2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Report
Fantasy football drafts all over the country are being planned and with that, cheat sheets are being put together as well. Here is my full fantasy football report for the 2012 season:
1. LeSean McCoy, PHI – “Shady” McCoy was the one constant last year for the Philadelphia Eagles. McCoy scored 20 total touchdowns (17 rushing and 3 receiving) last year and was impossible to get a hand on. McCoy just turned 24 years old earlier this month, so the kid still has a half-decade left of premier fantasy numbers. Draft him number one or number two overall and be happy to pencil him in every week as your number one back.
2. Arian Foster, HOU – With Adrian Peterson’s health somewhat in question, Foster becomes the most dominant downhill runner in fantasy. Foster is not afraid to run over someone and makes his money running the ball between the tackles. However, this style of play can certainly take a toll on a back’s body, which is most likely the reason why Foster has missed 13 games in his three-year NFL career. Regardless of his injury questions, Foster is a scoring machine with 30 touchdowns in his last 29 games. Foster is the most dangerous back in fantasy, but his propensity to get injured drops him a spot on this list.
3. Ray Rice, BAL – The only people more excited to have Rice back, besides the Baltimore front office and fan base, is the fantasy community. Rice finished 2011 with a staggering 2,068 yards from scrimmage (1,364 rushing and 704 receiving), which was the most by any other back in the NFL. His versatility is invaluable in fantasy leagues, making him a guaranteed first round pick. He can easily eclipse 2,000 yards from scrimmage again this season and is even more valuable in Point Per Reception (P.P.R.) leagues.
4. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC – Jones-Drew may have led the NFL with 1,606 rushing yards, but his meager 8 rushing touchdowns was a severe disappointment for fantasy fans. Jones-Drew has all skills in the world to lead the NFL in touchdowns, but the offense’s inability to move the chains only hinders MJD’s overall fantasy worth. He is still a top-five pick, but he could be higher on this list with a little help from his teammates, or general manager if you will.
5. Chris Johnson, TEN – Johnson had an absolutely embarrassing first half of the 2011 season, as his holdout before the year obviously kept him from getting in game shape. CJ2K started the year miserably with only one 100-yard game in his fist eight contests, as his lengthy off-season holdout certainly cost many fantasy owners their season. However, he eventually bounced back in the second half to have a reasonable fantasy season and looks to finally be on top of his game entering the 2012 season. Look for him to be a top-five back this year and return to one of the best backs in the AFC East.
6. Darren McFadden, OAK – McFadden looked like a young Adrian Peterson through the first seven weeks of last year with an amazing 614 rushing yards, 154 receiving yards and 5 total touchdowns in only 5 1/2 games. McFadden does come with some injury questions as well, but like Peterson his potential is too hard to ignore. Expect him to miss a couple games in 2012, but still post over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
7. Matt Forte, CHI – With Forte finally back with the team, fantasy owners can start building their draft board around the former Tulane star. Forte has posted at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage in all four of his NFL seasons and is one of the only workhorses left in the game. Chicago unfortunately brought in running back Michael Bush to pillage some goal-line carries, so Forte’s value will take a small hit. However, he is still a great number one back in fantasy, but he could be an even better number two.
8. Michael Turner, ATL– Turner remains one of the more underrated backs in the entire league. He has posted two consecutive seasons with over 1,300 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, but yet people still refuse to rank him in their top-ten. However, all Turner does is score touchdowns, with an amazing 50 touchdowns in his last 59 games. Turner is definitely worth being drafted as a number one fantasy back and is one of the only steals in the late first round.
9. Ryan Mathews, SD – Mathews is one of the most talked about backs in the NFL heading into the 2012 fantasy football season. San Diego shipped running back Mike Tolbert to Carolina, completely opening the door for Mathews to walk into a starting role. The former first round pick had four 100-yard games on the ground and has shown that he can handle carrying the ball 20 times a game.
10. Adrian Peterson, MIN – This is the one season that Peterson could end up falling out of the first round, due to all the concern about his horrific knee injury at the end of last year. Peterson has rehabbed all off-season and appears to be near 100% healthy, but it is too close for fantasy owners. Peterson may miss, or be slowed, in a couple games to start the season, but understand that he will be back among the top fantasy running backs by the end of the year. Make sure not to let Peterson pass you by in 2012, because when he finally gets completely healthy, Peterson will once again be an elite fantasy option.
MVP: LeSean McCoy, PHI
Bust of Year: Felix Jones, DAL
Rookie of Year: Trent Richardson, CLE
Breakout Player of Year: Ryan Mathews, SD
Comeback Player of Year: Jamaal Chalres, KC
Top Sleeper: Roy Helu, WSH
Super Sleeper: C. J. Spiller, BUF
Follow me on Twitter @adammcgill83
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