13 Deep Sleepers at Running Back

The Footballguys staff digs deep for sleepers at running back

A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. This article specifically targets deep sleeper value (players that can be found very late in a fantasy draft). In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look deeper than the Top 150 and identify players that should significantly outperform their late draft position. These players should be your targets after the 12th round of your draft.

Player Receiving 6 Votes

Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville

Sigmund Bloom: Armstead comes into the year as the top backup to Leonard Fournette, who is clearly departing after the season. How will Fournette and the team handle this lame-duck situation? It’s possible that they decide to see more of their backups (including 2019 UDFA Devine Ozigbo and 2020 UDFA James Robinson) as the season goes on, and it’s also possible that the team drafted Armstead in the fifth-round last year knowing that he was part of a plan to replace Fournette.

James Brimacombe: The whole Jacksonville running back situation is reminding me of two years ago in Pittsburgh when Le'Veon Bell held out and James Conner was inserted into his role and won people fantasy championships. The Jaguars have been trying to trade Leonard Fournette for two years now and have even benched him in the past. The big question is will Jacksonville release him before the season and maybe even think about tanking this season altogether as part of a rebuild. I like Armstead as a late-round pick just in case the Jaguars decide to part ways with Fournette.

Andrew Davenport: Here's an interesting fact about the guy who is the starter ahead of Armstead: Leonard Fournette, according to Pro Football Outsiders, finished the season as the 34th ranked running back in Defensive Adjusted Yards over Replacement (DYAR). Why is this significant? His DYAR value was exactly zero. That means he was the actual definition of a replacement-level player in 2019. That was borne out in the fact that Jacksonville tried trading him around the NFL draft and wasn't successful. Despite trying to move on from Fournette, the Jaguars didn't make any strong moves to bring in any competition for Armstead, so if Fournette performs poorly or gets traded, Armstead shoots up draft boards as a starting running back. Jacksonville has no long term commitment to their starter, so as a result, his backup has strong value as a late-round pick.

Andy Hicks: With the Jaguars seemingly in rebuild mode and Leonard Fournette not part of their future, there is every chance we see significant playing time for Ryquell Armstead this year. Whether he is good enough is debatable, but getting an opportunity is everything in the NFL. Armstead will need breaks to go his way to play all three downs with the arrival of Chris Thompson but can, at the least, play third down very well. With the injury history of Thompson and the tenuous situation regarding Fournette, Armstead is a player that should be on your radar as the year unfolds.

Jeff Pasquino: Armstead has late-round sleeper value as both the handcuff to Leonard Fournette and his relatively unknown potential. Armstead would see a ton of work if Fournette misses any time - and he has missed 12 games in his first three seasons. He is worth a very late pick, especially for Fournette owners. Fournette is in his final season with Jacksonville, making Armstead a sneaky addition in keeper and dynasty formats.

Jason Wood: The Jaguars may be the worst offensive team in the league and are clearly focused on 2021 and beyond. But Armstead has the talent and physicality to step into Leonard Fournette's lead role if the opportunity presents. The former Temple Owl has a complete skill set, with good vision, functional power, and a low center of gravity. It's hard to get excited about a bad team's backup running back, but all No. 2 running backs have draft value and Armstead is in the top third of projected backups from a talent perspective.

Players Receiving 4 Votes

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