If you follow fantasy football, you’ve probably read that running back is scarce this year, and you should draft one as early as possible. While I agree with the draft one early philosophy, I disagree with the position not being deep.
Due to Arian Foster’s health, there is a one man tier of the super elite running back. There is Adrian Peterson….and that’s it. Any guy 2-9 could easily be the second best running back in fantasy. Let’s look at how and why.
- Adrian Peterson (Vikings): Purple Jesus has no worries about his knee, and neither should you. The best player in the NFL is worthy of the #1 pick. No brainer.
- Doug Martin (Bucs)
- Ray Rice (Ravens): Here’s the case for Martin vs. Rice: Martin’s in a better offense, with a better offensive line (barring the health of Carl Nicks), younger, and facing a much easier division schedule in the NFC South. The Saints were the worst team against the run in 2012, Falcons were 21st, Panthers were 14th. …having said that, Ray Rice has a history of being the best back in fantasy football (2011. Foster was better on a per game basis, Rice had more points overall in standard league scoring). Someone from the group of Martin, Rice, Charles, TRich, Spiller will emerge as the sceond best back in fantasy. Gut feeling. If I had to bet on someone, I’d pick Martin. He has the cleanest bill of health, three down back, great weather situation, and I just think this is his time. He had a great year with Nicks and Davin Joseph out for the year. I’m all in on the Muscle Hamster.
- Arian Foster (Texans): If Foster is playing week 1, he moves into 2nd place. Without question. As of 8/20/13, he is injured. Hasn’t practiced all training camp. Fantasy drafts are a week or two away. Foster has missed the first two games before in a season, and was still the best back in the league, from a fantasy perspective, on a points per game basis. If you plan on drafting Foster, hedge your bets and take Ben Tate a round or two earlier. With the offensive line in Houston, Tate has top 12 back potential. Tate is the only must have handcuff you need to draft if you’re in 10/12 man leagues.
- CJ Spiller (Bills): Spiller finally has a chance to be the main guy in Buffalo. My only question with him is if he can stay healthy for a season carrying a full workload. But guess what, health is always a question in football. If there’s a guy available, who was getting six yards a carry, and I have the 5th pick…I’m taking him. Spiller will have a great year.
- Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks)
- Jamaal Charles (Chiefs): Honestly, you can go either way between Spiller, Lynch, and Charles…the deal breaker for Spiller was just a gut call. Lynch vs. Charles comes down to consistency. Which guy gives you the best chance to win on a week-to-week basis? For me, it’s Lynch. I think Charles will have higher highs than Lynch, simply because he’s better in the passing game. Charles will probably end up with more total yards as a result of being used on third downs, and having Alex Smith, aka the Checkdown King, throwing to him. But it’s going to be hard to predict which weeks Charles will show up. Charles will have a great year under Andy Reid, but he has a tendency to put up a lot of single digit weeks. Lynch is in a run-heavy offense and is a lock for 1300 yards and 10 touchdowns, barring health issues. Constant, steady production.
- Trent Richardson (Browns): The baby version of Marshawn Lynch, with better hands. Is ranked lower because he’s in a worse offense, and has a propensity for injury.
- Lesean McCoy (Eagles): The Bryce Brown thing in Philly is real. Brown is getting at least 10 carries a game. If Brown wasn’t there, I’d have McCoy as a #3 back.
- Alfred Morris (Redskins): A lot of his value is tied up in RG3. If RG3 is the guy of old, he moves up the list. At this very moment, RG3 hasn’t practiced, and Shanahan is talking about him being more of a pocket passer. This doesn’t help Morris’ value. If the Redskins eliminate the read option, Morris doesn’t post another 1600 yard season, and he peaks statistically as a rookie. However, Morris can still get touchdowns. Washington has a great offensive line, and will not hesitate to run. Look for him to post numbers of 1200/10.