Top 5 2011 Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs
Rookies are always looked over to some extent during fantasy football drafts. These are the five rookie running backs I'd draft first. These guys probably won't be featured backs but will split time in most cases. Let me know what you think and who your top five fantasy football rookie running backs are.
No. 5: Roy Helu, Washington Redskins
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2011 Projections: 150 ATT, 610 YDS, 5 TD
The Redskins backfield is kind of a cluttered mess right now. Ryan Torain figures to get the starting role if he's healthy, but Helu won't be far behind. Head coach Mike Shanahan has a pretty good track record with mid- to late-round running backs, i.e. Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, so don't expect Helu to be pushed to the side.
No. 4: Mike Leshoure, Detroit Lions
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2011 Projections: 180 ATT, 745 YDS, 6 TD
Second-year running back Jahvid Best will be the starter as long as he's healthy, but Leshoure will get his fair share of carries. Best will be more involved in the passing game and on longer downs, while Leshoure should see a lot of short yardage carries and goal line touches.
*Update: Mike Leshoure is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.
No. 3: Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals
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2011 Projections: 165 ATT, 718 YDS, 5 TD
Williams has some things working for him in Arizona with Tim Hightower leaving town and the fragile Beanie Wells seemingly barely ahead of him on the depth chart. The Virginia Tech product will probably see most of his work in the passing game with Wells seeing the touches on first and second downs. Williams has more value in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
No. 2: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
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2011 Projections: 185 ATT, 814 YDS, 7 TD
Ingram and Thomas are the two running backs on this list whom I would probably draft higher than most people. The Saints still have Pierre Thomas and signed Darren Sproles during the offseason, but they also released Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram is the unquestioned goal-line back, which means more touchdowns.
No.1: Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
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2011 Projections: 230 ATT, 860 YDS, 8 TD
Thomas will be expected to carry the load in the Miami backfield despite the offseason acquisition of Reggie Bush. He showed how athletic and versatile he is during two outstanding seasons at Kansas State where he scored 30 touchdowns. Thomas won't be as involved in the passing game, but he should still see the majority of the carries.