A good reason why you should target running backs in the first three rounds of your draft is because you may feel forced to reach for running backs by this point in the draft. Both Shonn Greene and Cedric Benson can give you production early on, but you will be laughed at for taking them as high as a few fantasy owners decided to draft them in my latest 10-team PPR mock draft.
41. Hakeem Nicks (ADP 4.09)-
No setbacks (knock on wood) for Nicks since his return from a foot injury a few weeks ago. Nicks has the ability and the situation to be a top-five fantasy receiver, but his health has been a problem throughout his career.
No major injuries, but we should expect Nicks to find the injury report often. Still, he’s a terrific, high-end WR2, and he's going at a nice value in the late fourth to fifth round of most 10-team drafts.
42. Dez Bryant (ADP 5.04)-
The upside is worth a fifth-round pick for Bryant. The third-year receiver is motivated to have a good year, and I think he’s ready for it, assuming he can stay on the field.
43. Mike Wallace (ADP 6.04)-
Not a fan of Wallace this high, especially in a PPR league as his reception total may not even reach 60 this year. Wallace still needs to get into football shape after his long holdout and needs to work with his teammates on the new playbook.
Expect an inconsistent first half of the season from Wallace, and look to take someone else at this point in your draft.
44. Cedric Benson (ADP 6.01)-
Moving up the draft board fast after a few runs impressed his teammates in the team's third preseason game. Benson is worth a roster spot, but no way should we be targeting him in the fifth round, especially in PPR leagues.
Benson has never been a high-volume receiving back and will be off the field in third-down situations. The Packers will remain a pass-heavy offense, so think of Benson as more of a RB4 on draft day.
45. Aaron Hernandez (ADP 5.02)-
If Gronkowski should get injured or Wes Welker’s game starts to decline (might happen), this could be a 90-catch season for Hernandez. Brady has favored him over the middle in the preseason, and I think he’s a terrific fifth-round pick in PPR leagues.
46. Percy Harvin (ADP 5.03)-
If Harvin can stay on the field and not tick his coaches off with this attitude, he’s worth a fifth-round pick. I’m not taking him this high, unless I’m in a league that is very friendly towards rushing yards, because he will get opportunities out of the backfield.
47. Willis McGahee (ADP 5.03)-
Rookie Ronnie Hillman has received a lot of buzz through the summer in fantasy circles, but he’s probably not going to be the No. 2 tailback for Denver (likely Lance Ball), let alone a threat to McGahee, early on.
Watching the Broncos offense operate during the preseason, it’s clear McGahee still has a good burst and will be the main runner in this offense.
Problem is, he’s a candidate to break down in the second half of the season, and that is when we could see Hillman make an impact. For now, McGahee is a solid RB2 addition.
48. Matt Ryan (ADP 5.05)-
Believe in Ryan as his footwork and confidence have improved this offseason. Then again, when you have Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and budding superstar Julio Jones in your offense, who wouldn’t have confidence?
This is a terrific situation for Ryan, and I believe he’s ready to deliver around 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
49. Shonn Greene (ADP 7.05)-
Early on this summer I thought Greene had a chance to get something done if Tim Tebow took over the offense.
That’s not going to happen, and we should target Bilal Powell as a replacement for Greene towards the end of the draft. Greene brings little to the table, and I haven’t seen much development in his game over the years.
50. Reggie Bush (ADP 5.06)-
Bush has looked good through the preseason and should give you respectable points in PPR leagues. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill may not have talented receivers, but he knows the offense well, and I think he can sustain drives.
Scoring touchdowns will be a problem, however, so look to Bush as more of a flex play start, even in PPR leagues.
ADP comes courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.