When it comes to the last two rounds of your fantasy football drafts, there’s a couple of different things you can do. You could pick a low-end veteran who has exploded in the past, or you can pick up youth in the hopes of landing a low-end contributor with the potential for more; I’m a fan of the latter. These are three running backs I’ll have on my watch lists as the final couple of rounds comes around.
Count me among those who do not believe Michel finishes 2020 as the Patriots starting RB. Harris, New England’s 2019 3rd round selection, didn’t get an opportunity to do much last season, toting the ball only 4 times for 12 yards, not exactly the type of line that inspires confidence. Still, Harris has shown the talent necessary to succeed at the NFL level when playing for Alabama; he excelled at short-yardage situations (a trait Belichick loves), possesses excellent balance that makes him difficult to bring down, and was impressive in pass-protection. He has below average burst, but the Patriots have other backs to rely on for the big play. But the best justification for drafting Harris is the uncertain future of Sony Michel. While Michel had an incredible playoff run that led the Patriots to a Super Bowl, he has been practically invisible since then, averaging 3.7 YPC last season while rushing for fewer yards on more attempts than 2018. Sure, the Patriots offensive line was decimated by injuries, but Michel is also nursing a foot surgery that required surgery… in the SPRING. That does not bode well for the former SuperBowl winner, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Harris win the job out-right in Training Camp. While Newton would certainly limit his TD potential, Harris can be had for free in virtually every draft and has a realistic path to playing time.
Austin Ekeler is one of the best running backs in the league and I believe he’s being underrated by many because of the departure of Phillip Rivers. That being said, Kelley has an opportunity to step in and fight for immediate playing time behind the aforementioned Ekeler, a role that could prove to be a steal at his current ADP (RB 64). Chris Thompson, Darrytnton Evans, and Chase Edmonds are among the backs being selected ahead of the former University of California star, yet none of them possess the upside that Kelley does. The Chargers invested draft capital in Kelley (4th round pick), have an opening (Justin Jackson stands as his only competition behind Ekeler), and will be running behind a revamped offensive line that added Bryan Bulaga this offseason. Like Harris, this is a win-win scenario; you’re getting a player with upside for free. Keep Kelley on your watch lists.
No, Hines is not Austin Ekeler; that should be obvious to anyone that has ever watched a Colts or Chargers game. What Hines is, however, is an excellent third-down option for a quarterback who has constantly displayed a desire to check down his backs and let them use their speed and explosiveness to make plays. Luckily for the former San Diego/LA Quarterback, Hines possesses breakaway speed (4.38 40) and Frank Reich has already stated Hines will be involved in the offense. The former NC State University back is currently the 59th (!!!) back being drafted off the board; he is being selected after names such as Boston Scott, Chase Edmonds, and Rashaad Penny. Hines won’t be your RB2 and carry you to a championship, especially not with Taylor and Mack (but mostly Taylor) occupying the backfield. But, if you want a free, high-upside pick in the last round of your drafts, Hines is the perfect selection.