Just like every year, the running back position has quickly become a fantasy football wasteland, with owners left starting handcuffs of handcuffs. As the weeks progress, you will need some help just for one week to help float you past byes or patch over your roster for injuries. Here are three sleeper running backs to help you out (owned in 50% of leagues or fewer for two, and in fewer than 10% for the third, for you deep divers). All figures are based on Yahoo! Ownership percentages as of Saturday.[embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]
Kenneth Dixon versus Washington (38% owned)
The much-ballyhooed rookie running back is yet to take a single snap in the NFL due to injury, but he is set to make his start Sunday as the Ravens take on a Washington rushing defense that cannot stop the running back to save their lives. Thus far on the season, they are being gashed for a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry, and seven different running backs have rushed for touchdowns against them.
While Dixon is going to get the short half of a running back, split (say, 25% of carries), there is no regular season tape on Dixon, and he couldn’t get a better first opportunity to shine than he will against this woeful Washington rush defense.
Jalen Richard versus San Diego (16%)
With Latavius Murray being declared out due to a foot issue, the load will fall to Richard and DeAndre Washington. Early reports are that Washington will get the heavier workload, but so far this season their opportunities are nearly equal. The difference is that Richard is more opt to break a big play (as he already has thus far this season). It’s entirely possible that the Raiders start off with a committee and hit a hot-hand. If that’s the case, I’m going to ride with Richard. The Chargers, for their part, have allowed eight touchdowns to running backs (four last week alone) and the third most points to running backs on the season.
Bobby Rainey at Green Bay (4% owned)
With lead back Rashad Jennings continuing to miss time with a thumb injury, the Giants have moved to a committee approach, and Rainey led that committee last week, out-snapping Orleans Darkwa and leading the team in targets. Rainey is more suited to a pass catching back role, which will be the preferred role for the Giants’ attack as they take on one of the stingiest rushing defenses in the league thus far this year. The Green Bay secondary is banged up, so the Giants will be looking to attack them through the air. Rainey will have plenty of opportunities to produce, and if you’re diving this deep, you’re trying to latch onto that promise of opportunity.