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Fantasy Football Today: Player outlooks for 10 late-round running backs available at the end of your drafts

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The 2024 Fantasy Football season is on the way and the Fantasy Football Today team has drafted their initial player outlooks for the entire player pool heading into training camp. Things will change on the injury front, in free agency, and possibly on the trade market, but the Fantasy Football team led by Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg, Heath Cummings, and Dan Schneier have created player outlooks based on 2024 projection, June ADP (average draft position) and where these players have come off the board in our mock (and real) drafts through May and June. We’ll use the FFT consensus PPR rankings (Jamey, Dave, and Heath’s rankings) to go player-by-player for the late-round running backs you’ll be selecting in the 14th round (or later).

*These consensus rankings are updated through June 10.*

Late-round RBs

“Edwards-Helaire stayed with the Chiefs this offseason and figures to be a complementary back behind Isiah Pacheco on the depth chart. Perhaps he takes over the role left behind by Jerick McKinnon, but he’ll have to compete for it this preseason. At best, Edwards-Helaire is a modest handcuff for Pacheco, and not a necessary one. Expect Edwards-Helaire to get swiped with a late-round pick, if at all.”ย – Dave Richard

“It didn’t take long for Broncos coach Sean Payton to get the buzz going on Estime this offseason, describing him as an early-downs back with good strength, vision, and contact balance. Those traits were on display for two seasons at Notre Dame, where Estime led the way in rushing yards (at least 900 per season) and touchdowns (at least 11 per season). If Estime can put up a good preseason, then there’s a chance he lands some valuable touches during the year as part of a committee in Denver. Count him among your late-round picks in redraft leagues, but also as a mid-to-late second-round choice in rookie-only drafts..” –ย Dave Richard

“The Bears backfield got crowded this offseason with the addition of D’Andre Swift, and we’ll see what that means for Johnson, the second-year running back. At the time of publication, Khalil Herbert is also on Chicago’s roster, but there’s the potential of Herbert getting traded, which would be great for Johnson. Most likely, Johnson will have a role in the passing game for the Bears, but we’d love to see him entrenched as the No. 2 running back behind Swift. That would likely allow Johnson the chance for guaranteed touches, as well as being a lottery ticket in case Swift ever got hurt. However, if Herbert remains in Chicago, then it could be tough to trust Johnson until we see his role. Plan on taking a flier on Johnson with a late-round pick in all leagues, and his value would rise if Herbert is traded. As a rookie in 2023, Johnson was underwhelming at 6.8 PPR points per game, but we expect him to perform at a higher level this season, especially if he was No. 2 on the depth chart behind Swift.” – Jamey Eisenberg

“Pierce was one of the biggest busts in Fantasy Football at the RB position in 2023. He fell out of favor and lost the lead back job to Devin Singletary by Week 9. There is some hope for Pierce heading into 2024 as the Texans have hinted multiple times that they will create a 1-2 punch for him and Joe Mixon, but there are also question marks about how his rushing style fits in Bobby Slowik’s blocking scheme. Still, Pierce is part of what should be one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and worth a dart throw as a late-round pick, especially for teams who didn’t invest early-round assets at RB.” –ย Dan Schneier

“Dillon is back with the Packers this season, but he has new running backs to contend with this year. Dillon is only worth drafting with a late-round pick in deeper Fantasy leagues. Aaron Jones is gone from Green Bay, but the Packers added Josh Jacobs and rookie MarShawn Lloyd this offseason. Jacobs will be the new starter, and Lloyd could also be ahead of Dillon on the depth chart. Dillon only averaged 7.8 PPR points per game in 2023 despite Jones missing six games and parts of others. It could be hard for Dillon to do much better than that this year if Jacobs and Lloyd stay healthy, but this is a running back corps to monitor in training camp. At best, Dillon could be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Jacobs, but it will likely take an injury for Dillon to be Fantasy relevant in the majority of leagues. If that scenario unfolds then just add Dillon off the waiver wire.” – Jamey Eisenberg

“Williams wasn’t able to repeat his touchdown-heavy production from 2022 in his first season with the Saints and he fell off the Fantasy radar. With second-year RB Kendre Miller expected to be healthier in 2024, Williams is unlikely to be worth rostering in Fantasy leagues unless Alvin Kamara suffers a long-term injury or the offense takes an unexpected leap forward.” – Dan Schneier

Khalil Herbert, Bears

“If Herbert remains with the Bears this season then he’ll be the No. 2 running back behind D’Andre Swift to open the year. But there’s the potential of Herbert getting traded since Chicago has a crowded backfield, which also features Roschon Johnson. The Bears will likely lean on Swift as long as he’s healthy, and Johnson could play a role in the passing game. That could leave Herbert without the potential for many touches, and he’s only worth a late-round pick. However, if he gets traded, that could make Herbert an attractive Fantasy option depending on his destination. In 2023, Herbert scored at least 11.4 PPR points in four of the 12 games he played, but he also had just six games with double digits in touches. It will be difficult to trust Herbert in most Fantasy leagues if he stays with the Bears and Swift is healthy, so hopefully he’s dealt to a new team where he could showcase his skills. Remember, in 2022 Herbert led the NFL at 5.7 yards per carry.” –ย Jamey Eisenberg

“We expect Gainwell to begin the season as the No. 2 running back in Philadelphia, but he’ll have competition for that role from rookie Will Shipley. Gainwell only had double-digit touches in two games last season and he only scored 17.2 PPR Fantasy points in the two games combined. You can leave him on the waiver wire in all leagues for as long as Barkley is healthy and we wouldn’t break the bank for him if he gets the chance to start. We would expect a full committee in that case and believe there is more upside with Shipley.” – Heath Cummings

“Mattison signed with the Raiders this offseason, and he’s expected to be the No. 2 running back to open the season behind Zamir White. Mattison is only worth drafting with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues. In 2023, Mattison struggled as the lead running back for the Vikings and averaged just 8.3 PPR points per game. Despite 180 carries, Mattison failed to score a rushing touchdown (he caught three scores), but he should play a prominent role with the Raiders behind an inexperienced starter in White. Rookie Dylan Laube will also have a role, likely in the passing game, but Mattison is the expected handcuff should something happen to White. Mattison is a good running back to stash on your bench just to see how White does in his first full season as the starter in Las Vegas.” – Jamey Eisenberg

“Every year the 49ers add a rookie running back and every year Fantasy managers swoon over the pick. It’s Guerendo this year, a part-time back from Louisville with good cutting skills and solid size and power to match. He ran a 4.33 in his 40-yard dash, but he’s also beginning his NFL career at age 24, making him an older rookie who might not have a long shelf life. If he impresses this preseason then he could end up catapulting to the second string in San Francisco’s offense, which would make him a prized pick in the late rounds. Short of that he wouldn’t be worth drafting in seasonal leagues but does make the cut as an intriguing second- or third-round choice in rookie-only drafts since he could be McCaffrey’s backup as soon as 2025.” – Dave Richard

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Author: Dan Schneier
June 18, 2024 | 11:35 am

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