As fantasy draft boards take shape and managers strategize their player selections, the spotlight often shines brightest on the early-round stars. However, uncovering the hidden gems nestled within the later rounds can be the key to building a championship-caliber roster. In this article, we delve into the realm of late-round running backs, those potential game-changers whose value might not be immediately apparent. From unheralded rookies to overlooked veterans, we explore the untapped potential that could tip the scales in your favor as you navigate the intricacies of the fantasy football landscape.
David Montgomery (ADP: 7.05): Expect Montgomery to benefit from a similar red-zone role, potentially boosting his scoring and offering great value in fantasy. Considering Williams' 2022 role, where he had a notable 262 carries (ranking 6th) and averaged 16.1 touches per game, it's likely that Montgomery will step into a role that provides ample opportunities, likely focusing on early-down rushing. With Montgomery's contract signaling a featured role, he's positioned to be a viable fantasy option alongside Gibbs.
James Cook (ADP: 7.05): In his rookie season, James Cook was deployed in a limited manner, with his peak snap share at just 56% in Week 18 against the Patriots. It's interesting to note that he shared a 60-40 split with veteran Devin Singletary from Week 13 onward. Over the last seven games of the season, Cook matched Singletary's involvement, showcasing his potential as he heads into his second year with a chance to contend for a starting role, where he'll face competition from Damien Harris.
Samaje Perine (ADP: 9.03): With Javonte Williams potentially facing a delayed return due to his knee injury, there's a chance Perine steps up as an immediate contributor in the early season for the Broncos. Given the current absence of notable running backs on the team's roster, Perine has the opportunity to replicate his role from his time with the Bengals, where he notably worked alongside Joe Mixon and operated as the primary third-down back.
Devon Achane (ADP: 10.09): Miami presents an ideal landing spot for Achane, given his exceptional speed and the team's focus on an outside zone running scheme. His blazing pace could create matchup nightmares for defenses. Considering the current depth chart featuring an injury-prone Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., Achane has a legitimate opportunity to rise through the ranks and establish a prominent role in Miami's backfield.
Kenneth Gainwell (ADP: 11.09): Throughout the 2022 season, Kenneth Gainwell saw limited usage in a Philadelphia Eagles team that controlled games en route to Super Bowl 57. Although, it's important to highlight his increased involvement as the season progressed, especially his notable uptick in targets compared to Miles Sanders from Week 15 onward. Considering Sanders' departure, Gainwell is poised to assume an expanded role both on the ground and as a confirmed receiving option, making him a favored candidate for increased fantasy relevance this coming season.
Brian Robinson (ADP: 8.10): Earning the fourth spot in carries per game (17.8) and boasting a strong rushing average, the Commanders' running back showcased solid ground game performance, graded as the ninth-best RB by PFF. However, his limited involvement in the passing game and shortage of touchdowns impacted his fantasy output. With Antonio Gibson back in the picture for 2023, his receiving role might not change significantly, but positive touchdown production is likely, considering he had just two rushing touchdowns despite leading in carries within the 10-yard line.
As the draft dust settles and the season unfolds, remember that championships aren't solely won in the early rounds. Late-round running backs bring a mix of potential and opportunity that can provide the edge needed for success. Stay vigilant, monitor their roles and performances, and be ready to make calculated moves as the fantasy landscape evolves. The journey to fantasy glory often involves unearthing these hidden treasures, turning overlooked names into game-changing assets for your team.