The Denver Broncos certainly don't lack for options at running back, and C.J. Anderson proved in the team's 34-0 victory over the San Francisco 49ers that he deserves a few extra looks in the backfield.
Anderson put up a performance Sunday, picking up 29 yards and a touchdown on nine carries while tossing in 11 yards on two receptions for good measure. It's a strong showing for the second-year back, but it might not be enough for him to truly move the needle when it comes to the opinion of fantasy football owners.
Anderson said it felt good to be out on the field, although the team was missing projected starting running back Montee Ball. Via the Broncos' official Twitter account:
Anderson recovered from a concussion earlier in the week and returned to his No. 3 position on the team's running back depth chart, per Mike Klis of The Denver Post. He outperformed Ronnie Hillman (five touches, 25 yards) on Sunday, which means he has an outside shot at moving up on the depth chart as the preseason chugs along.
Most fantasy football owners seem to feel that Ball will undoubtedly get the lion's share of carries and rack up major points, as his ADP is a sterling 28.5. He will almost certainly get mentioned in the same breath as players Reggie Bush (31.7) and Frank Gore (40.4) when it comes to fantasy standouts at running back.
If Anderson is going to snake Ball or Hillman in any area, it will be in the red zone. ESPN's Cecil Lammey noted that the former Cal standout might have a better initial burst than any other ballcarrier on the Broncos:
nice lateral agility by CJ Anderson there, not only power, but some crispness & arguably fastest 10yd split of any RB on the roster #broncos— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) August 17, 2014
He proved he could be the go-to guy in short-yardage situations with his one-yard scoring plunge against the 49ers. The 224-pound Anderson also has a distinct weight advantage over both of those players.
Which of these two running backs will have a bigger fantasy football impact this season?
However, this still won't be enough to make him a major fantasy football threat this season. He's a solid backup option in 12-player leagues at best with all of the competition in the Broncos' backfield.
If Ball suffers any sort of long-term injury, Anderson becomes an immediate waiver-wire pickup. He's shown in this preseason that he could step onto the gridiron and transition seamlessly into the starting role.
Average Draft Position and fantasy football statistics courtesy of ESPN.com.