Running back is arguably the most important position to get right in fantasy football. Due to the fact that there is a pretty steep drop-off from the elite guys to those in the tier right below them. Guys like Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffery are regularly going with the first couple picks of the draft, due to the elite upside they can provide your team at the most volatile position in football. If you either miss out on those guys or you prefer to wait on drafting running backs altogether, then allow me to show you some great running back sleepers you can find late in drafts.
2022 Running Back Sleepers
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
The first of the running back sleepers that I will cover is Rashaad Penny. It seems crazy to call Rashaad Penny a sleeper at this point given the situation he’s in and how last season ended for him, but he’s going relatively late in drafts. Rashaad Penny was nonexistent fantasy-wise before the month of December. Due to the neck injury of Chris Carson, the Seahawks gave the keys to Rashaad Penny, and let’s just say he floored it. During the last six games of the regular season, Rashaad Penny had double-digit touches and of those six games he rushed for over 135 yards in four of them, also scoring six rushing touchdowns during that stretch as well.
As of writing this, Rashaad Penny is projected to be the workhorse running back in a run-first Seattle Seahawks offense. The problem with this is that the Seahawks probably won’t be very good this season, which means Rashaad Penny might not get a lot of meaningful touches. Also, the Seahawks drafted Kenneth Walker in the second round of this year’s draft. While that may be cause for concern the Seahawks seem more likely to ease Kenneth Walker into being the running back of the future, while they allow Rashaad Penny to run loose and hopefully recapture some of his late-season magic.
Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins
Chase Edmonds is next on my list of running back sleepers. He finds himself in a brand new situation after not getting a contract extension from the Cardinals and was quickly picked up by the Miami Dolphins. During the 2021 season, Chase Edmonds averaged 11.9 points per game in PPR and finished as the RB 30. Chase Edmonds only had one game where he eclipsed 100 rushing yards, and was only able to score two touchdowns all season. Not only that he got injured and was only able to play in 12 games last season. To add insult to injury James Conner outperformed him and ultimately took over the Arizona backfield.
The reason he is one of my running back sleepers is that his competition for touches is very weak. In his seven seasons, Raheem Mostert has had one season where he played in every game. The only reason Sony Michel is here is that they need injury insurance. As for Myles Gaskin, I doubt he’ll be on the team by season’s end. While this may be a backfield by committee I fully expect Chase Edmonds to be leading it. Chase Edmonds is by far the best receiving back in this group and it’s not even close, so I expect to see him on the field during third downs and if they are behind late in the game and need to play catch up. Couple all of this with the Dolphins having the projected third easiest running back schedule, and I expect Chase Edmonds to outperform his ADP.
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons
Rookie Tyler Allgeier is the next of my running back sleepers. Tyler Allgeier is on this list because of the situation he got drafted into. Taken in the fifth round of this year’s draft, he finds himself competing for touches with Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams. Both of whom are in their 30s. While Cordarrelle Patterson was a pleasant surprise last year by finishing as the RB 7 in PPR, I don’t see that happening again. His production went way down during the last few weeks of the season. Cordarrelle Patterson will most likely not be a workhorse back this season. As for Damian Williams, he wasn’t even the go-to backup for the Bears last year when David Montgomery missed time.
Out of all the rookie running backs, Tyler Allgeier is in the best situation to have fantasy relevance from day 1. During his last 2 seasons at BYU, he ran for 2731 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 42 receptions for 373 yards. Those are some pretty solid numbers over the course of two seasons. The Falcons themselves have already stated that they have high expectations from him. He can easily become their bell-cow back midway through the season and being able to pick up a potential bell-cow back with an ADP of 161 is just stealing. There is absolutely no reason not to take a stab at Tyler Allgeier in your drafts, especially when you can get him in the 13th round right now.
Marlon Mack, Houston Texans
The last of the running back sleepers I want to discuss is Marlon Mack. As you may know, Marlon Mack rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2019. The future seemed bright going into the 2020 season but then he, unfortunately, suffered a torn Achilles. Jonathan Taylor then took over and never looked back. Now three years removed from that Achilles injury and Marlon Mack finds himself on a new team that doesn’t have a starting running back. His main competition is Rex Burkhead and rookie Dameon Pierce. Recent reports from the Texans coaching staff are all positive that he’s back in pre-injury form. I fully expect Marlon Mack to start the season as the starting running back and seeing as he has an ADP of 171 he’s pretty much free for you to take a shot at him in the hopes that he can get back to 2019 form.