Fantasy Football

Fantasy football – Running Backs

Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.
They just got veteran QBs in Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck.
They should be the top 2 picks in your Fantasy Drafts.
These workhorse backs have provided consistency at an elite level, and get the ball whether its a pass or a run. I don’t think you would be upset to have one of these guys, for obvious reasons.

The 1-B tier guys at RB are: Arian Foster, Jamal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Maurice Jones-Drew, Stephen Jackson, and Ray Rice.

Foster finished last season with a torn meniscus, you may not have heard. He could have been a man possessed to earn a contract, and turn out to be a one-year wonder. On the contrary, he could have sparked the beginning of a career with upside. I would say it’s a judgement call, but definitely top-5 worthy after leading the league in rushing.

Ray Rice, S-Jax, and Mojo. These do it all backs have received heavy workloads, but my main question is their durability. Another season, and the lifespan of a RB, due to wear and tear, has Jackson ranked lower than usual. I view these guys as great options, but you might want to add their backups on your bench.

Jamal Charles is on this list, because he dominates when he plays. He is another do it all back, but the knock on him is that he has yet to play a complete season as the workhorse back. 2 years ago, he started the final 8 games and ran for 1,000+ yards. Last season, he ran out of his mind, despite being “second fiddle” to Thomas Jones. Perhaps, Thomas Jones and his role was the perfect compliment, or an obvious situation that needs to be addressed. I’m a big fan of Charles now, but would that change if he’s unable to hang with the other names on this list?

LeSean McCoy. He plays for a pass-happy Eagles team, and coaches that don’t like to run the ball much. He is another back that can hurt you in multiple ways, and the Eagles did rank 5th in rushing offense last season (partly because of Michael Vick). He is a weapon in the passing game, and has the upside you want. But to select this high? Another judgement call here.

I wouldn’t be opposed to drafting a QB or WR in the mid-late 1st round if you felt more comfortable with them, instead of a question mark of a RB for your first pick.

You could arguably include these RBs with the likes of the previous names, but there’s a reason I placed them in the 3rd tier.

Rashard Mendenhall. Pittsburgh runs the ball, correct. But to what extent will Big Ben have on the offense this year? They went from a power running team, to a passing team with Ben flinging the ball all over the place. Last eyar, he missed some games and had a slow start, much to Mendenhall’s advantage. I like this big back. He runs between the tackles and has a little breakaway speed. I have him ranging from mid-1st to early 2nd, depending on how the board looks.

Michael Turner. He could arguably be a top-5 pick, and I would not debate you if you did so. I am a little concerned about his workload, like the aforementioned Stephen Jackson, and Maurice Jones-Drew. He is surrounded with a great offensive line, and weapons in the passing game. Is this the year Atlanta leans on Matty Ice to lead the offense, through the air? I expect Turner to get a ton of carries, if he can stay healthy. Remember, he is not a threat in the passing game, but he runs upright and between he tackles (similar to AP).

Darren McFadden, if he can stay healthy, will produce great numbers. He is another do it all back with upside, yet still “unproven.”

Matt Forte I believe, has the most upside as a 2nd RB on your team. He has a nice schedule, and will get more touches, on the ground and through the air. He will be the focal point, as Marshall Faulk was for Mike Martz back in the day. I think highly of Forte and would highly recommend targeting him.

Peyton Hillis and LeGarrette Blount. If they don’t end up in timeshares, or get injured from their playing styles, you gotta like their upsides (also “unproven”).

Maybe I worry about injuries too much, but I draft player that have a history of completing 16 games. (As an Eagles fan, I never drafted Brian Westbrook, and probably won’t go for Michael Vick).

Hillis could be like Foster, having one good year. Being on the Browns in a division with the Steelers and Ravens, he will get a ton of touches. They hand it to him, he is active in the passing game, and they have inexperienced QB Colt McCoy slotted to start.

Blount had a surprising season. He wasn’t expected to start, but I did get my prediction right. I had said that he would be a factor this season, as soon as Tampa Bay signed him (after he was released from the Titans). He is a big and powerful back that fights for yards, and I expect an above average year from him.

My wildcard running back, Frank Gore. He had a nasty injury last season, for his sake I hope he has had a speedy recovery. He is one of the best in the game when he is on the grid iron, and it’s usually a good choice to get a RB with a questionable QB and a new coaching staff. If he falls late into the 3rd, preferably early 4th, don’t hesitate.

Possible RB platoons:

Ahmad Bradshaw / Brandon Jacobs
Felix Jones / Tashard Choice
Ryan Grant / James Starks
Deangelo Williams / Jonathan Stewart
Ryan Torrain / Roy Helu
Reggie Bush / Daniel Thomas
Fred Jackson / C.J. Spiller
Cedric Benson / Bernard Scott
Jahvid Best / Mikel LeShoure
Marshawn Lynch / Justin Forsett
Beanie Wells / Ryan Williams
Knowshon Moreno / Willis McGahee

I would monitor:

Colts (Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Delone Carter)
Patriots (BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen)
Saints (Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas)

Sleepers: (I hate using that word)

Shonn Greene and Ryan Mathews. Mathews was injured last season as a rookie, and has a bright future in a high-powered offense. Greene has had some good games, and the Jets love to run the football. The question is, will he get the bulk of the carries?

Free agents to consider:

LaDanian Tomlinson, Joseph Addai, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Jerome Harrison (who gets a nod for helping me win a Championship a couple years ago).

Good luck to you Fantasy football players out there, the Running Back position could be very deep, or very thin, depending on your perspective.