Finding good value running backs in fantasy football drafts is key. If you take a running back a round or two early, it could end up tanking your entire team. That’s why it’s important to identify undervalued fantasy football running backs who could end up falling right into your lap during fantasy drafts.
Running backs are potentially the most important position in fantasy football. Considering you need at least two of them in most leagues, and most teams in the NFL rely primarily on one running back for the bulk of their workload, it’s important to identify players at this position who can come in and produce right off the bat for your team.
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That’s why finding underrated players in your fantasy drafts is so important. Using ADP (average draft position) to help us, let’s take a look at five running backs that are undervalued and could end up being steals in many fantasy drafts.
Undervalued fantasy football running backs
5. Ezekial Elliott (ADP: RB15)
There’s been a lot of Ezekial Elliott slander throughout the 2022 NFL offseason. Elliott’s production tailed off last season, and given how solid Tony Pollard looks behind him on the Cowboys depth chart, there have been many fans in Dallas calling for Elliott’s head before the start of the 2022 season.
That has certainly impacted Elliott’s fantasy stock, and he’s dropped down many draft boards as a result. What people forget is that Elliott is still a solid starting running back for the Cowboys who will get the majority of Dallas’ carries out of the backfield while running behind one of the better offensive lines in the league. Elliott’s floor as a RB2 is clear, but we’ve also seen his ceiling be one of the top running backs in the league, making him extremely underrated heading into the 2022 fantasy season.
4. Devin Singletary (ADP: RB25)
Given the unknown status of the Buffalo Bills backfield, Devin Singletary is entering the 2022 season as a FLEX option in most leagues. It makes sense, considering how Singletary has never eclipsed 200 carries in a single season and the fact that the Bills used a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on James Cook.
Still, it seems like Singletary is very undervalued right now. The Bills finally seem willing to give him the brunt of their carries, and he was one of the most productive running backs in the league over the final five games when the Bills finally gave him a starting workload (80 CAR, 375 YDS, 5 TD, 14 REC, 110 YDS, 1 TD). If Singletary starts for Buffalo, chances are he will end up cementing himself as an RB2 this season.
3. Elijah Mitchell (ADP: RB 22)
Similar to Singletary, the San Francisco 49ers never seemed fully willing to give Elijah Mitchell his full share of the carries last season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to mix and match in his offense, and while Mitchell was the primary running back when he was healthy, he ended up missing six games last season. If he played all 17 games, he probably would be a shoe-in top 15 running back.
The 49ers seem intent on leaning more on Mitchell out of the backfield this season. He outproduced Jeff Wilson Jr. by a pretty wide margin last season, and Mitchell’s numbers in 11 games last season (207 CAR, 963 YDS, 5 TD) indicate a guy who could be a top running back if he can stay healthy. Mitchell is a very safe FLEX option who has the potential to become a low-end RB1 if things go his way.
2. Josh Jacobs (ADP: RB 21)
It’s kind of fascinating how Josh Jacobs has fallen so far down boards. He didn’t see as much of the ball as was used to last season, but was still fairly effective. Jacobs has eclipsed 1100 total yards while scoring at least seven touchdowns in each of his three NFL campaigns, yet he’s never been treated as a top tier running back.
At this rate, Jacobs is a FLEX for most folks, despite being the clear cut top running back for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into the season. He’s also improved as a receiver each season he’s played, and given the improvements the Raiders offense has undergone this offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him put together another fine campaign for owners who are lucky enough to store him as a FLEX option.
1. Leonard Fournette (ADP: RB 13)
It’s almost impressive how underrated Leonard Fournette is heading into the 2022 season. Despite missing three games last season, Fournette finished as the 11th best fantasy running back in the NFL, and chances are he will finish higher this season. Fournette has established himself as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers best rushing and receiving running back, making himself a vital part of their offense.
Given how Fournette is already on Tom Brady’s good side, it seems like a good idea to expect him to be a big part of Tampa’s offense, even with all their new additions this offseason. If Fournette falls to you, take him, because chances are you are getting a RB1 in the second or third round, making Fournette one of the best value picks in the entire draft.