In reality, running backs sell NFL tickets with their agile cuts and breakaway runs. In fantasy football, the running back position has long been the cornerstone of any good team. Here are some running backs you’ll be able to get good value out of according to their likely draft position.
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers: Gore can probably be had towards the end of the first round and, in some cases, the early second round. He is in line for a big season. The Niners are going to be running a conservative, run-heavy offense that should feature Gore in a big way. He’s also a really good receiver out of the backfield, which is key in a conservative passing game. Gore should be the focal point of this offense and I think he’s in line for the best season of his career.
Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins: Portis can probably be had in the second round of most drafts and that should be great value. Portis is one of the most consistent forces in the fantasy realm, regularly approaching 1300 rushing yards and 10 TDs. He might not be as flashy as some of the picks you could make in the second round, but early round picks are about dependability more than flash.
Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins: Brown had a solid season last year, but he was still recovering from a major injury. He should be in top form in 2009 and ready to parlay the wildcat offense into fantasy gold. Rocky Williams will steal some touches, but it’s clear who the starter is in Miami. The wildcat offers more opportunities for Brown to make plays than the average running back, as well, and people will sleep on him in the draft.
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions: Smith’s solid rookie season went somewhat unnoticed last season due to the Lions’ struggles as a team. He should have a really good year in 2009 with the presence of a more consistent passing game to divert attention from him. He’s capable of being an every week fantasy starter and you can probably get him at a bargain draft position.
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: McFadden’s rookie season was considered to be disappointing by most of his fantasy owners last season, but it wasn’t a lack of skill that hurt his season, it was injuries. If he can stay healthy he should have a really good season, as he performed very well when healthy in 2008. He’s in a crowded backfield, but his talent will shine through and give him the most touches.
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts: Addai is slipping in drafts because the Colts drafted running back Donald Brown in the first round. Addai will still be the starter and will probably get more carries than people are expecting. He’ll also be the guy to punch in short TD runs.
Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints: I think people are overreacting to the emergence of Pierre Thomas. Bush will still get carries and plenty of catches, and he’ll be a force in PPR leagues.