Isaiah Pead | St. Louis Rams
Isaiah Pead will compete with rookie Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson in training camp for the St. Louis Rams starting running back role. He had a limited role last season as longtime Ram Steven Jackson was still the focal point of the running game, as he only recorded 10 rushing attempts for 57 yards. In his senior season at the University of Cincinnati, Pead rushed for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns, while recording 39 receptions for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has a 6.0 YPC average over that span. Pead has the most upside of the three but the fact that he will serve a week 1 suspension doesn’t help his favor. If Stacy or Richardson are to impress in week 1, it could be hard for Pead to take over as the starter. If he’s able to land the starting role, he could for into a productive RB2 for 2013. The Rams training camp will surely be one to watch this season.
Isaiah Pead’s Current ADP – Late 9th Round
Johnathan Franklin | Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers have had a soft spot in their offense for years; their running game. They made that a priority this past April in the NFL Draft when they drafted Eddie Lacy in the second-round and Johnathan Franklin in the fourth-round. Projected as a first-round pick, teams were scared off by Lacy’s injury history justifying why he fell to the Packers in the second-round. Lacy is more of a power back, while Franklin is quicker and more electrifying. While the Packers will try to pound the ball up the center with Lacy, Franklin has more upside as he is the better receiving back that can do more danger in the open field. The goal line carries more than likely will go to Eddie Lacy, but with his injury history and limited playmaking ability, Johnathan Franklin is the better Packer running back to own in 2013 and you can get him five rounds later. It’s a win/win for fantasy owners.
Johnathan Franklin’s Current ADP – Mid-10th Round
Marcel Reece | Oakland Raiders
Serving as Darren McFadden’s backup and the starting full back last season, Marcel Reece wasn’t used a whole lot in the running game. He started four games for the Raiders in 2012 when McFadden went down with an ankle injury; averaging 13 rush attempts, 65 rushing yards, 5 receptions, and 48 receiving yards per game. The Oakland Raiders new offensive coordinator has said that Reece could become the third-down back in 2013 along with still being the starting full back. Though Marcel Reece is more of a receiving back than a rushing back, McFadden has missed nearly 29% of regular season games in his NFL career (he’s never played over 13 games in a season). With Reece’s already increased role in 2013 and Darren McFadden’s injury history, he’s one to draft in the latest parts of your fantasy draft as more of a handcuff with upside.
Marcel Reece’s Current ADP – Mid-13th Round
Joique Bell | Detroit Lions
With Reggie Bush now in town, Joique Bell is listed at the third running back on the depth chart entering training camp. So why’s he on this list? Until 2011, Reggie Bush has never received more than 200 carries in a single season. His career high of 227 rush attempts came last season with the Miami Dolphins. I think Bush’s carries will be cut back to 190-210 carries this season but will be more productive in the passing game like he was early on in his career (averaged 80 receptions his first two seasons). Mikel Leshoure was the lead back last season and didn’t perform like the Lions thought he would. He’s had an injury-plagued limited career, as I could see Bell surpassing Leshoure on the depth chart early on in the season if not in training camp. While Bell won’t replicate his 52 reception season, he should get more up the center opportunities than he did last season. For a deep pick, Bell is worth the gamble.
Joique Bell’s Current ADP – 14th-15th Round
Christine Michael | Seattle Seahawks
The future of the Seattle Seahawks, rookie running back Christine Michael is another to target in the later rounds of your fantasy draft. He was drafted in the second-round this past April. While Marshawn Lynch’s job is one of the most secure in the NFL, he does have off-field issues looming over his head but is still very much up in the air. Rotoworld.com has reported that the case could drag into 2014, in which Lynch would not be suspended this season. He’s similar to Lynch as he’s a power back that can hit the hole hard. While he’s been injured regularly at Texas A&M, he’s put together 1,530 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games dating back to 2011. If he’s healthy in training camp, he should impress the coaching staff enough to bump him past Robert Turbin to second on the depth chart. Lynch’s off-field incident is one to monitor as Michael could be something special if given the opportunity.
Christine Michael’s Current ADP – 14th-15th Round
Will you be drafting any of these deep sleeper running backs this season?