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Justin’s World: Top 5 Sleeper RBs to target this Fantasy Season

Superdome by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Justin’s World: Top 5 Sleeper RBs to target this Fantasy Season

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The Running back position is one of the most coveted both in PPR and Standard Fantasy Football Leagues. As running back by committees begin to form and injuries start to run rampant at this position; I thought it was time to give my list of Top 5 sleeper picks at this position. Rookies will have their day this year. It’s my world you’re just reading about it. So let’s get this show on the road!

#5 Jordan Wilkins

You probably haven’t heard of Jordan Wilkins yet. If you have, kudos to you. Wilkins was a 5th round selection for the Colts this year and was a steal at that. Last season at Ole Miss, Wilkins was a workhorse back that ranked in the top 10 in elusive rating, 7th in yards after contact, and 10th in yards per route run. He has all the tools to be the starting three-down back for the Colts and his opportunity may come faster than expected. With Robert Turbin suspended for PED use, and Marlon Mack currently out with a hamstring injury, Wilkins has been receiving first-team reps in practice. currently ranks Jordan Wilkins outside the top 50 RBs at 55. However, with the way things are going for the Colts, he could be the starter as early as the midway point of this season. maybe earlier than that. This makes him a streamable flex player and high upside RB3.

For the most value I would take Wilkins in rounds 15-16 in standard leagues. In PPR, I would wait to pick him up on the waiver wire.

#4 Kerryon Johnson

The Lions are going to be an interesting team this year. Not for good reasons though. It’s hard to know what to expect under new head coach Matt Patricia, but usually defensive minded coaches love to run the ball. That being said this is now a very crowded backfield. New addition Kerryon Johnson is by far the most talented of them all. He may take time this season before being handed the reigns completely but he has the most upside. Johnson offers pass catching and workhorse potential. No other back on the roster can do both. In his first pre-season action with the Lions he played 40 snaps. He ran fro 34 yards on 7 carries and caught 4 of 5 targets for an additional 33 yards. 

Fantasy pros predicts that Kerryon will rush for 588 yards this season with 4 TDs. They also predict he will have 218 receiving yards and 1 TD. Those numbers will balloon if he becomes the true workhorse for the Lions. If this is the case he should be valued as a high upside flex/ low-end RB2.

For the most value I would draft Johnson in rounds 8-9 in standard leagues, and in rounds 7-8 in PPR leagues

#3 Rashaad Penny

A year removed from his stellar senior season at San Diego State that garnered him Heisman consideration, Rashaad Penny finds himself in a weird situation in his rookie season. He’s easily the most talented running back on Seattle but he’s young and needs help in the pass blocking game, oh and he just broke his FINGER! Ouch. The good news he’s already is back at practice after undergoing a simple procedure. I don’t believe he will start week 1 but it won’t be long before the Seahawks turn to the rookie they traded up to get. After all, we are talking about a man who was the #1 RB in the country last year in yards after contact and elusive rating. Oh, and did I mention he ran for 2,248 yards? As for the broken finger think of it as a good thing. Penny’s stock is now dropping so his value will go up when you draft him in the 7th or 8th round.

According to, he is rated as the 30th best RB heading into the season, but that would change once he becomes the bell cow for Seattle. At his best I think he can move into the Top 15 RBs this year which would place him in the RB1 category. For now treat him as a flex/ RB2.

For the most value I would take him in rounds 6-7 in standard leagues and in rounds 8-9 in PPR.

#2 Royce Freeman

Patience! I know John Elway hasn’t  been able to get this position right since taking over. That trend stops here with Royce Freeman. The third round pick is far and away the most talented back on the roster and shouldn’t take long to win the starting job. He had many eye opening stats in college but I think the best was posting 3.39 yards after contact. In the NFL that stat matters most. He’s gonna get hit often and if he can muscle yards out after contact, Freeman will be setting himself up for success in this league. In his first pre-season action, Royce carried the ball 4 times for 38 yards and a touchdown! Not bad. predicts that Royce will carry the ball for 767 yards and 4 TDs, with 248 receiving yards and 1TD. This safely puts him in the RB2 category.

For the most value I would draft him in rounds 5-6 in standard and PPR leagues.

#1 Mark Ingram

It seems odd to put him on the list due to his overall production over the past 3 years, but that’s what being suspended 4 games will do to a player. That being said think of his suspension as a good thing…for you! His value drops as he will only play in 12 games this year which means he will be available in rounds 4-5 maybe even 6.

Here’s what you should know. If he didn’t play in four games last year , still would’ve ended in the top 15 of RBs. Even with Alvin Kamara severely cutting into his playing time last year, Ingram was still able to finish in the top 10 is yards after contact, breakaway percentage, and the all-important , touches. So before you waste a 5th round pick on Derrick Henry who will be touchdown dependent, think about taking a flyer on a proven player in the league.

According to, Ingram is projected to rush for 722 yards and 6TDs, while adding 247 receiving yards and 1 TD. This puts him in the RB2/fringe RB1 category.

For the most value, I’d select him in round 5 in both standard and PPR leagues.

Don’t agree? Comment below and we can fight about it!

A Florida Boy who now calls LA his home now! In my free time all I do is watch sports and look up stats. I love all things college football, especially my beloved Miami Hurricanes! I also partake in my fair share of Fantasy Football and Basketball.

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