We’re approaching the 2024 season. Every year, a few players seize on the right opportunity and surprise for fantasy players. The value comes from trying to predict who it will end up being this time of year and stashing them. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at some 2024 sleeper candidates at each of the key fantasy positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Hopefully, these are players you can acquire at a value that will propel you to fantasy glory.

After looking at a few quarterbacks that could provide value, I’m turning my attention now to the other part of the backfield—running backs. In fantasy, you can never have enough running backs, and by mid-season, you’re always looking for more running backs. This is the time of year when you want to take a flier on a back that if given the right conditions, could explode in terms of production.

That leads me to my first running back pick: Zack Moss. Moss was a touted third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills that never really took off in Buffalo. But after being traded to the Colts, he found a new lease on life. It’s possible that Moss will have a shot at huge volume for the Bengals. But can he thrive on your team? Let’s weigh the evidence.

The Case for Zack Moss

The case for Moss is two-fold: we’ve seen him do it recently, and he has a shot at a high volume. First, look at his recent production and why we should be optimistic. That comes mostly from his work leading the Colts’ backfield in 2023. That occurred when Jonathan Taylor wasn’t ready to start the season. Moss took over starting in Week 2 and made the most of his opportunity. In fact, he was the primary in the backfield through Week 8. He averaged 17.9 points per game during that period and sat as RB4.

Over the course of the rest of the season, Moss contributed but didn’t have a chance to be a feature back, finishing as RB31. But in Cincinnati, he might have that chance. The Bengals had Joe Mixon in the backfield in 2023, where he finished as RB6. Mixon saw 257 rush attempts, turning it into 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns. He also saw 64 targets, catching 52 passes for 376 yards and three more touchdowns. That’s a lot of potential volume for whoever slots in as the Bengals’ RB1, and right now, that looks to be Moss.

The Case Against Zack Moss

Now for the flip side. The two biggest arguments are lack of experience and potential competition. First, let’s talk about Moss. I highlighted a solid stretch in 2023, where he was the lead back and thrived for a concentrated stretch. That, however, is an anomaly in Moss’ career. The 183 carries he saw in 2023 was a career-high, as were his 794 rushing yards. During his first three years in Buffalo, he was mostly a role player, splitting backfield duties with other backs. Whether he can carry the load for a whole season is a question.

The other question in Cincinnati is competition. Yes, Mixon is gone. But the Bengals saw some flashes from Chase Brown in 2023. Brown, a fifth-round selection, saw 44 carries, turning it into 179 yards. He also caught 14 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. It’s a small sample, but he showed some spark in the season’s final few games, leading to some speculation that he could be poised for a bigger role in 2024. That could mean that Brown and Moss split the volume in the backfield, limiting the ceiling for both of them.

The Bottom Line

Moss is currently going as RB26, meaning he’s projected at RB3 value. So, the question is whether you believe he gets more work than that and can surpass that draft capital. Mixon finished as RB6 due to the volume he had with the Bengals. While I think Brown will have a role, we saw last year that Moss can thrive in a good offense with volume. I think he leads this backfield and should be a capable RB2 for fantasy, making him a solid potential value.

Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.

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