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DRAFT Best Ball Late-Round Targets: Running Back (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Ethan Sauers | @ethansauers | Featured Writer
Mar 19, 2019

Smith should slide into Tevin Coleman’s role in 2019.

Every year Zero-RB strategy has varying viability. Its success is predicated on being able to find value in the later rounds of drafts and capitalizing on some deeper targets at the position. That process is always changing throughout the best-ball process, but outlined below are a few options that can currently fill the RB options in the value pool that fall outside the top-100 with their current ADP.

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Ito Smith (ATL) – 105.80 ADP
With Tevin Coleman signing in San Francisco, the tandem RB role alongside Devonta Freeman is currently being filled by second-year player, Ito Smith. Coming out of Southern Miss, Smith was taken in the fourth round of last year’s draft to be the heir apparent to Coleman. In limited time last year, Smith’s role in the passing game was evident as he caught 27 of 32 passes for 152 yards and he should be the primary beneficiary of Coleman’s 200 vacated touches in the offense.

Dion Lewis (TEN) – 122.10 ADP
In 2018, Lewis lost relevance as Derrick Henry’s late-year charge burst forth with a 238-yard, four-touchdown performance on primetime television. However, what people tend to overlook is that Dion Lewis had 50%+ of the snaps in all but four games last season and is the more versatile back. At his current ADP, Lewis is 7.5 rounds cheaper than Henry and being valued more as a backup than as a timeshare back. As coach Mike Vrabel enters his second year, the RBBC-approach should still be present and allow Lewis to carry bargain-bin value.

Kalen Ballage (MIA) – 134.00 ADP
Speaking of former Patriot assistant coaches, the Dolphins will look to impose new schemes with HC Brian Flores and OC Chad O’Shea at the helm. It is assumed, as has been the case with most Patriot coaches, that their scheme will utilize the RBBC approach to have different backs perform different roles. With Kenyan Drake no longer sharing the backfield with Frank Gore, it is expected that Kalen Ballage will benefit from the 168 vacated touches. Ballage made the most of his late-season opportunities as he turned 28 carries into 180 yards over the last three games and should be primed to expand on this in 2019.

Elijah McGuire (NYJ) – 157.70 ADP
With all the commotion around Le’Veon Bell’s signing with the Jets, let’s not forget that Elijah McGuire was carving out a nice little niche in the Jets’ backfield, averaging over 15 fantasy points per game over the last four games. McGuire is the worst nightmare for Le’Veon truthers as they fear Adam Gase may utilize the committee approach in New York. However, in best ball we should use this to our advantage as leverage on McGuire’s value. Even if Gase runs away from his RBBC tactics, McGuire still holds value as the handcuff for an RB coming back to the game with increased injury risk after a full year off.

These options are strong values later in the draft, and one of them may even be a league-winner. Don’t be afraid to wait a few rounds and snag these value backs to add to your lineup.

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Ethan Sauers is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Ethan, check out his archive and follow him @ethansauers.

Best Ball, Featured, NFL