The 2013 fantasy football season is rapidly approaching. We already know that Adrian Peterson is the best running back and quite possibly the best player in the NFL. He will be the first player selected in the majority of the upcoming drafts. Assuming you don't get lucky enough to have the first pick, you need to start focusing on other guys at the running back position.
The first round should be solely dedicated to running backs, as these guys are the prized players who will make or break your team.
Aside from Peterson, the next best guy out there, to me, is C.J. Spiller. In 2012, he averaged six yards per carry. His production was limited because he split time with Fred Jackson in the backfield. There's a good chance the Bills give him 25 carries per game this year as the backfield belongs to him. Don't forget his great hands and ability to make plays through the air.
We have already seen LeSean McCoy do some damage under Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense early in the preseason. Expect big things from Shady this year, as he will rack up yards on the ground and through the passing attack.
I am not so sure about Jamaal Charles this year. There is no denying the fact that he is one of the most talented running backs in the league. If Andy Reid's offense in Kansas City is anything like what he ran in Philly, there is a good chance Charles doesn't get more than 20 carries a game on average. His ankle strain in practice also brings up a red flag.
David Wilson and Lamar Miller are two guys I expect to have breakout seasons. Both will see increased snaps this year and could flourish with the talent alongside them. Both players are similar, and as long as they continue to improve in pass protection, there won't be much reason for either of their coaches to take them off the field.
Miller's success will also go hand-in-hand with the protection provided by Miami's offensive line. If they can't protect Ryan Tannehill enough to help him use his arm that can make all the throws, the Dolphins will be playing catchup most of the year. This would result in less carries for Miller.
Steven Jackson could be poised for a breakout year, which seems weird to say considering his age. Atlanta's running backs have steadily put up solid fantasy numbers. He didn't have the opportunity to run the ball as much as you'd like a star like Jackson to in St. Louis because the team was always playing from behind.
Now that Jackson is finally on a competing team, he will get a chance to run the ball more later in games.
Giovani Bernard could be this year's Doug Martin. As long as he can prove he deserves more carries than BenJarvus Green-Ellis, he will be able to showcase his explosive speed the same way Martin did in 2012.
Mark Ingram may finally get a chance to prove to the New Orleans Saints that they made the right decision taking him with a first-round pick back in 2011. With Sean Payton back on the sideline, look for a potential breakout year from the former Heisman winner
Here are my overall running back rankings for the 2013 fantasy football season.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.
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