Value Running Backs 2019 (PPR)
If you want to win your fantasy league you need to find value running backs in 2019. Every year there are a few players at each position that breakout fantasy wise. Guys like George Kittle from the 49ers were big time breakouts in 2018. Fantasy owners got amazing value on Kittle whose ADP in 2018 was No. 123 overall. Guys like Benjamin Watson (ADP 117) and Mike Gesicki (ADP 118) were being drafted before Kittle. Fantasy leagues are won in the later rounds.
James White – New England Patriots Average Draft Position – RB24
Sony Michel is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery this offseason and started camp on the PUP list. Reports say that he is progressing well, so this could just be precautionary. James White was vital to the Patriot offense in 2018. With the Patriots losing Gronk and Chris Hogan this offseason, those targets have to go somewhere. They did make some additions this offseason adding N’Keal Harry and veteran wideout Demaryius Thomas. However, that shouldn’t stop James White getting looks constantly in the passing game.
White was the check down option many times in 2018. Attracting 123 targets and managing to haul in 87 on the season. He found the endzone in the passing game seven times in 2018. The Patriots used him situationally to run the football and he was able to rip off five rushing touchdowns as well. With 12 total touchdowns in 2018, White seems to have flown under the radar as one of the better value running backs. Look for White to potentially finish ahead of Michel this season whose ADP is now 27th in PPR formats. Look at White in the later rounds if you get into running back trouble and need some value running backs to stack up on.
Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins (Average Draft Position – RB26)
Kenyan Drake is coming off his best season as a pro, he gained 1,012 yards from scrimmage. With that being said, he also has a new offensive coordinator from New England, Chad O’Shea. O’Shea was a Wide Receivers Coach from 2009-2018 and has 15 years of coaching experience. New England utilized backs that can catch the football out of the backfield like James White for example. Miami will try to run a similar style offense as the Patriots with O’Shea coming into the offensive coordinator role.
Drake accumulated 73 targets last season and caught 53 of them for 477 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for four touchdowns and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Adam Gase reportedly was not the biggest fan of Drake, but with a new coaching staff it seems he will be used much more. He fits into this new offense which will cater to the running back, giving Drake a chance to move around in more formations. Drake has high RB2 potential this season and you will be able to wait on him at your draft. You could pass on Derrick Henry who’s ADP is RB20 and then wait a whole extra round to snag one of the value running backs in Drake.
Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos (Average Draft Position – RB22)
Phillip Lindsay was a nice surprise for fantasy owners last season. He was a huge pickup for anyone that grabbed him off waivers quick enough. Lindsay was the first undrafted rookie running back to make the Pro Bowl. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and racked up 1,037 rushing yards. He was able to punch the ball into the endzone 10 times in 2018. Nine times on the ground and one time in the air. The Broncos signed Lindsay and perceived him to be a kick returner in camp and occasionally to be used as a scat back. The Broncos threw him the football 47 times and he caught 35 passes for 241 yards.
Lindsay slowed down last year when Emanuel Sanders went down with an achilles injury. Opposing teams began to dare the Broncos to throw the deep ball. Teams would play man coverage and stack the box because they knew Lindsay was the biggest threat. Opponents would rather force Case Keenum to beat them with his arm and a young and inexperienced receiver core.
With Flacco able to throw the deep ball, it will make teams respect the pass and play a lot of Cover 2. The safeties won’t be able to help stack the box. If teams do, Joe Flacco will exploit the one-on-one coverage. Flacco hasn’t had a big-body receiver like Cortland Sutton since Anquan Boldin. The Broncos also added Mike Munchak who is a Hall of Fame ex-player and one of the best O-line coaches in the business. Expect Linsday to take a step forward in season two. Lindsay will finish in the 14-16 range and his ceiling, if used in the passing game more, will have RB 1 potential.