Fantasy Football's Dynasty Sleepers: AFC Running Backs

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IFebruary 9, 2010

MIAMI - JANUARY 03:  Running back Lex Hilliard #26 of the Miami Dolphins dives for a touchdown past linebacker LaMarr Woodley #56 and Deshea Townsend #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Land Shark Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

By Sean Haugh.

Most successful dynasty owners save as many roster spots as possible for Running Back prospects.  I’ve been hanging onto Raiders' Michael Bush on most of my teams for three years now. Cowboys' Tashard Choice is on half of them as well.

RB is the one position where one most values talent over situation.  Injuries can clear a path through the depth chart. Just look at Texans' Arian Foster, who was on a practice squad in mid-November and starter material by mid-December.

Backup RBs are also frequently trade targets or raided off other teams’ practice squads. Early investors in Ryan Grant know this story well.

It pays to consider every single RB on an NFL roster. If you like a guy’s upside, at some point you are going to get to see him in live game action. The more familiar you are with these players, the faster you’ll be able to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on the waiver wire for them.

Here are five RBs from the AFC which particularly interest me:

Lex Hilliard, Dolphins – Hilliard received plenty of game action once Ronnie Brown went down to yet another season-ending injury. He didn’t receive more than five carries in any game, but some of them were on the goal line and one was for a touchdown. He did however put on a show in the passing game in weeks 15 and 16, catching 13 balls for 110 yards and a touchdown. At 5’11” and 240 pounds, he has the potential to be a complete RB.

Hilliard has the confidence of Coach Tony Sparano because he also excels at pass protection. He’s expressed the admirable humility to play at any position to help the team, but Lousaka Polite is more likely to have the main fullback duties going forward.

Both Brown and Ricky Williams are getting up there in years. Hilliard is a little old himself for being a third-year RB. He’ll be 26 when the 2010 season begins. If he’s going to have long-term fantasy value, he’ll have to blossom quickly.

Odds are high Hilliard will have that opportunity. Brown may not be ready in time for the season, and Williams has said this will be his last year. Look for Hilliard to be used early in the preseason and if he is, you may even need to spend a draft pick on him instead of waiting for him on the waiver wire, especially in PPR leagues...

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