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RB3s with RB1 Potential (2023 Fantasy Football)

RB3s with RB1 Potential (2023 Fantasy Football)

In 2022, fantasy managers drafted Rhamondre Stevenson and Tony Pollard as RB3s and reaped the rewards of top-12 finishes. Finding the right RB3 with strong upside can legitimately carry your team to the fantasy playoffs. What running backs have realistic RB1 upside this season?

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Tyler Allgeier (RB – ATL)

Tyler Allgeier had a quiet 1,000-yard rookie season, averaging 4.93 yards per carry with three touchdowns on the ground and one receiving touchdown on 16 receptions. Allgeier had minimal usage through the air and shared the backfield with Cordarrelle Patterson and Caleb Huntley. While his overall 2022 performance doesn’t scream RB1 potential, the final four games of the season tell another story. After Atlanta’s bye week, the team switched to Desmond Ridder and gave Allgeier a heavier workload. In Weeks 1 through 14, Allgeier was the RB41, averaging 7.6 PPR points per game. But in Weeks 15 through 18, Allgeier was the RB5 in total points and RB9 in average points per game, averaging 17.1 PPG. Arthur Smith is committed to a run-heavy approach. While it’s unlikely that Allgeier has the backfield all to himself, the upside exists.

Isiah Pacheco (RB – KC)

Isiah Pacheco’s work on the ground was immaculate in 2022. Pacheco took over as the lead back in Week 10. In Weeks 10 through 18, Pacheco had 633 rushing yards — the fifth most over that time frame behind only Josh Jacobs, Nick Chubb, Najee Harris, and Derrick Henry. Of running backs that had a minimum of 100 carries over that time period, Pacheco had the second-highest yards per carry at five yards. Despite those impressive rushing statistics, Pacheco averaged just 11.7 fantasy points per game in PPR. Pacheco has the most difficult path to an RB1 season of any player on this list and is a risky pick. The Chiefs did trust him with a heftier receiving workload in the AFC Championship game, where he had five receptions on six targets for 59 yards. If Pacheco can earn additional trust in the receiving game, he has true RB1 upside.

Rachaad White (RB – TB)

With Leonard Fournette gone and Chase Edmonds as the Bucs’ only signing at running back, Rachaad White could be Tampa’s lead back in 2023. Surprisingly, of all the players on this list, White has the easiest path to an RB1 campaign. Tampa’s offense was atrocious in 2022. Their offense had the most pass attempts in 2022, yet finished in the bottom 10 of points scored. They also had the fewest rushing attempts in the entire league. But with Baker Mayfield likely leading the Bucs in 2023, Tampa should reduce their pass attempts and increase their reliance on the ground game. His receiving upside — White had 50 receptions on 58 targets in 2022 — combined with increased usage on the ground would give him the boost he needs for RB1 upside.

Rashaad Penny (RB – PHI)

The only thing holding Rashaad Penny back from his RB1 potential is his inability to stay on the field. When healthy, Penny is electric. He’s averaged over six yards per carry each of the past two seasons and provides 150+ yard performances with ease. But durability has been a constant battle for him. Penny’s healthiest season was his rookie season where he played 14 games. Since then, Penny has played just 28 games over four seasons. The Eagles signed Penny to a one-year deal this offseason, and while the deal is underwhelming — a mere $1,350,000 deal, less than Boston Scott‘s new contract — don’t let the contract fool you. Penny has the opportunity to finish as an RB1 if he stays on the field.

Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN)

Alexander Mattison’s fate is tied to Dalvin Cook. If Cook is cut or traded, Mattison would step in as the lead back. But it’s possible Mattison could have an increased role in a split backfield even if Cook remains on the team — similar to Pollard and Stevenson. Mattison has served as the backup to Cook for his entire career, but with Dalvin Cook missing occasional time, we have concrete examples of Mattison’s capabilities as a three-down back. In 2021, Mattison had three games with more than 20 carries. In those games, he had a total of 315 yards and two total touchdowns, averaging 105 yards per game. He also contributed 16 receptions in those games for 133 yards and had more than 20 fantasy points per game in PPR. Mattison has legitimate RB1 upside, provided the Vikings don’t make a significant addition in the draft.

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