Fantasy Football Running Backs Ready for Breakout Seasons
Now is the time of year when fantasy football fans are doing their research to prepare for the draft. Every fantasy player either looks back on the draft with fondness for good decisions or with disdain for miscues.
Players with high draft picks usually have the luxury of picking up the Tier 1 elite backs such as Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson, but those with picks in the lower part of the first round usually have to pick their runners wisely especially in leagues with 12 or more players.
The following list consists of backs who are solid No. 2 or 3 options each week, but have a great chance at taking the next step and maybe entering Tier 1 status.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
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C.J. Spiller is worth stashing on your bench because he will pack a great 1-2 punch with Fred Jackson.
Since the trading of Marshawn Lynch in the middle of last season, Spiller has helped carry some of the work load. It may take a few games into this season for Spiller's light to switch on, but when it does you will be glad he is on your bench.
Look for Spiller to display his flashy ability that he was drafted for and become a breakout middle-of-the season surprise.
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
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Knowshon Moreno is perhaps best known by fantasy football players for being injury prone. However, this year Moreno looks faster and stronger and will prove to be an asset in the new-look Broncos offense under John Fox.
From what we know of John Fox in Carolina, he loves the run game and will look to develop Moreno into a DeAngelo Williams-type of back. If you feel risky with Moreno, you can handcuff him with Willis McGahee, but this season Moreno will be worth it.
Look for Denver to depend on the run game more while Moreno will benefit.
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
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Felix Jones will already surely make a solid No. 2 back this year, but he is in for a great year and by the end of the year could be seen as a solid No. 1 back.
So far, Jones has had an impressive preseason both against Denver and San Diego. With Marion Barber now in Chicago, Jones will have a less crowded backfield to cut into his carries. While Tashard Choice will get his carries, Jones will be the clear star runner in Dallas.
In a high-powered Dallas offense with Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, look for Jones to add his contribution in the run game. Jones will be a solid mid-round choice who will provide true value.
Shonn Greene, New York Jets
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Shonn Greene has proved to be a very dependable back when called upon. In the postseason, Greene has produced when the Jets needed him most.
Although veteran LaDainian Tomlinson outproduced Greene last season, look for a transition to be made.
Tomlinson will gradually take on a lesser role and ease carries over to Greene. With more carries, Greene should be able to provide improved numbers and prove to be a good fantasy football producer. Since Greene has proven himself to be a productive back, it is simple math that Greene's game will take a step up now that his workload will increase.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
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Although some may be questioning taking Jonathan Stewart since he had a disappointing fantasy outing last season, Stewart will be a great value if you select him in a later round.
He has in the past proven he can be a workhorse sharing the backfield with DeAngelo Williams. With Williams's injury concerns frequently getting the better of Williams, Stewart can step in and be the primary back also.
The reason Stewart is also a great choice this year is because Carolina's passing game will take a drop off with a rookie passer in Cam Newton this year and will need to depend on the run game more often this season. Even if you stash Stewart on the bench, you are going to want him around.