Dynasty League Football


Dynasty Fantasy Football: NFL Backup Running Back Round-Up

We examine the intriguing backfield situations around the NFL.

AJ Dillon

NFL training camps are open and discussion of the running back position has dominated the NFL community for much of the off-season. Debates about the actual value of ball carriers around the NFL are likely to extend well into the regular season but details including injury rate and career length are the exact reasons dynasty gamers dive deep when it comes to backfields.

Let’s look at some of the key backup running backs around the league, broken into four categories. Current ADP positional rank is included with each player.


Detroit Lions

The Lions made some major moves in the backfield this off-season, signing former Bears running back David Montgomery (RB31) before using the 12th overall pick on rookie Jahmyr Gibbs (RB5). While it is unclear how the backfield split will play out early this season, Gibbs is already being valued as a future elite asset and the early camp hype has matched that.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles let longtime starter Miles Sanders (RB19) walk via free agency and replaced him by signing Rashaad Penny (RB43) and trading for former Lion D’Andre Swift (RB22). Both players have displayed their huge upside at times during their respective careers, but have also both dealt with consistent injury issues. They’ll join veterans Kenneth Gainwell (RB52) and Boston Scott to form Philly’s four-man backfield.

Seattle Seahawks

As the 2022 NFL season concluded, the Seahawks backfield was anything but muddy as then-rookie Kenneth Walker (RB12) churned out nine top-24 fantasy performances and scored as the RB10 from Week Six through the end of the season. Seattle shocked the dynasty world when they used their second-round pick on rookie Zach Charbonnet (RB24). While Walker is still the presumed starter entering training camp, there is precedent for this team to use multiple backs and ignore previous draft capital.

Washington Commanders

As a rookie, Brian Robinson (RB38) ascended the Washington depth chart, even after suffering a gunshot wound in the preseason. Robinson displayed a relatively low ceiling with one RB1 performance and three other RB2 games. Meanwhile, Antonio Gibson (RB36) has been once again drawing offseason praise and remains the Commanders back with the most upside.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins entered the off-season with no running backs under contract. They re-signed all four of the ball carriers from last year’s roster, most notably Raheem Mostert (RB64) and Jeff Wilson Jr (RB68). Those veterans combined for six RB1 games and seven RB2 games. It’s that exact production that has dynasty managers anxious to see rookie Devon Achane (RB26) suit up for the Dolphins.

Chicago Bears

The Bears parted ways with veteran David Montgomery (RB31), who eventually landed with division-rival Detroit. That left the team with questions about their backfield. Most dynasty managers viewed Khalil Herbert (RB41) as the heir apparent and his ADP quickly rose and he was sitting just outside the top 100 players during the free agency frenzy. The Bears acted quickly though, signing underrated veteran D’Onta Foreman (RB57) and drafting Roschon Johnson (RB39). As evidenced by their respective ADPs, the rookie is currently the most valuable member of the trio but this is the definition of muddy and these three could cancel each other out all season.


Keaontay Ingram, ARI

Although Ingram (RB77) played sparingly as a rookie, he’s now in line to be the top backup behind veteran James Conner (RB34). Conner has never played a full season and the rebuilding Cardinals have an out for Conner’s contract following this season. With an ADP outside of the top 240 overall, Ingram is an easy player to take a chance on before the season begins.

AJ Dillon, GB

Expectations were high for Dillon (RB32), the Packers’ former day-two pick, following his RB23 finish in 2021. His role last season essentially remained the same and the Packers offense took a step back. Dillon finished as the RB27 and his ADP dropped from RB16 last October to as low as RB35 this off-season. Following this season though, starter Aaron Jones (RB21) will be entering his age 30 season and is set for a $10 million raise. Yeah, I don’t see that happening. If Dillon can show improvement in his all-around game this season, he’ll be the favorite to lead the backfield in 2024.

Zamir White, LV

Former Georgia running back White (RB61) is in a similar spot to Ingram, with one major potential advantage. Another player who hardly saw the field as a rookie, White is currently listed as the top backup to Josh Jacobs (RB11). The issue is that Jacobs is currently not with the team as he has thus far been unwilling to sign the franchise tender. With Saquon Barkley coming to terms with the Giants, Jacobs now stands alone in representing the frustrated running backs around the league. While I ultimately expect Jacobs to report and play for the Raiders this year, this could be his final year in Vegas, which would be a second path to a possible value gain for White.

Zack Moss, IND

A last-minute addition, Moss (NR) is the Colts’ top backup ball carrier. The issue is starter Jonathan Taylor (RB3) is disgruntled and has officially requested a trade. While the Colts appear to be holding firm, this is obviously a situation to monitor. After falling out of favor in Buffalo, Moss was traded to the Colts last year. He enjoyed a big week 18 performance, scoring over 20 fantasy points. It feels like a long shot for Moss to regain a starting role in the league but he’s worthy of an add as we watch the JT situation unfold.


Damien Harris, BUF

Following an injury-riddled season in New England, veteran Harris (RB44) signed with division-foe Buffalo. After a relatively successful rookie season, James Cook (RB29) is penciled in as the starter. Last season, Cook shared the backfield with veteran Devin Singletary (RB53) and produced one RB1 game and another as an RB2. Harris’s value tumbled after his disappointing 2022 season, falling from RB25 to outside of the top 50 before landing in Buffalo. We should question the ceiling of Harris, but he has finished as a top-24 fantasy scorer in over 46% of his career games.

Samaje Perine, DEN

The Broncos signed veteran Perine (RB42) this off-season with concerns that starter Javonte Williams (RB17) may not be fully healthy to start the season. Perine was a solid option behind Joe Mixon (RB18) last season, including three straight RB1 games in the middle of the season. The Broncos got good news as Williams was fully cleared for training camp, but Perine should remain high on the wish list, especially for Williams managers.

Ty Chandler, MIN

The Vikings were left with Alexander Mattison (RB25) as their starter after they sent veteran Dalvin Cook (RB33) packing. While Mattison has been very impressive in short stretches as the starter, he is a risky bet from a full-season perspective. If Mattison falters or simply needs to share the backfield, second-year man Chandler (RB69) is next up. He played even less than some of the other second-year backs mentioned, seeing action in only Week Eighteen last season. Chandler is a versatile back and is currently listed as second on the depth chart. For now, he’s simply Mattison insurance.

Chase Edmonds, TB

It is difficult to trust Edmonds (RB82) at this point after he had chances to start for multiple teams and failed to take advantage. Regardless, he once again finds himself in a position in which he could see significant playing time. The Buccaneers are hoping that second-year back Rachaad White (RB27) takes control of the backfield after sharing with veteran Leonard Fournette (RB59) last season. The good news is White had overtaken Fournette late last year and is expected to continue that trend. Edmonds is a desperation shot suited for your final roster spot.


Jerome Ford, CLE

Veteran Kareem Hunt (RB76) struggled through the 2022 season as the top backup to starter Nick Chubb (RB10). Now, Hunt can’t find a job and the Browns have turned to second-year back Ford (RB51) as their RB2. With Chubb still unlikely to see much work in the passing game, Ford should have a role in the offense.

Pierre Strong, NE

We all know how rare it is for a rookie to see significant work in the Patriots offense. That means once veteran Damien Harris (RB44) went down with an injury last season, the backfield belonged to Rhamondre Stevenson (RB9). Then-rookie Strong (RB56) saw very little work but is now in line to serve as the RB2 and eat into Stevenson’s pass-catching share. Stevenson was third among all backs last season with 87 targets, which was good for a 16.1% target share.

Jaylen Warren, PIT

An undrafted rookie a year ago, Warren (RB48) worked his way up to the Steelers’ RB2 job and even began to eat into Najee Harris’s (RB14) role. Off-season reports have been positive for Warren with one beat writer recently suggesting the team won’t be able to keep Warren “off the field as much” as last season. Even playing behind Harris last year, Warren still produced a couple of RB2 fantasy performances and scored 10+ fantasy points in five contests.

Malik Davis, DAL

Another undrafted rookie, Davis (RB70) earned the Cowboys’ RB3 job and was active most gamedays, seeing work in seven games. With veteran Ezekiel Elliott (RB55) now gone, Davis is expected to be the team’s top backup behind starter Tony Pollard (RB13). The good news is Davis is still very easy to acquire both in drafts and trades. That’s because there is a concern the team could still add a big-name veteran before the season begins.


Tank Bigsby, JAC

Former Auburn back Bigsby (RB37) was the third-round pick of the Jaguars. What initially looked like a poor landing spot has been growing on dynasty managers. Travis Etienne (RB8) began the 2022 season as part of a committee with James Robinson (NR). When Robinson was dumped, the team leaned heavily on Etienne. Although he played well in his first healthy season, Etienne is still not considered a bell-cow back and he was not drafted by the current staff.

Kendre Miller, NO

Perhaps the New Orleans Saints could’ve been included in the earlier “muddy backfield” discussion. The team entered the off-season with lingering questions about the status of veteran back Alvin Kamara (RB35), pushing them to sign 2022 touchdown leader Jamaal Williams (RB45) before drafting Miller (RB28). Kamara appears to have dodged serious consequences but could still be facing a suspension. I expect all three backs to play a role this year and surprisingly, Miller has the highest ADP of the trio.

Tyjae Spears, TEN

The Titans used a day two pick on Spears (RB40) and with a veteran starter of Derrick Henry’s (RB15) age, regardless of his talent, this was a value boost for the rookie. An unfortunate off-field issue for backup Hasaan Haskins (NR) earlier this offseason made the RB2 spot even more likely for Spears. The Titans do like to ride Henry into the ground but Spears should still have a role as a rookie.

Chase Brown, CIN

The Bengals fifth-round draft pick, Brown’s (RB50) value shot up in recent weeks as there was concern that veteran Joe Mixon (RB18) may be cut by Cincinnati. Instead, the two sides agreed to a reworked contract. Brown also has to battle veterans Trayveon Williams (RB83) and Chris Evans (NR) for playing time, making him more of a 2024 investment.

Ryan McDowell
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Dynasty Fantasy Football: NFL Backup Running Back Round-Up
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Vendetta .
1 month ago

Outstanding article!

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