Between a mounting list of injuries and bye weeks, the running back options are starting to get thin in fantasy. There aren’t a lot of players sitting on waivers who can immediately provide production, but there are some backups who might be worth stashing now should an injury or trade open up added opportunities for them. Here are four players worth targeting who are still available in the majority of ESPN leagues.
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41 percent)
Jones is one of the few running backs who is available in the majority of leagues who can step in right away and start for some fantasy squads. He was on the field for 49 percent of the Buccaneers’ offensive snaps in Week 4, turning 19 carries into 70 yards and a touchdown. He has now totaled at least 70 rushing yards in three of their first four games and could easily out produce Peyton Barber moving forward. Don’t let someone else cash in on his production, grab him while you still can.
Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs (35 percent)
With Damien Williams (knee) out the last two weeks, Williams has shared the workload out of the backfield with LeSean McCoy. While he only rushed for 13 yards on eight carries against the Lions last week, he was able to score two touchdowns. He also caught three of four targets for 43 yards, giving him back-to-back performances with at least 40 receiving yards. If Damien Williams is forced to miss any more time, Williams could continue to provide value.
Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers (19.2 percent)
James Conner is the guy in Pittsburgh, but the team worked Samuels into the mix through a variety of plays. He had ten rushes for 26 yards and a wildcat touchdown, and added eight receptions for 57 yards. He’s not a standard option, but if this kind of role continues, he’s got PPR value. He’s not a great start in Week 5 against Baltimore, but he could be worth stashing for better matchups.
Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons (Nine percent)
Picking up Smith would be more of a handcuff play than anything else. He hasn’t received a ton of opportunities, totaling just 13 carries through four weeks. On the plus side, he did record his first touchdown in Week 4 and has received at least three targets in two of the Falcons’ four contests. Should anything happen to Devonta Freeman, Smith would be next in line for a featured role.
Mark Walton, Miami Dolphins (0.4 percent)
Even if you are in the deepest of leagues, there is a good chance that Walton is sitting on the waiver wire. While he didn’t receive much work the first three games, he turned six carries into 23 yards in Week 4 while also catching both of his targets for 11 yards. Kalen Ballage is starting to fall out of favor as the Dolphins’ top backup due to his struggles, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Walton assume that role moving forward. With rumors that the Dolphins would like to trade Kenyan Drake, there could even be a starting role on the horizon for Walton, making him a worthy speculative pickup.