The key to drafting running backs and wide receivers for your fantasy football team is not how good they are as individual players. This is important, but the most essential component is the type of offense they are in. Does the offense have a stronger running game or passing game? It will not suit your fantasy team well if you draft the strongest running back in the league who racked up the most rushing yards, if he now has an offensive coordinator who wants to pass more.
Today let’s look at some options at the running back position.
2011 Super Bowl players - Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints); Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints) and Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts) are all good running backs in the middle of their careers. Bush has been average because of knee injuries the last couple of seasons, but it appears as if he has completely rehabilitated his knee and will show "Who Dat" fans just how good he is. Addai on the other hand, suffered a concussion during preseason. It is not certain whether or not he will be ready for the start of the season. All of these players are on “pass happy” teams. But with Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as QBs any team would be.
Newbies – C.J. Spiller out of Clemson was selected #9 (the first running back) by the Buffalo Bills. The other rookie running backs drafted in the first round were Ryan Matthews (#12 to San Diego Chargers) and Jahvid Best (#30 to Detroit Lions).
Matthews has ran the ball (carries) most of the time for the Chargers during the preseason and reminds people of his great predecessor, LaDainian Tomlinson. One problem is that he does not have much experience catching short passes which the Chargers use often.
Best is fast. I’m just curious about his durability. He only carried the ball one time last Saturday against Cleveland because he felt “tight.” Time will tell if this actually means that he has a minor injury. The Lions have not had a solid consistent performer in the backfield (behind the quarterback) since Barry Sanders left. If Best remains healthy, he could be the starting running back in Motown.
So far in the preseason, C.J. has lived up to the hype about the speed he displayed in college and at this year’s combine. The down side for C.J. is his small stature. In college a running back can get away with being quick and small. Not in the NFL. The defense is comprised of BIG, grown men. They will catch him. And, it will hurt.
Seniors – LaDainian Tomlinson (New York Jets) and Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins) are both in their early thirties. This gives their respective offenses experience. L.T. is getting settled with his new team. During the preseason he has had long carries of 40 plus yards demonstrating that he still has the ability to be a weapon on offense.
Ricky is risky. At 34, his body is not as worn out as other 34 year olds. Between retirement and suspensions, he has not played as much as his counterparts who have been in the NFL for 10 seasons. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. You just don’t know if Ricky will abruptly retire and start a holistic medicine practice.
Great Ones - Chris Johnson (Tennesse Titans) and Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) are the leagues best at the moment. They both are good runners, can catch short passes and understand their offenses. Johnson had the most rushing yards last season. He beat A.D. by almost 700 yards. This isn’t solely because of A.D.’s production and fumbles. The Titans ran the ball a lot. It is Johnson’s offense. A.D. is on Brett Favre’s offense. No one expected Favre or the Viking’s to have the passing game that they had last year. With Favre returning to Minnesota, I expect that the Vikings will continue to go to the air. As a result, I am putting Chris above A.D.
Tomorrow we will look at wide receivers.
Heels & Helmets Fantasy Football League Draft on September 6 online at noon! Who will you pick?
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