in PPR Leagues?
Which WR3s Have WR1 Potential?

View real-time recommendations for each pick with our Draft Assistant >>

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