Foster is in the running for the Number 1 spot.
It’s always hard to look ahead without seeing how the draft and free agency shake out in the NFL. It will be even more difficult this year because of the possibility of a labor stoppage and the changing of some rules. We are going to keep trying anyway though right?
It looks as if 2011 may finally get us back to the old days when running backs dominated the fantasy game. A lot of young backs emerged this year and it looks like many will find the same or more playing time next season. So let’s take a first at a potential first round draft for 2011.
He is just a stud. He has finished in the top three in fantasy points every year he has been in the league. That is the kind of sure thing you want in the number one spot. Many owners kicked themselves for selecting Chris Johnson over him in 2010.
He will be even more valuable with the Vikings likely taking a more run heavy approach in 2011.
Foster proved for 16 weeks to be the most valuable player in fantasy football this season. He started it off with a bang with 200 plus rushing yards and three touchdowns against the Colts and never looked back. He led the league in yards from scrimmage and we all know how fantasy owners value a versatile back, so his 66 receptions gave him one of the great fantasy seasons ever.
Houston’s entire offensive coaching staff will be back in 2011 and it should lock Foster into the top three picks in almost every draft.
We always hear that you have to stack running backs and receivers at the top of drafts because quarterbacks can’t be as valueable. We may have found the exception however.
Vick has the rushing ability to simply outscore every other quarterback every week. His one concern is his health, but playing in Andy Ried’s pass-heavy system in Philly allows him to put up explosive numbers in the air as well as on the ground. Vick scored almost 30 points per week this season with second place Aaron Rogers at only 25. There is no other position where the leader outpaced the field by this much.
Vick is a surefire first round pick and almost assuredly the first QB taken. You may want to snag Kevin Kolb if he is still around for injury insurance though.
He is ahead of Chris Johnson simply because the majority of his offensive support players will be back. He may have split carries with Thomas Jones this season, but still was one of the top five most productive fantasy backs in the league, while most days Jones’ failed to even get out of the gate.
Jones will be another year older next season yielding more opportunities for Charles, but also allowing the Chiefs to keep him fresh. Charles likely has the most upside of any running back in fantasy football heading into 2011.
Likely the most talented back in the NFL, Johnson had a semi-disappointing year in 2010. This can be attributed to his team having no real threat in the passing game, offensive injuries and poor play-calling.
We have seen at the top of his game as well though and that makes him one of the most dangerous players in fantasy football. If you can get him with the fifth pick in 2011, you will not be complaining. Here is to hoping the Titans can build a more explosive offense around him this offseason.
Rice struggled a little in 2010 to live up to lofty expectations. He lacked touchdowns and didn’t start producing big plays until late in the season, but with Willis McGahee not expected to return, this star should shine brighter in 2011.
Expect the Ravens to improve their passing game, but go back to focusing on the run which they failed to do at some points this season. We will likely see at least 1,600 yards from scrimmage and double digit touchdowns.
Johnson is the Adrian Peterson of wide receivers. If not for his ankle injury he would have easily reached 1,500 yards for the third straight season. If you want a sure thing wideout look no further than Johnson. He has all the tools to continue to be the best reciever in fantasy football.
As with Arian Foster, Johnson will benefit from the entire Houston offensive staff returning in 2011.
He finished sixth in running back fantasy points this season, but it looks like he can be even better. He showed ridiculous explosiveness before injuring his ribs mid-season. If he can stay healthy he has a chance to be one of the best backs in the league.
His pass catching ability is what allows him to stay this high even in a pass-first offense. He led all backs in catches and was second in receiving yards. Draft him in the middle of round one with confidence.
Even missing games with a pulled hamstring could not keep McFadden out of the top five in fantasy points and he finished second in points per game. He showed flashes of the runner he was at Arkansas, but with more power. He may be on the same talent level as Chris Johnson with his size and speed combination these days, but questions about his durability still keep him toward the end of the first round.
If the Raiders improve their passing game and McFadden stays healthy he can easily finish in the top three running backs in fantasy next year.
He is having knee surgery following the season, but he showed us why he has been a perennial first round pick. This season he totaled 1,600 yards and had nine touchdowns while playing with an injured knee. If he gets healthy before the season, we will see at least those kinds of numbers if not better.
Expect a healthy Jones-Drew to be a top six running back option in 2011.
Hot Roddy was one of the most targeted receivers this season and is the uncontested feature of the Atlanta passing attack. As he and Matt Ryan continue to improve, they will shift to a more pass heavy team. 2011 could be the next step.
Michael Turner seems to have lost some explosiveness and Ryan and White already made huge strides this season. Look for White to improve upon his numbers and be surely worth a late first round pick.
Yes, another quarterback in the first round. Rodgers was the second highest scoring fantasy QB this season and it seemed he had a bit of a down year in 2010 compared to what was expected. I see Rodgers living up to the hype he had this year in 2011. Rodgers not only puts up some of the best passing numbers in the league, but adds valuable rushing yardage and scores every season.
He may not be Michael Vick, but he is as close as you can come. I see those two finishing well ahead of the other elite QB’s in 2011.
Calvin Johnson: Improving offense and Matt Stafford looks like a winner if he can stay healthy.
Matt Forte: Focus of the Bears offense towards the end of the season.
Steven Jackson: Rams offense only figures to gain traction with Bradford going into his second season and Jackson should benefit.
Antonio Gates: By far the highest scoring tight end when healthy. Gates could be worth a second round pick if healthy by training camp.
Frank Gore: Returning from injury, but was one of the most consistent backs in the league for the first half of the season.