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2010 Sleeper Running Backs
David Dorey
August 25, 2010
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Using the average draft results as of 8/24/10 at, below are the running backs that are being drafted from #37 to #77. This is not my ranking or yours, it is the combined results of hundreds of drafts so it is about as close to what you can expect in your league as you can reasonably find.

Here is my brief take on those 40 running backs with the players I am "hot" on in yellow and the ones I am "cool" on in blue. The yellow can be considered sleepers of sorts though the farther down you go, the less likely they are to become a starter for your team. Fantasy football drafting is not just about statistics and projections. It is an art and I, like each of you, simply have gut feelings and risk assessments outside the numbers that matter a great deal when I draft.

Rank Player Team Comments
37 Williams, Carnell TBB I want to say I am cool on Williams but at the 37th RB spot, he is a starter in Tampa Bay and for what ever reason, they have stood by him. I cannot imagine owning him or that he'd turn in stats with any consistency, largesse or fantasy relevance. But at 37th? Sure, probably about right.
38 McFadden, Darren OAK They got rid of Jamarcus Russell. McFadden should be feeling some heat since he's been a dog since he has been there and more often hurt than playing. I remember when he had a 100 yard game as a rookie. And then I remember all those games since and let him slip on by every round.
39 Foster, Arian HOU Foster is no doubt rising fast from this ADP spot and as the starter in Houston, I'd like to have him for an RB3. He might end up as a RB2 value since he catches and runs and plays for a Texans offense that can move the ball. Since the rookie Ben Tate is gone, I feel much better about Foster this year. Steve Slaton? All yours baby.
40 Hardesty, Montario CLE <and placed on injured reserve anyway>
41 Jackson, Fred BUF I was actually high on Jackson this year but then C. J. Spiller was drafted. I still thought he would have value like Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. But he hurt his hand and the Bills are starting to fall apart even before the season starts so I'm cooling on him. He's a Justin Fargas type - the team never wants to rely on him and yet that seems almost unavoidable and he posts decent stats when given the chance. If I had Spiller, man - I would own Jackson too.
42 Tomlinson, LaDainian NYJ Sure, you could make a case for not wanting him but the Jets love to run and at least some could be left over for Tomlinson. And LT has been a very good receiver in the past as well. Seems like he has at least some fantasy relevance in PPR leagues and if Greene gets hurt from trying to run over everything, Tomlinson might end up RB3-ish. Kinda hard to forget about the past King LT and recognize LT-lite 2010 though. I'd still consider drafting him at this spot for sure.
43 Sproles, Darren SDC Sproles may have a slightly larger role this year but Ryan Mathews appears to be enough to keep Sproles below fantasy relevance. Wouldn't blame anyone for drafting him since he catches the ball and the whole Vincent Jackson thing makes their passing game a bit shakier.
44 Slaton, Steve HOU Slaton smacks of guys like Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, etc. who had great games and when they start to decline, they went face first and just never recover. Slaton's neck has me plenty scared of considering.
45 Hightower, Tim ARI Granted - Hightower is never going to be a fantasy stud. He's not even going to be a starter for his own team. But in a league that rewards receptions, I have to think Hightower is going to be a very nice depth guy for your team. He had 63 catches last year and judging by Matt Leinart's preseason form, he's going to really appreciate a passing target only five yards away. Beanie Wells will get most of the runs and rushing scores. But Hightower has some value that could be useful in a PPR league.
46 Jones, Thomas KCC Jones is one of those guys that we're going to have to wait and see. And I hate that. He was very effective last year for the Jets when he rushed for a career best 1402 yards and scored 14 times while going against what ended up as the easiest rushing schedule in the league. He ended up with a sprained knee and was ineffective in the playoffs while Greene was impressive. Now the 32-year old guy comes to KC where Jamaal Charles is much faster and a better runner but HC Todd Haley seems committed to using Thomas in a committee anyway. Not sure I buy it. Jones has not looked good and he has looked 32 years old. All I know is I do not touch Jones unless I own Charles in which case I am definitely going to take Jones.
47 Maroney, Laurence NEP Maroney is one of those players that I would never, ever own. Having projected for him when healthy I know he shows up when you do not expect it and disappears when you want him. Maroney is my personal "bad mojo" player to own in fantasy. I silently thank the guy who drafts him.
48 Taylor, Chester CHI I am actually kind of cool on Chester because the #2 guy in a Mike Martz scheme does almost nothing and Matt Forte is looking better this year. But Chester catches the ball well and Forte could always get hurt. In a PPR league, I would own Taylor if I had Forte and I would even be willing to steal him at this point.
49 McGahee, Willis BAL I know Ray Rice has taken over and turned into a stud. But McGahee has 12 touchdowns last year and eight of those were from week 12 onward. If Rice is hurt, I want to own McGahee. If I was in a TD-only league, I want to own McGahee. But more than anything, McGahee's name keeps getting thrown around as a possible trade to teams really needing help and I would love to own him if he fell into a better situation.
50 Gerhart, Toby MIN I am shocked that some Adrian Peterson owners do not grab Gerhart. Then again, I don't seem to be stealing him either. With that O-line, Gerhart could become the second coming of John Riggins were Peterson to ever go down injured. But I just don't think it is going to happen so I let him go past me and wonder how big a gambler the ADP owner is.
51 Lynch, Marshawn BUF Lynch is just old news by now and #3 on the depth chart. He's a nonfactor when everyone is healthy and marginal at best were he to be given a workload of any measure. Hard to understand why a #3 RB on a bad team is going this high other than once upon a time, he seemed to have potential.
52 Choice, Tashard DAL This is somewhat an emotional pick for me and not one that I would make this early. Choice has been very effective for the Cowboys when he was given a decent workload. And I love to see players who have heart. Choice is like the final pick in my draft who I hope to get to use but inevitably have to drop to replace some kicker on a bye week. Now I think I will lay down and bleed awhile.
53 Washington, Leon SEA I was cool on Washington since he broke his leg last year and was dumped by the Jets. But Washington appears to have completely recovered from that injury and the backfield in Seattle will remain a committee of some measure. That means Washington will have some fantasy value and yet not a lot. This is an appropriate place for him to be drafted since SEA has a great schedule and there is always a chance that the other rushers for the Seahawks get injured.
54 Smith, Kevin DET Just another back who had his shot, didn't do much more than prove to have durability problems and is now being replaced. If I was the Jahvid Best owner, I might take Smith but otherwise he has no real non-backup value.
55 Scott, Bernard CIN Another backup guy that is a good pick in deep leagues for the Cedric Benson owner but short of an injury to Benson, Scott is a nonfactor.
56 Johnson, Larry WAS I wouldn't take Johnson myself because I am not getting involved with Redskins RB's now that Shanahan is there. Johnson is on the back slope and gaining speed. I'd be more surprised if he amounted to anything than if he was just released.
57 Dwyer, Jonathan PIT He's dropping like a rock and still has a shoulder injury. Isaac Redman has passed him by on the depth chart and there is no guarantee Dwyer makes the team because he has turned off the coaches because of his attitude and nagging injuries.
58 Ward, Derrick TBB The Buccaneers discovered that Ward is not quite as good when he was not running behind the NYG O-line. The 30-year old back is old news only getting older.
59 Ringer, Javon TEN Ringer has been impressive in preseason work and merits being taken by the Chris Johnson owner but short of injury to Johnson there is no fantasy value here. Only as a backup.
60 Buckhalter, Correll DEN I did like Buckhalter this year since he had almost 900 total yards and 31 catches last year and the Broncos have a pretty sweet rushing schedule but C-Buck has been injured this summer with a bad back and hasn't played yet. And the Broncos added Justin Fargas. It has been a committee already and it may be even more of one this year. C-Buck should remain the primary backup to Knowshon Moreno but I am not interested in him as more than a backup for Moreno.
61 Bell, Mike PHI I am liking Bell at least some. He's missed some preseason time with a calf injury but he leaves the Saints where he gained 654 rush yards and five touchdowns in limited work. And now he goes to the Eagles that needed 200 carries from Brian Westbrook and Leonard Weaver last year. The Eagles have a nice schedule and Bell gets to play the "Buckhalter" role that saw him get about 700 yards and four scores in 2008 in Philly. LeSean McCoy is looking better though so Bell may not be really relevant unless McCoy gets hurt. But Bell will be the short yardage and goal line guy regardless.
62 Westbrook, Brian SFO Not going to bother. Anthony Dixon has been impressive and will be the #2 guy (that doesn't really matter anyway unless Gore is injured). Westbrook is a name and a memory but not a solution for this year.
63 Snelling, Jason ATL I think Snelling is underrated. He stepped in to replace the injured Michael Turner and had several impressive games along with supplying the offense with a receiving back. Snelling had 30 catches for 259 yards and a score and ended with 613 yards on 142 runs with four more TD's last year. Turner is back and healthy again but the Falcons want to use Snelling more to keep Turner fresh. Turner had 385 carries in 2008 and then broke down last year. Snelling has a role on this improving offense. And if Turner is injured again...
64 White, LenDale DEN Probably won't make the final roster and if he does, he's not going to carry fantasy relevance.
65 Dixon, Anthony SFO I would definitely draft him if I owned Gore but probably not worth stealing. Gore only misses one game per year - one his owners would ever use Dixon.
66 Jones, Julius SEA I know, Seattle needs help and Jones is a veteran who has at least occasionally displayed some form. But he's a bigger surprise to still be on the team that has already given up on him. HC Pete Carroll will have some rotation in the backfield but Jones is the least likely to benefit. I gave up on Jones a while back.
67 McKnight, Joe NYJ Why? The Jets already have Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. What are the chances a tiny rookie is going to produce fantasy relevant numbers? I'd guess about zero. He's even been noted to have an attitude which is even worse.
68 Starks, James GBP I guess the world loves a rookie but a #3 guy holds no interest for me. Much less one who has not practiced since training camp because of a hamstring injury.
69 Jennings, Rashad JAC Jennings has beaten out Deji Karim to retain the #2 role. Last year that netted him a whole 300 total yards and one score. Maurice Jones-Drew owners need to grab him but no one else ever does.
70 Taylor, Fred NEP If I was going to grab a NE running back - and trust me I never ever would - it would be Fred Taylor who will look good for how ever many games before getting injured. No matter if it is just a hangnail - you need to throw him away once he ever appears on an injury report. But early in the season if you have to own a Patriot, it would be Fred. And you can wait until after I pick.
71 Huggins, Kareem TBB Not sure why I like this guy so much. Oh yeah, he is one of the rare players looking good in preseason games. Here is the deal. I have no faith in Carnell Williams to be anything more than a very mediocre back and even less in Derrick Ward. Which means I think Huggins gets in on the committee backfield and if anyone there can produce big stats, it is Huggins. That doesn't mean it will happen, but if it did, it would be him. But lot's of other people are starting to chase down the Kareem Huggins Band Wagon.
72 Morris, Sammy NEP I am convinced that Morris will have at least a few big games and maybe several this year. It all depends on you. Because if you start him, he's going to disappear and if you bench him, he'll score twice. So this one's all on you, not me.
73 Jackson, Brandon GBP Entrenched as the #2 in Green Bay, Jackson has improved and gained the confidence of the coaching staff who claim he is capable of being the full-time back if needed. It is a great offense and he could be a nice one to own if Ryan Grant gets hurt. With that offense, it makes him worth stealing even though he'll fall short of fantasy relevance without Grant going down.
74 Blount, LeGarrette TEN Something about this guy makes me want to punch him in the face. Javon Ringer is locked in as the #2 so rookie or not, Blount has no real value barring an injury to Johnson and Ringer.
75 Faulk, Kevin NEP Like Sammy Morris only less productive. Faulk is quietly trying to become the oldest player in the league. Someone will pick him off waivers this year. And never use him.
76 Karim, Deji JAC We thought Karim was going to be someone that the Jags could use as the #2 and spell Maurice Jones-Drew. And then they made him wear those pads and practice. Ends up Karim is not a "pads" kind of running back apparently.

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