This year's rookie running back class is full of potential PPR sleepers, especially since the league has become so pass-happy. Making short passes an extension of the running game is a great way to get dangerous weapons in space and create mismatches. Depending on your scoring system, it is an easy way to tack on a few extra points per week, too.
The backs that intrigue me the most have to be Ronnie Hillman (Broncos) and Isaiah Pead (Rams). Their respective offensive coordinators will find nifty ways to get them into space and take advantage of their elusiveness. Plus, both backs are sitting behind starters on the wrong side of 30. Bonus.
Other rushers, perhaps less heralded, that tickle my fancy include Robert Turbin (Seahawks) and Chris Rainey (Steelers). I'm not alone on Turbin - KFFL's Tim Heaney's interest also has been piqued.
Turbin could see time on third downs if Leon Washington is used exclusively as a return specialist, and Rainey is in the mix to replace Mewelde Moore as the pass-catching alternative out of the backfield. The latter has blazing speed and is so small (5-foot-8, 178 pounds) it is tough for defenders to locate him. He has looked sharp in camp, and Pittsburgh's offense needs a spark out of the backfield. Rainey has little proven competition for touches in this role.
Seattle's rookie looks more the part of a full-time back (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) than Rainey, but he is still nimble and combustible in the passing game. Marshawn Lynch could face a significant suspension, which would pave the way for "Turbo" to see more totes of the rock. He is a sneaky late-round fantasy dice roll.
Rainey isn't draftable in non-PPR setups, and I'm not sure I could draft him in a 16-round point-per-catch format ... maybe in the last round or two if I was dire for a chance to catch lightning in a bottle. Turbin is probably the better handcuff to Lynch than Washington is in all formats. Potential suspension aside, Lynch is no stranger to injuries.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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