Oh, man! Injuries! Coronavirus! Belichickanery! At least one of these things was unexpected, but in a more real sense, you could see all of these things coming from a mile away. So, you have to turn to some running back sleepers this week. Given that some guys who qualify for the running back sleepers article have some real bad matchups… This isn’t a great week! To qualify as one of the running back sleepers, a player must be available in 50% or more of Yahoo! leagues, with one player available in over 90% of leagues for the deep divers.
Running Back Sleepers Option #1: Chase Edmonds at Carolina (36% rostered)
The Carolina Panthers currently boast one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Luckily for the Panthers, the Raiders let Rex Burkhead fulfill Burkhead Truther’s greatest fever-dream fantasies last week, so they currently rank as the best possible matchup in a fantasy points per game basis. However, the Panthers are still a great matchup. They’ve allowed a league-leading seven running back touchdowns through three games, en route to allowing the third-most fantasy points per touch (HPPR) in the NFL.
While this is all great news for Kenyan Drake (wheels up, as the kids say), it also means a lot for Chase Edmonds as a desperation start this week. He hasn’t gotten a lot of work, but it’s likely that he gets about ten touches this week. If he is just average against the panthers with those touches, that’s over 11 fantasy points in half-PPR.
Running Back Sleepers Option #2: Jeff Wilson Jr. versus Philadelphia (28% rostered)
Tevin Coleman remains on the shelf, Jerick McKinnon suffered a rib injury of unknown severity, and we don’t know about Raheem Mostert’s status yet. Should or one or both of McKinnon and Mostert miss Sunday Night Football, then it will, once again, be the Jeff Wilson Show (as it was in the second half last week). He had fifteen touches for 69 yards (nice) and two touchdowns against a hapless Giants defense. He played just 30% of the snaps, but notched over 90 yards in two-of-three career games with over 40% of snaps.
This week, he’ll get the Philadelphia Eagles who resemble a collection of guys frantically running around more than a cohesive team. Their rush defense looks better than it is so far this season, as they completed the impossible tasks of stymying Peyton Barber and 2020 Joe Mixon. Between those two games, they allowed Darrell Henderson to get 121 yards and a score on just fourteen touches. They’re beatable, but you’re banking on a touchdown for Wilson. After all, Barber had two, why not Wilson?
Deep Dive Running Back Sleepers Option: Brian Hill at Green Bay (9% rostered)
This is a “get ahead of the waiver wire in case what we saw last week was the new normal.” After getting just ten touches in the first two games combined, the Falcons gave Hill ten touches last week against the Bears. Todd Gurley started off looking sluggish, and the Bears turned toward Hill to help spell him. He turned those ten touches into 70 yards and a touchdown. I don’t think that Brian Hill turns into the #1 running back in Atlanta anytime soon, but this is an interesting development, given Gurley’s domination of RB touches in the first two weeks of the season.
This week, Hill gets a Green Bay Packers defense that has done nothing to stop tight ends in 2020. And by “in 2020” I mean “the 49ers obliterated them in the NFCCG on the ground and they did nothing to improve.” The Packers allow the third-most fantasy points to running backs, so double-digit touches from Brian Hill means lots of production this week.
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