Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Up-and-Coming RBs You Must Draft

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 25, 2012

Jun 12, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) stands with the ball during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The greatest fantasy football owners not only pick up steady veterans, but find bargains in the draft.

This year, there are several promising young running backs who could lead owners to fantasy football glory, from rookies to second-year pros coming off injury.

For those of you who want to stack up on other positions early in the draft, keep an eye out for some of these running backs later on. You just may luck out.


3. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I wouldn't be surprised if rookie Doug Martin overtook LeGarrette Blount as the Buccaneers' No. 1 running back this season, especially after outplaying him in the preseason thus far.

The No. 31 overall pick drew high praise before the NFL draft and he has the athleticism, footwork and decisiveness to be an impact back in the National Football League. He also has the versatility, with the ability to catch balls out of the backfield (making him even more valuable in points-per-reception fantasy leagues).

Equipped with a solid offensive line, Martin could be a steal in fantasy football drafts everywhere if he breaks out down the road. 


2. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

Ah, what else is there to say about Trent Richardson except that he's fantastic?

Richardson was the unquestioned No. 1 running back headed into the 2012 NFL draft, with his ability to do pretty much everything. He's a quick, powerful, decisive runner who can catch balls out of the backfield and make defenders look silly in the open field.

There are questions about him being on a mediocre team, but he's going to get such a workload that it probably won't matter. A player of his caliber is bound to break off some terrific runs given enough touches.

There's also the fact that the Browns drafted a promising quarterback this year in Brandon Weeden, who went 12-of-20 against the Green Bay Packers last week in the preseason.


1. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco Murray took the NFL by storm in his rookie season last year, rushing for 897 yards and two touchdowns on just 164 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and catching 26 balls for 183 yards. Beyond that, Murray didn't lose one fumble on the season.

Not bad for a third-round draft pick.

On Dallas' dangerous offense, Murray could rack up some serious yardage and touchdown production this season and he figures to see a heavy workload as he gains steam. He rushed for 135 yards, 139 yards and 253 yards against the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams respectively last season.


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