Fantasy Football: Drafting a Running Back

Fantasy football teams are built on running backs. Plain and simple. These guys are your steady, week in, week out producers. Not only do they finish the year with the most points (more often than not) but they are the most dependable players on your team – no matter the situation, good running backs get the rock. It doesn’t matter if it’s rain, sleet or snow, you can count on these guys to get the job done. Passing games get shut down in bad weather and blowouts, running games do not.

We know what you’re thinking: “But quarterbacks score the most points. DUH.” You’re right, but everyone’s quarterback scores points – you have no advantage here. 18 QBs scored over 200 points in ESPN standard leagues in 2014 — Only 6 RBs matched that feat. So essentially, you could have punted quarterback til the last round of the draft and still done okay. Running backs are players who can separate you from the pack.

So, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s take a look at who you should be targeting. In no particular order, Le’Veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy and Adrian Peterson are the cream of the crop. These guys will lead the league in points and their teams to the playoffs – if you’re lucky enough to get an opportunity to grab one of these guys, do it! If you do pass on them, you’ll be kicking yourself when they drop 2 touchdowns on you and your wide receiver only got 4 targets.

Next in line are guys like DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Jeremy Hill. Not studs, but the closest thing to it. We know, Murray was a beast last year, but let’s not go overboard on him until we see what he looks like in crazy Kelly’s offense.

Now we’re approaching the third tier of RBs. If you don’t have one yet, you may want to ask for a re-do on your draft. Not to say these guys are bad, but you don’t really want your season hinging on whether or not Jonathan Stewart can stay healthy (because he can’t). Stewart, Mark Ingram, Justin Forsett and Carlos Hyde are the kind of players in this tier – they have as much upside as they do question marks. You’re just not quite sure what you’re going to get.

At this point, you should be looking at filling 2nd RB slots and flex positions if you haven’t already. It’s great to stack 3 running backs into your lineup to raise the floor of your fantasy points for the week. We know it’s tantalizing to stick that extra speedy receiver in the flex spot, but at the end of the day, Latavius Murray’s steady dose of points will outweigh the receiver’s one big game mixed with many mediocre performances.

To recap, if you want to give yourself the best chance at taking home the trophy this year, go running back, early and often. These guys are the workhorses of you team and will rack up the most points over the course of the year. Stacking 4 or 5 of them on your squad gives you great depth and flexibility – and a huge edge over the competition if one of them turns into a stud (Melvin Gordon?). We are not saying you can’t win without a stellar RB, but do you really want to risk it? The Rotoguys didn’t think so.

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