2020 Mid & Late Round Gems to Target: Running Backs

Have you ever had a fantasy football team and lost your lead Running Back? It’s not fun, is it? Running back injuries are very common. Suffering multiple injuries in a season for various positions is nearly a given but the struggle to replace starting RBs can make or break your team. In this article we will take a look at a few mid to late-round running backs to target with major upside, as well as the ability to plug and play.

Injuries, suspensions or holdouts can happen at anytime, be that during preseason or the regular season. You hope it doesn’t happen to your fantasy players players but it seems as though it is inevitable as least one or two players will be lost for a period of time. This leaves fantasy owners having to start players that they have very little faith in, especially in leagues with larger rosters and thin waiver wires.

Therefore, it is important to find those mid or late-round gems. Guys that can step in and perform. Sure, they most likely won’t lead your team in points, but they can produce enough to sustain your team and keep you from tanking. I’ll be recommending certain players that have an ADP after Round 6 who can step right in and produce. Some leagues can be won or lost in these critical rounds.

Tarik Cohen | Chicago Bears

Mid Late-Round Targets Running Backs

Finding serviceable running backs in the mid to late rounds in fantasy drafts is difficult and often you need to think outside the box. While Cohen struggled to produce last season, the Bears used him in the game plan to the accumulation of 104 targets. Only two backs had more (McCaffrey & Ekeler). While the Bears offensive line was bad as was their offense overall, even on a down year the human joystick hit double digit fantasy points in 8-of-16 weeks. Look for this prototypical third down back to recover and be a viable option to fill in bye weeks and perhaps steal a starting flex spot from time-to-time. No matter if it’s Foles or Trubisky, the Bears should be a better offense in 2020.

Jordan Howard | Miami Dolphins

For a RB who has rushed for a ton of yards in his career, Howard gets little respect. Since 2016, he has the third most rushing yards and 7th most rushing TDs in the NFL. After being ousted in Chicago for “not fitting,” Howard ended up in Philadelphia where he played well until injury saw him miss six of the final seven weeks of the season. When he was on the field he averaged just over 11 points per game. 

Now he gets a fresh start in Miami, where the rushing attack was horrible last season. The Dolphins also added Matt Breida, which should be a nice one-two punch. Howard has always been knocked for not being a pass catcher, but the man has a nose for the endzone which helps balance things out. He should be a viable option as a starter and may emerge as a solid every week option depending on usage. It wasn’t long ago when Howard was an every week starter in fantasy lineups while in Chicago, and he may have more of an upside than any other RBs in the mid rounds.

Raheem Mostert | San Francisco 49ers

Editor’s note: This article was written prior to Mostert’s trade request. As it stands we still expect Mostert to be part of the 49ers to open the season, but if this changes his fantasy value will depend on the situation he goes to.

Mostert emerged as the best RB for the 49ers down the stretch and played extremely well in the postseason. With Brieda’s exit, the RBBC is made up of Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Mostert. Let’s immediately take McKinnon out of the mix as the man hasn’t taken a snap in two straight seasons. Coleman has always been a complementary RB in his career, and this season I expect him to be much of the same. There may be a few scattered weeks with solid point production for Coleman but Mostert is the best RB in that backfield, as he proved last season. 

Mostert may be a veteran but he still has plenty of tread left on the tires. When being handed the ball 10 or more times in a game, Mostert scored an average of over 17 fantasy points per game. To finish the season, Mostert had five games in a row with 10 or more carries. Shanahan is no dummy and should give his best runner at least 10 carries a game nearly every week, which is not asking a whole lot. 

Is Mostert a boom or bust option? No. Bust would mean being out touched and outplayed by the other backs on his team. He will be the lead back and a solid contributor to your fantasy team. This pick has boom written all over it

James White | New England Patriots

Mid Late-Round Targets Running Backs

Could James White be the poor man’s Christian McCaffrey? It is very possible. With the arrival of Cam Newton comes his propensity to target pass catching running backs, similar to the way Tom Brady operated. White has done exactly that most of his career, drawing 95 targets last season and an absurd 123 in 2018. With all these receptions comes a solid floor. White is a great option, especially with an ADP of 76. You may be able to grab him even later as he is almost the forgotten man, especially since Brady left town.

Late Round Handcuffs

Not every player needs to be handcuffed, but getting the clear cut back up to the top RBs can safeguard your team and give you the necessary points you need if your starter were to go down injured. Additionally, handcuffing as a strategy only be used when the backup is talented enough to be worthwhile as a starter. Here is the list of my recommended handcuffs:

Ezekiel Elliott: Tony Pollard
Dalvin Cook: Alexander Mattison
Derrick Henry: Darrynton Evans
Nick Chubb: Kareem Hunt
Joe Mixon: Giovanni Bernard
Kenyan Drake: Chase Edmonds


Fantasy Football Analyst