Breaking Down the Multi-Threat Players in Fantasy Football

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIJuly 10, 2012

Breaking Down the Multi-Threat Players in Fantasy Football

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    One of the most valuable commodities in fantasy football are players who can earn yards and touchdowns in multiple ways. In fact, players like that are worth their weight in gold.

    It's rare to find a player who can do that consistently, but when you get one, you should hold on to him as long as you can.

    Here is a look at five of the top multi-threat players in the NFL who you should target this fall.

Patrick Peterson

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    Patrick Peterson burst on to the scene as a rookie in 2009 by jumping in and starting right away, and seeing a ton of balls thrown his way. Peterson also excelled as a punt returner, averaging 15.9 yards per return, including four touchdowns. 

    The LSU product also made 64 tackles defensively, while intercepting two passes. He will only be better as a second-year player in 2012 and is truly one of the top dual-threat players in the NFL. Peterson will undoubtedly continue being one of the league's best return men, which he will only improve as a cornerback.

    If you have a league that allows to you pick up a defensive player, Peterson should be at the top of the list.

Ryan Mathews

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    Ryan Mathews finally showed what he could do during his second NFL season. If you need a running back who can get it done as a rusher and receiver, the Fresno State product is your guy.

    In 2011, Mathews rushed for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns on 222 carries (4.9 yards per carry). He also caught 50 passes for 455 yards. He put up those numbers despite splitting time in the backfield with Mike Tolbert, who is now plying his trade for the Carolina Panthers.

    Now that Tolbert is gone, Mathews will undoubtedly be the No. 1 back in San Diego and should become the type of workhorse back who could lead the NFL in yards from scrimmage.

    Given his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and the number of passes quarterback Philip Rivers is going to throw, expect Mathews to have a huge season in 2012.

Ray Rice

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    Ray Rice is the Baltimore Ravens' offense. In his fourth NFL season in 2011, the incredibly durable running back blew up by rushing for 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 291 carries. He also caught 76 passes for 704 yards and three more scores.

    Rice led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and showed himself to be a legitimate dual threat at the running back position. While he is currently in the midst of a contract dispute with the Ravens, Rice will almost certainly get a deal done and be on the field this fall.

    In his four-year career Rice has already racked up 4,377 rushing yards and 2,235 yards receiving. He is one of the NFL's best multi-threat players and will give your fantasy football team tons of yards out of the backfield.

Robert Griffin III

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    We all know about what Cam Newton can do as a multi-threat player, so I decided to include rookie Robert Griffin III on this list instead. The No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft may not put up the numbers Newton did last year, but he will almost certainly rack up a decent amount of yards through the air and on the ground.

    Griffin has legitimate sprinter's speed at the quarterback position and that's something the NFL has never really seen. With his size, strength, speed and smarts he will step in right away and start for the Washington Redskins.

    He will be surrounded by a  nice crop of young talent that includes stud tight end Fred Davis, receiver Pierre Garcon and second-year running back Roy Helu. 

    I expect Griffin to rack up a ton of rushing yards this season as he will bail out and run if he doesn't see what he likes down the field. A 1,000-yard rushing season is not completely out of the question given his incredible ability in the open field. 

Darren Sproles

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    Darren Sproles is, without a doubt, the NFL's top multi-threat player. In his first season with the New Orleans Saints in 2011, Sproles rushed for 603 yards, caught 86 passes for 710 yards and had a kickoff return for a touchdown, while racking up 1,089 yards as a punt returner. 

    In all, Sproles accounted for 10 touchdowns and that was in his first year as a member of the Saints. In 2012, there will be nothing preventing him from putting up even better numbers.

    Sproles may not even be a starter but he has gotten better each year in the NFL and is a perfect fit for New Orleans' offense. He is the kind of guy who can kill opposing defenses in multiple ways, and somehow always finds room to run.

    He is worthy of a very high draft pick this fall.