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Fantasy Football Fridays: Running Back Sleepers and Value Picks

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This week we take a look at 5 running backs that will outperform their draft position and 5 that could surprise.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the quarterbacks, there was a lot of discussion and debate over whether the players were true "Sleepers" or were "Value Picks." The QBs from last week were likely more the latter. So, going forward, we will look at 5 Sleepers and 5 Value Picks.

For these articles, a "Value Pick" will be a player that will get you similar numbers to players drafted far ahead of them and the term "Sleeper" will be reserved for those players that should be available late in your draft and have the possibility of being a useful pick.

This week, we take a look at Value and Sleeper running backs.

5 Value Pick Running Backs

1) Montee Ball, Broncos (NFL.com: 11; ESPN.com: 11)

After a disappointing rookie season, Ball could be a bit of a risk. However, with Moreno gone, Ball will get first crack at replacing Moreno's productivity - 1,500+ all-purpose yards, 13 TDs, 60 receptions. Tough to see a RB ranked 11 as a value, but many soured on him in 2013 and in this offense, with one less RB to share touches with, Ball could easily see 1,500+ yards and 10+ TDs. If he reaches those numbers, he will outperform his draft location.

2) Andre Ellington, Cardinals (NFL.com: 16; ESPN.com: 16)

Ellington didn't get a tone of playing time in his rookie season (1 start), but he was productive when he did play (5.5 YPC, 1,023 all-purpose yards, 39 receptions, 4 TDs). With the retirement of Mendenhall, Ellington should be the guy and he has the potential to be a top 10 back.

3) Chris Johnson, Jets (NFL.com: 17; ESPN.com: 22)

CJ has been a huge disappointment the last two seasons, but he is still a dynamic player - and the only dynamic player on the Jets...meaning he should see a ton of touches. Plus, with a change of scenery and the NY lights, I see a bounce back year for Johnson.

4) Toby Gerhardt, Jaguars (NFL.com: 41; ESPN.com: 34)

Nothing fancy about Gerhardt, but the guy is a workhorse and at this point, does not look like he will share carries in Jacksonville. With all the split backfields, backs that do not split carries (like Gerhardt) are extremely valuable.

5) Doug Martin, Buccaneers (NFL.com: 13; ESPN.com: 7)

Like Ball, Martin is ranked pretty high to be a "Value," but with the way he burnt owners last year, people will be hesitant to pull the trigger on him. With Lovie Smith, Josh McCown and all the weapons on offense, I expect Martin to revert back to his rookie productivity - which is a top 5-10 running back.

5 Sleeper Running Backs

1) Trent Richardson, Colts (NFL.com: 33; ESPN.com: 18)

Many Trent Richardson owners were burned last year (myself included), but with a full year under his belt with the Colts and the embarrassment Richardson experienced in 2013, I expect to see him put up numbers more like his rookie year. Richardson has a chance to end the year as a top 15 RB and that is much higher than where he will be drafted.

2) David Wilson, Giants (NFL.com: 47; ESPN.com: 43)

Speaking of guys that burned owners in 2013! There was a lot of hype about Wilson going into the 2013 season...hype that quickly disappeared. Thanks to injuries and overall ineffectiveness, Wilson played in just 5 games and amassed just 44 carries. With a new OC in NY, look for a bounce back year for Wilson.

3) Khiry Robinson, Saints (NFL.com: 57; ESPN.com: 41)

Robinson showed promise in the 2013 playoffs (102 yards, 4.9 YPC and 1 TD) and with the departure of Sproles, he should see an increased role. With an older Pierre Thomas and a disappointing Mark Ingram, Robinson could find himself the starter before long.

4) Marcus Lattimore, 49ers (NFL.com: 61; ESPN.com: NR)

This is a big sleeper! 1) Because the 49ers still have Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, 2) just drafted Carlos Hyde high in the 2nd round, and 3) he is coming back from two devastating knee injuries - one that nearly cost him his leg. But, I like this kid and I wouldn't bet against him. if any guy can make this into a storybook ending, Marcus Lattimore can.

5) Bishop Sankey, Titans (NFL.com: 31; ESPN.com: 31)

Sankey is an electric runner and though Tennessee will likely have a running back by committee (RBBC) in 2013, I don't believe Dexter McCluster and Shonn Greene will take many meaningful touches away from Sankey and the Titans could be a surprise in 2014.