Who to target in the fantasy RB 'dead zone'

In the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast, Liz Loza and Frank Schwab look at several fantasy running backs who have questions surrounding their fantasy potential

Video Transcript

LIZ LOZA: Well, you make a good point during strategy season, right? You have to know which players you're in on and which players you're out on. And you have to have a reasoning. And if you don't, then you get in that wishy-washy space where you hate your team and you're not really sure what you're doing.

So it's good to have an idea, especially, you and I recorded that mistakes episode, the mistakes we made. So you're not going to talk yourself into Akers. I have, mostly because I look at the way McVay leans on a single running back backfield. And is Akers going to be as explosive? No, but in that offense, is there enough opportunity and litness, that's a real word, a technical term by the way.

FRANK SCHWAB: I like it.

LIZ LOZA: To make up for the lack of efficiency? I think so and I just see him plummeting to me so much, that again, he's also in that like RB--


LIZ LOZA: --20-26 dead zone. Who are you, out of curiosity before we move over to talking about-- Actually, this might be a good segue, because we're going to talk about running back committees next. So who in that dead zone do you find yourself drafting more regularly?

FRANK SCHWAB: I'm trying to avoid most of them, but I'll tell you, I'm sorry a little bit on Eli Mitchell. Look, Shanny--

LIZ LOZA: Souring?

FRANK SCHWAB: Souring, yes. I had drafted him a lot early in [? baseball ?] season and then you just start worrying about some of the reports out of there. So a little lower on Eli Mitchell, but he was a guy who, look, he's falling too at a point. Shanny loved him last year and he was really productive.

Can he stay healthy for a year? That's a big question. I don't know if you consider this guy a dead zone guy, but James Conner's my dude this year. Look, if I was to just totally give you this resume, OK, Liz?

This is who he is. Unquestioned number one. He's going to get about 85%, 90% of the snaps. He's in a good offense.

Last year, look at his last five or six games. He had a huge spike in receiving, so he's not a zero receiver. I think he had a 55, 60 catch season with Pittsburgh too. He has a track record with Pittsburgh too.

Very good player, like, this isn't a guy who just came out of nowhere and is going to disappear. Let me ask you this if, it's not James Conner in Arizona, who the heck is it? Who are you betting on in Arizona to get any carries from him?

They paid him in the offseason season, I think $7 million a year, which is legitimate running back money. We're just so scared of regression. Everybody talks about regression.

LIZ LOZA: You're right.

FRANK SCHWAB: That he had 18 touchdowns last year. He can't repeat that and everybody doesn't want to be the square, right? You want to be the sharp guy.

LIZ LOZA: Yep, you're right.

FRANK SCHWAB: You don't want to be where, what's he regressing to? Of course he's going to regress. What has he regressed to, 10 touchdowns? That's a huge step down. 10 touchdowns for unquestioned number one back at a great offense, still has value in the late third round where I find myself getting him.

LIZ LOZA: I think that's fact. I mean, you hit the nail on the head. The first thought that happened in my brain, that manifested itself in my brain when you said, James Conner was I was like, "oh, regression." And you hit the nail on the head.

Nobody wants to pay peak price. We're always looking for next year's James Conner, right? Unless it's a more proven asset and the argument against Conner is that 2021 was antithetical to the rest of the data we've had at our avail in terms of durability and staying on the field.

But also, there was a change of scenery and maybe that was enough to switch the data. And we'll see more sustainable production from him. That is an intriguing option. I will say that I'm liking Miles Sanders--

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, I like him too.

LIZ LOZA: --in that general range.

FRANK SCHWAB: For a regression, because he's going to regress to a positive touchdown. There's zero chance he's going to get 0 touchdowns, [INAUDIBLE] But yeah, Miles Sanders, I could completely get on board with that, Liz.