In Part II of BSO debate of the top fantasy players, we are moving on from the quarterbacks to the running back position. With more NFL teams using a “running back by committee” rotation; the running back has gone from the most coveted position in fantasy football, to a position after a handful of running backs come off the board you may be better off investing early draft picks towards an elite quarterback or wide receiver. With that said, they’re a class of running backs that you must select of you hold a top 3 pick. The top 3 running backs projected this year are Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, and Chris Johnson.
With the #1 pick I’ll select Chris Johnson. In 2009 season he became only the 6th running back in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards in a season. What’s overlooked is Johnson also had 50 receptions for 503 yards in the same season and became the first player in NFL history to produce 2000 yards rushing – 500 yards receiving in same season.
In what some considered a down year for Johnson he still managed 1364 yards rushing and 44 receptions for 245 yards. Instability at quarterback and failed project of Randy Moss definitely hurt Chris Johnson’s productivity and some fear he may hold out for a better contract, once the lockout is lifted I am certain the Titans will give Johnson a new deal and expect him to perform back to his 2009 level when he made history.
New head coach Mike Munchak will stress not only the need to run the ball, but better utilize Johnson in the pass game with more bubble screens to get CJ the ball in space. The last two seasons Johnson has produced better stats than Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster needs to prove he can carry the load for consecutive seasons and he is in an offense with one of the top WR in Andre Johnson. Although Johnson (5’11 191 lbs) is smaller than Peterson and Foster, he holds his own running between tackles and he gets the most important goal line carries. Chris Johnson is the total package; he must be the first running back off the board. – Kamaal
Clenard on Arian Foster
The longer resume doesn’t always specify the best candidate.As a matter of fact, when dealing with running backs, a longer resume usually merits a red flag considering the shelf life of a NFL back. Reigning NFL rushing champion Arian Foster quantifies the qualities you need in your fantasy running back.
You want yards, he led the league with 1,616. You want touchdowns, he racked up 16 of those on the ground and two in the air. You want fumbles, I didn’t think you did…he only had three of those all season. And this was only his first season as a primary back, imagine what’s to come.
Throw in the fact that he plays on the same team as arguably the best wideout in the league and a proven pro bowl quarterback so stacking the box against is not an option. Those other guys don’t even know who their quarterback will be. If pro bowl fullback Vonta Leach returns, then stamp this a no brainer and go focus on another position. That’s more yards, touchdowns, and fellow pro bowlers than the competition. Numbers don’t lie ladies and gents. ~ Clenard
Marcas on Adrian Peterson
He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast…and with a certain No. 4-wearing quarterback finally put out to pasture, he’s once again the centerpiece of the Minnesota Vikings. For the past two seasons, “All-Day” moved to “Part-Time” as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell gave his veteran QB carte blanche to throw the football all over the lot. Nonetheless, Peterson still averaged over 1,300 yards per game on the ground and a combined 31 touchdowns.
But with a gaping hole at the quarterback spot, Peterson is going to have to carry the load for the offense while a new signal-caller gets settled. Even then, whoever takes the snaps for the Vikings – Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Patrick Ramsey or anyone else – is probably a long ways from being a serious threat to take any of A.P.’s touches. And if the Vikings defense can remain among the NFL’s top units, it could mean a lot of fourth quarter hand-offs to preserve leads.
If last season was any indication, Peterson has cleaned up the fumbling problems that plagued him earlier in his career. He coughed the ball up just once in 319 touches last season. At 26 years old, he’s still several years away from the Dirty Thirty drop-off that so many running backs experience, which means he’s going to be in this discussion for a few more seasons. – Marcas