Deep League Running Back Sleepers: Week 3

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Are you in a deep league and scraping the bottom of the barrel for a running back option this week?  Let’s take a look at two deep league options that are likely sitting on your waiver wire and could potentially make an impact:


Lance Dunbar – Dallas Cowboys
vs. Atlanta Falcons
ESPN – 13.4%, CBS Sports – 25%

The Cowboys appear primed to be a team that goes run heavy, with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant already out and Jason Witten questionable (though expected to play).  When you are staring at Brandon Weeden under center and Terrence Williams as your best receiving target it makes sense.  That would mean a heavy workload for Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden, so why would Dunbar be on this list…

Weeden is going to have to throw the football, and when he checks down it will likely be Dunbar who reaps the benefit.  While he’s only gotten 1 carry over the first two weeks, he has caught 11 passes for 115 yards.  He’s also been targeted 13 times, third most on the team behind Witten (17) and Williams (15).

That alone would get our attention, but the matchup makes him that much more appealing.  The Falcons are currently allowing the most points to opposing running backs per game, but it’s not on the ground that they’ve been doing the damage.  Atlanta has given up a league high 24 receptions (second most is 19) and 199 receiving yards thus far, and also have allowed a receiving TD.

With Randle & McFadden combining for just 7 receptions and 96 yards over the first two weeks, it’s obvious who the benefactor will be.  It all comes together for a sneaky PPR play for those in need.


Bilal Powell – New York Jets
vs. Philadelphia Eagles
ESPN – 5.6%, CBS Sports – 11%

The Eagles rushing defense hasn’t given up many points to opposing running backs, but that’s because they’ve kept them out of the end zone.  They certainly have been beatable both on the ground and through the air:

  • Rushing Yards – 188
  • Receiving Yards – 109

While Chris Ivory is the Jets lead back, Powell has actually played a big role in running the football (24 carries for 100 yards) and catching it (6 receptions for 32 yards on 9 targets).  With Eric Decker hurting, it’s definitely possible that New York utilizes Powell as more of a receiver this week.  Just adding to the appeal is that Chris Ivory banged up and missed some practice time (he’s a game time decision), there’s a good chance Powell continues to share carries at the least.

Put the matchup and the potential opportunities together and you get a solid, under-the-radar option for those in deeper leagues.

Sources – ESPN, CBS Sports,

Make sure to check out all of our 2015 rankings:

The Drop List: Three Players We Are Ready To Move On From (Charles Johnson & More)
What We Learned: Redskins & Giants Running Backs (Matt Jones, Andre Williams & More)


  1. Stephen says:

    Think a gamble on Hankerson, Rishard Matthews, or Ted Ginn might be better than Jordan Matthews this week?

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