The heart and soul of a fantasy football team is the running back core. You have to have variety. One has to be a stud that can do it against anyone and the others need to be matchups that you know will deliver.
There are only a few guarantees at running back so you have to get the cream early and often when possible. I have had league years where I had too much to choose from, but when has that ever been a problem. It is always better to stockpile them as well as someone will have a trade for you that you like when there is something that you need.
Calculating your picks means more than anything and depending on the number of teams in your league you better get what you can when you can.
Arian Foster – By far the best runner of the group but he may be an up and down guy this year. Bet on Foster for big yards and consistency. He may not be the goal line back though which lessens his value a little.
LeSean McCoy – Shady McCoy is the best all-around back in the league right now. Yes that includes Ray Rice and Chris Johnson. McCoy is by far the best weapon the Eagles have.
Ray Rice – The most dominant of the big backs that is left. Now that he doesn’t lose goal line touches his value goes even higher.
Chris Johnson – Needs to prove that he is more than just a speed back. If he finishes runs this year he will break more tackles and prove to be what we thought he would be when entering the league.
Maurice Jones-Drew – A steal at this point if he ever reports to camp. Buyer beware… When running backs come to camp late they usually end up hurt by the third week.
Ryan Mathews – The kid finally came into his own last year. I drafted him in every league as a rookie and also last year. As a rookie disappointing but as a second year back he was well worth the fifth round pick that I got him as. He’ll go high now that everyone knows his name.
Darren McFadden – No one knows what McFadden could do if he could play a 16 game season. He is the most dynamic of the backs when healthy but he is a walking band-aid. He’s good for a stretch every year. You draft him high and hope that it lasts a whole season this time.
Trent Richardson – A lot sits on this rookie shoulders. He is expected to carry at team on his shoulders and he will get the chance.
Matt Forte – Forte is a model of consistency. I take him every year he is on the board in the third or fourth round. He won’t be there this year as people recognize his ability and importance to the Bears.
Stephen Jackson – In my opinion he is a can’t miss player. Jackson is an all-purpose back who leaves it all on the field every down he is out there.
Frank Gore – Like it or not Gore will be a high pick. Last year people forgot how good he was and all he did was pile up yards and touchdowns.
Ahmed Bradshaw – Bradshaw should get his chance to be the workhorse now that Jacobs is no longer in town. Expect his carries and productivity to be at all-time highs.
Marshawn Lynch – The beast of a back will get more carries this year since he will have a young quarterback.
DeMarco Murray – Once he got his chance last year he never looked back. The big back can run and make people miss. Expect more from him if he can stay healthy.
Fred Jackson – If he wasn’t injury prone he would be a first round pick. He’s as good as they get as an all-around back.
Jamal Charles – He’s worth the risk in the second round because we know what he is capable of. If it weren’t for injury concerns he’d be a top five back.
Michael Turner – His skillset is on the decline but he is still worthy of an early pick. Not many are as durable as Turner in the red zone.
Willis McGahee – Peyton Manning or not John Fox is still the coach and that means running and lots of it. Expect McGahee to be productive late in games.
Doug Martin – This kid is special. The Bucs put a lot of thought into this pick and he will live up to it when he gets his chance to play.
Darren Sproles – Sproles is a factor back. He gets you yardage and touchdowns. He is also a great special teams threat as well.
Stephen Ridley – Should be the starter for the Patriots. Ridley came on strong last year but he needs to secure the ball better and he will get all the carries vacated by the law firm.
James Starks – Starks should be the featured back in Green Bay. He has definitely earned the right to those carries and he should be an instant success.
Adrian Peterson – The only reason you pick him this low is because he is injured. If he weren’t injured …. Well you know the rest.
Isaac Redman – Featured back for the Steelers unless they make a blockbuster deal. He should do well behind a revamped offensive line.
BenJarvis Green-Ellis – The law firm has taken his skills to Ohio. The only problem is that the Bengals are going to be slinging it a little more. However he should get more work than he got in a pass happy New England offense.
DeAngelo Williams – Shared duty makes D a risk. He’s not comfortable in the spread option offense either. He needs to get on the same page if he’s going to pile up yards.
Shonn Greene – I suspect he will do well running but his goal line efficiency will go down as Tim Tebow will be running the wildcat in NY on the goal line.
Jonathan Stewart – His production could be second round worthy if he can stay healthy a full season.
Jahvid Best – Best started the season last year with a bang and had me looking like the best GM ever. Then he hit that wall of injuries and well you know the rest.
Chris Wells – Beanie can’t get right. If he can stay healthy the sky is the limit.
Mark Ingram – Ingram needs to get his weight in check and his speed right. As of now he is basically a one trick pony.
Ben Tate – Tate can do it all. He is a back-up to Foster and he will get his touches as Houston does a good job platooning.
The Best of the Rest