Five running backs who will be undervalued in fantasy drafts
Fred Jackson (BUF): There are two things that have analysts knocking Jackson this season: the broken leg he suffered last year, and the success of his replacement, CJ Spiller. These issues have Jackson down to 14th on ESPN's running back rankings and at an average draft position (ADP) of 26.5 (15th among running backs).
However, Jackson's broken leg is said to be fully healed, and the Bills showed their trust in Jackson's health and durability by signing him to a three year deal in May.
CJ Spiller was excellent in Jackson's absence last season, but Jackson had been even better. In the nine games before Jackson's injury, he was averaging 102 yards per game on only 18 attempts (5.63 yards per carry). He also added six touchdowns. While it was nice to see Spiller finally show signs of living up to his 8th overall pick status, he averaged only 74 yards per game on 5.19 yards per carry. Spiller's role will increase, but not enough to kill Jackson's fantasy value. If you can get Fred Jackson at his current ADP, that's a steal.
Trent Richardson (CLE): This one is a little bit tricky, as Richardson has had knee issues and the Browns are merely hopeful to see him play on opening weekend. However, if you'd like to gamble a little, this guy has a great chance at making ESPN looking awfully ignorant for ranking him 15th among running backs.
Richardson is the most talented running back to come out of school since Adrian Peterson, and when you combine his abundance of talent with the lack of talent backing him up, it's a recipe for a monster workload. Richardson will get a ton of touches and he'll squeeze every last yard out of each of them. He's also a monster down at the goal line.
His current ADP of 24.7 suggests that he tends to go in the middle of the third round (assuming a 10-team league). I would absolutely love to get him there.
Reggie Bush (MIA): Bush was finally given the long awaited opportunity to carry the workload in the backfield this season, and he made the most of it, posting the first thousand yard season of his career. He also averaged an impressive 5.0 yards per carry during his first season with the Dolphins. He caught a solid 43 passes, which is actually 13 below his career average. To top it off, Bush shelled out four straight hundred yard rushing games to end the season, including a 203 yard outing.
One of the concerns with Bush is the presence of second year running back Daniel Thomas and rookie runner Lamar Miller. However, Thomas racked up a modest 165 carries last year, but could only manage 3.5 yards per tote. Miller, on the other hand, is an unproven fourth round draft pick. I can't see either of these guys taking significant touches away from Bush.
Ranked 22nd by ESPN and with an ADP in the middle of the fourth round, I love Bush's value. I'd much rather have him than BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Willis McGahee, or Roy Helu.