For me, to be considered a sleeper you have to be a player that will most likely end up being drafted in the 7th round or after. I really don’t understand how you could be a sleeper if you are drafted before that round. The meaning sleeper means a player most people are sleeping on. But hey, everyone seems to make up their own definitions and meanings these days, so to each his own.
So let’s get to it, my top 10 RB sleeper list is as follows. (These rankings are based on a 16 team league or less)
1. James Conner
Last year Kenyan Drake had 955 yards rushing and 10 rushing TDs with the Cardinals. He’s now in Las Vegas (still feels weird calling the Raiders the Las Vegas Raiders). James Conner is a better runner and pass catcher than Kenyan Drake. If Conner can stay healthy, he will have better numbers than Drake did last year with the Cardinals. Health has been a huge issue for Conner, in his 4 year career he has never played a full 16 games. But, if you can get Conner in round 7 and use him while he is healthy, that alone will win you some games.
2. Todd Gurley
Everyone talks about Todd Gurley like he is some washed up 30 year old something back and his days running the rock are as good as done. The man just turned 27 and he had 9 rushing TDs last year on a team that was always getting their butts kicked. I wouldn’t be surprised if Todd Gurley signs with a team and not only wins the starting job, but ends up earning his 4th Pro Bowl.
3. David Johnson
I feel like people have forgotten that David Johnson even exists anymore. Johnson has been banged up for the last couple of seasons, but it wasn’t that long ago that the guy was a top 3 fantasy football draft pick. Johnson looked like the David Johnson of 2016 the last 3 games of last season, where he averaged 24.7 points per game. Johnson is still under 30 years old, yet people act like he’s an ancient relic of the past. I think DJ will get more touches than Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram in Houston.
4. Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell is what you would call a deep, deep sleeper, only because of his mouth. He talked crap about the his former head coach Adam Gase when he left the Jets, and then recently said he would retire before playing for Andy Reid again. I’m not going to say that what he said was wrong, because he was right about Gase. But, that just isn’t something NFL teams want to hear from a guy that might actually be washed. But, if he isn’t washed up and he signs with a team that throws to their RBs a lot, he may end up being a steal.
5. Mark Ingram II
Mark Ingram may be back. He has looked great this offseason and there is no way creepy Deshaun Watson plays this season, so the Texans will pound the rock all year. Ingram is a versatile running back where he can run up the gut, take it to the outside and has some pretty good hands catching the football. He is however approaching the death age for RBs (32) so there is still a chance he doesn’t boom, which is what makes him a sleeper.
6. Devin Singletary
Devin Singletary has a legitimate shot at being a breakout candidate of the year, but so does his teammate Zach Moss. I do however believe that Singletary has the edge on Moss considering his superior pass catching skills. But, it’s still surprising that both Singletary and Moss are falling past the 7th round in most mock draft.
7. Zach Moss
Zach Moss is a bigger, stronger, and better RB than Devin Singletary. This is Moss’ 2nd NFL season and he really wasn’t that bad as a rookie. He had a 4.3 yards per carry average, 481 yards rushing and 5 total TDs. The only real issue with Moss and Singletary is their lack of rushing opportunities. The Bills flat out like to pass the ball and pass the ball a lot.
8. Phillip Lindsay
Phillip Lindsay went from living in his parents basement to being drafted in the NFL to still living in his parents basement. I think of that story every time this guy comes up or is mentioned and I still find it hilarious. Lindsay has had two 1,000 rushing yard seasons in his career so far and he’s not a bad pass catching back either. He is also the youngest of the 3 potential starters on the Texans (David Johnson (29), Mark Ingram (31), Phillip Lindsay (27)). Like I said earlier the Texans are going to run the ball, so all 3 guys will get a lot of opportunities.
9. Trey Sermon
There is a reason the 49ers drafted Trey Lance in the 1st round, just like there is a reason the 49ers drafted Trey Sermon in the 3rd round. I think the 49ers just need a reason to move on from both Jimmy Garoppolo and Raheem Mostert, and I bet both guys give the team that reason by getting hurt, yet again. Sermon is a bruiser at RB and that is exactly the type of RB that fits the 49ers offense.
10. Marlon Mack
Marlon Mack is actually a pretty good RB, he has one 1,000 yard and 8 TDs season (where he only played 14 games) and another 900 yard and 9 TDs season (where he only played 12 games). This was however before the team drafted Jonathan Taylor, but the Colts will use all three of their RBs this season especially if Carson Wentz misses considerable time. Mack is coming off a torn Achilles, but he seems to be back to 100% this year.