2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Sleepers

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With the 2015 NFL season less than 3 months away, it’s time to start doing prep work for your fantasy football draft. Over the next few weeks I will be breaking down every position with a primer, rankings, sleepers, busts, and rookies.

Often the key to winning your fantasy league is finding a late round or waiver pick up that blows up out of nowhere to give you starter level production. Running backs like Justin Forsett, C.J. Anderson, and Jeremy Hill won people a lot of leagues last year. Normally the top 15-20 running backs are gone by the end of the 3rd round, so in order to find that elusive 3rd RB, you need to find a back that is outside the top 50 on draft day.

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My sleeper list will hopefully help you find an RB or two from the 6th round on (avg pick 60+) that has the potential to be a game-changer for your fantasy squad. The proliferation of passing offenses and PPR leagues have sapped a little value from the once dominant RB position, but I still think the best way to win your league is too have three solid RBs who can consistently put up double-digit fantasy lines.

I already covered rookie RBs so I’m leaving then off the list below, but in case you didn’t click the link I’m higher than most on Ameer Abdullah, David Cobb, David Johnson, and Cameron Artis-Payne.

* The average draft pick info is from Yahoo.

Running Back Sleepers:

Latavius Murray Raiders (avg pick=61) – Didn’t get significant touches until late in the year, but showed flashes of impact talent like a 90-yard TD run vs the Chiefs and a 5.2 YPC average for the season. Murray has elite size (6’3 | 225), breakaway speed, and presumably the #1 spot on the RB depth chart. The Raiders revamped their O-line with 4 free agents, including center Rodney Hudson, and should have a much improved ground attack in 2015. Murray has the talent to be a top-12 RB and could be a steal in the 6th round where he’s projected as of today.

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Joseph Randle, Cowboys (86) – The Cowboys had the best O-line in football last year and with most of the line being 25 or under, they could be even more dominant in 2015. In limited action (51 carries) Randle showed talent last season with a ridiculous 6.7 yards per carry. There is no way he’s going to match that as the lead back this season, but the fact that the Cowboys didn’t pursue an established RB1 leads me to believe it wasn’t a fluke. Running behind that O-line should give Randle the opportunity to have a breakout season with 1,000+ yards and double-digit TDs a real possibility. He has enough size (6’0 | 210) to hold up with the increased workload and showed good receiving skills in college. Randle is one of my top choices for a breakout season in 2015.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns (108) – One of my favorite backs in last year’s draft and a guy I really wanted the Bears to sign as an UDFA. Crowell ended up winning the Browns starting RB job in the 2nd half of last season and is the favorite to have the job in week 1 of 2015. The return of Pro Bowl center Alex Mack should improve the Browns running game and Crowell should be the beneficiary. He has legit RB1 talent and I think he’ll hold off Terrance West and rookie Duke Johnson. With serious QB issues and no WRs, the Browns could easily lead the league in rush attempts which could mean a big season for Crowell. He should have the goal-line job locked up after scoring 7 TDs on just 15 red zone attempts.