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Fantasy Football 2013: Top 10 Running Backs

Dennis TrescaCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2017

Fantasy Football 2013: Top 10 Running Backs

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    With most fantasy football drafts only two months away, there is no time like the present to start your draft strategy. Today, we'll start with arguably the most important position on draft day: the running backs.

    Building your roster around a stud running back is an excellent strategy for putting together a winning fantasy football team. In most league scoring setups, the running back position has the most potential to score points for your team. 2013 should be no different with several running backs in position to have monster years. Let's take a look at the top 10 running backs for the 2013 season, along with my projected stats for each player. 

No. 10: Trent Richardson

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    2012 Stats

    RUSHING: 950 yards, 11 TDs

    RECEIVING: 51 catches, 367 yards, 1 TD

    Richardson turned in a very impressive rookie season with 1,317 all-purpose yards and 12 total touchdowns. Even more impressive is that he played through nagging injuries all season, only missing the final game due to a coach’s decision to shut down several players. Although his toughness is unquestioned, there is still some worry about his constant injuries. They have continued into the offseason with a lower leg injury that will keep him out until the beginning of training camp in early August. However, if he can stay on the field, owners should look for a big year.

    2013 Projected Stats 

    RUSHING: 1,027 yards  8 TDs

    RECEIVING: 45 catches, 338 yards, 2 TDs

No. 9: LeSean McCoy

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    2012 Stats

    RUSHING: 840 yards, 2 TDs

    RECEIVING: 54 catches, 373 yards, 3 TDs

    Only time will tell if Chip Kelly will succeed in the NFL. Many believe he will be bringing a spread type offense to Philadelphia in 2013. However, history has shown that Kelly is a run-first, run-second coach. This can bode well for McCoy, as he should be in line for a career high in rushing attempts. His skills as a receiver should ensure that his role in the receiving game will remain prominent.  It is only the unknown of a new offense and an uncertainty under center that keeps Shady so low on the list.

    2013 Projected Stats

    RUSHING: 1,078 yards, 7 TDs

    RECEIVING: 45 catches, 428 yards, 2 TDs

No. 8: C.J. Spiller

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    2012 Stats

    RUSHING: 1,244 yards, 6 TDs

    RECEIVING: 43 catches, 459 yards, 2 TDs

    C.J. Spiller finally got his chance to shine in 2012 when Fred Jackson went down with an injury. Spiller responded with a huge year, running for 1,244 yards and gaining another 459 yards receiving. Throw in the eight total touchdowns, and you are looking at a legitimate fantasy stud. With the offseason changes in Buffalo to the coaching staff and at quarterback, look for an increased workload for Spiller. This should translate into an even bigger season for this dynamic running back.

    2013 Projected Stats

    RUSHING: 1,136 yards, 7 TDs

    RECEIVING: 49 catches, 407 yards, 3 TDs

No. 7: Marshawn Lynch

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    2012 Stats

    RUSHING: 1,590 yards,  11 TDs

    RECEIVING: 23 catches, 196 yards, 1 TD

    Since moving to Seattle, Marshawn has shown the league “Beast-Mode” and has carried the offense on his back, using his combination of sheer power, will and determination to move the ball forward. The result made Lynch a top-five fantasy running back for the past two seasons. However, there are a couple of red flags to watch for leading into the 2013 season. First, Lynch is dealing with a DUI arrest from last year. If convicted, he’ll face a two-game suspension at the beginning of the year. Second, Lynch has been suffering from back spasms for the past few seasons. While he hasn’t missed any significant time due to his ailments, the persistence of the spasms is a concern. Despite these issues, Marshawn Lynch’s upside is still very high and may be worthy of a first-round pick for your team.

    2013 Projected Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,304 yards, 10 TDs

    RECEIVING: 24 catches, 187 yards, 1 TD

No. 6: Alfred Morris

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    2012 Stats

    RUSHING: 1,606 yards, 13 TDs

    RECEIVING: 11 catches, 77 yards, 0 TD

    The sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic made a huge splash in his rookie season for Washington. The most recent of Mike Shanahan’s successful running backs, Morris was second in the NFL in yards and touchdowns in 2012. Look for Shanahan to continue leaning on his workhorse and expect another outstanding season out of Morris.

    2013 Projected Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,349 yards, 11 TDs

    RECEIVING: 15 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD

No. 5: Ray Rice

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    2012 Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,143 yards, 9 TDs

    RECEIVING: 61 catches, 478 yards, 1 TD

    One of the league’s best all-around running backs over the past 4 seasons, Ray Rice does it all. Although Baltimore used Bernard Pierce for the occasional change-of-pace plays, Rice still accumulated more than 1,600 all-purpose yards and scored 10 total touchdowns. Rice is still an elite NFL running back, and although he may lose a few more touches to Pierce in 2013, he will continue to produce at a high level.

    2013 Projected Stats

    RUSHING: 1,126 yards, 8 TDs

    RECEIVING: 58 catches, 464 yards, 2 TDs

No. 4: Jamaal Charles

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    2012 Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,411 yards, 15 TDs

    RECEIVING: 40 catches, 217 yards, 2 TDs

    Jamaal Charles has a career 5.8-yards-per-carry average. 5.8 yards per carry. For his career. He has carried this ridiculous average on some pretty horrendous Kansas City Chiefs teams. With the arrival of Andy Reid and Alex Smith, that should change. Look for his touches to go up as his role in the passing game is increased. The ultimate home run hitter, Charles should be in line for a huge year in 2013.

    2013 Projected Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,425 yards, 11 TDs

    RECEIVING: 49 catches, 360 yards, 2 TDs

No. 3: Arian Foster

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    2012 Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,411 yards, 15 TDs

    RECEIVING: 40 catches, 217 yards, 2 TDs

    The only thing that may keep Foster from having another monster year, aside from injury (Foster did suffer a calf strain injury during OTAs), is Ben Tate. With Tate’s injuries in 2012, Foster carried the load for the Texans’ running game. If Tate stays healthy, look for Foster’s carries to drop a little. However, Foster is too big a part of Houston’s offense to stay on the sidelines for too long. Another big season should be expected for Foster.

    2013 Projected Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,425 yards, 11 TDs

    RECEIVING: 49 catches, 360 yards, 2 TDs

No. 2: Doug Martin

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    2012 Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,454 yards, 11 TDs

    RECEIVING: 49 catches, 472 yards, 1 TD

    The third sophomore on this list is worthy of first overall pick consideration. As a rookie, Martin burst onto the scene to become one of the few true lead running backs in the NFL, and a focal point of Tampa’s offense. Picking apart defenses using his rushing and receiving skills, Martin accumulated 1,926 yards along with 12 total touchdowns. Look for more of the same in 2013; with his primary backup from last season, LeGarrette Blount, gone, Martin should have a heavier workload. Make this pick with confidence!

    2013 Projected Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,450 yards, 10 TDs

    RECEIVING: 52 catches, 432 yards, 1 TD

No. 1: Adrian Peterson

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    2012 Stats:

    RUSHING: 2,097 yards, 12 TDs

    RECEIVING: 40 catches, 217 yards, 1 TD

    Coming off another huge season where he was nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, All-World running back Adrian Peterson is an easy choice for No. 1 on my list. Peterson accumulated more than 2,300 all-purpose yards in 2012 after returning from a major knee injury in the off-season. Although it may be tough for Peterson to repeat those kinds of numbers, no one will be surprised if he turns in a repeat performance. 

    2013 Projected Stats:

    RUSHING: 1,820 yards, 13 TDs

    RECEIVING: 36 catches, 248 yards, 1 TD

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