11 Out-of-Nowhere NFL RBs That Became Fantasy Football Beasts

  • David Gonos


Fantasy Football owners for the past 30 years have generally understood that the running backs positions are the most important spots in their lineups (sans your “Zero RB” theorists). But over the past couple decades, there have been a few out-of-nowhere running backs that have emerged as Fantasy beasts, not only leading their NFL teams on the ground, but also leading Fantasy owners to championships.

We had some good surprises near the top this year, like Miami’s Jay Ajayi and Chicago’s Jordan Howard, but really, both were drafted over the summer, and many needed them as RB3s, so how much of a surprise were they?

We’re talking more about players like Bilal Powell, who finished 23rd in Fantasy points at his position, despite playing behind Matt Forte, a player that had over 250 touches in every season of his career. Powell was a six-year veteran, though, and he has had success in the past (47 catches in 2015), so it wasn’t a complete surprise.

By doing this exercise, we realized there are two ways to become a breakout unknown running back in the NFL and Fantasy Football: Be a big back that can’t catch the ball, or a small back that catches a lot of them!

11 Running Backs That Shocked the World — and Became Fantasy Football Beasts

How many of these super-sleeper running backs have you picked up off waivers over the years?

Photo Credit: J. Meric, Getty Images

David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about sports online since 2001, including CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, NFL.com, MLB.com and SportsIllustrated.com.