So you have decided that Hero RB is the correct approach to drafting this season? Maybe you are digging your heels in further and want to load up on WRs, QB, and TE with a Zero RB start. Or perhaps you despise waiting on RB but want to build incredible RB depth. Well, this is it pal, this is your shot. We have you covered. Here are The Zero and Hero RB Targets and Values that you can draft this season and build an absolute juggernaut.
The ADPs cited are from High Stakes FFPC drafts. Check your league’s ADPs. You may be able to select some of these players in ESPN or Yahoo leagues even later. Be willing to reach on some of these players because there are some absolute bargains due to WR enthusiasm this season.
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The Chicago Bears were No. 22 in total PPG but produced 11 top 24 RB weeks. Khalil Herbert is selected in the Round 9, and Roschon Johnson is selected in the 11th or 12th round. Consider drafting one or even BOTH of these players at cost.
If Chicago takes a big step forward offensively, one of these players could smash ADP. There is also a chance that Herbert sees the most work to start the season while the rookie Johnson eventually takes over.
Miami (Non-Devon Achane Running Backs)
TARGETS AND VALUES
(NOTE: IF Cam Akers falls to the Sixth, he is a great Target)
Rachaad White | Tampa Bay
White represents the sort of back we should be attacking with this build. He is the clear lead back in the offense, and his fantasy scoring is insulated with his receiving volume. Last year as a rookie, White caught 50 passes, despite the presence of Leonard Fournette. Tom Brady built up the catch total and RB usage, but the receiving work will not disappear in Tampa. White should settle in as the No. 3 target in the offense behind Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. White has room to improve as a runner, but the only competition is undrafted free agent Sean Tucker, veteran Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and journeyman Chase Edmonds. White has upside at his ADP and has a chance at borderline RB1 numbers if Tampa’s offense can exceed expectations.
Javonte Williams | Denver
Williams has steamed up. I selected him in the eighth round a few weeks back. Now, he’s comfortably inside the sixth or end of the fifth. Williams is a player who has flashed talent on an NFL field, and the reason we got him at this range, and not in the fourth round, is an injury discount. Denver is not holding Williams back, and he is participating in training camp with no restrictions. Williams has beaten his timetable to return and has a good shot at significantly beating his ADP. There is a risk of an injury flare-up, but the risk is built into this price.
Dameon Pierce | Houston
Pierce will be the focal point of The Houston offense. Last year, he was an NFL Draft steal, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards after being selected in the fourth round. He is a strong runner and has to increase his reception total in year two. The threat of Devin Singletary has worried some drafters, but Pierce is way ahead and the clear starter. Expect the Texans to lean on Pierce as they break in new rookie QB CJ Stroud.
Round 7 – 8
James Conner | Arizona
Much like White, Conner’s price is depressed because of the quality of the team he plays for and not the production he showed on the field last season. Conner provides instant volume for managers pushing down RB2. 28 years old and question marks with Arizona’s offense will limit TD opportunities, but not his touches. Conner could lead all backs in RB touches over the first month of the NFL season. He has finished as the RB9, RB7, RB25, RB16, and RB7 in PPG among all RBs over the last five seasons. If he stays healthy, he should easily beat his ADP.
David Montgomery | Detroit
Montgomery should be a target for managers attempting a zero or hero RB start. I recently started an FFPC player’s championship draft with Montgomery as my RB2. The presence of Jahmyr Gibbs caps Montgomery’s receiving ceiling, but he still should have more opportunity for catches than in Chicago last year. Montgomery had his highest yards per reception of his career in 2022, but what is most enticing about Montgomery is his ability to produce on the ground. He should immediately receive the Jamaal Williams role that was incredibly fruitful last season. Montgomery is a better player than Williams, and Detroit should be one of the league’s top offenses.
D’Andre Swift | Philadelphia
Swift is somewhat polarizing. You will also see Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Gainwell‘s names further down this list, but Swift represents the sort of upside we need to maximize the potential explosiveness of this start. Swift was a high second-round draft pick last year.
This year you can find him in the seventh or eighth. There is some unknown about how much Philadelphia will pass to the running backs, but we have not seen a running back with this sort of pass-catching ability in the Nick Sirianni era. I do not believe the myth that Jalen Hurts cannot support a pass-catching running back. Hurts can make all the throws, and if they want to make Swift’s passing game usage a thing, they absolutely will.
Isiah Pacheco | Kansas City
There’s a lack of enthusiasm for Pacheco right now among fantasy managers, but his role appears to be relatively straightforward to start the season. We saw how effective simply having exposure to the KC goal line work was for Clyde Edwards-Helaire in early 2022. Pacheco showed more juice as a runner, and we saw the volume he could handle in the NFL playoffs. Pacheco is a violent runner with the physicality to take advantage of defenses aimed at stopping Patrick Mahomes in the passing game. A 10 touchdown season is not out of the realm of possibilities.
James Cook | Buffalo
Cook has been one of my targets all off-season. And he should inherit Devon Singletary’s receiving work and see increased usage on the ground. He is a potential high-efficiency player that will receive high-value touches in one of the league’s best offenses. Cook has had glowing reports out of camp and should take a big step forward in year two. Cook should be a priority target for Hero and Zero builds. Great offense, pass-catching ability, explosiveness, and a reasonable ADP. Simple game.
Antonio Gibson | Washington
Gibson is one of my favorite targets in this range. At the very least, he should inherit the Jerick McKinnon role in the Eric Bieniemy offense. There is also a chance that Gibson sees the most rushing attempts among all backs in Washington. The more likely scenario is Brian Robinson sees slightly more caries, but Antonio Gibson receives the bulk of the targets and around a 30 to 40-percent share of the rushing attempts. Gibson has averaged at least 11 points per game in every season he has been in the NFL. Target him in this range.
Rashaad Penny | Philadelphia
Penny is a slightly polarizing player. Some people view him as the league winner. Others think that we need to temper our enthusiasm. I am somewhere in the middle. I am comfortable targeting Penny in this range, but I am not reaching for him if he remains healthy. There is a chance he sees the sort of touchdown outcome Miles Sanders had last season. I prefer Swift two rounds earlier, but betting on one of the Eagles backs to produce for us is a good bet to place. They can lead the entire league in scoring.
AJ Dillon | Green Bay
Dillon steamed up draft boards last season and was selected as an RB2. Fantasy managers bet on Dillon having a massive breakout and saw Aaron Jones and Dillon as a potential two-headed monster, as Green Bay lacked past catching weapons that they had in years past. Jones returned value, but Dillon was disappointing, failing to build on his 2021 totals. Dillon cost you a fifth-round pick last year, and now you can get him in the ninth or 10th. I think we have seen his floor. He has a tremendous amount of contingent upside if Aaron Jones misses time. Green Bay could also be more run-heavy to protect new QB Jordan Love.
Zach Charbonnet | Seattle
If you read this in mid-August, you will probably have a shot at selecting Charbonnet in this draft range. If you’re reading this at the end of August, Charbonnet could have risen two rounds. Ken Walker is banged up, and Charbonnet is flat-out good. The word contingent upside is used loosely in the Fantasy industry, but only a few players have more contingent upside than Charbonnet. He could be the goal line and third-down back on day one, even with a healthy Ken Walker. If Walker was to miss time, Charbonnet could be the league winner. Prioritize him without reaching.
Tank Bigsby | Jacksonville
Bigsby is one of my favorite handcuff RBs to draft right now. Travis Etienne will open the season as the primary back in Jacksonville, but beware of Bigsby earning immediate touches. Bigsby is larger and also was a productive receiver at Auburn. He is a do it all threat. If Etienne were to miss time, Bigsby would push for low end RB1 numbers.
Devon Achane | Miami
Achane is lightning in a bottle. He’s one of the fastest players in the league with actual track and field speed giving Miami what could be the quickest trio of school position players in the entire NFL. The backfield competition in Miami is Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, neither of which should scare drafters away from taking a shot on a player that is this explosive. Based on preseason game one, Achance has some catching up for weekly usage, but this will be a fun ride once he breaks through.
Jaylen Warren | Pittsburgh
How did Najee Harris‘ receptions drop from 74 as a rookie to 43 in his second season? Ben Roethlisberger‘s retirement certainly played a part, but the emergence of Warren did also. Last offseason, Warren dominated Pittsburgh training camp, eclipsing veterans Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland and earning the backup role.
As the season progressed, he gained more and more work from head coach Mike Tomlin and finished the year with 28 receptions while also adding 77 carries (4.9 YPC). Warren will have a more significant role in 2023 and can be used in a pinch/bye-week fill-in. If Harris were to miss time, Warren would be a top 18 weekly play.
Tyler Allgeier | Atlanta
Allgeier had an outstanding rookie season, finishing as the all-time leader for rookie rushing yards in Atlanta Falcons history with 1,035. He drops from starter to premier handcuff. There is a path for Allgeier to have some weekly value if Atlanta stays as run-heavy as it did in 2022. If Bijan Robinson were to miss time, Allgeier would be a weekly RB2.
Zamir White | Las Vegas
The Josh Jacobs contract dispute is not going away. White is the clear handcuff in Vegas, and if Jacobs were to miss anytime he would have a predictable weekly role. The second-year pro out of Georgia had a quiet rookie season, but much like Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniel should have more of a comfort level with him in Year 2.
Kenneth Gainwell | Philadelphia
A third Philadelphia Eagle makes the list and for a good reason. Gainwell has more experience with Nick Sirianni than either Swift or Penny and has scored 10 TDs with 56 receptions during his first two seasons.
If Swift or Penny were to miss time, Gainwell would have weekly value. There is also the chance he has more trust from the coaching staff and sees a third-year breakout. My strategy has been prioritizing him when I select Swift or Penny. There is certainly risk in doubling down, but it is an affordable way to have exposure to one of the NFL’s top offenses.
Tyjae Spears | Tennessee
Jerome Ford | Cleveland
Cleveland moved on from Kareem Hunt this past off-season and brought in no one. Ford is a potential Nick Chubb injury away from seeing extensive work in a potent Cleveland offense. He is the clear handcuff and should be rostered in every single league.
Round 14 – 15
Chase Brown | Cincinnati
Brown was a highly productive player at Illinois, and the Bengals selected him this past NFL draft in the fifth round. Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans have done nothing in their NFL careers to suggest they will play over Brown. Joe Mixon has had his fair share of off-the-field events and is 27 years old.
Chuba Hubbard | Carolina
Hubbard’s role could be more significant than some fantasy managers are expecting. Miles Sanders was signed this off-season, but Hubbard will still see weekly work. With rookie Bryce Young under center, RB touches should be high. Hubbard added weight this offseason and has many opportunities to add to his 37 targets from 2022.
Joshua Kelley | Los Angeles
Isaiah Spiller is also on the roster, and there is speculation that the Chargers could add a Free Agent RB. But as of today, Kelley is the handcuff to roster in LA. If Austin Ekeler were to miss, Kelley would see many weekly high-value touches in one of the league’s top offenses.
Ty Chandler | Minnesota
Chandler starts the season behind Alexander Mattison, but could see some work as a satellite back and mix in on third downs. How much volume can Mattison handle? We will find out quickly, but if he misses time, Chandler would be very useful.