It’s week one of the 2020 NFL season, which hopefully means that you drafted a group of running backs that you want to start a guy from this week. If you didn’t, don’t worry, we have you covered with our weekly running back sleepers piece. A player must have availability in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues to qualify for this article. For those in deeper leagues, we include one player available in at least 90% of leagues. Again, you shouldn’t need this article, but if you do, go ahead and snag one of these running back sleepers.
Running Back Sleepers Option #1: Boston Scott at Washington (40% owned)
Miles Sanders still has a nebulous “lower-body” injury that he sustained during training camp. He went from “week to week” to “day-to-day.” Miles Sanders returned to practice on Wednesday, and the Eagles expect him to start. Starting and finishing are two different things, and the Eagles hope to manage Sanders’ reps on Sunday and early in the season. There’s only one viable backup running back on this roster who could take those snaps, and it’s Boston Scott.
Scott hasn’t done a whole heckuva lot so far in his career, but being the 1b running back for Doug Pederson generally means getting a lot of runs. The Eagles called on Scott down the stretch last season, and he responded by averaging 88 yards per game in the last four weeks of 2019 and was the RB9 in that stretch. The matchup is good for Scott, as well: Football Team allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs in 2019.
[09/12: Miles Sanders did not make the trip out to Washington. Fire up Boston Scott. Go find him RIGHT NOW and get him. And start him.]
Running Back Sleepers Option #2: Nyheim Hines versus Jacksonville (14% owned)
There are a lot of factors here for Nyheim Hines, but I fear that he might be a victim of Indianapolis’ success this weekend. Hines is the pass-catching back in Indy, and year-over-year, one back gets about 14% of Philip Rivers’ targets. That probably won’t be Marlon Mack or Jonathan Taylor, given their skillsets. Hines is one of just ten backs to ever get at least 80 carries and 80 targets in their rookie year, so he can handle the load just fine.
The problem is that the Jaguars will be so bad that the Colts likely get Marlon Mack a lot of second-half carries to salt the game away, and that might keep Hines on the bench. The Jaguars gave up the second-most fantasy points to running back last season, and the fourth-highest yards per reception to backs last season. I prefer Scott to Hines this weekend, but Hines sort of fits the same profile for a deeper league.
Running Back Sleepers Option #3: Bryce Love versus Philadelphia (9% owned)
The Football Team depth chart is a mess, and Bryce Love is probably the best running back on the roster. I say probably because we haven’t seen Bryce Love play since his injury-plagued 2018 Stanford season. That means it will be almost three years since we’ve seen Love at full capacity. When he is at full capacity, however… lookout. He was electric in 2018 before an ankle injury sapped all his athleticism in the 2019 season. This is a “beat the waiver wire” play because the Eagles allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last season, but Bryce Love falling into the end zone for a touchdown isn’t the craziest thing that ever happened.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Thompson versus Indianapolis (42% owned), Rex Burkhead versus Miami (1% owned), Justin Jackson & Joshua Kelley (12% owned & 11% owned).
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