Best Ball Bargain Running Backs: Pricing and Picks

Best Ball Bargain Running Backs: Pricing and Picks

Drafting the right combination of Best Ball running backs is difficult, especially if you want to yield significant results in a larger tournament. Last year’s top five finishers at the RB position were Christian McCaffrey, Raheem Mostert, Travis Etienne Jr., Breece Hall, and Joe Mixon. Kyren Williams notably finished at RB6 with just 12 games played in 2023. Given their ADP last year, you could have easily drafted four of the listed players to the same team, if not all of them.

You’ll need those unique kinds of results to land a top prize in a prominent Best Ball tournament. This article will look at the Best Ball Running Back Bargains with top-five potential at the position. We’re targeting running backs at value with the most upside in 2024. We’ll identify critical stats, underlying skillsets, production opportunities, and more.

Follow along all offseason for the best fantasy football and best ball advice! We’re here to feed the fantasy degenerates who know Football is Life!

If you’re new to best ball, head to Underdog Fantasy and get your feet wet. You can get a handful of free Big Board drafts using our Promo Code: “FFSGPN” for a 100% Deposit Bonus up to $100. 

 

MORE SGPN FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT

Follow SGPN Fantasy Football on Youtube

2023 SGPN Best Ball Rankings

SGPN Dynasty Rankings

SGPN Fantasy Football Discord

underdog fantasy deposit bonus

Best Ball Bargain Running Backs: Pricing and Picks

Tony Pollard – Free Agent

ADP: 77.4
Position Rank: RB23

Tony Pollard is a clear Best Ball Bargain in 2024. Coming off the board as RB23 in a season where he finished as RB15. It’s worth noting it was an injury bounce-back year for Pollard, who broke his ankle to finish the 2022 season. He returned strong but took time to find the true comfort of the workload and retain his on-field speed and strength.

It also didn’t help that sporadic playcalling kept his production somewhat inconsistent in 2023. There were some games they didn’t need Pollard to perform well and other opportunities where they sat him in favorable rushing scenarios. Rico Dowdle had significantly fewer Red Zone touches than Pollard, yet they both totaled four touchdowns inside the 20-yard line in 2023.

Pollard was RB7 just two seasons ago in half-point PPR scoring. He has the skillset and upside to reach and clear this threshold in 2024. He’s an explosive running back with great hands out of the backfield and has the necessary speed to break off huge gains in space.

Pollard caught a record-high 55 passes this season on 67 targets. While he didn’t record a receiving touchdown, he did find paydirt six times on the ground while adding in his second 1000+ rushing yard season in as many years.

But He’s a Free Agent?

Free Agency looms over Tony Pollard as he might be on the move out of Dallas. He’s listed as a top priority for the team, so I expect to see him back in Dallas next year. However, if he were to leave, Pollard has plenty of opportunities around the league to maintain top-five potential.

He could land in Los Angeles with the Chargers, who are moving on from Austin Ekeler. They’ll have Greg Roman calling plays and boosting the fantasy value of any RB they bring in.

There’s the Baltimore Ravens, and while they don’t have Greg Roman calling plays, they still run the piss out of the ball and are in need of a game-changing running back. Returning to the Cowboys isn’t the wrong choice, either. We saw Pollard top RB8 just two years ago.

Pollard ranked 7th in total carries and 11th in total targets at the running back position in 2023. He was held in check returning from injury but flashed enough through the season to show he still has the tools to be a top player. He has a fantastic value on Underdog Fantasy, coming off the board at the end of round six or the beginning of round seven. I expect this price to climb to RB15 if he returns to Dallas.

However, a new sexy landing spot could push his market value inside the top 12 if there is an apparent path to bell cow-level production. Enjoy this discount while you can, and target Pollard at his ADP.

I wouldn’t be shy about moving him up the board, but it’s unnecessary if you’re drafting with any volume at this time; he’s bound to be there after ADP at some point, given the uncertainty of his NFL rostership.

Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints

ADP: 61.9
Position Rank: RB16

Alvin Kamara is consistently undervalued as a Best Ball Running Back. He reigns supreme in fantasy football history based on his big gameplay ability and consistency. While his total fantasy scoring has decreased through the past few seasons, he’s coming off a year where he averaged the 5th most fantasy points per game at the RB position. Kamara appeared in 13 games last season while averaging 19.6 touches per game.

Alvin would record 15.0 fantasy points per game, pushing him to an RB14 finish in 2023. Had he maintained these averages throughout the full season, he would have likely finished RB2 or RB3 in a dead heat with Raheem Mostert (RB) and Travis Etienne (RB3). While Kamara does turn 29 this year, I’m not concerned with any falloff due to age.

He’s always been a consistent threat in the receiving game, averaging 6.32 targets during his seven-year career. This provides him with a steady baseline for production as a dual-threat RB.

Of his 13 games played last season, he recorded less than 75 all-purpose yards in just four of them; however, in one of those games, he still scored a touchdown. Highlighting his ability to hold up his scoring floor, even in down weeks.

Does Klint Kubiak Change Anything?

Alvin Kamara and the Saints get a new offensive coordinator in Klint Kubiak in 2024. The days of Pete Carmichael have ended, and it’s certainly fair to be concerned about potential ripple effects for the offense. Klint has been an OC just once before with the Minnesota Vikings in 2021.

That offense was subpar when rushing the ball, ranking the 17th-best in the NFL in rushing yards and 28th in rushing touchdowns. However, that team did rank 11th for the most passing yards. Dalvin Cook had a noteworthy 1383 all-purpose yards that year. Kubiak worked with the Broncos in 2022 as the quarterbacks and passing game coordinator.

He shifted to San Francisco last season as their passing game coordinator. He obtained enough credit for the 49er’s success to land a big-time opportunity replacing an organizational staple in Pete Carmichael who left behind an 18-year run as the Saints OC.

Some are worried that Kubiak could move on from Alvin Kamara because he’s in a contract year, and the Saints can cut him to save significant cap space. While I argue the validity of the NFL salary cap, we know the cap is increasing, and the Saints already cleared up money by restructuring Derrick Carr’s contract; they’ll be fine.

Keep it simple and target Kamara at value; I expect him to climb the board the deeper we embark through the offseason. I’ve started many builds with him as my first RB drafted when targeting many receivers early.

He averaged 14.3 fantasy ppg through his last three seasons played, and this season, he maintained 15 fantasy ppg; it’s just a matter of maintaining health and unsuspended, and he’ll be in the top five RB conversation again next year.

Rhamondre Stevenson – New England Patriots

ADP: 72.8
Position Rank: RB20

Rhamondre Stevenson is entering a contract season and has help on the way to revive the New England offense. The Patriots are moving on from Bill Belichick and his coaching regime.

New head coach Jerad Mayo has brought in Alex Van Pelt from the Cleveland Browns to be the new OC for New England. Van Pelt worked as the OC for Cleveland for the past four seasons and added another year of experience as the Bills OC in 2009. In his five seasons as an OC, his rushing offense has ranked (16th), (3rd), (4th), (6th), and (12th) in the NFL.

Van Pelt and the changing of the guard offer Stevenson a fresh start in an offense where he’s bound to be featured. Stevenson is clearly and away the best-skilled player the Patriots have on offense.

This Patriots offense could make a quick turnaround with an upgrade at quarterback and the acquisition of a few respectable receivers. The offensive line will need some work as well. RT Mike Onwenu, RG Sidy Sow, and C David Andrews have established their half of the line; however, you should expect moves to be made at LT and LG this offseason.

Stevenson should have had a much better season last year, and it feels like it would have gone that way had the previous regime prioritized him over less explosive talent. Rhamondre did appear in just 12 games after having his season shut down in December for a high ankle sprain.

However, in the 12 games he did play, Rhamondre averaged 16.1 touches per game, while Ezekiel Elliott averaged 12.5 touches per game. Once Stevenson went down, Elliott reached 17.5 touches per game; a pure football enigma if we’ve ever seen one.

New England Patriots Revival?

A bet on a Rhamondre Stevenson top-five finish is also a bet on a New England Patriots revival. Rhamondre showed us elite production two years ago when he totaled 1400+ all-purpose yards and six total touchdowns.

He also highlighted 69 receptions in 2022, a role I expect him to re-adopt in 2024. New England will unlikely land a gunslinger in free agency or via the NFL draft. They will likely bring in a game manager and tote an improved run game backed by Stevenson.

Stevenson has had plenty of time to recover from his high ankle sprain and should be ready for training camp in 2024. Rhamondre will be 100% healthy and in an offense built around him. I expect his production to revert to 2022 levels. He ranked #9 for Best Ball Points Added by RBs two seasons ago.

His skill set will be needed, specifically in a Van Pelt offense focusing on running the ball and getting big plays out of the RB position. Stevenson ranked #3 in juke rate two seasons ago and #3 in evaded tackles amongst RBs. He has clear underlying talent that was significantly mismanaged last season; look for a paradigm shift this upcoming season.

Tyjae Spears – Tennesse Titans

ADP: 68.7
Position Rank: RB18

Tyaje Spears has the potential to be a top-five running back in 2024. The Titans are moving on from Derrick Henry, who leaves behind 300+ vacated touches, to an explosive year two running back in Tyaje Spears. Spears averaged 4.5 yards per carry in year one. He totaled 453 rushing yards on 100 attempts while also catching 52 passes for 385 yards.

He would add in three total touchdowns. Certainly not the sexiest numbers, but it’s not so easy when you’re playing behind Derrick Henry.

Spears played 52.9% of the snaps last season but still secured the 9th most targets and receptions for running backs. He finished third on the Titans roster for total receptions last season and could do the same in 2024 but with double the production opportunities.

He’s fast, agile, has excellent vision, and has secondary breaking speed. Spears ranked 5th in yards created per touch and 6th in yards per touch amongst running backs. The big question is if he’ll get 300+ touches and eat like the previous bell-cow in Derrick Henry.

Potential Production

The Titans move on from Mike Vrabel as head coach and bring in Brian Callahan from the Cincinnati Bengals. Callahan was the offensive coordinator for the Bengals through the last five seasons, including when they played the Rams in the Super Bowl in 2021. Callahan will be calling plays for the Titans in 2024, so it’s worth noting how he used Joe Mixon in Cincinnati.

Mixon recorded 300+ touches in three of his five seasons with Callahan as OC. Last year, he secured 309 touches, then 270 in 2022, 334 in 2021, 140 in 2020 during an injury season, and then, in his first year with Callahan, he recorded 313 touches in 2019.

While Spears is more of a speed back than a physical threat, Callahan’s background of feeding his top running back is crucial and should make you more comfortable drafting Spears.

If Spears maintained his production averages across 300 touches, He would easily clear 1000 rushing yards with 75 receptions for 600 receiving yards. These numbers feel more like his floor than his ceiling. Look out for any free agency or draft moves that could sway his cost even lower on Underdog.

He’s coming off the board as RB18, and I could easily see this cost rise with no FA signings or significant draft capital on an RB. I’m doubling down if his cost falls; even if he’s not top five, he’s still finishing in the RB1 tier in 2024, a fantastic value regardless.

Austin Ekeler – Free Agent

ADP: 76.1
Position Rank: RB22

Austin Ekeler is the Best Ball Running Back that will make you all regret this atrocious ADP of RB22. The public needs a lesson in self-decency; have you all no qualms?! Let’s be honest: Ekeler will land with a contender that needs his vast ball-dominating skill set.

Yes, he had a down year in 2023, but this ADP is a complete overreaction. People are treating his ADP like he’s Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch, and I don’t get it!

The Chargers were just plain bad last season, specifically on the ground. The Chargers were 25th in total rushing yards in 2023. It didn’t help that Ekeler missed three games, but that still doesn’t adjust for Ekeler not being used as a bell cow on a new team. Why would Ekeler go to a team at this stage in his career where he’ll be used similarly to his last year with the Chargers?

Ekeler was visibly upset down the season’s stretch when returning from injury. Surely, he was working things out physically, but his frustration was apparent. Easy to see when you’re team is constantly losing and you’re not getting the ball as you should. Even in a down year, he still recorded 1064 scrimmage yards with six total touchdowns.

Who Does He Play For?

That’s the million-dollar question, with the answer likely playing a pivotal role in his updated cost post-free agency. I could see him landing with the Bengals. He and Joe Burrow would be a great tandem, and he could collect vacated production from Mixon and Tyler Boyd.

The Cowboys are also a team of interest if they don’t bring Tony Pollard back. Dallas passed the ball a ton last year and felt like a good fit for their up-tempo offense. Lastly, I like the Vikings; there is a huge opportunity there with an offense that desperately needs reliability in the backfield.

Ekeler is another best ball running back I like to lead off with in my drafts. I’ve seen Ekeler selected most commonly in round seven but many times in the early 8th round.

This ADP will not stay this affordable; it’s that simple. He’ll get signed to a better situation with fundamental fantasy promise, and you Anti-Ekeler Keyboard Kids will eat apples! Buy this discount while you still can. You can go Zero RB and let him lead off your RB group or bury him as your 3rd, 4th, or even 5th RB drafted if you run RB heavy.

Related Content
WATCH
LISTEN

Sports Gambling Podcast

The College Basketball Experience

NBA Gambling Podcast

NASCAR Gambling Podcast

Premier League Gambling Podcast

MORE

audio podcasts like homepage (post masonry grid, category: NFL)

video podcasts like homepage (post grid, category: NFL)

NBA Picks April 14th

NFL Week Two

NFL Week Three

NFL Week Four

NFL Week Five

audio podcasts like homepage (post grid, category: NFL)