Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2012: Best Methods for Drafting Running Backs

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIAugust 8, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs the ball against Cary Williams #29 of the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 20-13 in regulation. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

With the way fantasy football and the NFL have evolved over the last few years, multi-threat running backs have become invaluable as points machines. That means when drafting your fantasy team this year, you should grab running backs as early as possible. 

The top tier of the running backs this year are Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and LeSean McCoy, but after that things drop off considerably. There are injury concerns with Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Rashard Mendenhall, followed by a big group of guys who have serious question marks. 

Fantasy football leagues typically lean heavily towards running backs, so this year you should invest two high-round picks on rushers. If you can't grab one of the top-tier guys in the first round, then you should probably grab two backs between the second and fifth rounds. 

The middle tier of backs has guys like Chris Johnson (will he bounce back?), Marshawn Lynch (was last year a fluke?) and Ryan Mathews (will he stay healthy?) who all have big-time reliability problems. Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte and Fred Jackson are all also coming back from injuries as well. 

So depth will also be key in case one of your backs goes bust. Having three solid running backs on your roster is essential, particularly heading into a season with so much uncertainty at the position. 

You will need to find guys who are versatile enough to help out in the passing game too. Grab legitimate three-down backs who can get your points in multiple ways. Chances are that kind of guy is going to come off the board early. 

If you focus on running backs and grab a few in the earlier rounds, you should be happy during the season.