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Dynasty Sleepers: Veteran Running Backs (2024 Fantasy Football)

Rookies have been center stage over the past several months, but it’s time to turn our attention to veteran running backs in dynasty drafts. Whether you’re preparing for a startup draft or looking for trade targets, don’t overlook these running back sleepers in dynasty fantasy football leagues.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Running Back Sleepers to Target

J.K. Dobbins (LAC)

There’s a thin line between delusionally believing that Dobbins will return to greatness and optimism that Dobbins could be a usable fantasy asset. We’ve seen running backs come back from significant injuries and thrive, but Dobbins’ injury history is extreme. He has suffered a broken fibula, a torn ACL, a torn Achilles plus complications, and additional injuries.

When healthy, Dobbins has shown RB1 potential, but, over the course of four years in the NFL, he has played just 24 games with only one season of more than 50% of games played. The odds are low that Dobbins can return to a high level of play and sustain it throughout an entire season. For our fantasy purposes, however, that risk is baked into his value. Dobbins is currently at RB55 in FantasyPros Dynasty ECR.

Dobbins landing with the Chargers could be beneficial for his return as well. The Chargers intend to be a run-heavy offense, so Dobbins will have the opportunity to earn meaningful snaps. Gus Edwards will the be lead back, so Dobbins can be eased in without an aggressive workload. Dobbins will have opportunities without excessive usage. He’s a very cheap investment in startup drafts and a tack-on player in trades.

Ty Chandler (MIN)

Aaron Jones signing with Minnesota was a major letdown for Chandler. In 2023, Jones had the most disappointing season of his career outside of his rookie year. He dealt with a hamstring injury that plagued him throughout the season, but, once he returned to health late season, he had five straight games (inclusive of the NFL playoffs) with over 100 yards and a minimum of 5.0 yards per carry. Age and injury risk are concerns with Jones, but he should be the team’s lead back.

So, where does Chandler fit into the picture?

Chandler and Jones have similar profiles as smaller backs – a strange match for a committee – but that may work in Chandler’s favor. Jones’ highest total carries in a season was 236 back in 2019, and it’s unlikely that Jones sees 20-plus carries regularly. Chandler should still see meaningful work in this offense and continued opportunities to prove his long-term value to the Vikings. Jones is on a one-year deal, making Chandler a cheap buy for a strong handcuff with 2025 potential.

dynasty draft league sync

Keaton Mitchell (BAL)

While all eyes are focused on Derrick Henry, set your sights on Mitchell at a discounted value. Mitchell emerged in 2023 as an electric playmaker, and while his carries were minimal, the impact on fantasy football was significant. Mitchell is a homerun hitter, averaging 8.43 yards per carry in 2023 and had PFF’s (Pro Football Focus) second-highest running back grade behind De’Von Achane and ahead of Raheem Mostert, Kyren Williams, and Christian McCaffrey.

Mitchell tore his ACL late season, so it’s possible he could miss the beginning of the 2024 season. He may not be a significant contributor for much of the early season, but he still offers late-season value and long-term value in dynasty. Henry is 30 years old and on a two-year contract. Mitchell is heading into his sophomore season and still a solid option for dynasty.

Jaleel McLaughlin (DEN)

Javonte Williams is currently the Broncos lead back, but that title could easily be revoked if his 2024 production is similar to 2023. Williams had 217 carries – 19th most in the league – but produced just 774 rushing yards for an average of 3.6 yards per carry and only three rushing touchdowns. He averaged 11.2 fantasy points per game in PPR. It’s possible the poor production was related to his injury recovery, but given the strong usage of players like Breece Hall coming off an ACL injury, we should be concerned that Williams might simply be a low-ceiling back.

McLaughlin had limited usage in 2023. However, he was statistically the best back in the Broncos offense. He had just 76 carries, but produced 410 rushing yards, averaging 5.39 yards per carry. McLaughlin was the 15th-ranked running back in PFF’s rushing grades.

Samaje Perine is still on roster. The Broncos also drafted Audric Estime and signed UDFA Blake Watson – who is getting buzz this offseason. McLaughlin’s role within the offense will be tested, but if he continues to outperform Williams, there’s a path to being the Broncos’ lead back.

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