Fantasy Football: Late Round RB Fliers in 2018
Every year, the majority of the fantasy industry focuses heavily on the early rounds of the draft process; but here at the Fantasy Footballers, we all recognize that the middle and end of the draft are equally, if not more important than those early round picks. Every year, the FFBallers’ writing staff focuses on bringing you important topics to stay focused on throughout the offseason. In this series, we’re focusing on the “Late Round Flier”, a player drafted in the last few rounds of a draft. Check out the WR Flier and TE Flier articles released earlier this month.
This article is going to highlight a few RB archetypes that can help build your team for that #footclantitle! If you’re new to fantasy football, a late-round flier is a player drafted late in the draft, with the hopes of either hitting on a player with huge upside given an opportunity or a player that you can periodically plug into the starting lineup.
The following are a few different archetypes, what to look for when drafting them, and how they fit into your roster construction process. These players are being drafted late for a reason and are by no means a surefire player. You’re going to miss more than you hit. But if you can hit on just one great late-round flier, you can feel confident that you’ll win a few more games. Based on the writing of this article, a lot can change after the NFL Draft.
The Committee Member
When looking for a late round flier, opportunity is a great place to start. The Committee Member in the later rounds of the draft is typically the player getting the lesser share of work out of a teams backfield, The 40 in a 60/40 split. The committee member is a good addition to your roster if you have drafted some really boom/bust players as your starters. The Committee Member can get you some points due to their almost guaranteed role, although the ceiling is capped by the player ahead of them on their own depth chart.
The Forgotten Veteran
It’s obvious that RB production typically declines as age increases. But some veterans simply won’t go away and demand some playing time, regardless of their diminished athletic profile. The Forgotten Veteran can often provide flashes to their once league-winning performances but have fallen late into drafts as owners react to hype over substance. The Forgotten Veteran is a great addition when they are behind an unproven talent on their team’s depth chart or find themselves in the middle of an unknown depth chart.
The Annoying Handcuff
Every year, owners “handcuff” their stud RB by drafting his direct backup. The key to this strategy is to know who the true backup really is. The Handcuff strategy can backfire when you think you’ve drafted the backup, only to find out later that the player that was lower on the depth chart was the real handcuff to your stud. Typically, these players have near-zero stand along value due to playing behind a stud. Additionally, these players are not well-known names due to having little fanfare and paltry stats. Unless the stud RB gets injured, they are typically roster cloggers and should be avoided.
The PPR Back
This archetype is always a favorite target of owners in PPR leagues, especially for owners who focus on top WRs in the early rounds of the draft. The PPR back is expected to see a handful of targets in each game, which often leads to a consistent floor of points. When they get significant playing time due to playing from behind, the PPR back can easily produce borderline RB1 points. The PPR back rarely sees more than 2-3 carries in a game, but can often be seen playing during the 2-minute drill or in the red zone on 3rddown. The PPR back is the perfect target when you need to have a player with a solid floor of points.
In 2017, rookie RBs had impressive results. While Leonard Fournette was a top draft pick, late round fliers Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt turned into bonified studs for their owners. Other rookies, such as Dalvin Cook, had a short flash of potential before their season was cut short. While all the other archetypes offer some form of potential, the rookie RB often has the greatest chance to be a league winner if you draft the right one. In my opinion, the Rookie should be your primary late round target, and perhaps two or three of them. The Rookie simply needs to earn enough trust to get on the field to show off their talent. The 2018 Class is loaded with rookie RBs with the potential to break out. It’s going to be crucial to identify which rookies land on teams where they can break out and shine, but almost any one of the top 10 rookie RBs is worthy of a late-round flier in the right situation.
***Fliers for 2018: Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Ronald Jones, Rashaad Penny
***These reflect current ADP prices but certainly will change after NFL Draft.