Dynasty Bargain Bin: Running Backs
Dynasty is all about long term and thinking for the future, without compromising the present. For those fantasy owners that have an established backfield and are looking for some insurance and upside, you have come to the right place. With a solid starter in place, its time to look at some options for depth. The two things to concentrate on are securing a backup, and looking for future talent. Sometimes you can find a combination of both. But how can you do this if you can’t afford to deal away any players and are low on draft picks? There are a few different situations and strategies to employ, and the majority of them won’t cost much.
All you need is a guy. He doesn’t have to be great, but could get you by in an emergency. Someone that gets regular playing time. Good candidates would be Marcel Reece, Rashard Mendenhall, Michael Turner, and Ahmad Bradshaw. Reece showed what he can do last year, stepping in for the injured Darren McFadden. With Mike Goodson gone, and Taiwan Jones looking likely to make a position change to corner back, Reece will be the clear cut guy, not if but when McFadden gets injured. Mendenhall will most likely split time with Ryan Williams in Arizona. His value is at an all-time low, and now would be a great time to buy on this player that’s surprisingly only 25 years old. Bradshaw and Turner, both currently free agents, will most likely be signed by a team at some point. They are both older, slower, and have durability issues. However they could still play a vital role for a team in the right situation. Turner could be a great goal line option, while Bradshaw is a potential change-of-pace and receiving threat.
Backup Role with Upside
Maybe you want to split the difference by obtaining a player that could see some playing time, but also has youth on his side and flashes enough potential to become a future starter. This includes players such as Ryan Williams, Robert Turbin, and Vick Ballard. Williams has not been able to stay on the field. That said, he should see plenty of chances this year, competing with Rashard Mendenhall in a backfield vacated by former starter, Beanie Wells. Turbin looked strong every time he was on the field. If for some reason Marshawn Lynch were to go down, Turbin could step in and not miss a beat. Ballard become the workhorse for the Colts midway through the season. Donald Brown and Delone Carter are still there, but Ballard should still see the majority of the work.
So your team is clearly set to contend this season. A solid starter and a few good backups are in place. With a little bit of wiggle room, if never hurts to look to the future. If you’re low on draft picks, or are not spending them on the running backs in this year’s rookie draft, players to target in this situation would be seldom-used runners that have only been in the league a year or so, free agents, or running backs stuck in not-so-pleasant playing time situations. Some guys to consider would be Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, Terrance Ganaway. Demps was a former Olympic track star, and was signed by the Patriots last season. The way that they use their running backs, combined with how they can use undersized talent and ability, could be a bright future for Demps, who reportedly is also planning to rejuvenate his track career. Chris Rainey was drafted by the Steelers, then cut after the season due to off-the-field issues. He currently doesn’t have a team, but showed flashes of play-making ability last season. If he signs a deal with a team, it could pay off, but is still a low risk/high reward player at this point. Ganaway was signed by the Rams. He could be in competition with teammates, Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead for the Rams starting job in 2013. However he is currently working at Jimmy John’s, so the Rams may have to up his pay.