While most old school football fans have been slow to embrace fantasy football, the younger generation have made the mock sport nearly as popular as the on field game. Fantasy sports present fans with the opportunity to manage their own team as a virtual general manager. For wise GM's, putting a feature running back on the field is the first step to dominating the other players within their leagues. It can be easy to decide which back to draft, but there are four backs poised to have monster seasons.
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings
Building a championship team consists of acquiring top performers at the offensive skill positions. However, the running back position is by far the most influential in the world of fantasy football. Running backs will get far more touches and yards from scrimmage than anyone else on the team.
The exception to this rule would be teams that play running back by committee. While Darren Sproles, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, is exciting to watch, the undersized scat back shared the backfield with Peirre Thomas and Mark Ingram. This means that his upside is limited in comparison to teams with one major back.
Get Your Fantasy Football Priorities Straight
The NFL is attempting to redefine the way the game is played. Casual fans are more interested in shootouts with scores of 35-38 each week. Rule changes and the over-hyping of quarterbacks make many people take a signal caller in the first round. However, three of the four previous Super bowl teams feature running backs who carry the majority of the offensive load.
An efficient QB can usually be acquired in the second round so spending the first pick on a quality RB is the first step to building a quality team. One of the worst mistakes is trying to acquire a starter off of the waiver wires. Anyone who has been waived isn't going to put up the kinds of numbers that the better running backs can muster (usually).
The 4 Fantasy Football Running Backs You Want
Each season there are surprises in fantasy football production, like 2012's Alfred Morris. No one could have predicted the then rookie Morris would earn the starting job, let alone rush for more than 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, there are other running backs poised to run up the virtual scoreboard, and drafting one of these men early can give a fantasy GM a decided advantage over the field of competition.
#4 A Rookie Surprise
For anyone drafting last in the first round, selecting rookie Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals can help to compensate for picking dead last. While the Bengals already have two veterans in their backfield, neither of them have the raw, physical power of Hill. The young man averaged 6.9 yards per carry his senior season while playing in the talent rich SEC. The Bengals must compete with the physical Steelers and Ravens so running the ball effectively will probably be a vital part of their game plan.
This isn't necessarily the guy I'd recommend, however I would suggest looking for some late round steals such as rookies.
#3 The Bear Necessities
Matt Forté of the Bears is notoriously overused by the Chicago bears, and he's poised to put together another incredible campaign in 2014. Another 1,933 yard from scrimmage season could be in store for Forté, but he'll be highly coveted in nearly every league.
#2 Bridgewater's new Best Friend
As if being the most physically imposing player in the league wasn't enough, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will now have his fantasy numbers padded by the presence of a rookie signal caller. The Vikings will probably be far more dependent upon their power run game as they look to ease Teddy Bridgewater into the pro game. At 29 years of age, Peterson is more than capable of putting up another 2,000 yard season as he did in 2012.
#1 Shady McCoy Does it Again
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is the perfect back for Chip Kelly's high-powered run game. His first year playing for the former Oregon Ducks coach saw McCoy average 5.1 yards per carry on his way to over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and eleven touchdowns. As the offensive guru tweaks his offense for the pro game, Chip Kelly will rely heavily on the best fantasy player in the league.
Drafting in Fantasy Football
Anyone who drafts either of these three game changers is well on the way to establishing fantasy dominance. If neither of these backs are available, Jamal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs and Eddie Lacey of the Green Bay Packers are also poised to have big fantasy football seasons. So long as a fantasy team features a back who who gets at least 300 touches a season, putting the rest of the squad together is relatively easy.