Finding running backs who are better than their average draft position is possibly the most important factor in making the fantasy football playoffs.
That's why it's so important to not just find those deep sleepers (who rarely pan out), but having a proper draft strategy to understand when running backs should come off your board.
Here's three running backs who will do better than their expected ADP in the 2017 NFL season. Since drafts haven't happened yet, these ADPs are anticipated based on several experts on FantasyPros.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans, ADP: 22
I'm going for broke on Miller. He was my favorite play from last year...and that didn't work great.
He was still an RB2 and finished 18th in scoring among running backs, despite missing a few games with injury. What excites me most about Miller this year again is the ability to do multiple things out of the backfield. He ranked 10th in rushing yards last season and averaged the fourth-most attempts per game.
The volume will likely go down a bit this year, but I'm expected better play from his offensive line. He's generally a three-down back, so anytime I can get a three-down back that late in the second round, I'm going with him. The Texans are going to limit his touches a bit, so that does concern me regarding touchdowns, which was a dismal failure last year with only six.
The Texans will need to rely on Miller to guide the offense again. He's still a borderline RB1, so at this price, he's well worth it. If he's still around at the end of the second round, go ahead and nab him.
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers, ADP: 48
I can't believe people aren't jumping more on the Montgomery bandwagon. Is he going to lose some carries at the goal line? Sure. Does he have much experience in the backfield? No.
But he is a guaranteed three-down running back option, who won't be drafted until the end of the fourth round. That's a must-have pick.
Montgomery stepped in last year for the injured Eddie Lacy and was OK. He earned double-digit touches each game toward the end of the season, and he's a unique hybrid player, who should be one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL.
He's bulked up in the offseason to handle more of the load and I expect the Packers will get back to running the ball with more efficiency after seeing their season end prematurely again last year. Montgomery has some question marks, but his value of being a three-down running back who garners double-digit touches every game shouldn't be downplayed. He's a solid RB2 being drafted as a Flex.
Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions, ADP: 59
We don't really know what Abdullah can do, so this is pretty much based on speculation.
The Lions are a train wreck when it comes to running back production in fantasy football. The Lions have used the committee approach, which is the kiss of death.
But they haven't necessarily had much talent in the backfield either in recent years, which should be erased with Abdullah. In his lone full game last season, he had 120 total yards and one touchdown. He has the ability to be better than a Flex, so he's a buy-low, high-reward running back who can run through the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield.
At this stage in the draft, you're looking for players who can do multiple things. Abdullah can. It's just a matter if he can bounce back from his injury or not. I believe he can, so at this price, he's well worth a reach if necessary.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. To see more, check out Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH