Looking forward to this year’s NFL fantasy football season, and wondering who might just be able to put your team over the top? Well, depending upon the type of league you play in, these five running backs might just be what you need. This list is made up of running backs who will likely become diamonds in the rough and top performers on their teams. They are not the most recognized or established, but for various reasons, they will produce and will become the featured back in goal line offenses.
Ryan Mathews will Become San Diego’s Future Back
If you’re in need of a rookie running back, or even just a solid all-around prospect, you have to look at Ryan Mathews of Fresno State, who will be playing for the San Diego Chargers in 2010. The NCAA leader in rushing yards per game in 2009, Mathews totaled 1,808 yards rushing with 19 rushing touchdowns for a 6.6 yard average per rush. In addition, he caught 11 receptions for 122 yards. He’s will quickly become the featured back on a high-powered Charger’s offense and will soon make everyone forget LaDanian Tomlinson.
LaDanian Tomlinson Will Return to Glory with Jets
Granted, Tomlinson didn’t break the 1000 yard barrier in 2009, but he’s still an all-world running back and a threat every time he takes the field. The beauty of Tomlinson, is that many fantasy leagues will likely downgrade the 9 year veteran because of his lack of production last year. This should make him an easy pick for fantasy owners. He’s a five-time Pro-Bowler, and three time All-Pro who is playing for a new team with a great defense. That defense will give the Jets a short field and Tomlinson will take advantage as the featured back.
CJ Spiller, The Speedster, Will Own Buffalo’s Running Back Position
Buffalo took a keeper with their 9th pick overall in this year’s NFL draft. CJ Spiller is a speed demon and is then next coming of Chris Johnson of the Titans. Spiller won’t have much competition in Buffalo where the team’s featured back last season, Fred Jackson, is a capable back-up, but unlikely to become a long-term starter. Sure Jackson broke the 1000 yard barrier in 2009, and with Marshawn Lynch riding the pine, there’s plenty of running backs in Buffalo, but Spiller will become the featured back and a primary target.
Jahvid Best Will Dominate in Detroit
When Detroit selected Jahvid Best with their 30th pick, and their second of the first round, they landed a keeper in the California Golden Bears prospect. Best is entering the perfect situation in Detroit where nobody is the number one back. In essence, Best has been handed the starter’s role and will take it to the bank. The 2008 Pac-10 leader in rushing is similar to Spiller and Johnson, and equally as productive. As the featured back in Detroit, he’ll easily get the majority of carries and passes out of the backfield.
The Reasons Why Montario Hardesty of the Browns will Become a Star
With the 59th overall pick, the Cleveland Browns selected Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty with their second round pick. Nobody paid much attention to Hardesty in 2009 as his Tennessee Volunteer team was pretty much out of the SEC championship from the beginning. However, Hardesty is a solid running back and much like Best, is going to play for a Browns team without a bonna-fide starter. Cleveland’s running back from last year, Jerome Harrison, did a fairly good job rushing for 862 yards, 5 touchdowns and adding 34 receptions for 220 yards. However, that won’t be enough to stop Hardesty from owning the number one position in Cleveland.
Look for these players in both the early and mid-rounds of the draft. The fact is, a number of them are enterring a great situation where they’ll be the featured back in the offense. Fantasy football is often won by grabbing those superstars who came out of nowhere. These five look to be the dominant players on their respective teams.