Fantasy Football Sleepers 2013: Daryl Richardson and RBs Worth Reaching for
Much of the fantasy football world if obsessed with landing as many star running backs as possible early because there is a supposed lack of quality depth at the position.
While that may be true when compared to other positions such as wide receiver, that does not mean there is a lack of talent falling down draft boards.
With the obsession on grabbing backs like Jamaal Charles early, it may be a healthy strategy at this point to take risks on receivers and tight ends early and grab sleeper backs later.
Knowing when to take a sleeper back can be tricky, but a good way to go about it is picking him before his ADP, or average draft position, which is a composite average of where he is being taken in thousands of drafts.
If an owner misses out on star backs or prescribes to an unconventional strategy, the following three backs are worth taking off the board early to compensate and balance out the roster.
Note: All ADP info courtesy of FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Much of the talk surrounding New Orleans running backs has to do with PPR machine Darren Sproles because of the numbers he can put up through the air as well as on the ground.
With head coach Sean Payton back in town, the Saints are poised to focus on the run more to balance the attack, per ESPN's Pat Yasinskas.
There's a Heisman talent on the roster just for that. So far in his career Mark Ingram has been the victim of circumstance and opportunity. If the coaching staff is intent on letting him run wild, Ingram could post over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.
Ingram is the No. 37 back off the board in leagues right now. Take him in the 28-30 range over a guy like Chris Ivory. Ingram posted just over 600 yards and five scores last year on 156 carries. If that total gets bumped to 200-225, Ingram is going to have a breakout year.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy does not have a low ADP by any means. He is the No. 23 back off the board as a rookie, but there is a case to be made he should come off even higher, especially if owners miss out on top backs in the first two rounds.
Rookie or not, it is hard to name a better situation for a running back than Green Bay. Lacy is the starter, as confirmed by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In an offense in desperate need of a quality runner, Lacy has the skills to put up top-15 fantasy numbers with defenses zeroed in on stopping Aaron Rodgers and the passing attack.
Lacy rumbled for over 1,300 yards rushing and 17 scores last year at Alabama. In his preseason debut with the Packers in Week 2, he displayed many of the same talents by totaling 40 yards on eight carries and adding another 11 yards on one reception.
Unlike other rookie runners like Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell and even Cincinnati's Giovani Bernard, Lacy is in the perfect situation and should lead all rookie runners in yards and scores. Rodgers is too deadly for defenses to focus on a rookie, and Lacy's fantasy output will flourish as a result.
Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
How does a seventh-round rookie from a year ago make it onto a sleeper fantasy list? Only by fighting his way to the starting job and keeping a firm grip on it.
That's what Daryl Richardson has done in St. Louis as he continues to distance himself from Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy. According to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has named Richardson the starter for the season.
Which back are you taking early?
Richardson is just the No. 28 back coming off the board at the moment. He posted 475 yards on just 98 carries last season as a rookie for an outstanding 4.8 yards per carry average. That production when averaged out to starter opportunities is through the roof and well above his ADP.
While not your conventional every-down back, Richardson is good at a minimum for 15 carries a game and plenty of targets in the spread offense St. Louis is running with quarterback Sam Bradford.
Richardson is the type of player who can win an owner a league out of nowhere. His ADP is going to start slowly creeping up, but owners who snap on him earlier than predicted will have a clear-cut advantage on the way to the playoffs courtesy of his surpassing 1,000 yards rushing.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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