5 Running Backs Primed to Breakout

5 Running Backs Primed to Breakout

Workhorse running backs are few and far between in today’s NFL. That’s why it’s important to use the middle rounds of our drafts to peg players who have an exceptional chance at receiving a heightened workload. Below are six such running backs who—by air or by ground—have a shot at out-kicking their average draft position and delivering results not unlike the top tiers of running backs.

More Breakout Candidates: QB | WR | TE 

All ADP data is pulled from 4for4.

5.03 Chris Carson, Seahawks (RB24)

Despite finishing 2018 as the 0.5 PPR RB13 in points per game, Chris Carson is still going as the 24th running back off the board. Carson’s fifth-ranked finish in rushing yards (1,151 yards) is largely being ignored because of (1) a lack of involvement in the passing game and (2) the presence of 2018 first-round rookie pick Rashaad Penny. While the first point does have merit, sharing the backfield with Penny shouldn’t have too much of an effect on Chris Carson.

Much to the benefit of the player at hand, Seattle in the Pete Carroll era have long been known for giving the starting nod to whomever they deem the worthiest, not who they have put the most draft or monetary value in to. Look no further than Russell Wilson, who as a third-round rookie won the quarterback job from Matt Flynn who had signed a $20 million contract just months before. This is not to say Rashaad Penny won’t eat into the workload of Carson—that much is a guarantee—but it’s a good bet that Carson will be first in line for one of the run-heaviest teams in the NFL, no matter the draft capital spent on Penny. 

After beefing up their offensive line with 345-pound road grader Mike Iupati, the Seahawks now sport the league’s second-most experienced line, and they’re making no bones about how they want to move the ball—send out large, experienced, road graders and slam the ball into the defense until they tap out. Seattle has run the ball at the second-highest clip over the last three seasons (53.72%) and led the league with a 52.44% rushing rate in 2018. When the team as a whole is gaining 160 rushing yards per game, we can afford to lose some passing game work and still be looking at a top-12 fantasy football running back.

5.04 Kenyan Drake, Dolphins (RB25)

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