Punch Drunk Wonderland

3 Value Running Backs for the 2015 Fantasy Football Season

Value is the name of the game in fantasy football. Rarely is it simply the luck of the draw in landing the big early round fish in the draft that solidify fantasy victory. It’s the hard work in the draft’s late rounds and on the fantasy waiver wire that get it done. Finding the late round or low cost value player that can come up big is what really makes or breaks teams. Here’s a look at some running backs with a solid chance to out perform their value in 2015 courtesy of numberFire.

Arian Foster

Since his monster 2010 season, Arian Foster has offered fantasy football owners a mixture of tantalizing upside, coupled with the spectre of an ever-looming injury.

For some, the injury concerns are enough to eliminate Foster from the elite-level fantasy running back conversation. For others, it could be just the thing needed to drive down his draft cost.

Our own Joe Juan went into great detail profiling Foster and showed that, while Foster has missed almost three games per season due to injury, that total is actually right in line with many of the other running backs going ahead of him in current mock drafts.

The gap between Foster’s current ADP (RB7) and our season-long projection set (RB2) is the largest among the top-10 running backs, and it’s not even particularly close.

The Texans are still searching for a reliable quarterback despite their offseason additions and DeAndre Hopkins is now flying solo with the departure of Andre Johnson. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien has come right out and commented on the importance of getting Foster the ball early and often, assuming he stays healthy.

If Foster reaches the 350-plus touch total we currently have him pegged for, there’s an very good chance he massively outperforms his current draft position and could even finish at the top overall fantasy running back.

If he continues to fall to the end of round one, or even the top of round two, draft him and don’t even think twice.

Chris Ivory

Sticking with the “talented but perceived injury-risk” running back theme, we now arrive at Jets’ running back Chris Ivory.

According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics here at numberFire, Ivory has been a fairly efficient runner over his first five NFL seasons.

In 2010, Ivory finished second in Rushing NEP among the 22 running backs with between 100 and 200 carries. In 2011, he ranked fifth In Rushing NEP among 22 backs with 50 to 100 carries.

And even though his efficiency has dropped off since leaving New Orleans for New York (he ranked 13th in Rushing NEP among 26 backs who carried the ball between 100 and 200 times last season), he still remains the most gifted runner on the Jets’ roster.

With a new offensive coaching regime in place, there are no guarantees as to how the carries will be divided up among Ivory, Zac Stacy, Stevan Ridley, and even Bilal Powell. But if you ask me, it would be wise to feed to back who has only averaged below 4.5 yards per carry once in his career.

We have Ivory projected as the season-long RB28, a massive 14 spots higher than his current ADP. Near the top of the ninth round, Ivory offers a fairly high fantasy floor, coupled with a near non-existent cost of acquisition.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)


K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...