Backup RB Tiers: Who to Target in Your Fantasy Football Drafts in 2023

The FootClan
Unlock Exclusive Tools + Bonus Episode
Join the FootClan

While the idea of stockpiling backup running backs might seem like a wise strategy for your fantasy football drafts, it is not always the most optimal path to success. These players could certainly find themselves in lucrative roles due to unexpected injuries or other unforeseen circumstances during the season. However, it is important to consider potential drawbacks, such as the fact that they occupy valuable bench space that could be used for other purposes. 

A more recommended approach often involves targeting players with standalone value. Opting for players who do not rely on unforeseen events to contribute significantly to your team can provide more consistent results. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that history has shown that running backs selected in later rounds can make a substantial difference in the composition of championship-caliber rosters. In this article, we will delve into the different tiers of backup running backs, focusing on identifying those hidden gems that warrant your attention during fantasy drafts.

Tier 1: Flex with Benefits

In the recent Top 10 Tips & Tricks to Help You Win Your Fantasy Football League in 2023 episode of the podcast, Mike introduced the concept of targeting “FLEX with benefits.” These players can be described as running backs who possess the capability to start, yet offer additional advantages if the player ahead of them misses playing time. Essentially, these players can be likened to a 1B option within an offensive scheme that prominently features a 1A choice at the same position. Below is a list of players who could meet the requirements of this description: 

  1. David Montgomery, RB, Detroit Lions
  2. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Commanders
  3. Dalvin Cook, RB, New York Jets
  4. Samaje Perine, RB, Denver Broncos
  5. A.J. Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
  6. Zach Charbonnet, RB, Seattle Seahawks
  7. De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins
  8. Tank Bigsby, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
  9. Jaylen Warren, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, New England Patriots

Here are a few more players that could be included in this category, but they are more of a gamble due to potentially crowded RB rooms:

  1. Jerick McKinnon, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Jamaal Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints
  3. Damien Harris, RB, Buffalo Bills

It is imperative to note that should one of these 1B alternatives encounter an injury, the anticipated starting running back’s worth would undoubtedly surge. This distinction is what separates Kenneth Walker, who is currently overlooked by numerous draft boards, from potentially providing first-round value. While you are getting flexy this season, it is essential to continue to do so responsibly. Make sure to take out your starting Thursday Night Football players out of the FLEX!

Tier 2: The Replacements

In fantasy football, a unique category of players exists: those who may not currently boast considerable fantasy value, yet hold the potential to transform into invaluable assets should their lead counterparts go down. This small collection of players is comprised of those deemed the de facto starters in such hypothetical scenarios. Due to this, they should mostly be rostered in deeper leagues, but hold minimal value to begin the season. In the event that the original starter becomes sidelined by injury, these players would undoubtedly reign as the premier targets for waiver wire acquisitions on the week. Below is a list of players who meet the criteria of this description: 

  1. Tyler Allgeier, RB, Atlanta Falcons
  2. Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers
  3. Devin Singletary, RB, Houston Texans
  4. Tyjae Spears, RB, Tennessee Titans
  5. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers
  6. Zamir White, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

A few others who are on the verge of this tier and the next include:

  1. Roschon Johnson, RB, Chicago Bears
  2. Jerome Ford, RB, Cleveland Browns
  3. Kendre Miller, RB, New Orleans Saints
  4. Kyren Williams, RB, Los Angeles Rams
  5. Sean Tucker, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
  6. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
  7. Philadelphia Eagles Backfield
  8. Indianapolis Colts Backfield
  9. Kareem Hunt, RB, Free Agent
  10. Leonard Fournette, RB, Free Agent

Tier 3: Wavering Choices (Best Left for the Waiver Wire)

Navigating the depths of backup running backs brings us to the concluding tier of this article: wavering choices, who might be best left for the waiver wire. This is a collection of average players entrenched within crowded and unpredictable running back rooms. In this tier, a certain level of unpredictability prevails, which makes it difficult to justify using a valuable bench spot on them during drafts. If the presumed starter were to encounter a prolonged absence, the depth chart does not currently offer a standout candidate primed to seamlessly assume the role. Below lies a compilation of players who fall within this category’s criteria: 

The FootClan
Unlock Exclusive Tools + Bonus Episode
Join the FootClan
  1. Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens
  2. Keaontay Ingram, RB, Arizona Cardinals
  3. Chase Brown, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
  5. Zach Evans, RB, Los Angeles Rams
  6. Deuce Vaughn, RB, Dallas Cowboys
  7. Ty Chandler, RB, Minnesota Vikings
  8. Chase Edmonds, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
  9. Eric Gray, RB, New York Giants

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *