In NFL Sports Betting , the running back is one of the most important players to think about. As we see it, here are the top five running backs, in rank order, heading into the 2006 fantasy football season.
1. Shaun Alexander, Seattle – Sure, you may hear some folks make a strong argument for Larry Johnson as the first pick, but the numbers don’t lie. 1958 combined yards from scrimmage. A League record 27 rushing touchdowns – and maybe most important, over 23 rushing attempts per game. At 28 years old, these numbers have been building to this point in his career, and we see no reason for him to slow down in 2006.
2. Larry Johnson, Kansas City – After waiting patiently behind Priest Holmes for two seasons, LJ exploded onto the scene last season with 2,093 combined yards and 21 total touchdowns. At 26 years old, he may actually be better than Alexander, but the retirement of 11-time Pro Bowl tackle Willie Roaf, and the Chief’s recommitment to the passing game, at least makes us wonder if the numbers may fall off a bit.
3. Ladanian Tomlinson, San Diego – The number one back in 2005 only falls slightly this year because of the superhuman stats put up by Alexander and Johnson last season. Is there anyone who doesn’t believe that Tomlinson gets 1,500 yards and 20 TDs just for showing up every week? You should note that he also threw 3 TDs last year.
4. Edgerrin James. Arizona – New team. New turf. No Peyton Manning. A speedy receiving corpse that will keep defenses honest. If he remains healthy – and two years after his knee injury, there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t – James has the potential to put up numbers this season that he previously only dreamed of.
5. Tiki Barber, NY Giants – Barber fans have vented their frustration about Barber being teamed with a power back (Ron Dayne) that gets more goal line carries, but Tiki has the potential to bust a long one on any play. Besides, 2,390 all-purpose yards is nothing to sneeze at. Oh yeah, did we mention that Dayne is no longer there? Barber belongs in the upper echelon of running backs in 2006.
So there you have it, the top 5 NFL running backs that anybody serious about sports betting must consider before making any wagers. These are the back that can make or break a game. The only other player not mentioned here is quarterback Michael Vick, who can make or break a game as a runner as well as a passer.