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In the darkest recesses of every fantasy draft hidden value exists. Find an uncovered gem and your team could soon gain the upper hand. With flashlights and pickaxe’s in hand, our Yahoo Fantasy treasure hunters dig deep in attempt to score late-round riches. Wednesday’s topic: RBs.
Donnel Pumphrey, Phi, RB (N/A ADP, RB75+)
Pumphrey is a quick-cutting back who finished his collegiate career as the all-time FBS rushing leader, and the Eagles sure seem serious about giving him a legit role in his rookie season. It’s not as if Philly’s backfield is loaded with potential every-down playmakers. LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles are both on the wrong side of 30, and Wendell Smallwood wasn’t anything special last season. Pumphrey has a clear shot at playing meaningful snaps and making a fantasy splash. (Andy Behrens)
Joe Williams, SF (132.2 ADP, RB46)
I’ve let my Carlos Hyde worries be known here, and I didn’t even touch on how his fit (all he’s done since college is run out of the shotgun both at Ohio State and in SF) is so poor compared to Williams, who’s a one-cut runner perfect for new coach Kyle Shanahan’s outside-zone scheme. He would’ve been drafted higher if not for off-field issues (a credit card scandal and mental heath issues while dealing with the death of his sister). Shanahan loves him and has a history of rookie RBs producing under his tutelage. Williams had the second-highest Speed Score at the combine, behind only Leonard Fournette, so there’s serious upside here for an RB available so late in drafts. (Dalton Del Don)
Robert Turbin, Ind (206.1 ADP, RB70)
Last year the former Seahawk racked up seven scores… on just 47 attempts. Handed the ball in the red area of the field 19 times, over one third of Turbin’s carries came at the goal line. In fact, his red zone opportunities increased by more than 30 percent from 2015 to 2016. Conversely, Frank Gore saw a dramatic dip in his red zone rushes, down from 36 two seasons ago to 30 last year.
Additionally, after the team’s Week 10 bye, Turbin averaged nearly two red zone rushes per game and was a top-twenty RB over the last five weeks of the season. Naysayers will point to the presence of Marlon Mack, but a rookie with fumblitis and limited pass protecting experience doesn’t detract from Turbin’s dominance. The clear-cut back-up to a 34-year-old Frank Gore, Turbin’s situation is ripe with fantasy potential. (Liz Loza)
Jalen Richard, Oak (204.8 ADP, RB68)
Football has officially entered into its own sabermetrical age. Advanced analytics, virtually unused even five years ago, are changing the way fantasy fans perceive players. Simply put, the eye test often deceives. Take Richard for example. Though occasionally dynamic on tape, he’s considered an unspectacular fantasy option by most, late-round salvage. However, the overlooked Raider is a leviathan, an eleventh hour selection who could rise from the depths and consume opponents whole. Why? His secondary profile offers several hints.
Richard’s deep-diving stats from 2016 were incredible. Among eligible RBs (20%-plus snap share), he ranked No. 1 in elusive rating and No. 1 in yards after contact per attempt (3.63). He also checked in at No. 9 in breakaway run percentage and averaged 6.1 yards per touch, 5.9 yards per carry against boxes with seven or more men stacked. Crazy impressive.
Marshawn Lynch is the clear-cut starter in Oakland, but indications suggest he may not exceed 200 carries. With that in mind, many are banking on DeAndre Washington to ease the burden. Richard, though, is the appropriate second fiddle to target. If the Beast’s fragile 31-year-old body cracks, the backup would inflict serious damage working in a platoon with the less attractive Washington, possibly rising into the RB2 ranks. The Raiders’ offensive line and overall environment are quite fantasy rich. Circle his name. (Brad Evans)
Thomas Rawls, Sea (154.3 ADP, RB49)
I wasn’t sure if Rawls would still qualify for this exercise, but he’s still going 17 picks later than Joe Williams in the last months of MFLs, so that’s good enough for me.
Much like many of us are hedging against Marshawn Lynch (I’m collecting all the Washington and Richard, see above, that I can), that’s how I feel about Eddie Lacy in Seattle. Lacy has battled weight issues for multiple years and he’s coming off ankle surgery. Rawls and C.J. Prosise are probably more talented and dynamic backs anyway. Rawls’s 2016 season was derailed by injury and poor performance, but he was a 5.6 YPC man in 2015, enjoying life with a hale Russell Wilson (something we didn’t see in 2016).
We need to be careful with camp sound bytes and puff pieces, but so far so good for Rawls this summer. I don’t care who you prefer: Rawls; Prosise; Shawn Alexander; Curt Freaking Warner. Just tell me you’re going to fade Lacy in 2017. Pete Carroll preaches competition in Seattle, and he’s not going to hand a thing to Lacy simply because of the name brand. In this backfield, the Hail Mary approach makes the most sense. (Scott Pianowski)