Alexander Mattison could see significant touches as the expected backup to oft-injured Dalvin Cook
It's a lot tougher to define an under the radar running back than it is an under the radar quarterback. Which means that unfortunately these running backs are not as nicely delineated as my under the radar quarterbacks were. But I refused to choose anyone who I believed is likely to be the Week 1 starter. I also refused to choose anyone who is in a well known RBBC or camp battle.
Therefore, you will not see Kallen Ballage here. None of the 49ers or Browns options will appear here either. Also, it is very early still. I would love to tell you that these players are all the Philip Lindsays of this year. And I might be good enough to forecast success from late picks. However, I am not good enough to forecast how long these players will remain secrets. Nor can I predict every running back under the radar that breaks onto the scene.
But I do like these options. They are definitely some of my favorite under the radar running backs.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
I think David Johnson is in for a monster year. However, I think there are going to be enough carries and touches to go around. So even if Johnson averages 25 carries and five targets a game, I think Edmonds still has a shot to average 6-10 carries and a few targets every game.
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
Mattison might be even more under the radar which is surprising given that Dalvin Cook hasn't even played 16 games total in his NFL career. Cook is not exactly a goal-line bull either with only four rushing TDs in his career. Mattison is bigger than Cook and could easily be a TD vulture this year. But don't think of Mattison as some lumbering back. He has outstanding hands out of the backfield and caught 60 passes during his three years at Boise State.
Trayveon Williams, Cincinnati Bengals
This rookie is more of a pick for those in keeper and dynasty leagues. Gio Bernard's contract is up at the end of this season and Mixon's is up in 2020. I don't recall the Bengals ponying up major cash to re-sign RBs, so Williams makes for an interesting pick. He already scored in his first game as a pro. But you have to like his college numbers. He’s a "do it all back" who averaged six yards a carry while rumbling for 3,600 yards and 34 touchdowns, but also caught 66 passes for 561 yards as Texas A&M’s lead back.
Ryqell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fact: Leonard Fournette has never played more than 13 games in a season. His injury woes go back to his junior year in college when he played only seven games that season.
Opinion: Any Jacksonville RB behind Fournette should be on your radar
Fact: Alfred Blue had 150 carries last year, yet averaged only 3.3 yards per carry
Opinion: Blue's ceiling is pretty low
Fact: Benny Cunningham has already been released. Thomas Rawls' has seen his yards per carry average go down in each of the past two seasons he has played (didn't get a carry in 2018). Devante Mays has four rushes for one yard in the last two years totals. Roc Thomas hasn't seen the field much more than Mays with just eight NFL carries to his name. He also has had trouble sticking with teams. We are running out of options.
Fact: Playing for Temple last year, Armstead had 210 carries for 1,098 yards (5.2 ypc) and 13 touchdowns. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, second fastest for all running backs. His ADP is currently outside the top 200.
Opinion: Armstead needs to be on your radar
Kapri Bibbs, Free Agent
I was actually surprised to find out that as of this writing Bibbs was a free agent. Bibbs has shown plenty of potential over the years, averaging nearly 4.5 yards per carry and a solid 9.9 yards per catch. Without a team, he is absolutely going under your leaguemates' radar. I think he has too much talent not to land on a team before the season starts and could be a decent third-down back, making him a very sneaky pick.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo by Travis Ellison, courtesy of www.vikings.com)