Fanelli’s Fantasy Files: Four Cheap Auction Value Running Backsby Mike Fanelli July 21, 2021 0 comments
While snake drafts are always fun and the traditional way to draft for fantasy leagues, auction or salary cap drafts have become more popular over the past few years. When doing an auction draft, you want to spend most of your budget on your starting lineup. Since a big chunk of your bench will get overturned throughout the season, you shouldn’t spend much on your bench players. Instead, you want to take shots on players that don’t cost much but come with upside. Using Fantasy Pros Auction Values as a guide, I have come up with four running backs you should target for under five percent of your auction budget to fill out your bench.
All stats are base on PPR scoring.
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Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
This pick is cheating a little bit. While Williams’ current value is only at four percent, the closer we get to the season, the higher it will get. Last season, the Broncos gave the duo of Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay 333 rushing attempts. While Gordon is still currently on the roster, Lindsay is now a member of the Houston Texans. Furthermore, the Broncos traded up on draft night to secure Williams. Denver beat reports believe Williams will be the lead back this season and could have the starting job by Week 1. Furthermore, regardless of which quarterback is under center, the Broncos will want to establish the running game. If given the starting job before Week 1, Williams will finish the season as an RB2 or better.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots
During his rookie season, Harris played a total of five snaps. Then, last season, Harris tied Cam Newton for the team lead with 137 rushing attempts. However, Harris did it in five fewer games than Newton. More importantly, Harris averaged five yards per rushing attempt and scored 10 or more fantasy points in half of his games. Furthermore, Harris had 14 or more rushing attempts in 60 percent of his games last season while averaging 9.1 fantasy points per game despite only scoring two touchdowns. Harris won’t have much of a role in the passing game because of James White. However, with Rex Burkhead off the team and Sony Michel’s roster spot at risk, Harris could turn into a fantasy steal for only three percent of your budget.
Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
Last season, the 49ers had three running backs run for over 300 yards, Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson, and Raheem Mostert. However, McKinnon is now in Kansas City, while Wilson will miss part of the season with an injury. That leaves Mostert as the projected starter. However, after missing eight games last season, reports are the 49ers don’t trust him as the lead back. While the 49ers added Wayne Gallman in the offseason, his roster spot isn’t secured as his contract is non-guaranteed for this season. Fantasy players need to keep tabs on Sermon during training camp and the preseason to see if he impresses the coaches. For only three percent of your budget, if Sermon can secure the featured back role, you will have landed a top-12 running back.
AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
Entering the offseason, Dillon was a hot fantasy name as many expected Aaron Jones to leave in free agency. Instead, the Packers re-signed Jones and let Jamaal Williams walk, opening up the No. 2 running back role for Dillon. While he isn’t a lock for a top-20 finish anymore, Dillon still has plenty of fantasy appeal this season, especially for two percent of your budget. Last season, the Packers gave Williams 119 rushing attempts and 35 targets. While Dillon isn’t as good of a receiving back as Williams, Jones will take on more of the receiving game role, giving up snaps on the ground to Dillon. Despite limited work last season, Dillon averaged 5.5 yards and 0.84 fantasy points per touch. Furthermore, if Jones misses time, Dillon becomes an RB1.
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