After you get through the top 60 running backs, it’s extremely unlikely any of the guys ranked 61-80 even get drafted unless you’re in a dynasty league or an extremely, extremely deep league. Some of the guys mentioned below are likely on their team’s roster bubble and aren’t necessarily draft worthy. However, given the violent nature of the NFL, any and all of these guys could be one hit or one poorly timed cut away from an increased role in their offense and get propelled to fantasy relevancy. With the guys discussed in this article, it’s more important to know why they are relevant, if at all, and why you should monitor them on waivers should they go undrafted. As a matter of fact, while I was writing this, a report broke that Sony Michel hurt his knee at Patriots camp which may keep him out of the first couple regular season games. Michel’s injury has major roster and fantasy football implications, as Jeremy Hill may all of a sudden be a lock to make the Patriots roster and be fantasy relevant if Michel misses significant time.
61 – Ty Montgomery Green Bay Packers – Heading into the 2017 season, I was not an advocate of drafting Ty Montgomery as a running back. I just didn’t see how Montgomery was going to hold up long term. As expected, Montgomery could not hold up, and he went down early, giving way to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. The fact remains that Montgomery plays in a great offense with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play professional football, making him a viable option if the Packers need to play him this year.
62 – Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – Albeit brief, the 5’11” 220 pound Chris Carson exploded onto the scene in 2017 rushing for 4.2 yards per carry before suffering a season ending injury shortly after assuming the starting job. All reports about Carson from Seahawks camp are glowing and if Penny struggles early in the preseason, the Seahawks may give Carson a shot. If Chris Carson starts the first few games of the season, he will come through in a big way given the fact that you can get him so late in drafts, if he gets drafted at all.
63 – Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – The Lions went out of their way to improve the running back position this offseason, drafting Kerryon Johnson and signing LeGarrette Blount in free agency. Abdullah was miscast in the Lions offense over the last three years as they attempted to make him an every down/early down back. He simply doesn’t have the body type to hold up. Notwithstanding, Abdullah is a talented runner, and he can be effective in a different system as a complimentary back. If Ameer Abdullah is let go or traded and he lands on a team such as the 49ers, Carolina or the Cowboys, he could be a pleasant surprise. As it stands for Abdullah in Detroit, he’s likely on his way out, but he has been doing himself a favor by putting in a good training camp according to reports from the Lions. Abdullah had a terrible 3.3 yards per carry in 2017, but in all fairness, the Lions offensive line was extremely banged up.
64 – Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – I am going to put this simply, Matt Breida is a running back in the Kyle Shanahan offense. If Jerrick McKinnon goes down (because he’s always banged up), we may see a committee with Matt Breida and Joe Williams, which would make both of them fantasy relevant. I am not big on Matt Breida, but given the situation, he has an opportunity to come through for you in a big way if McKinnon misses time.
65 – Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – Ekeler stands 5’10” and weighs just 200 pounds. Although he doesn’t have prototypical size to be an every down NFL running back, he could get it done in spurts if he needs to fill in for Melvin Gordon for a game or two. Ekeler ran for 5.5 yards per carry in 2017 while Melvin Gordon, once again, ran for under 4.0 yards a pop. Ekeler showed explosion last year while Gordon did not. Ekeler can also get it done in the passing game, pulling down 27 grabs last year.
66 – Spencer Ware – KC Chiefs- Spencer Ware had a solid 2016 season, gaining over 1,300 yards from scrimmage. However, a major knee injury put Ware out of the 2017 season, giving way to Kareem Hunt who solidified himself as the starting running back in KC. If Hunt goes down, however, Spencer Ware will come through in a major way. If you are a Kareem Hunt owner, Ware is worth a backend roster spot.
67 – Chris Ivory – Buffalo Bills – Chris Ivory isn’t an exciting player, he hasn’t run for over 4 yards a carry in several seasons. However, if LeSean McCoy’s legal issues spiral, then Ivory will be in line for some volume. At this point, Ivory is nothing more than a LeSean McCoy handcuff. I don’t like Ivory at all, but the fact is there is nobody else to carry the load in Buffalo outside of LeSean McCoy, so Ivory may come through by default.
68 – Bo Scarbrough – Dallas Cowboys – Scarbrough is like another Derrick Henry. Although Scarbrough doesn’t offer an every down skillset, he could take care of the early down work for a few weeks in Zeke Elliott’s absence if he misses time for any reason. I would only consider drafting Scarbrough if I am a Zeke Elliott owner.
69 – Terrance West – New Orleans Saints – The Saints cannot give Alvin Kamara 30 touches a week, and somebody needs to get early down work in Mark Ingram’s absence. West isn’t the most explosive player in the world, but the Saints have a solid offensive line and he could come through weeks 1 through 4 in Ingram’s absence.
70 – Jeremy Hill – New England Patriots- The Patriots
have a great offense and if Jeremy Hill can make this roster, he could be an early down banger. Jeremy Hill also has a nose for the endzone, scoring 29 touchdowns in his first three seasons, so he could come through in a big way, especially in standard leagues. Monitor the Patriots backfield situation throughout the preseason, because Hill could be a pleasant surprise if given the opportunity to play. Given Sony Michel’s knee injury, Hill might be fantasy relevant sooner rather than later.
71 – Benny Cunningham – Chicago Bears – Jordan Howard can’t catch very well and Tarik Cohen is a smaller, pass catching back. Benny Cunningham isn’t as explosive as Cohen but he can catch. Cunningham can’t pound it between the tackles like Howard can, but he’s at least serviceable. If Jordan Howard goes down, Benny Cunningham could get some volume and add some productivity in the passing game making him viable. Cunningham should remain undrafted except in extremely deep leagues.
72 – Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – Buck Allen is a decent all around back and could come through if given enough volume. Allen’s yards per carry has always been under 4 and he has a very low yards per catch mark for his career. That being said, Alex Collins has never put together a full season wire to wire and Kenneth Dixon is like El Nino, the storm that never came, so Allen may get a crack at some work at some point during the season.
73 – Shane Vereen – New Orleans Saints – Alvin Kamara is clearly more dangerous in the passing game than he is in the running game, and Shane Vereen is more in Kamara’s mold than that of Mark Ingram. The Saints clearly brought in Shane Vereen to be a backup for Kamara, but although Vereen is that type of player, he won’t be anywhere near as effective as Kamara. That being said, he will still offer some PPR value if he needs to fill in at any point during the season.
74 – TJ Logan – Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals really liked TJ Logan last year before he suffered a season ending injury during training camp. Although Logan moves well and can catch the rock, he doesn’t have the size to be an every down pounder. Lacking size and all, Logan may be a viable option in PPR leagues should David Johnson go down.
75 – DeAndre Washington/Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders- Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin should make the Raiders final roster, meaning DeAndre Washington or Jalen Richard may be on the roster bubble. Richard is a better pass catcher out of the backfield, and Washington is more of an early down guy. Given the skill-set of Martin and Lynch, I would say Richard is the better bet to make the Raiders given his pass catching skill-set as more of a change up back. If either Lynch or Martin goes down, Jalen Richard could come through as a big time PPR asset. Similarly, if either Lynch or Martin goes down, DeAndre Washington would be next in line for early down work.
76 – Kalen Ballage – Miami Dolphins- Kalen Ballage looks the part but he has a muddled path to playing time in 2018 with both Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore ahead of him on the depth chart. That being said, monitor the Dolphins running back situation throughout the preseason, because if there’s an injury, Ballage could burst onto the scene sooner rather than later.
77 – Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals- The 5’9″ 210 back out of Fordham is an intriguing option as a handcuff in the event David Johnson suffers another injury.
78 – Mark Walton – Cincinnati Bengals – With Joe Mixon figuring to assume an every down role for the Bengals in 2018, Mark Walton appears poised to take over the Gio Bernard role in the Bengals offense in 2019. Bernard is still in his prime, so Walton is unlikely to provide any 2018 value unless Mixon or Bernard gets hurt. Walton is an intriguing dynasty pick because the Bengals could get out of Bernard’s contract fairly easily at the end of the 2018 season.
79 – Malcolm Brown – LA Rams- If Todd Gurley goes down, people will be in a waiver wire frenzy over Malcolm Brown and/or John Kelly. Until that happens, nobody will care about him. If you are in an extremely deep league or you’re a Gurley owner, you may want to consider Brown with one of your last picks.
80 – Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins – Derrius Guice hasn’t played a full season at the NFL level yet (because he’s a rookie), so Guice owners would be wise to handcuff him with Perine later in drafts. If you don’t own Guice, Perine offers little to no value to you.
Situation to Monitor – DeMarco Murray’s Retirement Status – If a team suffers an injury at the running back position late in training camp, they may reach out to a veteran. Young running backs often struggle with pass protection early in their careers, and if a team doesn’t like their options as the regular season approaches, Murray may get a call. At this point in his career, DeMarco Murray doesn’t need to go through a training camp, and to be quite honest, it would probably benefit him to miss camp given the miles already on his tires. DeMarco Murray isn’t worth your consideration at that time, but that may change as we get closer to the kickoff of the 2018 season.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 29th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #131 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com. His articles publish every Sunday and he focuses on spot starting pitchers for the coming week.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, and James Wilk live August 2nd, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #87 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything NFC South!