Everybody loves wide receivers and heck everybody wants to be wide receivers. Why not? They make big plays, they get paid, it’s a passing league and they all compete with each other. Not that it isn’t the same for running backs or any other position on a team, but people tend to go wideout heavy early on in their fantasy drafts, especially once the big 3 are gone (Zeke, Johnson and Bell) some people might wait on drafting a back. If you’re one of those drafters, or if this plays to your strategy here are some guys fringe RB1 (in today’s world) RB2’s who can fill in that position nicely for you in the middle rounds.

1. Isaiah Crowellfantasy draft

Crowell is not going to an all out RB1 for your fantasy squad, but over his first two NFL seasons he’s improved his efficiency and he plays a big role in the passing game which is great for PPR leagues. He came up just short of 1,000 rushing yards in 2016 with 952 and 7 TD’s. Look for his workload to increase and target Crowell after the elite are gone.

2. Carlos Hyde

I get it, Hyde has had a bad string of luck when it comes to dealing with injuries, but if you look at his injuries some of those are just plain bad luck. He’s a nice big bruiser and very durable. He only missed three game games last season, but one of them was week 17. He finished with 988 rushing yards and 6 TD’s. Report out of camp currently is that he looks lost and doesn’t know what he’s doing, but don’t believe that foolishness. It’s June and he’s out there in voluntarily OTA’s in shorts! Wait till the pads come on, Hyde will get it together. People will skip over Hyde early on when they think of his injuries, don’t be that guy/girl and draft the man.

3. Christian McCaffrey

It’s very possible that McCaffrey can have a better fantasy season than Leonard Fournette. Obviously Fournette is going to be the Day 1 starter for the Jags, but it’s no secret that Jonathan Stewart won’t have that starting role for very long with McCaffrey there. Cam Newton also has a fast, versatile back in the rookie and he will be utilized in the passing game right away. McCaffrey’s draft stock might move up getting closer to the season, but currently in mocks he’s going late in the 4th to early 6th in 12 team leagues.

4. Marshawn Lynch

I did say middle rounds and Lynch currently going in the 4-5 rounds. Hate on this choice or the man all you want I’d rather have a 30-year-old Marshawn behind a great O-line in Oakland rather than if he was still in Seattle with their offensive line. Lynch took a year off, and could be a nice fit on your roster if you go WR in the first 2-3 rounds.

5. Spencer Ware

I’ll start by saying if you’re going to draft Ware handcuff Kareem Hunt. Ware will likely be the week 1 starter, and he has great upside for the season. He did only have three rushing touchdowns, but he also tallied up 921 rushing yards. He’s a high-end RB2, especially with Alex Smith not targeting deep down the field, and Maclin being cut Ware is in for heavy workload.

6. C.J. Anderson

This is hit or miss when taking Anderson, and he was a candidate for bust of the year, but let me make my case for why you should take C.J. This year, prior to his torn meniscus in Week 7 he wasn’t horrible. He managed his worst 4.0 YPC and 1.5 after contact, but looking at his film he had a couple of long runs that were called back, even a 20-yard run with a TD that was called back and the Broncos offense played a huge role in his poor performance with plays being called back. Looking at their depth at running back Devontae Booker doesn’t scare me, and neither does Jamaal Charles at this point in his career. Anderson is still their lead back heading into the season, in what could be a bounce back year for him.

7. Bilal Powell

Powell is finally on the come up. Matt Forte led the Jets for the bulk of his first season, but later down the stretch Powell blew up and took advantage of his opportunities when he started. Powell is a passing-down back who averaged 20.5 carries and 5.8 targets per game. If you ask me, Powell is a steal in the draft, especially if you can grab him in the middle of your draft.


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