The fantasy football season is right around the corner, which means millions of fantasy players will be getting their draft boards ready with top 10s in every position. Maybe the most crucial and important position in fantasy, is the running back. In a pass happy league, the running back will often make or break your team depending on who you draft. No worries though, we bring to you the top 10 running backs off the board in the first few rounds of your league draft.
Shady had a sub-par fantasy season last year, compared to his ultra productive season two years ago which was complete with 20 touchdowns and an average of 108.3 yards. His concussion in week 10 slowed down his already low producing season even more, and allowed Bryce Brown to burst onto the scene in the Eagles backfield. If the new addition of head coach Chip Kelly from Oregon does anything for McCoy, he should have another big season out of the backfield and passing game. The offense Kelly is likely to run will allow him to get lots of carries and passes out of the backfield. As long as he is mindful of his turnovers he should be productive this season. He could easily end up in top 5 position by the end of the season.
Morris burst onto the scene out of virtually no where during his stellar rookie season. A sixth-round rookie from Florida Atlantic wasn’t projected to have starter touches in a Mike Shanahan offense. Shanahan is notorious for changing up his running backs numerous times throughout the season. However, Morris had 28 touches in week one and never looked back. Morris finished No. 5 in RB fantasy when it was all said and done. Him and RG3 had great chemistry, working perfectly together in Shanahan’s offense. However, RG3 is uncertain to start the season coming off an injury, and the Redskins offense will likely be different this year than last. Morris will get his yards, but they will be harder to come by and the touchdowns,(11 from last year) could be lower. Morris doesn’t give much in the passing game, but he is still a sure fire top 10 back.
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Roll tide. Richardson was an absolute workhorse for the Browns during his rookie campaign. Richardson registered 16 or more touches in all but 3 of his 15 games he played last year. Richardson was running behind a sub-par offensive line for the whole season. He registered 11 touchdowns, and was almost forced fed every game to have the ball in his hands. Brandon Weeden was a turnover machine for the Browns, Richardson was the only consistent offensive players for the Browns. The Browns used Richardson every chance they could, until injuries arose. Richardson broke his ribs in week six, and missed the final game with an ankle injury. If Richardson can stay healthy, he will continue to be one of the leagues best pass catching and goal line running backs.
The man affectionately known as “Thriller” in Buffalo comes in at number 7 on the list. Spiller is one of the leagues most elusive and exciting running backs. The track star turned football player uses his speed to good use. Spiller is likely to see a bigger role in the Bills offense as Fred Jackson begins to fade after suffering serious injuries the past two season. Spiller is a threat running the ball and catching it out of the backfield. He has blazing speed and great vision. His 7 touchdowns from a year ago should rise up with more touches inside the 20. Jackson will likely get goal line touches still, but Spiller is capable of a home run play whenever he gets his hands on the football.
J-Mail tore his ACL two years ago, leaving owners worried about drafting the speed demon high in the draft. Charles proved doubters wrong by rushing for 1,745 yards from scrimmage in a horrid season for the Chiefs. Exit Romeo Crennel, insert former Eagles coach Andy Reid and QB Alex Smith and you have two things in common. Reid runs the West Coast offense, and Smith can run that effectively. Charles and his touches may go down, but his use in the passing game is whats so intriguing about him now. He will likely shatter his career high of 45 catches in a season all while putting him in positions to be successful. Getting Charles in space is something Reid will try to do, letting this speed demon run wild.
Doug Martin ran his way right into the top 5 with an amazing season out of Tampa Bays backfield. Week 8 Martin had 29 touches, rushed for 135 and a touchdown. The next week, the “Muscle Hamster” had a game for the ages against Oakland. He rushed 25 times for a whopping 251 yards and 4 touchdowns, putting him in elite fantasy company with 51 points by himself. Although he is sometimes inconsistent he is a sure fire top 5 pick. A home run threat on virtually every carry, the Hamster is primed for another huge season. If QB Josh Freeman plays to his potential the sky is the limit for Martin. Expect another productive season from Martin. A threat from the backfield and passing game makes it simple, draft the Hamster.
Hey diddle diddle Ray Rice up the middle. The ultra productive Rice is a consistent back in the top 5. He can go between the tackles, bounce it outside, catch it, and run past defenders with ease. A couple fumbles here and there but nothing that would drop him out of the top 5. Rice has produced yet another 1,600+ rushing season with at least double digit touchdown seasons. He is an elite playmaker who left a mark last year scurrying away on a 4th-and-29 against the Chargers that put his skill set on full display. Using speed, strength, vision, and will, Rice turned a simple dump down pass into a 30 yard gain out running an entire defense. If Rice is available, make sure he is a cornerstone to your fantasy team.
Clocking in at number 3, Lynch, better known as “Beast Mode” ran his way to another spectacular season. Lynch finished second in rushing yards and third rushing touchdowns all while eating skittles, his favorite candy, on the sideline. Pete Carroll vows that he still wants to be a running team. With that being said, Lynch is primed for another dominating season full of touchdowns, broken tackles, and yards gained. As long as Beast Mode stays healthy, he is a top 3 back off the board in every league imaginable.
Perhaps the most consistent and productive back over the past 3 or so years. Foster is the dual threat that fantasy owners drool over. He can catch out the back field, make people miss in space and in the hole, and punch it in when its needed. He has scored 47 times since the ’10 season, and doesn’t look as if his upcoming season will be the start of his decline. Ben Tate will look to get a bit more touches this year, but Foster will get the all important goal line scores. He will have another great year, leading this luxury back at number 2 on the list.
The obvious number one is the freak of nature that is Adrian Peterson. Peterson suffered a torn ACL two seasons ago, and many doubted him coming in to last years season. Playing on a team with virtually no passing game, defenses threw the kitchen sink at AP, stacking the line with 8 in the box seemingly every snap of every game. All AP or AD, All Day, did was produce the second highest rush total in NFL history. The kitchen sink wasn’t enough to slow AD down, as he rushed for an astounding 2,214 yards from scrimmage. This super hard working back should and will be the first player off the board in every single league this coming summer. If your fortunate enough to have the first pick, its simple. Every day you pick All Day, Adrian Peterson, the unstoppable force.