James Robinson and Antonio Gibson were buried on their depth charts this time a year ago only to rise and finish as top-15 finishers in 2020 and provide a major shot in the arm of their fantasy teams. Here are seven running backs outside the top two on their depth chart that could provide value in 2021.
Matt Breida was a feel-good story after fighting through an ankle injury in 2018 to finish as RB26 in 14 games. Since then his career has been derailed, falling out of favor in San Francisco in 2019 before being traded and operating as a reserve in Miami in 2020. Breida was 13th among running back qualifiers in yards over expectation per carry in 2018, (+0.63) and sits in a backfield that does not have a clear answer at the position. Fantasy production has been a struggle for the running backs in Buffalo, but Breida was in the top 10 in the percentage of rushes over 15 yards in 2018, so he could add an element the Buffalo backfield lacks.
The Jets do not have a clear running back pecking order. Free-agent Tevin Coleman came from San Francisco with the new coaching staff, while Michael Carter II was added in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. The depth chart also has Lamical Perrine, a holdover from the prior staff, but it is Ty Johnson who warrants deep consideration. Johnson ran 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day and has the potential speed to exploit the Kyle Shanahan-type running scheme being implemented in New York.
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