Looking for some late round dynamite your fantasy draft? Here are three running backs that won’t exactly be running off of the fantasy draft board.
Chris Ivory of the New York Jets, Marcel Reece of the Oakland Raiders, and Daryl Richardson of the Saint Louis Rams are great values who can all be picked up in the later rounds of most fantasy drafts. These players are solid starting options in two running back leagues as well as backups in one running back leagues.
While Ivory is owned in 100% of ESPN leagues, his ability to contribute to a fantasy team indicates that he should be drafted far higher than he currently is. Ivory has an average draft position of 57 in ESPN drafts, but he has some definite star potential.
Ivory spent last year buried on the Saints depth chart, but has shined when given the chance to play, including two 150-yard-plus rushing games. The well-documented knock against Ivory is his injuries.
Last season over the course of six games, Ivory rushed 40 times for whopping 217 yards which equals a very impressive 5.4 yards per carry. Throughout his 3-year career, Ivory has maintained an average of 5.1 yards per carry. That’s actually better than Adrian Peterson who averages 5.0 YPC for his career.
Now that Ivory is working in Rex Ryan‘s running back friendly system, he has the chance to thrive. With little in the way of competition other than Mike Goodson, who still hasn’t shown up to camp, Ivory figures to be the Jets featured back. Now the big question that nags fantasy owners is, “Can he stay healthy?”
While technically listed as a fullback, Marcel Reece is really a running back. At 6’1’’ 255 pounds, Reece runs a 4.5 40 making him a threat both in the trenches and in the open field. Running however, is not even Reece’s main asset, it’s his pass catching ability.
Reece finished third among running back targets last year with 73, making him a great value in PPR leagues. Reece caught 52 of those passes which were good 496 all-purpose yards and this season might be even better. Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn is playing behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines so he’ll be looking Reece’s way on almost every series so he can get rid of the ball with the short pass.
The only player blocking Reece from being the full-time running back is the injury ridden Darren McFadden. On average, McFadden misses 5.8 games per season, so Reece figures to see plenty of reps when McFadden inevitably finds himself on the IR.
Even if McFadden miraculously stays healthy, Reece figures to see plenty of reps at fullback, and even some reps at running back on third down. The combination of all these factors could make Reece a surefire difference maker for your fantasy team.
Rams running back Daryl Richardson spent most of last season running behind 1st stringer Steven Jackson. Now that Jackson is in Atlanta, Richardson figures to start the season as Saint Louis’ top running back.
During the 2012 season, the 23-year old passed the highly touted Isaiah Pead on the depth chart and continued to produce, registering 98 carries for 475 yards.
Richardson’s biggest weakness is his size. At only 5’10’’ 196 pounds, Richardson won’t see much goal line work as exhibited by his zero touchdowns last season. Though he will see some touchdowns this year, don’t count on him to be a 10+ rushing touchdown guy.
However, even if he is outplayed by Pead or rookie Zac Stacy, Richardson will always see plenty of reps on third down given his combination of speed, receiving and blocking ability. This makes Richardson a low risk-high reward player who is at worst is a serviceable backup and at best, is a solid starter in two running back leagues.