Building running depth is essential to winning a Fantasy Football championship. The landscape can change quickly in the NFL and there are always players that emerge out of nowhere. Here are five running back values that are going in the double-digit rounds of most drafts in late July.
Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers
Jackson could turn out to be a real bargain if the Melvin Gordon holdout extends into the regular season. Austin Ekeler might get most of the touches, especially in the passing game, but Jackson will get touches. In the three games Gordon missed last season, Ekeler had 52 touches and Jackson had 21. Jackson also played a game without Ekeler and had 19 touches. Jackson has a FFWC ADP of 133.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots
The Patriots backfield is crowded, but it won’t take much for Harris to find a bigger role. He could slide into the Sony Michel role if he can’t stay healthy and Michel has a lengthy injury history. He had arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason and had fluid drained from the knee last season. He missed three games as a rookie and came into the NFL with a bad knee. Harris had more opportunity in the spring with Michel out. While many say to stay away from the Patriots backfield because of the different roles, they have ranked top 10 in rushing yards in three straight seasons. Harris has a FFWC ADP of 117.
Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens clearly want to be a run-heavy team with Lamar Jackson at quarterback and it worked at the end of the season. They brought in Mark Ingram, who will get the bulk of the touches. The Ravens drafted Hill, who brings an element of speed the other running backs on the roster don’t have. Hill is dynamic and is adept at catching the ball out of the backfield. Hill performed well at Oklahoma State and is a good athlete. With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens averaged almost 45 rushing attempts per game. Even if Ingram stays healthy, there’s room for Hill to get a good amount of touches.
Hill has a FFWC ADP of 139.
Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins
I have taken Ballage in early drafts since he’s cheap. At the start of training camp, Ballage has worked with the starters. There’s a new coaching regime under Brian Flores in Miami and there’s a chance Ballage becomes the lead back ahead of Kenyan Drake or at least is in a timeshare. Ballage had 36 carries and nine receptions as a rookie last season. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry, but it was inflated by a 75-yard touchdown run. The Dolphins backfield is a training camp battle to watch. Ballage has a FFWC ADP of 142.
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t reported to training camp as he wants a new contract. While most people aren’t worried, Pollard could play a big role if Elliott misses time. I expect Pollard, a fourth-round pick from Memphis, to get most of the touches in this scenario ahead of Mike Weber and Darius Jackson. Any back behind that offensive line and offense will produce good Fantasy numbers. In early drafts, Pollard can be taken late and is worth a shot in the final rounds. Pollard has a FFWC ADP of 194.
*All ADPs as of July 26.