2023 Fantasy Football Zero RB Draft Targets

by Dylan Clemons
2023 Fantasy Football Zero RB Draft Targets

Welcome back fantasy nerds, this time for the 2023 Fantasy Football Zero RB Draft Targets article.  Zero running back strategy is as hot as ever heading into fantasy draft season with how many wide receivers are being pushed up draft boards.

Everyone seems to have a variety of opinions on exactly what the zero running back draft strategy is. But for the sake of this article, let's just say you start your drafts with one elite QB, three wide receivers, and a tight end. Then in the sixth round, you decide to take your first running back and then attack the position vigorously the next few rounds.

We will be using our friends over at Sleeper. Now, let's get into some of my favorite zero RB targets heading into the 2023 fantasy football draft season.

2023 Fantasy Football Zero RB Draft Targets

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Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams (ADP 63.6 RB24)

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I don't quite understand why Cam Akers is going so late in drafts. He is someone that I have no problem taking as my RB1 on my fantasy teams if I am waiting on the running back position. He is one of the few running backs left who is a three-down back for an offense. Outside of Akers in this backfield, It is Kyren Williams, rookie Zach Evans, Ronnie Rivers, and Royce Freeman. Why is he going in the sixth round?

In the final six games of the 2023 season, Cam Akers finished outside the top-24 running backs just once. He also finished as a top-12 RB in three of those games as well, and saw at least 20 touches in his final three games. This is a workhorse back that we want when we start looking for a zero RB Draft target.

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 74.9 RB27)

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Unlike Cam Akers, I understand why Rachaad White. This offense projects to struggle with either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask under center. However, White is the lead back in the offense and he is a very solid pass-catcher. White had the 11th most receptions of any running backs last year while splitting the work with Leonard Fournette.

Now with Fournette no longer in town should at least see most of the passing down work. White had an 86.2% catch rate which ranked second amongst running backs. Then he is battling the likes of Chase Edmonds, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, and rookie Sean Tucker for carries. White is someone you should be attacking in the late sixth, or early seventh round of your fantasy drafts.

James Cook, Buffalo Bills (ADP 85.8 RB31)

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If you have checked out our Fantasy Six Pack YouTube channel you know how I feel about James Cook. Cook is an outstanding value on a very good offense. He also looks to be the RB1 in Buffalo heading into the season. In Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, James Cook played 14 of the 16 snaps with the 1st string team. Plus, he also ran eight routes, and we know he is a prolific pass-catcher from his college days.

Unfortunately, Nyheim Hines will miss the entirety of this season after getting injured in the offseason. The only guys who Cook is battling carries with are veterans Damian Harris and Latvious Murray. Harris will most likely get the red zone work, but Cook should likely see everything else.

Last year Cook ranked second in true yards per carry, third in yards per touch, and first in breakaway run rate. Just get the ball in James Cook's hands and let him go. He should be a big part of this offense in his second season.

Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders (ADP 94.5 RB33)

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We have been waiting for Gibson to break out but he hasn't really ever gotten the volume of work we need him to produce as a consistent fantasy football option. This could be the year with a great offensive mind as his offensive coordinator in Eric Beinammy.

Gibson has caught at least 35 balls in the first three seasons of his career, and coming off a career high with 46 last season. With McKissic no longer being there, that frees up 27 more catches. Gibson has a realistic chance to catch 60-70 balls this season, which should lead to a top-24 PPR running back finish even with sharing the backfield with Brian Robinson.

Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears (ADP 110.3 RB38)

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Khalil Herbert has flashed at times during his two-year career. Last season Herbert ranked in the top 10 in true yards per carry, yards per touch, and yards created per touch according to playerprofiler.com. Plus, we have liked what we have seen thus far from Herbert in the preseason.

We had questions about his pass-catching prowess, but he caught a dump-off in Week 1 of the preseason and took it over 6o yards for a touchdown. In that game, Herbert played every snap the starters played in that game as well. In Week 2 when most of the Bears starters sat out, it was just Khalil Herbert out of the backfield who sat in that game.

Herbert will start the season as the starter and see 12-15 touches per game. Herbert going outside the top 100 players is baffling to me.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers (ADP 143.1 RB43)

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Elijah Mitchell might be a surprise for some with him being on this list. However, I believe that Elijah Mitchell is an elite handcuff to Christian McCaffrey.

He also might just split the work with McCaffrey as long as each guy can stay healthy as well. Last season in Weeks 10 and 11 Mitchell out carried McCaffrey when both were healthy. I believe Mitchell will have a surprising role in this offense, as he averaged 6.2 yards per carry in a small sample size last season.

Devin Singletary, Houston Texans (ADP 156.4 RB46)

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Let me first start out by saying that this is Dameon Pierces' backfield. The issue is Pierce wasn't a very good pass blocker last season and that is something Devin Singletary excels at. Singletary ranked as the sixth-best pass-blocker amongst all running backs according to PFF. That pretty much guarantees him the third-down back role in this offense in my opinion.

With a rookie under center in CJ Stroud he and the Texans are going to want someone back there who can protect him. But also become a safety valve for the rookie quarterback. Singletary will have a massive role in this offense which cuts into the ceiling of Dameon Pierce. If I had to choose between Pierce and Singletary at cost, give me Singletary who is basically going for free. Singletary is a perfect dart throw option and one of the few great late-round zero RB draft targets.

I hope you enjoyed the 2023 Fantasy Football Zero RB Draft Targets article and hope you attack a few guys in your draft.


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