Fantasy football season is here as the NFL preseason is underway. As you approach fantasy football drafts, you will look for every advantage you can over your league mates. Everyone is looking for that homerun pick that will greatly outperform their draft position to be a huge asset to your lineup. Here, we will discuss five running backs that should finish the season well higher than they are being drafted, thus giving you value.
Note: I am using half-PPR scoring formats and 12-team leagues for this article.
Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins
Edmonds goes from one crowded backfield to another in Miami. He shared a backfield with James Conner last year but excelled in any form of PPR format from his involvement in the passing game. It looked like he was getting his shot in Miami to be the lead back but is now joined by Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin. Even so, Edmonds is being drafted as the RB34, which seems high in PPR leagues. He finished as the RB35, playing in only 12 games a year ago.
Ronald Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
What can I say, I’m a believer. Well, a half believer in that I believe in Jones while simultaneously not believing in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. When he was the head honcho in Tampa Bay, he had nearly 1,000 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Any running back will be boosted from a fantasy standpoint by just being a part of the Chiefs' offense. Jones is being drafted as the RB39, and I think he will have a large enough role in this offense that he will outperform his ADP.
Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
Don’t forget about former first-round pick Etienne who missed all of last year with an injury. James Robinson is still in the backfield, but Etienne has been praised for his explosiveness in training camp. The Jaguars made moves this offseason to shore up their offense bringing in Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram. While it may not seem like much, anything they can do to make quarterback Trevor Lawrence more comfortable and take pressure off Etienne is a good step. Etienne is being drafted as the RB22 and has the chance to finish as a low-end RB1 if not a high-end RB2. Not a huge difference from his draft position, but you would be drafting a player in the fourth round that should have second round value.
Ken Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Walker was drafted with the 41st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. When he was first drafted, he joined a crowded backfield of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Carson retired ahead of training camp due to injuries, so at worst, Walker is looking at the backup role if he is healthy. Penny has been fairly injury-prone in his career, so Walker has an opportunity to earn the lead spot early in the season. Penny is being drafted as the RB31 with Walker right behind at RB35. If Walker can make this a split backfield or start overall, he should finisher higher than RB35 on the season.
D’Onta Foreman, Carolina Panthers
It is no secret that Christian McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in the league if he can stay healthy. That has been a big if over the last two seasons, and the Panthers' offense is exponentially worse without CMC on the field. Because of McCaffrey's impact, Carolina could look to limit his reps more throughout games to try and limit his chance of getting hurt. Foreman was signed by the Panthers in the offseason and should get the crack at backup duties ahead of Chuba Hubbard. Foreman totaled 566 yards a year ago filling in for Derrick Henry with the Tennessee Titans when he went down. He is being drafted as the RB58, but should finish in the top-40 of running backs if Carolina manages CMC’s workload or if McCaffrey gets hurt.