The Running back is one of the positions that lacks depth this year in fantasy football. In many mock drafts this year, the top 10 running backs are going in the first round. With 10 running backs already off the board, it is important that before you enter a draft you get to know each team’s top running back.
1) Kansas City Chiefs, Jamaal Charles
The Chiefs love this speedster. Charles is not only fast but he is big and able to take a hit. Last season Charles rushed for 1,509 yards on 285 attempts. The downside is he only scored 5 TDs last season and now that Andy Reid is in town, Charles’s stock has skyrocketed. Look for Charles to bust out some great rushing yards but I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a few receiving yards as well.
2) Oakland Raiders, Darren McFadden
McFadden had a very miserable year, only rushing for 707 yards on 216 attempts and finding the end zone twice. McFadden didn’t look like himself last year in Oakland, and will mostly be picked in the 3rd round this year (unless Ryan picks him early). If McFadden can stay healthy and the line can actual block, McFadden could find himself being a top 10 running back again.
3) San Diego Chargers, Ryan Mathews
Mr. Injury has had his problems in San Diego and while Mathews was one of my favorites last year, I didn’t pick him because of his problems in the past. Mathews didn’t play much last year and when he did he didn’t play well with a mere 707 rushing yards, 1 TD and a miserable 3.8 yards per rush. Sorry but this might be Mathews’s last chance at keeping his starting job in San Diego. Stay classy San Diego; he is not the only problem on the team.
4) Denver Broncos, Ronnie Hillman
Hillman was recently listed atop the Broncos depth chart, however he continues to share 1st team reps with rookie Montee Ball. Hillman didn’t do much in 2012 because he was behind McGahee and Moreno. Keep your eyes on running back situation. It’s to early to say if Hillman or Ball will be a good fantasy option if they are going to share reps throughout a game.
1) Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller
Spiller finally showed the NFL world what he was capable of doing last year. Spiller totaled only 207 attempts and rushed for 1,244 yards, he also led the NFL with 6.3 yards per carry. Not only does this guy get you rushing yards, he was used quite heavily in the passing game last season. Spiller will be the number 1 this year and all Bills fans are hoping he can rush Buffalo into the post season.
2) New England Patriots, Stevan Ridely
Of course most of you right now are thinking he plays for New England and they don’t run the ball. Well that’s a great myth, the Patriots use multiple backs throughout the game. Though Ridley only got 290 attempts, he had 12 TDs last year. Inside the red zone the Patriots run the ball more than any other team in the NFL. Its safe to say that Ridley won’t get you a ton of yards but he shall be rewarded with TDs.
3) Miami Dolphins, Lamar Miller
Miller will likely assume the starting job in Miami. Last year Reggie Bush carried the Dolphins with 262 touches for 1,278 yards. With Bush gone and Daniel Thomas not looking like a number 1, Miller is line for a chance to shine. Miller is 5 foot 11 and 218 pounds, which means he is built like a prototypical running back. Yes, he is smaller than Daniel Thomas but his production has been better. He was very productive when getting the ball last year averaging 4.9 yards a carry compared to Daniel Thomas who averaged 3.5 yards.
4) New York Jets, Chris Ivory
Ivory was traded to the Jets during this year’s draft, and will be making ten million dollars for a three year deal. The Jets have put money in this guy and they are expecting him to perform as he did with the Saints. Ivory was known as the change of pace back in New Orleans. He came in for the injured Saints running backs and really turned some heads through some of the weeks he started. I like this guy for a nice flex option but right now he could be the only offensive weapon the Jets have.
1) Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice
Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle. Yeah we all remember that crazy run by Rice in the playoffs last year, but he dropped in rushing yards from years past and only had 1,143 yards. He did add 9 rushing TDs to the mix. Fantasy owners are definitely getting a great running back here, but don’t expect Peterson like numbers from this guy.
2) Cleveland Browns, Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson, what a beast this guy is. As a rookie iochardson missed the 1,000 yard mark by 50 yards last season. All fantasy owners know this guy found the end zone often, in fact, 11 times last year which helped him become a very good fantasy option. Just remember Richardson does play for the Browns and that’s a huge downfall because they rely on Richardson way too much and the chance for injury has increased
3) Pittsburgh Steelers, Le’Veon Bell
Bell comes from Michigan State and did a great job at leading the team when it came to rushing. Now he finds himself on a smash mouth football team and they hope he can continue that great running style. Bell is 244 pounds; he’s got the body to pound the ball, but there were several occasions during his time at Michigan State where he lacked agility in the hole and took a while to get moving forward. Bell is most likely a good option to have as a flex play from the start of the season but he could turn some heads early.
4) Cincinnati Bengals, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Green-Ellis had a good year with 1,094 yards but only averaged 3.9 yards a carry and the Bengals didn’t like that number. Green-Ellis could find himself losing some touches to a rookie but right now he is still first on the depth chart. This guy is definitely a gamble because he could lose his job quickly, but if you acquire him, I would just handcuff him with the backup running back.
To be perfectly clear, he is mostly likely going number 2 in most drafts. Foster crushed it last year with 15 TD’s and 1,424 yards. As some fantasy players know the Texans rush more than any other team in the NFL. Foster doesn’t get all the touches but he did lead the league last year with 351 attempts. This guy is an easy top 5 fantasy running back.
2) Tennessee Titans, Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson was once the 1st or 2nd pick in the draft. But his talents have dwindled and he is going to fall to the second round this year. Johnson still had a good year with 1,243 yards and 6 TDs, unfortunately I’m not sure his numbers will stay that high since the Titans brought Greene to be the short yardage running back and possibly get the goal line looks. On a positive note, the Titans upgraded their offensive line and they should be able to open some big holes for Johnson.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew
Maurice Jones-Drew has long been one of the most consistent rushers in Fantasy. Getting hurt last season might hurt his stock but he still averaged 98.8 total yards in his first five games and had 80-plus total yards in three of those five contest. It seems that he is definitely on the way out in Jacksonville; I don’t expect a huge year out of this guy at all. Look for him in the late second or early third round if someone doesn’t pull the trigger sooner.
4) Indianapolis Colts, Vick Ballard
The Colts finally found their running back, actually not really. Ballard only averaged 3.9 yards a carry last year and had a hard time finding the end zone. It was rough year for Ballard, with the lack of depth at the running back position he is still a good flex option.