I’ve never attempted to discover gold. But I’d have to believe once miners find that gold, it’s a feeling similar to locating that running back steal in fantasy football drafts.

Consistently productive running backs are almost impossible to find at certain times of the draft. Notice how I said almost impossible. 

Fantasy football owners found that rarity last year with DeMarco Murray. We should have seen that coming, but that hype machine toward rookie running backs went overboard with Derrick Henry. Much like Melvin Gordon the year before, Henry didn’t live up to the hype, giving way to Murray’s top-tier fantasy season.

And speaking of Gordon, after we dismissed him (after only one year in the league), he came through with several solid fantasy numbers and will be a high target this coming year.

Finding that sleeper running back is the best way to win your league. Here’s three running backs you should pay attention to when drafting in the 2017 fantasy football draft.

Tevin Coleman should be a solid draft pick in 2017. Flickr

Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons

When your searching for gold, sometimes you have to dig a little bit. Coleman may not seem like the most consistent option, but he’s emerging as the go-to option for the high-flying Falcons.

What makes Atlanta so hard to defend? Devonta Freeman acts as the main running back, but it’s Coleman’s versatility that makes Atlanta so difficult to defend. That should equal more opportunities out of the backfield for the young running back.

Even with limited work in 2016, Coleman still finished 17th in fantasy scoring, with more than 400 yards receiving to go with a little more than 500 yards rushing. I expect Atlanta to take a step back in 2017, meaning Coleman should get more work in passing downs, since I believe Atlanta will trail more.

Fantasypros, which aggregates opinions from several fantasy experts, has Coleman listed as the 25th best running back. He has the ability, if he becomes the main running back, to be an RB1, but even in the role he currently occupies, he’s a solid RB2.

Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions

That backfield is crowded and I hate the way Detroit uses its running backs. But Abdullah is listed as the 30th-best running back, meaning you don’t have to draft him early to reap the benefits of his talent.

He’s the best option for the Lions out of the backfield. And if they utilize him correctly, he has the ability to be a low-end RB1 at the price of an RB3.

In his only game he completed in 2016, he managed more than 100 total yards and produced 18 fantasy points.

He’s had plenty of time to heal from his foot injury and we should be far more bullish on his potential. He’s a risk if taken too high, but if he’s going to be in the 30s among running backs, he’s a guaranteed steal.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Remember everyone loving Henry? Well, now, after a rookie year where he didn’t do much, we’re back to putting him in the also-ran category.

It was just last year before the draft we did the same thing with Gordon and look how well that turned out.

Henry is going to get more carries this season. Mark it down. And with those carries, he should be more productive, much like he was down the stretch in 2016. He went over double-digits in two of the final three games and looked better than Murray.

Murray has an injury history that should make fantasy owners very nervous heading into this season. And it would be wise to limit his carries, anyway, since he went for almost 300 in 2016.

Henry has the ability to be the main running back on a team that likes to develop the run. Fantasy experts are once again assuming that players don’t get better. That’s why as the 40th-ranked running back, Henry is a sleeping giant at running back.

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