By Billy the Z
TOP 10 RUNNING BACKS
1. Adrian Peterson- Peterson is the no-brainer pick. He rushed for over 100 yards 10 times last season and rushed for more than 200 yards twice. Despite missing 4 games late in the 2011 season because of a torn ACL and MCL he came back with a vengeance. In 2012 he rushed for 2,097 yards on 348 carries for 12 touchdowns. Peterson will put up another huge year, any questions about his health he answered last season.
BUT WAIT- Peterson is widely known as the top producer in the league, the cat is out of the bag, I don’t really think defenses will be able to stop him, but they can try.
2. C.J. Spiller- So this guy might make some people scratch their heads but hear me out! Spiller has a new Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator in Nathaniel Hackett who said “We’re going to givehim the ball until he throws up”, Spiller also averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season and he has increased his rushing production each year he has been in the league.
BUT WAIT- The one deterrent from drafting Spiller with a high pick is that the Bills have no returning offensive lineman who started all 16 games last season. New Bills Head Coach has been disappointed in his guard play, and no good offensive line means no good offense.
3. Arian Foster- Foster has become a staple of the Texans offense, this reflects in the amount of time he spends with the ball during the game. He led all running backs with 351 carries last season and scored the most points among running backs carrying the ball for 15 touchdowns.
BUT WAIT- The Texans were 26th last year in rushing yards per game, most of those yards were from Foster, but could all of these touches be too much for the 5th year veteran?
4. Alfred Morris- If you had told me a year ago this guy would make my top running backs list I would have laughed in your face, but here he is. The thing that makes Morris so intriguing is that all the focus will be on RG3. Morris was the second leading rusher in the NFL last year, only behind Peterson. He also had 13 touchdowns, one more than Peterson.
BUT WAIT- Morris is young (24) and unproven, having only started one year in the league, he might be in some trouble if RG3 faces more injuries and the pressure is placed on him.
5. Marshawn Lynch- Lynch was a proven back early in his career with Buffalo before he had some down years and bounced back in Seattle. He now looks like his old self. 2012 was his second straight year rushing for over 1,200 yards, the emergence of Russell Wilson will has also helped take the pressure off of Lynch, without taking touches away. He had 315 rushing attempts and averaged 5.0 yards per carry, Lynch will have another productive year.
BUT WAIT- Lynch had off the field issues with the Bills when he was suspended for 3 games for a misdemeanor weapons charge. He is a flashy guy who likes to wear grills and eat Skittles during games. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and it actually makes me like him more, unless he gets into more off the field trouble.
6. Ray Rice- How did the starting Super Bowl running back fall to number 6? It just happened okay? Ray Rice has proven himself as a solid back with over 1,000 rushing yards in his past 4 seasons. Rice only had one fumble last year and averaged 71.4 yards per game. He is the safest running back to draft this year.
BUT WAIT- Rice only had 5 rushes for over 20 yards last season, he is not a guy who is going to be running for 50 yard touchdowns on a regular basis. Joe Flacco also received a BIIIG contract in the off season, which could put more pressure on him not to hand the ball off.
7. Frank Gore- Gore has been a 1,000 yard running back for six out of the last 7 years, he is also on a team that knows how to win. He doesn’t fumble much, but doesn’t have long runs either. He has Kaepernick to balance the offense, which is obviously helpful. With Gore you know what you’re going to get.
BUT WAIT- Gore has been in the league for 9 years, which is getting up there for an every down running back. He also is not an explosive player who might give you a ton of points in any given week. Another solid pick, but not edgy enough for me.
8. Trent Richardson- He is a scoring back on a team that lacks scorers. Richardson will be the Browns short yardage guy and red-zone guy. He scored 11 touchdowns last season and missed the 1,000-yard mark by only 50 yards. He can run through guys and will most likely get a lot of touches under the new staff and young quarterback in Cleveland.
BUT WAIT- He has a history of injuries, in February 2012 he underwent a minor knee surgery, and then had another knee surgery in August 2012. He also played week 6 of last year with broken ribs. Although he is a tough player, he is injury prone and good knees are essential to running backs.
9. Jamaal Charles- After returning from a 2011 ACL injury, 2012 was another big year for Charles. He rushed for 1,509 yards in 2012, his third 1,000-rushing season of his career. He averaged 5.3 yards per game and even had a 91-yard touchdown run last season. No doubt that Andy Reid will utilize Charles in Kansas City.
BUT WAIT- Charles only scored 5 touchdowns last year and only has 17 career rushing touchdowns over his 5 year career. He is an explosive runner but doesn’t have the touchdowns that other players might score in a fantasy league.
10. Chris Johnson- Johnson has fallen on this list only because his expectations in the past were so high. He rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2009 and rushed for over 1,000 yards every season of his 5 year career. He also rushed for a 94-yard touchdown last season, he is an explosive guy who could have another huge year.
BUT WAIT- Johnson scored 11 rushing touchdowns in 2010, since then he has only scored 10. Johnson has not been the same player since receiving a new contract in 2011.
Just Missed the List: Steven, Jackson, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte