Injury-away running backs are those running backs that largely depend on an injury for fantasy viability. Committee plus running backs are those with an opportunity to be an injury-away running back in the event of an injury to the starter. Still, they have standalone weekly value when the starter is healthy. When the starting running back is healthy, these running backs may be RB2 or flex play considerations which is a benefit over pure one injury away running backs who are not near your starting lineup decisions every week.
Jamaal Williams was brought to Detroit with offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn calling him an "A Back," which raised eyebrows considering D'Andre Swift is on the roster. Williams has been a viable option as a flex consideration in Green Bay, finishing as RB34, RB45, RB35, and RB40 in his first four years despite only starting 20 out of his 60 career games. If he is a committee back, he has the potential for 40 receptions and to compete for a goal-line role, where he can provide lineup viability. If the offseason smoke is foreshadowing a Williams fire in 2021, he has RB2 upside.
Through four years of his career, Kareem Hunt has posted RB3, RB8, and RB10 finishes. The other season, Hunt was suspended for 8 games and finished as RB54 but averaged 12.6 points per game. In his two seasons with Cleveland, Hunt has played 20 games with Nick Chubb and averaged 13.2 points in those contests, while he scored 13.6 points per game when Chubb did not play. While the fantasy difference was not much, Hunt’s workload was high, with 12.1 touches per game when Nick Chubb plays versus 20.25 touches per game without Chubb, nearly doubling his rushing attempts (8.85 to 16.25). Hunt is capable of RB2 production with Chubb playing and would project as an RB1 if Chubb misses time.
Gus Edwards was re-signed by the Ravens in the offseason to pair with JK Dobbins. Mark Ingram II has left the team and signed with Houston leaving Edwards in a prime position to benefit. In the 25 games Ingram has played in the past two seasons, Edwards averaged 5.41 points on 7.9 touches per game. In the seven games Ingram did not play, Edwards averaged 12.81 points on 13.7 touches per game. Edwards was very efficient as a runner in 2020, averaging 1.14 yards over expectation, third-best in the league behind only Nick Chubb (1.75) and Dobbins (1.67). Edwards is likely a high RB2 projection if Dobbins misses time but is flex viable when Dobbins plays.
AJ Dillon should factor into Green Bay’s offense as a committee member in 2021. With Jamaal Williams signing in free agency with Detroit, Dillon has a big role to take over beside Aaron Jones. While sharing a backfield with Aaron Jones for four years, Williams averaged 10.4 touches per game and has finished in the top 50 each season. A potential spot for Dillon’s fantasy football growth is inside the 10-yard line, where Jones had 51.3% of Green Bay’s rushes. The bigger Dillon could add an element Green Bay has not had in the red zone in recent years.
James Conner was signed to a free-agent deal after a quiet initial market in free agency. Chase Edmonds projects as the lead back, but our projections have Conner leading the team in carries. Conner had a disappointing season in 2020 but produced +0.24 rushing yards over expectation, which was better than Edmonds (+0.06), and has produced more yards per reception (7.8) than Edmonds (7.2) in his career. Of the players on the list, Conner is the best bet to actually win a starting running back opportunity without an injury to the incumbent starter.