Injuries happen. It’s just the nature of the NFL, and the fallout has ruined many a fantasy football season over the years. After all, there’s nothing quite like the sting of losing your first-round pick a month into the season. That’s the game, however, and it’s why finding good depth at the end of drafts is so vital. With that in mind, here are four running backs to consider in the later rounds.
D’Onta Foreman, Carolina Panthers (ADP: 14th round)
This slot came down to Chuba Hubbard (ADP 132.4) and Foreman. Neither player figures to hold much, if any, value so long as Christian McCaffrey is healthy, though after Run CMC missed 23 games in the last two seasons, he carries as big of a medical red flag as anyone in fantasy. Both Hubbard and Foreman (then with the Tennessee Titans) did decent work filling in for star backs last year, but Foreman was more efficient, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and he was the one Carolina went out and signed in free agency when they already had Hubbard in place. There’s no definitive call on this situation, yet, but lean Foreman.
Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions (ADP: 11th round)
In five NFL seasons (four with the Green Bay Packers, one with Detroit), Williams has averaged 741 total yards and 4.2 touchdowns. He’s a capable receiver, a hard-nosed runner in short-yardage, and he excels in pass protection. Williams also essentially matched D’Andre Swift in terms of both yards and carries last season — where Swift separated was as a receiver out of the backfield. There’s no question Swift has more talent and upside, but he’s also missed seven games in two years, and it’s doubtful that the Lions will skew the touches too heavily in his favor.
Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears (ADP: 11th round)
Although he didn’t get a ton of opportunities, Herbert delivered each time he did, rushing for 344 yards on 78 carries (4.4 YPC) in four starts. Once David Montgomery returned, Herbert went back on the shelf. Don’t expect the new coaching staff to follow suit. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy studied under Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, who has always used a two-back system. There’s also a young QB to protect and an uninspiring collection of wideouts around him. One other potential wrinkle: Montgomery is entering the final year of his contract. If things go south quickly, and the Bears can flip him for an asset, Herbert could find himself in the top spot. There’s real late-round lottery ticket potential here.
Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP: N/A)
Here’s a fun piece of trivia: Two players finished in the top-10 in both rushing and receiving during last year’s playoffs. One was San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. The other was McKinnon, who posted 315 total yards in three postseason contests. Kansas City signed Ronald Jones during the offseason, but he has done little in camp and might not make the 53-man roster. Rookie Isiah Pacheco has generated some buzz and moved up the ADP charts (currently 130.6), and he nearly landed a spot on this list as well. Ultimately, though, McKinnon feels like a better fit for what head coach Andy Reid likes to do, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s health is always a concern.