5 Running Back Sleepers (2022 Fantasy Football)
We’ve reached the dead zone of the fantasy football year. Rookie drafts have wrapped up, and redraft leagues don’t start for several more weeks. While dynasty startup drafts are always a blast, it leads to a larger workload during the season. Instead, best ball drafts are a great way to pass the time and scratch the fantasy itch.
Best ball is different in many ways compared to traditional fantasy football. However, the one thing that remains the same is finding sleepers in the later rounds. Finding values in the later rounds can be the difference between winning the league and just missing out on making money.
Today, I have five sleeper running backs you should target outside the top 48 in your best ball drafts.
The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.
Darrel Williams (RB – ARI): ADP 157.5 | RB49
Clyde Edwards-Helaire got all hype in the Kansas City backfield heading into last season. However, Darrel Williams was the running back to shine. He ended the year as the RB22, averaging a career-high 10.1 fantasy points per game. Williams also showed he could play a role in the passing game last season, posting a career-high 2.8 receptions for 26.6 receiving yards per contest. Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost Chase Edmonds and his 10.2 fantasy points per game average from last season in free agency. Williams could fill that role next season. Furthermore, James Conner has struggled with injuries in his career. Williams becomes a league-winner in Arizona’s pass-happy offense if Conner misses time.
Brian Robinson (RB – WAS): ADP 193.1 | RB58
Even after re-signing J.D. McKissic, Washington used a third-round pick on Brian Robinson. They didn’t use a high draft pick to give him two to three rushing attempts per game. Instead, Robinson will see consistent touches as the Commanders try to lighten Antonio Gibson‘s workload. Gibson has only missed three games in his NFL career but has repeatedly gotten slowed down by shin and toe injuries. Robinson will likely steal some early-down work and goal-line attempts from Gibson. Last year, Gibson had 52 touches in the red zone, including six goal-line rushing attempts. That role could become Robinson’s this season. Furthermore, Robinson becomes a league-winner if Gibson misses significant time with an injury.
D’Onta Foreman (RB – CAR): ADP 202.5 | RB60
Unfortunately, Christian McCaffrey has played only 10 games the past two years because of injuries. While the handcuffs behind him have been hit-or-miss, D’Donta Foreman should be better than those players. Last year, he averaged 4.3 yards per rushing attempt and 9.9 fantasy points per game, filling in for Derrick Henry. However, Foreman ended the year strong after becoming the lead back post-Henry’s injury. He averaged 12.7 fantasy points per game over the final five games of the year, scoring 13 or more fantasy points three times. If McCaffrey misses significant time again, Foreman will turn into a top-24 running back as his replacement.
Mark Ingram (RB – NO): ADP 205.2 | RB62
While Mark Ingram isn’t a young pup, the veteran running back can still provide fantasy value this season. Alvin Kamara is reportedly facing a six-game suspension. For however long Kamara is suspended, Ingram will step into his featured role for the Saints. Last year, Ingram started three games for an injured Kamara. He averaged 13.3 rushing attempts and 5.7 targets for 82.3 scrimmage yards and 11.4 fantasy points per game in those contests, scoring over 12 fantasy points twice. Despite missing a game during that span because of injury, Ingram was the RB27 in the four weeks Kamara was sidelined. Ingram is an excellent late-round target for those who use a Zero RB strategy as he can provide low-end RB2 production early in the season.
Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA): ADP 215.9 | RB92
Yes, the Dolphins added multiple running backs in free agency. However, no one in this backfield should be considered a lock for anything. At the same time, everyone in the Miami backfield is a potential late-round option. While he wasn’t the most appealing fantasy running back last year, Gaskin was surprisingly solid. He was the RB26 for the year, averaging 8.8 fantasy points per game. However, Gaskin had nine games with over 14 touches. He averaged 13 fantasy points per game in those contests, scoring over 15.5 in 44.4% of those games. While Edmonds is the most appealing option from this backfield, don’t overlook Gaskin. There aren’t many running backs with an ADP this late that can potentially offer low-end RB2 production.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.