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Top 2023 NFL Fantasy Football Running Back Sleeper Picks

By Jeff Stinger

The 2023 NFL preseason is underway, which means fantasy football leagues are slowly beginning their re-draft process as well. The running back position is often regarded as the most important position in fantasy with RBs generating the best floor-to-ceiling production ratio. If you’ll miss out on some of the bigger names in the first two rounds, there are still plenty of mid-tier exceptions who deserve a closer look in preparation for your upcoming draft.

Nitrobetting is ready to take your bets into the end zone this 2023 NFL season. This time, let’s explore the best sleeper RB options with the highest upside and could be picked up in the middle-to-late rounds of fantasy football re-draft leagues.

Top 5 Fantasy Football RB Sleeper Picks this 2023 NFL Season

Aaron Jones (Green Bay Packers)

No thanks to the departure of Aaron Rodgers, the other notable Aaron on the Packers’ squad, Aaron Jones, also took a hit in his fantasy output this upcoming season. Apart from losing Rodgers to make Green Bay’s once-potent offense tick, Jones also saw a steady decline in touchdowns produced since his breakout 2019 campaign. Then again, the former Pro Bowl selection will likely be the focal point of the Packers’ offense as Jordan Love enters his first full season as the team’s starting QB. Jones has also finished with 1,000-yard rushing seasons in three of the last four years, making him an even better pickup in standard-scoring leagues who could very well be available in the fourth or fifth round of the draft.

Jahmyr Gibbs (Detroit Lions)

After the Lions spent their 12th overall pick in the year’s draft on a running back, it only makes sense that Alabama standout Jahmyr Gibbs will be a sought-after rookie running back in fantasy. The top RB in this year’s draft class, Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson, is a top-five RB pickup in both standard and PPR leagues, whereas Gibbs is ranked somewhere between the 13th and 15th overall running back in pre-draft rankings. Gibbs is currently a (+820) sleeper to win to 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and is also a superb sleeper fantasy prospect as the new lead back of a Detroit team with a top-five offense in the league last season.

Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City Chiefs)

When it comes to the reigning Super Bowl champs, most people overlook Kansas City’s running game due to Patrick Mahomes’ brilliance through the air. That being said, KC’s seventh-round pick from last year’s draft, Isaiah Pacheco, steadily warmed up to Andy Reid’s offense and eventually ended up starting 11 games for the team and playing in all 17 contests. Pacheco will be an integral piece for the Chiefs’ next bid for the Lombardi Trophy as current (+580) odds-on favorites to repeat. The 24-year-old out of Rutgers racked up 830 rushing yards averaging almost five yards per carry, and he also averaged 10 yards per catch on 13 catches for some added PPR upside.

Miles Sanders (Carolina Panthers)

In his fourth year in Philly, Miles Sanders finally breached the 1,000-yard rushing barrier and double-digit rushing TDs for the first time in his career. The second-round pick out of Penn State finished with over 1,200 rushing yards and 11 rushing TDs in 2022, and it’s this performance that earned him a more lucrative contract to be Carolina’s new lead back in the wake of Christian McCaffrey’s departure. The Panthers will likely operate with a run-heavy game plan as they get rookie QB Bryce Young up to speed, which only means more touches for Sanders in his Panthers debut. Sanders is averaged as the 20th-best RB on the board in both PPR and standard leagues, which means he’ll be a great find around the fourth, fifth, or sixth rounds of 10 to 12-man re-draft leagues.

Jamaal Williams (New Orleans Saints)

Similar to Sanders, Jamaal Williams had a banner 2022 campaign after six years of mostly serving as a backup running back for the Packers and Lions. Williams exploded for over 1,000 rushing yards and even set a new Detroit franchise record with 17 rushing TDs. Given that Alvin Kamara will miss the first three games of the upcoming season, the Naruto-loving running back out of BYU will be given a lot of early touches to make his top-35 RB value in fantasy even more appealing. And although he’ll be relegated back to being the Saints’ backup RB upon Kamara’s return, Williams is still one of the best handcuffs on fantasy boards who’ll likely be available as late as the mid-to-late rounds worth reaching for even as early as the seventh round.

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