5 Backup RBs That Have Fantasy Football Value in 2014
Getting a starting running back on your fantasy football team is preferred so you’re sure they will get plenty of opportunities to score you points. You’re usually guaranteed to at least get one or two starters, but depth can be made by finding backup RBs with prominent roles on their respective teams. Here are six tailbacks that are worth keeping your eye on in 2014.
1. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (FanDuel Price: $4,600)
Technically, Michael is third on Seattle’s depth chart behind Marshawn Lynch and Ryan Turbin, but he’s due for an impactful season in 2014. His rookie year was basically a redshirt experience, rushing the ball 18 times for 79 yards in the regular season. Before Lynch ended his brief training camp holdout, the Seahawks were fully prepared to use the tandem of Turbin and Michael.
Seattle is excited about getting the second-year RB more involved in the offense, and he showed his potential in their preseason opener against the Denver Broncos. He has soft hands, a quick first step and impressive vision. Lynch has been carrying most of the load for Seattle’s running game over the past three seasons, and Michael is the type of back that will jump over Turbin and make an impact on the field this season.
2. Andre Williams, New York Giants (FanDuel Price: $5,000)
David Wilson couldn’t overcome his neck injury to be a part of the Giants’ new offense this season, which was incredibly unfortunate. Peyton Hillis was supposed to then move up in the depth chart, but an ankle injury is preventing that. Rookie Andre Williams will get a chance to prove he should be sharing carries with Rashad Jennings.
Williams is the running back of the future for the Giants. His first two preseason games displayed his ability to make opposing tacklers miss, collecting 78 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. What will dictate his time on the field is whether he can improve his pass-catching and blocking skills. However, he’s shown a nose for the end zone, and could steal enough TDs from Jennings to be a decent fantasy commodity.
3. LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers (FanDuel Price: $4,900)
Blount went from an afterthought with the New England Patriots to having a prominent role in the offense last season. The tailback rushed for 772 yards on 153 carries (5.0 YPC) and scored seven touchdowns. He’s now in Pittsburgh and will be backing up second-year RB Le’Veon Bell, who averaged the third-most touches per game last season (22.2).
ESPN reports Blount won’t solely be injury insurance — he will have a prominent role in Pittsburgh’s run game, and are expected to rush the ball early and often this season. Blount will be available very late in drafts and is a prime candidate for a low-risk/high-reward player.
4. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (FanDuel Price: $5,700)
Woodhead’s first season with the Chargers was a success. He only rushed 106 times for 420 yards and two touchdowns, but caught 76 passes for 605 yards and six scores while backing up a (mostly) healthy Ryan Mathews. His fantasy value seemingly took a hit this offseason with the signing of Donald Brown, but neither one of them can catch the ball at Woodhead’s level.
His versatility allows San Diego to use him a bunch of different ways, keeping his fantasy value high. He’s basically a glorified slot receiver (86 targets in 2013) that also runs the ball on occasion.
5. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
Jackson’s heyday as a first string running back is over, but his fantasy value is still pretty high. C.J. Spiller will get most of the carries, but he hasn’t started more than 11 games in a season since moving up on Buffalo’s depth chart. In nearly the same number of carries last season (Spiller had 202, Jackson had 206), the veteran rushed for 860 yards and scored nine touchdowns — seven more than Spiller. He also added 47 receptions, which also led the running backs.
Buffalo hopes Spiller is healthier this season than last and will have the chance to be their main rusher. However, Jackson may continue to be a TD vulture in goal-line situations, making him an intriguing fantasy option for players needing depth at the position.