How do you find running back sleepers in Fantasy Football when all the elite talent is off the board?
One of the first steps in identifying a sleeper at the running back position is analyzing training camp news and dissecting it. Remember when everyone was drafting Montee Ball but Knowshon Moreno was a waiver wire pick who finished as one of the best backs in Fantasy in 2013? The news out of training camp was that Moreno was the better blocker. The Denver Broncos needed to do everything possible to protect Peyton Manning, and Ball would not start if he couldn’t keep Manning upright.
When looking for running back sleepers, you also should take an interest in backs who have burned Fantasy players in the past. Every year offers fresh results, so spend time focusing on the backs other players have a grudge against.
Of course health and age also play a factor, and running backs buried on a depth chart can emerge when a player like Arian Foster becomes injured.
Are you ready for three running back sleepers for the 2015 Fantasy Football season? Let’s dive right in.
1. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— NFL (@NFL) August 4, 2015
He burned everyone as a first-round pick after his rookie season, and he once again burned everyone who drafted him in the early rounds last year. I was on the Charles Sims hype train after watching Sims at WVU, but I’m going with Team Martin in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues. I know it’s easy to hold a grudge against him, but his rookie numbers are almost impossible to replicate. Martin has disappointed us, but we also had the bar pretty high for him as well. How many 251-yard performances or four-touchdown performances could the guy realistically put together? Several outliers boosted his draft price, but there is still reason to be hopeful for Martin in 2015.
The first thing to note is that new offensive coordinator Doug Koetter fought to keep Martin around after watching his tape. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in general were in disarray last season, and that certainly did not help Martin find success. The fourth-year back has also slimmed down to 210 pounds, after reportedly playing at 225 pounds last season. Head coach Lovie Smith also recently announced that Martin is the starting back, and Martin is off the board as late as Round 6 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Jameis Winston will need to rely on Martin for quick dump offs, and I think the 26-year old back will see a revival in his receiving yards which helped to fuel his successful rookie campaign.
You may have been burned twice already, but this is the year Martin will bounce back.
2. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
— #ChargersCamp (@Chargers) July 30, 2015
Woodhead is a great candidate for 1,000 total yards in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues, and he is dirt cheap as an 11th-round pick.
While the addition of Melvin Gordon to the Fantasy Football draft pool is very exciting, Woodhead will have more involvement in the offense than most players realize. Gordon was not known for hauling in catches in college, and Woodhead was able to finish with 76 receptions in 2013 for 605 receiving yards. That was even with Ryan Mathews having a great year in the rushing attack, so the shifty pass-catching back will be utilized heavily.
The four-game suspension of Antonio Gates means there will be more opportunities for players to step up at the start of the season, and Woodhead could see some time in the slot. He won’t just be out there to catch the ball, however, so he serves as a diverse player in PPR and non-PPR formats alike.
3. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
3. DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews & Darren Sproles are collectively as good as there is in today’s NFL.
— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) August 5, 2015
We can all envision this being a Fantasy Football nightmare. You own DeMarco Murray, but Chip Kelly suddenly favors Ryan Mathews because of a certain matchup. Mathews scores three touchdowns while Murray only has five touches.
I’ve paid close attention to Kelly’s comments that he needs to get Sproles more involved in the offense, and while I thought Mathews was originally a sleeper to target, I’m paying more attention to Sproles. What if he is able to be on the field more, and Kelly only has Mathews around for insurance purposes? We saw Sproles cut into LeSean McCoy’s receiving totals last year, so why couldn’t he be even more involved in 2015?
Sproles has reportedly seen reps as a receiver in training camp, and before his opportunities died down last season, the veteran back put up a crazy performance of 152 receiving yards in Week 2 of the 2014 season. He’s currently a 12th-round pick, so he isn’t going to hurt you if he doesn’t work out. He has a higher value in PPR leagues, but he could become a candidate for 1,000 total yards like Woodhead if he sees the field more.
Check back with the So-Called Fantasy Experts to find more sleepers to help you win your league.
- Week 4 Waiver Wire: Top Picks Include Dallas Goedert and Tyler Boyd - September 27, 2018
- Week 3 Waiver Wire: Top Picks Include Corey Clement and Corey Grant - September 19, 2018
- Week 2 Waiver Wire: Top Picks Include T.J. Yeldon and Austin Ekeler - September 11, 2018