What is the value of a backup running back? That is, when it’s the 10th round, does the correct course tend to involve selecting a backup-type running back? Or are we better to look at perhaps a remaining top-20 quarterback or a wide receiver who’s at least starting?

You can’t answer such a question on a case-by-case basis, because there are hits and misses whatever way you might go. You could potentially have selected Alvin Kamara later in a draft, for example. But you could also have missed badly on a similar running back prospect while neglecting to choose Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Adam Thielen or Robert Woods.

I selected Alfred Morris and James Conner in most leagues, looking to pick up some valuable fill-in starts, but didn’t get much out of either.

But numbers show that type of back – starters in waiting – will deliver some good games.

I’ve got all of the 100-yard rushing days in front of me. There were 89 of them in the 2017 season. Of those games, almost a third (29) were produced by running backs who weren’t among the first 30 players selected at that position. That’s almost as many as the combined total (35) of the year’s top-10 running back prospects.

This is a subjective exercise, of course. The backs I had in my top 10 are no doubt a little different than yours. I thought about using ADP data, but it would be time-consuming to look up the figures for each player, and more than a few wouldn’t show up at all.

So I instead used the top 100 rankings for running backs that we published just before the kickoff of the first game. I’ve got those 10 backs tagged with black dots. That’s using standard scoring.

For running backs outside my top 30, I’ve got them in bold. Some of those backs I don’t think were selected in even 5 percent of fantasy leagues, including Alex Collins (not even on a roster at the time), Orleans Darkwa, Aaron Jones (third-stringer for the Packers), T.J. Yeldon, Alfred Blue, Peyton Barber, Dion Lewis and maybe Kenyan Drake.

If you’re looking for prototypical “handcuff” backs, I think there are just two such games on this list – Alfred Morris and Jamaal Williams. If you want to expand things a little bit, maybe you can include Samaje Perine and Latavius Murray, with two games each. But many thought Perine would be out Robert Kelley, and Murray was kind of a co-No. 2 with Jerick McKinnon. Giovani Bernard is on the list, but he also had some third-down appeal. Drake ended up with two games, but back at the start of the year it seemed like he might be just their third-down back.

Darkwa had a couple of 100-yard game, but he was also a pick involving considerable degree of difficulty. The Giants were starting Paul Perkins, had Shane Vereen as their passing-downs guys, and Wayne Gallman looked like a possibility to start moving up the depth chart.

On the chart below, the first column (the “rank”) shows where I had the running back ranked before the start of the season.

18Leonard Fournette, JACat PITW 30-9281816.52
2• LeVeon Bell, PITat KCW 19-13321795.61
8• Kareem Hunt, KCat LACW 24-101717210.11
7• Jordan Howard, CHIat BALW 27-24361674.60
25Bilal Powell, NYJvs. JACW 23-20211637.81
38Adrian Peterson, ARIat SFW 20-10371594.30
19C.J. Anderson, DENat INDW 25-13301585.30
28Derrick Henry, TENat KCW 22-21231566.81
10• LeSean McCoy, BUFvs. INDW 13-7321564.91
8• Kareem Hunt, KCvs. LACW 30-13241556.51
84Orleans Darkwa, NYGvs. WASW 18-10201547.71
5• Todd Gurley, LARat SEAW 42-7211527.23
10• LeSean McCoy, BUFvs. OAKW 34-14271515.61
4• Ezekiel Elliott, DALat WASW 33-19331504.52
8• Kareem Hunt, KCat NEW 42-27171488.71
7• Jordan Howard, CHIat CINW 33-7231476.42
4• Ezekiel Elliott, DALat SFW 40-10261475.72
25Bilal Powell, NYJvs. LACL 7-14191457.61
2• LeVeon Bell, PITat BALW 26-9351444.12
7• Jordan Howard, CHIvs. PITW 23-17231406.12
32LeGarrette Blount, PHIat LACW 26-24161368.50
38Adrian Peterson, ARIvs. TBW 38-33261345.22
21Mark Ingram, NOvs. WASW 34-311113412.21
2• LeVeon Bell, PITvs. CINW 29-14351343.80
3• Melvin Gordon, LACat NEL 13-21141329.41
--Aaron Jones, GBvs. NOL 17-26171317.71
28Derrick Henry, TENvs. INDW 36-22191316.91
21Mark Ingram, NOat BUFW 47-10211316.23
37Frank Gore, INDat BUFL 7-13361303.60
18Leonard Fournette, JACvs. LARL 17-27211306.21
11Jay Ajayi, MIAat ATLW 20-17261305.00
51Dion Lewis, NEvs. BUFW 37-16241295.41
79Alfred Morris, DALvs. WASW 38-14271274.71
9• Dalvin Cook, MINvs. NOW 29-19221275.80
6• Devonta Freeman, ATLat TBW 24-21221265.71
--Aaron Jones, GBat DALW 35-31191256.61
7• Jordan Howard, CHIvs. DETL 24-27151258.31
13Carlos Hyde, SFat SEAL 9-12151248.30
81T.J. Yeldon, JACat INDW 27-0912213.61
11Jay Ajayi, MIAat LACW 19-17281224.40
15Isaiah Crowell, CLEvs. GBL 21-27191216.40
5• Todd Gurley, LARat DALW 35-30231215.30
--Alex Collins, BALat PITL 38-39181206.71
62Kenyan Drake, MIAvs. DENW 35-9231205.21
19C.J. Anderson, DENvs. DALW 42-17251184.71
5• Todd Gurley, LARat TENW 27-23221185.40
84Orleans Darkwa, NYGat DENW 23-10211175.60
61Samaje Perine, WASat NOL 31-34231175.11
2• LeVeon Bell, PITvs. NEL 24-27241174.91
60Giovani Bernard, CINvs. DETW 26-17231165.01
8• Kareem Hunt, KCvs. OAKW 26-15251164.61
5• Todd Gurley, LARat JACW 27-17231165.00
4• Ezekiel Elliott, DALvs. GBL 31-35291164.00
12DeMarco Murray, TENvs. SEAW 33-27141158.21
62Kenyan Drake, MIAvs. NEW 27-20251144.60
24Joe Mixon, CINvs. CLEW 30-16231145.01
21Mark Ingram, NOvs. DETW 52-38251144.62
10• LeSean McCoy, BUFat LACL 24-54131148.81
--Alex Collins, BALvs. MIAW 40-0181136.30
73Latavius Murray, MINvs. BALW 24-16181136.31
71Jamaal Williams, GBvs. TBW 26-20211135.41
5• Todd Gurley, LARat SFW 41-39281134.02
51Dion Lewis, NEvs. MIAW 35-17151127.50
73Latavius Murray, MINvs. CHIW 23-10201115.62
18Leonard Fournette, JACat CLEW 19-7281114.00
31Jonathan Stewart, CARvs. MIAW 45-21171106.50
10• LeSean McCoy, BUFvs. NYJW 21-12221105.00
28Derrick Henry, TENvs. HOUW 24-13111099.91
18Leonard Fournette, JACat PITW 45-42251094.43
85Alfred Blue, HOUvs. PITL 6-34161086.80
8• Kareem Hunt, KCat HOUW 42-34291073.70
43Alvin Kamara, NOat BUFW 47-10121068.81
6• Devonta Freeman, ATLat DETW 30-26211065.01
5• Todd Gurley, LARvs. ARIW 33-0221064.81
21Mark Ingram, NOat GBW 26-17221054.81
3• Melvin Gordon, LACat NYGW 27-22201055.20
4• Ezekiel Elliott, DALvs. NYGW 19-3241044.30
31Jonathan Stewart, CARvs. MINW 31-24161036.43
4• Ezekiel Elliott, DALat PHIW 6-0271033.80
--Peyton Barber, TBat GBL 20-26231024.40
7• Jordan Howard, CHIat NOL 12-20231024.40
22Marshawn Lynch, OAKvs. NYGW 24-17171015.91
22Marshawn Lynch, OAKat LACL 10-30191015.30
18Leonard Fournette, JACvs. SEAW 30-24241014.21
8• Kareem Hunt, KCvs. WASW 29-20211014.80
5• Todd Gurley, LARvs. ATLL 13-26141017.20
61Samaje Perine, WASvs. NYGW 20-10241004.20
37Frank Gore, INDvs. HOUW 22-13241004.20
18Leonard Fournette, JACat HOUW 29-7261003.81

—Ian Allan