Fantasy Football Title Winning Moves: Finding the RB1s in the Middle Rounds

By targeting these running backs in the middle rounds, you could very well end up with multiple RB1s this season.

One thing we really pride ourselves on here at the Roto Street Journal is the ability to find you value where others simply don’t. It’s really about being able to identify the talent in those middle rounds who have the best shot at out-producing their expectations to put you over the fantasy hump. This year, there are a handful of middle round running back targets we love that could very well end up being bondafide RB1s when it’s all said and done.

For more “Title Winning Moves,” our Rankings Cheat Sheets (updated 8/30) and much, much more, subscribe here for your FREE Fantasy Football Investing Guide: Draft Day Edition, which will immediately be sent to your inbox. Released on August 30th, this is the most up-to-date draft guide on the internet.

Without further ado, here are the running backs you need to target in your drafts:

Bilal Powell (ADP: 59)

Bilal Powell is an interesting case because he dominated Weeks 13-17 last season — only being outscored by Le’Veon Bell and Aaron Rodgers — which then formed some hype for this season. With the Jets in full suck mode, the hype went reverse, and his ADP began to drop. Even though we are down on someone like Jordan Howard because of his lack of surrounding talent, we are 10 spots higher on Powell than his current ADP, because Powell is a great pass-catcher and a legit three-down back. With the Jets likely to be down multiple scores, look for Powell to rack up the receptions and YAC. During Week 3’s preseason game, Powell exploded for an 85-yard receiving touchdown and 133 total yards. With Robby Anderson as McCown’s top target on the perimeter and Matt Forte possibly on the trading block, expect Powell to get the lion’s share of touches for this vomit-inducing football team.

Kareem Hunt (ADP: 68)

It’s borderline psychotic that Kareem Hunt’s ADP is where it is after Spencer Ware‘s season-ending injury. To quote The Wolf, “Andy Reid’s RB1s have averaged 19.5 PPR Fantasy Points per Game thanks to an enormous receiving role in his quick-strike, high-percentage West Coast offense. Meanwhile, Hunt is a fantastic pass-catcher who has been heralded as a glove-like fit in this scheme since camp began.” Hunt really doesn’t have anyone pushing him (Charcandrick West doesn’t count) so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t get 15-plus touches per week. Hunt is a RB2 lock right now and has real RB1 potential due to his extensive skill set.

Mike Gillislee (ADP: 72)

Mike Gillislee and the Patriots were a match-made in heaven. The league’s reigning yards per carry leader found a home where he could immediately take over the early down, short yardage and goal line roles, for a team that often finds itself on the goal line. Think of it this way, LeGarrette Blount, a very pedestrian runner, plodded his fat ass to a league-leading 18 touchdowns in 2016. Gillislee is much more talented than Blount, and after sitting out the summer with a hammy, Gillislee showed just how easy it is to rack up touchdowns in this offense. In his preseason debut against the Lions, the former Bill found the end zone twice (one on a two-point conversion) and showed off his elusiveness with a 27-yard run. With Julian Edelman done for the season, it’s likely that the Patriots will use a mixture of Gillislee and James White or Dion Lewis on the field at times, which will keep defenses off-balanced. It also doesn’t hurt to have Tom Brady under center, who will always put his running backs in good situations with safeties out of the box. If Blount can finish as last year’s RB7, there’s no reason why Gillislee can’t finish in this year’s top-12.

Doug Martin (ADP: 77)

If you’ve read the site or listened to any of our podcasts, you knew Doug Martin would be featured on this list. Coming off a horrific 2016 season, expect Martin to return from a three game suspension pissed off and motivated to prove his worth and legitimacy as one of the league’s more talented backs. Martin is the ultimate steal right now, as you can get a low-end RB1 into the seventh round or beyond. With your team likely stacked by then, his price tag is justifiable for the immense upside at that spot. ‘Cuff him with Jacquizz Rodgers for the first three games, and you’ve got yourself the starting running back all season for a team that will score a ton of points. No brainer, imo.

Derrick Henry (ADP: 89)

With Demarco Murray showing early signs of soft tissue issues, Derrick Henry is like a fierce animal waiting to be let out of his cage. Murray was surprisingly healthy in 2016, but that’s unlikely to continue in 2017. Getting action with the first team, Henry racked up three touchdowns during the second and third games of the preseason, and also possessed reliable hands out of the backfield. If Murray finds himself on the shelf, there’s no reason why Henry won’t eat behind one of the league’s most dominant offensive lines. Sure, he could once again be stuck behind Murray for the entire season, but his upside is so immense he’s worth the stash at his current ADP.

For our other “Title Winning Moves,” our “Real-Time Rankings” and much, much more, subscribe here for your FREE Fantasy Football Investing Guide: Draft Day Edition, which will immediately be sent to your inbox. Released on August 30th, this is the most up-to-date draft guide on the internet.



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