This is the time of year where the right running back sleepers could mean the difference between a fantasy championship, and an offseason second-guessing yourself, and all your life decisions. We’re here to help you sort through the shrinking pile of players to help you pull out some gold.
It’s the fantasy football playoffs, which means that I’m talking to, statistically, a smaller, and smaller audience. That also means that it’s less and less likely that you’ll trying to find running back sleepers. However, I am still here for those of you that need running back sleepers for your playoff matchups. For a player to qualify for as one of the weekly running back sleepers, Yahoo! owners must deem them unrosterable in over 50% of leagues. For deep leagues, one guy is out there in at least 90% of Yahoo! leagues. As always, check Waleed’s Waiver Wire Cheat Sheet first.
Patrick Laird at NY Giants (34% Owned)
Alright, I will admit that Fantasy Football Twitter’s favorite meme running back has turned in some useful performances. I was hesitant to say anything about Laird before now because I am not a fan of people trying to create A Thing out of whole cloth. When FF Twitter tried to breathe life into Laird, he was a six-carry, nine-target UDFA with 97 yards over 3 active games. That is to say: he wasn’t much. He still probably isn’t going to be a blowup running back for you, but he has 14 touches and 19 touches in each of his last two games. Let’s wallpaper over the fact that he’s not a good running back and averages 2.7 yards per attempt. His catches are where Laird shines. He has at least four catches in three of his last four games, making him a quality PPR floor play.
The Giants are a good opponent for him this week, ranking in the top-half of RB matchups. They’ve also given up at least four catches to five running backs in their last three games. Unfortunately, David Montgomery had only three targets… so the math doesn’t really, you know… work, there.
Peyton Barber at Detroit (23% Owned)
Why not, right? After everyone knew that Ronald Jones was the starter, Barber’s out-touched Jones over the last three contests. That isn’t to say that he’s been, you know, good. He’s just been getting decent volume and we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. With Jameis Winston somehow on track to play with a broken thumb in his throwing hand, it’s likely that the Buccaneers hand off as much as possible. That’s been Barber’s purview. That’ll be nice for him, this week. The Detroit Lions stink out loud against running backs.
The Lions give up the fourth-most points to running backs this season. There is a nice grouping of eight backs who had between thirteen and eighteen touches against the Lions (a load I see Barber carrying). They averaged 12.8 fantasy points per game in HPPR leagues, and nobody had below six fantasy points. If you get touches against the Lions, you get fantasy points. Simple as that. And Peyton Barber is getting touches against the Lions on Sunday.
Boston Scott at Washington (3% Owned)
I wasn’t bullish on Boston Scott’s prospects in 2018 because I was a big fan of letting teams show me what they think of a player. The Saints tried everything under the sun to find a replacement for Mark Ingram under suspension and ended up just… giving Alvin Kamara the ball a lot more. It makes sense, Scott is a small player by NFL standards, but he shined last week when given the opportunity. Jordan Howard isn’t coming back, and the Eagles love to go running back by committee. That leaves Boston Scott to soak up some carries against a top-ten matchup.
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