Historically, quality wide receivers are more difficult to find late in fantasy football draft than running backs. If you’re able to acquire undervalued running backs in the later rounds, you’re likely to gain an advantage to winning your fantasy football league.
If you haven’t checked out RotoViz, you need to. With incredible tools to evaluate players, it’s well worth the price of admission. The RotoViz Screener tool allows you to find the most similar players based on the variables you choose to include. In this article, I’ll provide you with four undervalued running backs based on the players they project similarly to.
All of the similar players will be based on rushing production, rushing efficiency, receiving production, and receiving efficiency.
An incredible college running back, Derrius Guice has never been short on talent. Guice is the only player in SEC history with three career games of 250 or more rushing yards. A bowling ball who runs a 4.49 forty at 224 lbs., Player Profiler lists Ezekiel Elliott as his best comparable.
Unfortunately, in the first preseason game of his rookie year, Guice tore his ACL on a 34-yard run. His second year began with a torn meniscus in Week 1. Returning in Week 11, Guice showed he’s still a special player. Here’s how he compared with the other Redskins running backs as a rusher.
Averaging a lofty 5.8 yards per carry, Guice was also the only Redskins’ running back with positive fantasy points over expectation per attempt. Let’s see how he fared as a receiver.
As a receiver, Guice was again the only Redskins’ running back with positive fantasy points over expectation per attempt. Guice was electric as both a rusher and receiver.
Using the RotoViz Screener, I examined Guice’s most similar players.
On an intriguing list of players who were productive on limited touches, prior to being given heavier workloads later on down the road, there should be optimism for Guice. There’s still little reason to think he’s not a special player or at the very least the best running back on his team. He also just turned 23 years old, well in range for a peak season.
Injuries are obviously a concern, but they’re also the only reason that Guice is so heavily discounted. Take the discount for one of the undervalued running backs who will likely be selected much higher in 2021 fantasy drafts.
We want to target good players, and Kareem Hunt is a good player. His production during his first two years was actually similar to Saquon Barkley’s.
Hunt matched him on the ground, averaging the same number of rushing yards per game. As a receiver, he didn’t have Barkley’s volume but was much more efficient – averaging 2.5 more yards per target and scoring four more touchdowns. There’s no question that Hunt is a special player.
Over the last five weeks of last season, Hunt outscored teammate Nick Chubb in PPR leagues. Hunt was the RB20, while Chubb was the RB23. This year Chubb is being selected as the RB8 and Hunt is being selected as the RB28.
These are Hunt’s most similar players based on his first three years in the NFL.
These comparables do include Hunt’s production from his first three years in the league. While that may not be indicative of his workload this season, neither is his current price. The point remains we want to target good football players and Kareem Hunt is good at football, and he qualifies as one of the more undevalued running backs.
Speaking of good football players, Phillip Lindsay is good at football. Out of rushers with at least 2,000 yards in their first two seasons, only Clinton Portis, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, and Nick Chubb ran for more yards per carry.
Running backs in their first two seasons with at least 1,700 rushing yards, sorted by yards per carry.
Phillip Lindsay sliding in between Ray Rice and Arian Foster.
— Mike Braude (@BraudeM) July 17, 2020
Obviously, this type of production leads to elite similar players.
It’s hugely exploitable when a running back this good is being selected outside of the top 40 players at his position. It remains possible that Lindsay is better than Melvin Gordon when both step on the field in 2020.
As a Ronald Jones truther, I have a duty to include him in this article. The reality remains Jones had a solid 2019 after an abysmal rookie year. He vastly outperformed his teammates as a rusher.
The same was true through the air as a receiver.
Obviously Dare Ogunbowale and Peyton Barber aren’t the best competition, but Jones was clearly the Bucs best running back. The RotoViz Screener gives Jones some favorable similar players.
Despite a poor rookie year that is included in the screener, it’s encouraging that there are many running backs on this list who broke out late.
Many owners are worried about Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who will likely be solid competition for Jones. Vaughn was productive in college but enters the NFL already older than RoJo. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic will only make it more difficult for rookie running backs to have a big impact early in the season.