One of the main things the Fantasy industry seems to have come to a consensus on is the importance of taking running backs in the first two rounds. The reasoning is that running back is a thin position, unlike wide receiver, which has starters available in the mid rounds of the draft. But ADP may betray that consensus. Outside of the top 90 in ADP, you'll find a variety of running backs who you could reasonably start Week 1. Let's start with the backs who may just be starting for their NFL team.
Round 8 and Round 9 is where you'll find Marlon Mack, Jordan Howard, Matt Breida and Kerryon Johnson. The expectation should be that three of those four are starting for their teams. Mack and Johnson will have to hold off rookies throughout the year, but there's reason to be optimistic about both beating their ADP. For Mack, it's a cupcake schedule the first half of the year and arguably the best offensive line in football. For Johnson, it's the fact that D'Andre Swift has missed the past week of training camp.
Not late enough for you? Adrian Peterson, Malcolm Brown and the Patriots' starter (whoever that is) are available long after Round 10. Expect all of them to be better in non-PPR, but they all have No. 2 upside on a weekly basis. Damien Harris, if he won the Patriots job, would seemingly have the most upside of the group, but Brown is by far the cheapest unless you count Rex Burkhead as a potential starter.
And after Jacksonville cut Leonard Fournette, the Jacksonville starter is now available as well. Ryquell Armstead is viewed as the favorite, but Devine Ozigbo has had a great training camp. Whoever starts will cede passing downs to Chris Thompson, which will dampen their value, but none of the Jacksonville backs have an ADP in the first 12 rounds, and that needs to change quickly.
Speaking, of pass catching backs, James White is available in Round 9, and there are a handful of third-down backs you can draft much later. White was a top-10 PPR back in 2018 and his new quarterback (Cam Newton) has recent history force-feeding a pass-catching back. Boston Scott, Nyheim Hines and Jerick McKinnon all have ADPs outside of the top 120 and all have top-25 PPR upside. They could certainly all be Week 1 PPR starters, and Scott has considerable upside if Miles Sanders' injury is more serious than the Eagles are letting on.
Does all this mean you should eschew running backs early in the draft? Not necessarily. But if that's the way the draft falls, it does mean you don't have to panic. There are plenty of sleeper running backs from Round 8 and beyond.
Still planning on hammering running back early? Here are 10 non-running back sleepers available in the double-digit rounds:
IND Indianapolis • #10
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
It's no secret how I felt about Minshew this offseason, and training camp has done nothing to change that. Laviska Shenault is drawing rave reviews, possibly giving Minshew a second elite weapon, and Pete Prisco told us Jay Gruden is very happy with Minshew's grasp of the offense. Oh yeah, and the defense has gotten even worse. You should expect 600 pass attempts and 4,000 passing yards from Minshew. Throw in his rushing production, and that will likely make him a top-12 quarterback at the end of the year.
Tyrod Taylor QB
NYG N.Y. Giants • #2
Age: 34 • Experience: 13 yrs.
The Chargers have apparently started to include some of the Ravens offense in their playbook, which would give Taylor an upside we hadn't really considered. He also has the best set of weapons he's ever played with in Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry. With an opening schedule that features the Bengals and the Chiefs, you should feel good about starting Taylor early in the year.
WAS Washington • #80
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Crowder was a top 20 wide receiver when Sam Darnold was healthy in 2019. That was with Robby Anderson and Demaryius Thomas on the roster. They're gone, and their replacements have mostly been injured and missed training camp. Crowder should have an enormous target share, and if Darnold takes a step forward there is legitimate top-15 upside in PPR.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #3
Age: 31 • Experience: 8 yrs.
There may be too many mouths to feed in New York, but Shepard is the only one who commanded a target share near 25% from Daniel Jones, and he's the only one who has consistently drawn rave reviews in training camp. Shepard should be viewed as the No. 1 pass catcher in New York, but he's not even the first Giants receiver being drafted, Darius Slayton is.
CAR Carolina • #18
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Before he tore his ACL, Williams had more targets, receptions and yards than Devante Parker. He was also better than Parker when Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing quarterback. It's even more impressive that he did that in his first nine games as an NFL player. Williams has drawn rave reviews in camp and looks to be a full go in Week 1. It's a toss up who will lead the Dolphins receivers in 2020, but only one of them is available after Round 10. That's the one you should draft.
Allen Lazard WR
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #10
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
While it didn't please Aaron Rodgers, the Packers offseason was exactly what the doctor order for Allen Lazard's Fantasy value. He enters 2020 as the No. 2 receiver in Green Bay. That's a role he took over in the second half of 2019, with mixed results. This will be Lazard's third year in the league and his second in Matt LaFleuer's offense, so we would expect an increase in targets and efficiency.
CAR Carolina • #5
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
As I said above, Shenault has been one of the stars of training camp. He's drawn comparison's to Andre Johnson, and Jacksonville has even talked about using him in the running game. Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley are not going to keep Shenault off the field if he reaches his potential, and Jacksonville should be one of the most pass-happy teams in the league. Shenault has the upside to be the best rookie receiver in 2020.
Jonnu Smith TE
ATL Atlanta • #81
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
There are a ton of sleeper tight ends this year, and Smith is my favorite. After Ryan Tannehill took over as the team's starting quarterback (and Delanie Walker got hurt) Smith was on pace for 542 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Considering we expect a 10-15% increase in the Titans pass volume, it's not hard to see Smith's upside.
Blake Jarwin TE
DAL Dallas • #89
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Blake Jarwin will take over for Jason Witten, who was a surprise top 12 tight end in 2019. The Cowboys threw 127 passes to their tight ends in 2019, and Jarwin has very little competition for those targets in 2020. You should expect him to approach 600 yards, which means he'll have a shot at a top-eight finish with good touchdown luck.
NO New Orleans • #86
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Last year was a lost year for Herndon, but with all the injuries to the Jets receiving corps, he has an excellent opportunity. He produced 502 yards and four scores on just 56 targets as a 22-year-old rookie, so there's little doubt what type of upside he has. Herndon is not someone I'd want to draft as my starter,, but it would only take one big week for me to buy back in.
So what Fantasy football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which WR1 candidate can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that was all over Derrick Henry's huge season, and find out.