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RB3s with RB1 Potential (2024 Fantasy Football)

The thirst for wideouts in fantasy football is fierce, and while it won’t be identical in managed leagues, taking many early swings on them will be popular. Some gamers will also pick an elite quarterback, an elite tight end or both early in fantasy football drafts.

Thankfully, there are intriguing running back sleepers drafted outside the top 24 at the position who have the upside to perform as fantasy football RB1s if things break right for them. Hitting on one of those running back sleepers can be game-changing for the teams that don’t invest in the position in the early rounds of drafts. Yet, even gamers who pick running backs early in the draft can benefit from hitting on an RB3 — or later — who performs as an RB1. The following two fantasy football running back sleepers have the upside to finish in the top 12 at the RB position.

2024 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Fantasy Football Running Back Sleepers

Jaylen Warren (PIT – RB): 87.7 ADP/RB27

Jaylen Warren is a dynamic and efficient playmaker. Among 50 running backs with at least 100 rush attempts in 2023 (including the postseason), Warren was 10th in Pro Football Focus’s (PFF’s) run grade (84.4), tied for second in yards per attempt (5.2), third in yards after contact per attempt (3.68 YCO/A), tied for 11th in rushes of 10-plus yards (26), second in PFF’s elusiveness rating (135.5), eighth in targets (74), tied for fifth in receptions (63), 10th in receiving yards (386) and fifth in yards per route run (1.41 Y/RR).

Warren’s excellent metrics didn’t end there. Per Fantasy Life’s utilization tool, Warren was tied for third in targets per route run rate (27 TPRR%), third in long-down-and-distance rate (86%) and tied for 22nd in two-minute snap rate (59%) among 51 running backs with at least 300 snaps in 2023. In addition, according to Sumer Sports, Warren was tied for 15th in Expected Points Added (EPA) per rush (-0.03), 21st in success rate (39.6 Success%), 36th in tackled-for-loss rate (10.7 TFL%) and fourth in explosive run rate (11.4 Explosive%) among 49 running backs with at least 100 rush attempts in the regular season last year.

He was Pittsburgh’s best running back last season, and the Steelers declined the fifth-year option on Najee Harris. The following table has Warren’s and Harris’s rushing stats during last year’s regular season to provide a glance at how much better Warren was than Harris.

The Steelers have invested significant resources into their offensive line in the past two drafts. New offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has crafted successful running games with the Falcons and Titans, and Justin Fields, if he overtakes Russell Wilson on the depth chart, could help create large rushing lanes for Pittsburgh's running backs because of his elite rushing ability. The situation could be superb for Warren and Harris. They'll likely open the year in tandem, but it shouldn't shock gamers if Warren overtakes Harris on the depth chart before the end of the season since he's already outperformed Harris to this point in their respective careers. Warren can help gamers immediately with the upside to drastically outkick his average draft position (ADP) in half-PPR formats.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Blake Corum (LAR - RB): 118.0 ADP/RB38

Blake Corum finished his collegiate career on a high note by winning a National Championship. Unfortunately, he didn't have his most productive season in his final campaign. Corum had knee surgery in late 2022 to repair a torn meniscus. Understandably, he wasn't as productive in his first season after the injury.

It's not guaranteed he'll return to pre-surgery form, but the Rams presumably believe he will since they picked him in the third round (83rd overall) of this year's NFL Draft. Corum had a handful of eye-catching runs in the College Football Playoff and tested well, providing two reasons for optimism about returning to his best form.

At his best, Corum was an explosive athlete, evidenced by the following tweets from Reel Analytics.

Corum was also an exceptionally productive runner. His best season was in 2022. Among 168 FBS running backs with at least 100 rush attempts in 2022, Corum was first in PFF's run grade (96.2), 10th in missed tackles forced (73), tied for 17th in rushes for 10-plus yards (36), second in rushes for a first down (96) and 40th in PFF's elusiveness rating (97.5).

If Corum returns to his 2022 form, he could be a monster with opportunities in Sean McVay's offense. However, Corum's path to a workhorse role doesn't appear clear at a glance. Kyren Williams was highly productive as LA's featured running back last season.

Still, Williams has dealt with injuries. Doctor Edwin Porras has voiced concerns about Williams's repeated ankle and foot issues.

If Williams's most recent foot issue lingers, Corum's path to playing time could be clear sooner than expected. Nevertheless, if the injury doesn't prevent Williams from opening the year as LA's lead running back, Corum might only need the door opened a crack to push Williams for playing time. Williams's success last year was undeniable, but Corum was a better college prospect and more athletic. Williams had a dreadful relative athletic score (RAS), and the following table has Williams's and Corum's stats from their best collegiate seasons.

At worst, Corum is an elite handcuff as Williams's backup in an offense that's been friendly to running backs. McVay has been LA's head coach since 2017, and the following table has his lead running backs and their half-PPR scoring and point-per-game (PPG) ranks among running backs with a minimum of eight games played in the respective season.

Corum is an outstanding pick near his ADP and worth reaching slightly earlier to secure in drafts.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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