Time is probably winding down until your fantasy football draft begins, and you may be wondering about the running back position. There were a lot of stud players in 2015, but there were also a lot of busts. Here are some running backs you should (or shouldn’t) consider taking.
The Alpha: Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams)
In his first four games of 2015, Gurley blew all other running backs out of the water with over 125 yards in each game. While it is not typical to bet on a sophmore running back for fantasy purposes, I don’t see any decline in the future of Todd Gurley.
I would normally advise owners to go after a name such as Adrian Peterson or Le’Veon Bell, but because of age or suspension, I would plan on Gurley being the best running back on the board for 2016.
The Bust: Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Last season was a career year for Martin, as he finished with 1,402 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. In Tampa Bay’s six wins of 2015, Martin averaged a total of 23 carries.
One thing to note is that Martin is one of the most inconsistent backs in the NFL. During the span of the Bucs 10 losses, Martin only would average 10 carries a game.
Martin is nothing more than an RB2 option for 2016, and I would gladly take ten to fifteen other running backs before I call on his name this year.
The Rising Star: Ezekiel Elliot (Dallas Cowboys)
Even though Elliot is currently under investigation, there is nothing but good reports coming out of Dallas’ mouth on him. The Ohio State rookie is the most hyped running back this season, and there is no surprise why.
Dallas has the best offensive line in all of football, and has turned Demarco Murray into a leading rusher in 2014, and even made Darren McFadden seem somewhat great in 2015.
If Dallas commits to Elliot, and doesn’t force him to split carries with backs such as McFadden, Alfred Morris, or Lance Dunbar, I could see Elliot easily getting over 1,100 rushing yards for 2016.
Underdog to Think About: Ryan Mathews (Philadelphia Eagles)
In 2015, Mathews was able to finish with 114.5 fantasy points, which is respectable when you consider the fact that he was a backup all season.
With Demarco Murray and Chip Kelly both out of the picture, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles change up their playbook and give Mathews a lot more touches.
Mathews will probably wind up as a 4th or 5th round pick for most leagues, but has the potential to finish with high-end RB2 stats by the end of 2016.
The Bounce Back: Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)
2015 didn’t end as planned for Jamaal Charles, as he tore his ACL, eventually missing 10 games. One thing to remember though is that the Chiefs love to run and dump the ball off to Charles.
The veteran running back ended 2014 with 14 combined touchdowns, 5 of which where receptions. In 2013, he had 19 combined scores, 7 of which were touchdowns.
It is difficult to bet on anyone coming off an ACL tear, but Charles should be a good bargain for a late first-rounder.