Fantasy Football Running Back Sleeper to Target: Dameon Pierce

Dameon Pierce, Fantasy Football (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Dameon Pierce, Fantasy Football (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Whether it’s a redraft, best ball, auction, keeper, or dynasty league, fantasy football managers will have to fill up their roster completely during their draft. I personally advise against filling your roster with auto draft picks. The player values may be outdated and inaccurate, meaning they will more than likely underperform.

Instead, I suggest being patient, doing your research, and completing the draft from start to finish. There are many players that have a chance to outperform where they are currently being drafted. One of these players is Dameon Pierce.

Dameon Pierce is a fantasy football sleeper you should target in late rounds

The Houston Texans drafted rookie running back Dameon Pierce with the 107th draft pick in the 4th round at the end of April. That was after they signed veteran running back Marlon Mack to a one-year deal at the beginning of April. This means the Texans are more than likely to move on from Rex Burkhead as their starting running back, who is now 32 years old and coming off a season where he averaged just 3.5 yards on 122 attempts.

This is what their depth chart currently looks like:

But there are reasons to believe Pierce could win the starting running back job before training camp and the preseason are done.

Prior to the NFL, Pierce played for the Florida Gators where coach Dan Mullen implemented a running back rotation that provided equal carries for everybody. In his four seasons, he shared a backfield with others such as NFL draft picks Jordan Scarlett and La’Michal Perine and undrafted free agent Malik Davis. As a result, his season high for carries was only 106 in 2020. However, in 2021, he averaged 5.7 YPC and scored 13 rushing touchdowns on 100.

This means he doesn’t have as much tread on his tires as other NFL running backs and rookies. This should optimize his length in the league with high(er) usage, which will increase his value in dynasty leagues. With a  5’10” 216-pound stature, he squats 705 pounds, benches 390 pounds, and had a 37-inch vertical and 4.5 second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He has the skills to be a three-down back in the NFL, as well. He is good in pass protection, and a good pass catching back.

In week 1, Pierce was explosive, ran downhill, and ran angrily. Check out this video compilation of all his touches.

Although he didn’t get any first-team reps, that is likely to change. He rushed for 49 yards in only 5 attempts, an average of 9.8 yards per attempt. Marlon Mack only rushed for 6 yards on 3 attempts, an average of two yards per attempt. Expect them to give the ball to the running back who can move the ball farther downfield his higher yards gained and his pass-catching ability. The younger back opens up the offense more for this new look Texans team.

He is currently being drafted around RB45, or 126th overall, in redraft leagues. This is well after other rookie running backs such as New York Jets‘ Breece Hall, Seattle Seahawks‘ Kenneth Walker III, and Los Angeles Chargers‘ Isaiah Spiller. Besides Hall, Pierce has the clearest path to starting.

A starting running back on any team is great to have in fantasy football, even if they finish in the bottom half of the league in offense. Don’t be fooled by the offense, or timid because he’s a rookie behind a veteran, he has a real chance of emerging as a steady RB2/3 in fantasy football in 2022.