Backup Running Backs to Target

Charles Sims Week 9 Fantasy Football

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The running back position in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues is one of the most important pieces of your fantasy football team. Each season, a backup emerges as the starter due to injuries and other circumstances. Here are a few that you should be targeting in your drafts.


 Charles Sims

After an underwhelming rookie season, Sims bounced back in a big way in his 2015 sophomore campaign.

He finished the season with 1,090 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns – finishing as the 17th best PPR running back. Doug Martin is obviously the starter, but you can expect Sims to get some work in the run game as well as he averaged nearly five yards per carry last season. Sims was very efficient in the passing game too, catching 51 balls on 70 targets. He also finished 11th in red-zone targets for running backs.

You can currently draft Sims in the middle of Round 8 according to He has RB2 value in PPR leagues even as Martin’s backup. If Martin were to ever miss time, he instantly becomes a RB1 in both formats.

You can’t ask for much more in the later rounds of your drafts.

Darren Sproles

Sproles is a critical part of the offense for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even with the committee of Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews last season, Sproles had an uncontested role in the passing attack. He posted a 55-388-1 stat line. Sproles also finished with over 300 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns.

Trending: Tennessee Titans WR Fantasy Football Outlook

Sproles finished as the 28th best PPR RB last season, so he ended the year as a high-end RB3. This season, Sproles is being drafted as the 43rd running back off the board (PPR), according to That places his value as a low end RB4. So he is already being undervalued based on last season.

Now, we can only assume that Sproles’ role in the rushing game will grow with Murray now in Tennessee. Mathews is expected to be the workhorse, but that is assuming he can stay healthy throughout the season. Not to mention, Mathews finished nine spots below Sproles in PPR performance last season.

Also, he only had five more red-zone carries.

I am not saying that Sproles will become a workhorse all of a sudden or even push Mathews for the job. It is worth noting, however, that Sproles role will only increase with the loss of Murray.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him improve on the 84 targets he received last season. So far in re-drafts, I have seen him go as early as Round 9 and as late as Round 15. Either way, he is a screaming value in PPR leagues and still valuable in standard as well.

Theo Riddick

Riddick isn’t going to excite most people because he is not a sexy name.

But guess what? Money is sexy, and if Riddick can help you win your league, then pay attention!

Riddick finished last season as the 18th best PPR running back. He was extremely efficient in the passing game, catching 80 balls on 99 targets for nearly 700 yards and three touchdowns. His 99 targets were the second-most targets among running backs last season. He also had the second most red-zone targets among running backs last season.

There is no reason to expect Riddick’s role to change this year. In fact, he could even see more work with Calvin Johnson retiring.

Ameer Abdullah is the starter, but he is not expected to challenge Riddick for targets. He is currently being drafted at the very end of Round 8. That leaves plenty of room for him to exceed value especially in PPR leagues.

If you’re focusing on drafting receivers early, he is an excellent choice to target in the middle rounds of your draft. 

Danny Woodhead

This should be fairly obvious to even amateur Fantasy players, but Woodhead is good at football. I don’t understand how Melvin Gordon is even in consideration for the starting gig.

Woodhead was a phenomenal value last season. He led all running backs in catches, targets and red-zone targets. He finished the season with 1,091 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns. It was very clear that Gordon just could not get the job done, which led to Woodhead being utilized more in the run game as well.

He finished as the third best running back in PPR leagues last season and 10th in standard leagues.

There is very little evidence to suggest that Woodhead’s role will change in the offense this season. Even if Gordon improves, Woodhead will still see all the targets.

He is currently being drafted in the beginning of Round 5, according to Once again, for those that are drafting wide receivers early, Woodhead is an excellent option.

He played a large part in helping people win Fantasy titles last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this year was no different.

Editor’s Note: Need to know who else to target? Check out our 2016 Fantasy Football class, right here

Categories: 2016 Fantasy Football, 2016 Fantasy Football Running Backs

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  1. 2016 Fantasy Football: Late Round Wide Receivers To Target – Your Fantasy Football Coach

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