Payne's Perspective: RBs to Target this Season

Payne's Perspective: RBs to Target this Season

This article is part of our Payne's Perspective series.

This week, we look at running backs to target in 2023. This offseason has seen a lot of moves involving running backs and the trend of timeshare backfields seems to be continuing. Let's look at some players who I'll likely have higher on my draft boards than most.

Kenneth Walker, SEA - I'm not sure most realize how good Walker was last season, but let me explain. Walker only played 15 games last season. He was inactive Week 1 with an injury and wasn't anointed the starter until Week 6, essentially eliminating four games Weeks 2-5. If we prorate his 11 starts to a full 17-game season, Walker's numbers look like this:

1,397 Rushing Yards, 12 Touchdowns

He's an adequate receiver as well and penciling him in for 250-300 receiving yards and at least another score is a reasonable expectation. Coach Pete Carroll has typically used one workhorse running back (think even Chris Carson) and Rashaad Penny (wait for it) is now in Philadelphia, eliminating any real competition for Walker. There's a good chance Walker falls into the second round, which is an excellent spot to acquire him.

Bijan Robinson, FA - Wherever Robinson is drafted in April, let's just hope he doesn't land in a timeshare with only 8-12 touches a week. He's clearly the top running back in this draft, and as a likely first-round pick, he should waste no time becoming a workhorse in the right situation. He's an interesting fantasy pick given that

This week, we look at running backs to target in 2023. This offseason has seen a lot of moves involving running backs and the trend of timeshare backfields seems to be continuing. Let's look at some players who I'll likely have higher on my draft boards than most.

Kenneth Walker, SEA - I'm not sure most realize how good Walker was last season, but let me explain. Walker only played 15 games last season. He was inactive Week 1 with an injury and wasn't anointed the starter until Week 6, essentially eliminating four games Weeks 2-5. If we prorate his 11 starts to a full 17-game season, Walker's numbers look like this:

1,397 Rushing Yards, 12 Touchdowns

He's an adequate receiver as well and penciling him in for 250-300 receiving yards and at least another score is a reasonable expectation. Coach Pete Carroll has typically used one workhorse running back (think even Chris Carson) and Rashaad Penny (wait for it) is now in Philadelphia, eliminating any real competition for Walker. There's a good chance Walker falls into the second round, which is an excellent spot to acquire him.

Bijan Robinson, FA - Wherever Robinson is drafted in April, let's just hope he doesn't land in a timeshare with only 8-12 touches a week. He's clearly the top running back in this draft, and as a likely first-round pick, he should waste no time becoming a workhorse in the right situation. He's an interesting fantasy pick given that he might make or break a season depending where he lands and where he's drafted in fantasy. Robinson gained 1,894 yards from scrimmage last season at Texas and scored 20 touchdowns in 12 games, averaging 6.1 yards per carry against defenses stacking the box. He'll be the "shiny new toy" everyone will want in fantasy; it really depends on how high someone will want to take on him or how much of their auction money they want to use. 

Tyler Allgeier, ATL - I think most do not realize Allgeier eclipsed 1,000 yards last season despite not playing Week 1 and not getting more than 10 carries until Week 5. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry and was probably underused as a receiver, catching 16 of 17 targets for 139 yards. His three rushing touchdowns should "progress" to the mean and expecting 8-10 over the full course of this season seems reasonable. Atlanta likely will lean heavily on the rushing attack with Desmond Ridder under center, and Allgeier should have more of a workhorse role as he did toward the end of the season (17, 18, 20, 24 carries the last four games).

Rashaad Penny, PHI - Given Penny's injury history, a few owners in your league likely will have him much lower on their draft boards than his ADP. Penny has a ridiculous 5.7-yard career rushing average, though he's only played more than 10 games once in his five-year career. Penny will run behind an elite offensive line and while he's coming off a broken fibula, he's had plenty of time to heal and is probably already close to 100 percent healthy. I do wish he was a better pass-catcher (only 27 career receptions), but he has little mileage (337 carries) for being in the league five years. Penny is a perfect mid-round target if you're looking for an RB2 with a lot of upside in one of the league's better offenses.

Damien Harris, BUF - HOMER PICK! Seriously, though, there's a lot of talk about running the ball more in Buffalo and Harris is the fantasy running back I'd want over James Cook. He should get the goal-line work and with Devin Singletary and James Cook accounting for nine touchdowns last season, giving him obvious upside. It's easy to say, but I wouldn't count on him for RB2 production, but flex/bye weeks he should be a warranted commodity. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Payne
Kevin has worked for RotoWire over a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. You can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.
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