Below the radar fantasy football running backs

By JJ Buck
JJ Buck

Free agency has opened up new opportunities and battles at the running back position. These players won't be the back bone of your fantasy squad but they could save the day when injuries arise.

Knowshon Moreno finished as the 5th highest scoring running back in standard fantasy football leagues as a member of the Denver Broncos last season. Moreno scored 13 touchdowns and racked up over 1,500 yards of combined offense. Now with Miami Dolphins, don't expect a repeat performance. His pass catching skills (60 receptions last year) and blocking ability should give him the edge over Lamar Miller as they battle for touches in Miami's backfield. The winner here is Broncos second year tailback Montee Ball. Ball averaged 4.7 yards per-carry on 120 attempts last season. A year earning Peyton Manning's trust will place ball in a quality position next season as an RB2.

Ben Tate is no longer Arian Foster's handcuff after signing a two-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are proven play-makers in the passing game. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan runs a zone blocking scheme. As good as the situation sounds, Tate has missed 24 games over his four-year career. As Cleveland searches for a quarterback, Tate should see plenty of touches. Best case scenario, Tate provides solid RB2 value.

Like Tate, Toby Gerhart has been the guy behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. Landing in Jacksonville, who had the league’s second worst rushing offense last season (78.8 yards per-game) won't excite anyone. Head coach Gus Bradley looks to have things pointed in the right direction, even if the climb is massive. Bradley sees Gerhart as a three-down back and mentioned he could see 18 carries per-game under the right circumstances. That's enough to take a mid-round flyer on Gerhart for his goal line carries and overall volume.

Rashad Jennings won't wow you, but he deserves a spot on your fantasy football team. The 29-year-old running back signed a four-year $10-million deal with the New York Giants. The explosive David Wilson underwent neck surgery last season which is concerning for his future. Jennings is not just a handcuff, he could be the Giants starting running back as the team sees him as an every down back. Jennings rushed for 733 yards (6 TD) and caught 36 passes for 292 yards in Oakland last year. He's a solid running back with three career fumbles. Tom Coughlin will love him. Don't be scared by the presence of Peyton Hillis.

Maurice Jones-Drew signed a three-year deal with the Raiders who also brought back fantasy football tease Darren McFadden on a one year deal. At 29-years-of-age MJD is a big name in fantasy circles. The bowling ball from UCLA has 1,804 rushing attempts under his belt and is coming off a foot injury. This is a committee to avoid at all costs unless desperate times call for desperate measures. Meaning if you somehow forget to draft a running back through the first ten rounds, you'll get stuck with this.