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Late-round running backs

Which backup Bengal will have value?

The Bengals play the Falcons tonight, and the running back usage (for both teams) is one interesting thing to watch. For Atlanta, perhaps we'll get a sense of how their talented backfield might play out. For Cincinnati, they need to settle on a Joe Mixon backup.

Mixon is getting up there in age, and seemed to slow down some last year (Samaje Perine was on the field more than Mixon in both of their playoff games), But Cincinnati has shown no interest in adding a veteran, so they'll apparently be backing him up with some late-round draft pick. It will either be former sixth-rounder Chris Evans, or fifth-round rookie Chase Brown (pictured).

(There was some early camp buzz about another former sixth-rounder, Trayveon Williams, but I have zero interest in a guy who's averaged 12 carries the last four seasons suddenly emerging, plus he's been sidelined with an ankle injury anyway.)

Should be Evans or Brown, each of whom contributed one longer play in the first exhibition while alternating series. Perhaps tonight will offer some clarity on which one is most likely to be Mixon's backup. While it's true there haven't been a ton of hits from that area of the draft, it does happen.

In the last decade, there have been 40 top-30 fantasy seasons (PPR) from running backs selected in the fifth through seventh rounds. I extended it to 30 to include Falcons' runner Tyler Allgeier, who finished 30th at the position last year. So that's an average of four relevant seasons per year from a running back selected from the fifth round on. Obviously Evans or Brown will require an injury, or suspension, ahead of them to join that group, but you never know. Perhaps one will be the next Aaron Jones, Chris Carson or Allgeier.

TOP-30 SEASONS, RUNNING BACKS DRAFTED 5TH-7TH ROUNDS (2013-)
RdYearPlayerRunNoRecTDPtsRk
52022Aaron Jones, G.B.1121593957254.67
52022Tyler Allgeier, Atl.1035161394159.430
52021Aaron Jones, G.B.7995239110231.011
72021Myles Gaskin, Mia.612492347175.625
62021Elijah Mitchell, S.F.963191376165.026
52020Aaron Jones, G.B.11044735511258.95
72020Chris Carson, Sea.681372879187.820
72020Myles Gaskin, Mia.584413885168.225
52019Aaron Jones, G.B.10844947419318.82
72019Chris Carson, Sea.1230372669240.612
62019Latavius Murray, N.O.637342356157.229
72018Chris Carson, Sea.1151201639205.415
52018Jordan Howard, Chi.935201459182.021
52018Aaron Jones, G.B.728262069173.424
52018Dion Lewis, Ten.517594002162.727
52017Dion Lewis, N.E.8963221410203.013
52017Jordan Howard, Chi.1122231259201.715
52017Alex Collins, Balt.973231876175.019
62017Latavius Murray, Min.842151038157.525
62017Theo Riddick, Det.286534445156.026
52017Chris Thompson, Was.294395106155.427
52016Jordan Howard, Chi.1313292987232.110
52016Jay Ajayi, Mia.1272271518217.311
62016Latavius Murray, Oak.7883326412210.213
62016Spencer Ware, K.C.921334475199.816
62016Theo Riddick, Det.357533716161.825
52016Chris Thompson, Was.356493495149.528
62015Latavius Murray, Oak.1066412326206.810
62015Theo Riddick, Det.133806973181.019
62015James Starks, G.B.601433925172.321
72015Rashad Jennings, NYG863292964168.922
72014Justin Forsett, Balt.1266442638246.98
62014Alfred Morris, Was.1074171558187.917
62014Andre Ellington, Ariz.660463955181.519
72014Ahmad Bradshaw, Ind.425383008158.523
72014Rashad Jennings, NYG639302264140.529
62013Alfred Morris, Was.12759787186.320
52013Zac Stacy, St.L.973261418185.421
72013Rashad Jennings, Oak.733362926174.524
62013Andre Ellington, Ariz.652393714165.326

Based on what I saw last week, I'll give the edge to Brown. Neither looked great (small sample set) against the Packers, though they got what was blocked. Evans seems to have had his shot without really capitalizing, while Brown is a comparative unknown. Hopefully tonight will provide a little more information on both players.

--Andy Richardson

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