If you hit on the right players at the end of your fantasy football draft, especially at the running back position, it could win you your league. Sure, there are other things that go into dominating the fantasy football world, but for the purpose of this article, we’re going to call sleepers the most important thing in the world.
So, while the rest of your leaguemates are targeting their next drink, target these late-round running backs.
Note that average draft position (ADP) is based on Fantasy Football Calculator’s data for 12-team PPR leagues.
Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
ADP: 127th (11.03) Overall; RB 49
Since joining the Eagles in 2014, Sproles has finished as the RB25, RB29 and RB24 in PPR formats. And now, with a starting back–LeGarrette Blount–who has looked underwhelming and serves as zero threat on passing downs, Sproles is suddenly being drafted as the RB49?
Sproles is never going to be a workhorse back, but even on a minimum role, he has averaged 51 receptions, 795 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns per 16 games while in Philly–and now there’s talk of getting him the ball in space even more.
“That’s just our thing now,” Sproles said in mid-August. “More so than even last year. We’re trying to get mismatches. Once you get [the ball to us] in space, that’s our strength.”
A good bet for about 10-to-12 high-quality touches per game on a likely pass-heavy offense, Sproles has a very good chance to lead Philly’s backfield in PPR points. And you can get him 53 picks after Blount.
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
ADP: 145th (12.06) Overall: RB 52
At this point, I’m not convinced that Frank Gore isn’t a robot. But, if he truly is human, the 34-year-old with over 3,300 career touches is going to start to slow down–or even miss an actual game–at some point soon.
If he does, Mack would be a must-own player. But even if Gore doesn’t break down, it makes sense for the Colts to get the rookie out of South Florida involved. While Gore has averaged 3.8 yards per carry over the last two seasons and managed just six runs of 15 yards or more on 263 carries last year, Mack has already shown big-play ability:
This is a stash pick. Early on in the season, the volume isn’t going to be enough for Mack to have value. But as an exciting young talent behind an aging RB, he has potential league-winning upside. That’s the kind of player that should be on the end of your bench.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
ADP: Outside Top 201 Players Listed
It’s not entirely out of the question that the seventh-round rookie is lined up behind Russell Wilson on the Seahawks’ first play from scrimmage in Week 1. Thomas Rawls and CJ Prosise are having trouble getting healthy, Eddie Lacy has looked decidedly average, and Carson has impressed throughout the preseason.
Carson looks capable of playing on all three downs, and he looks capable of doing it at a high level. He could very easily slip down the depth chart once Seattle’s backs are healthy, but both Rawls and Prosise have had trouble staying on the field, and Carson could also use this extra opportunity to carve out a significant role in a very potent offense.
His price tag is quickly rising, but it’s still basically free in most leagues. With the way he’s looked this August, he’s absolutely worth the dart throw.