Everyone loves a good late-round dart throw that ends up winning them their fantasy football leagues. Solidifying your running back position with some bench pieces that could far-and-away outperform their ADP is the dream for everyone.
Fortunately, there are gems to be found late in fantasy drafts this season.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots (ADP: RB31, 81st overall)
Harris was already on this list before the New England Patriots decided to trade Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams this morning. After the move, it’s even more apparent that Harris is locked into the top spot on the Patriots running back depth chart.
Rookie fourth-round running back Rhamondre Stevenson has had a very promising preseason, but this is Harris’ backfield to lead. Stevenson will factor in, and James White will be involved in the passing game. All of these factors are muddying the water around Harris, keeping his value low.
This is exactly the type of situation to target.
If Harris emerges with more of a workload than anticipated, he has a solid RB2 floor that will be very helpful on your fantasy roster.
Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers (ADP RB33, 88th overall)
Speaking of murky backfields, may I interest you in the San Francisco 49ers?
Let’s parse through this a little.
Last year, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan cycled through running backs faster than a pit crew changes a set of tires. Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, even JaMycal Hasty had their moments in the spotlight. It was a mess.
It’s slightly less messy this year with the departures of Coleman and McKinnon.
During the 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers traded two fourth-round draft picks to move up in the third round to select Ohio State running back Trey Sermon. When a team trades up for a player, it signals their interest and their plans for him.
Sermon is a 6-foot, 215 pound runner with a lot of physicality. Mostert is 29-years-old and played only eight games last season.
This is an opportunity that Sermon can seize hold of, and give the 49ers the featured back they’ve been missing.
Phillip Lindsay, Houston Texans (ADP RB46, 148th overall)
Yes, this is gross. Yes, I still recommend it.
When making a selection with potentially your very last pick, you’re shooting for upside. Lindsay is in a situation that he could take over with ease.
There are a lot of questions swirling around the Houston Texans, largely because of Deshaun Watson and the quarterback position, but what isn’t a question is the collective age and wear-and-tear of Lindsay’s running mates.
The biggest competition that Lindsay will face for touches comes in the form of 31-year-old Mark Ingram and 29-year-old David Johnson. Johnson is already listed as third on the team’s unofficial depth chart, according to HoustonTexans.com, and Ingram is coming off multiple injuries and the lowest yard per carry average (4.2) that he’s had since 2013.
Lindsay is also coming off a season marred by injuries, but is healthy and ready for the 2021 season. In the two years prior, Lindsay rushed for over 1,000 yards and logged exactly 35 receptions (weird) in consecutive seasons. He’s more than capable of providing a burst out of the backfield for the Texans.
Lindsay feels like a lock to outperform his current ADP, and has RB2 upside. He’s exactly the type of pick to make late in your fantasy drafts.
Honorable mentions: AJ Dillon (RB37), Devin Singletary (RB40), Giovani Bernard (RB50).
Whether you start your draft by locking up several top-tier running backs or you go another direction, depth is crucial to withstand injuries and bye weeks. Target these running backs in the late rounds to fill out your roster en route to that championship you’re going to win.