2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Sleepers

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Tre Mason, Rams (118) – If Todd Gurley is the Rams starting RB in week 1, then this pick will look foolish but I don’t think he will be. There is a real chance Gurley starts the season on the PUP list which would leave Mason as the Rams workhorse back. Mason took over as the Rams starter in the 2nd half of last season and was solid with a 4.3 YPC and 4 TDs. I think the Rams will be cautious with Gurley even when healthy which means Mason should be in line for double-digit carries per game all season. Mason is currently going in the 9th-10th round which is great value for a guy who could be a solid FLEX option.

Reggie Bush, 49ers (120) – 2nd year RB Carlos Hyde is in line to be the Niners work-horse, but he didn’t prove enough during his rookie campaign to ease all concerns over his ability to handle the job and is currently dealing with a leg injury. Bush has had an up-and-down career, but reportedly is in great shape, 100% healthy, and in line to be the Niners 3rd down back. Should Hyde struggle, Bush should see an increase in touches. Plus the Niners are in shambles right now and could be trailing often which means more passing plays and more snaps for Bush. There are enough question marks with both Hyde and the Niners that I think Bush could end up seeing more touches than expected. In the 10th round there is little to no risk anyway and Bush has more upside than most players available that late.

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Chris Ivory, Jets (121) – He never gets much love in fantasy circles, but has never averaged less than 4.1 YPC in his five year career and is in line to be the Jets primary RB. The Jets have serious problems at QB which could lead to a heavy workload for Ivory and they added three new starters on the O-line which could lead to some actual running lanes which were rarely there last season. Ivory is a tough, reliable runner who isn’t splitting carries with anyone for the first time in his career and could be in line for his best season.

Bishop Sankey, Titans (128) – I think he may ultimately lose his job to rookie David Cobb, but to start the season I think Sankey will be the Titans starting RB. He showed absolutely nothing as a rookie, but it’s too early to give up on a guy that was the first RB taken in the 2014 draft. It’s not often you find any teams starting RB available in round 10 and he’s worth a dice roll just on potential upside alone. The Titans O-line and QB situation should be better this season which should at least open up more running lanes for Sankey. I went back and watched some college tape on Sankey who was one of my favorite backs in the draft and he looked like a completely different player than the stiff we saw with the Titans last year. I’m not sure what the difference was, but the version of Sankey I saw on tape has the talent and all around skill-set to be a 3-down back. In the 10th round it’s worth a pick to find out which guy shows up in 2015.

Alfred Blue, Texans (NR) – The Texans led the league in total rushes last season and should be among the leaders again this year. Arian Foster is still the lead back in Houston, but Blue should be his primary backup and with Foster’s unreliable health I’d be surprised if Blue doesn’t get a few starts in 2015. His numbers weren’t impressive last year (3.1 YPC) but he showed some flashes of speed and power and could be a useful fantasy player when Foster gets banged up.

Next: 2015 Fantasy Football: Rookie Running Backs

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