Fantasy Football Draft Day Strategy: Running Back Style
Continuing with draft day strategy of drafting by style of player, we move on to the running back position. There are many big name fantasy running backs in the league, but instead of focusing on individuals, let’s focus more on the style of play from running backs.
If you’re new to the fantasy football world and haven’t read my draft day strategies style of player’s article, I suggest you look it over before diving into this article. The fantasy draft can be overwhelming for a rookie and this series is here to help make draft day a little easier.
Running backs around the league all have their own style of running and get the job done in multiple different ways. Two of the most popular styles of ball carrying we see throughout the NFL are the quick cutting, agile and speedy players and the power runners who use their size and shoulders to run over defenders. Each style has its own positives and negatives and can generate high fantasy points for your team.
The running backs that are probably the most entertaining to watch are the speedy, quick on their feet type of players. Recall Tennessee Titans’ Chris Johnson running towards one sideline, cutting back and going all the way to the other sideline, dodging defenders and gaining yards out of what appeared to be a busted play. Making something out of nothing is a huge positive for this style of running backs and proves that the play is not over until the whistle is blown.
These types of players are often times heavily involved in the passing game, catching passes out of the backfield and letting their feet do the work. Adding receiving yardage to the rushing yardage can separate the top fantasy backs from the rest of the bunch.
The only negative that would be attached to this style of running back would be that they are more susceptible to injuries than most. Quick cutting and running from sideline to sideline can result in torn ACLs or pulled hamstrings. Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden is one of the most notorious running backs of this style to get injured.
If you’re willing to take a gamble on someone like McFadden, you’ll likely see him on the bench in sweats at some point during the season. The last thing you want to see is your star running back out for the rest of the season with a demolished knee.
Let’s say you’re more of a fan of the running backs who have a heavy size advantage over the defense and like to run over opposing players. This style of play can also result in gaining your team some much needed fantasy points.
While these types of players aren’t likely to run for a 70 yard touchdown scamper, they are still in the game at the goal line and are a heavy favorite to be able to punch it in from short yardage. Racking up stats in the touchdown column is generally what puts these types of running backs leaps and bounds above others.
Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson is a great example of this type of player. Peterson’s highlight reel consists of multiple plays in which he tramples defenders in his path, shaking off arm tackles on his way to gaining plenty of yards and touchdowns.
Now for the part you don’t want to hear, the downside. When the game is on line and the clock is down to its final few ticks, these types of running backs are nowhere to be seen. Their team chooses to go to air to get the score quickly and the ball carrier now becomes a pass blocker. Any fantasy points they have gained over the course of the game is all they are going to see. The final few points you need to win your fantasy matchup for the week will not come from this style of running back at this point in the game.
When entering this year’s fantasy draft, you won’t need to know the statistical history of every running back that may be left on the board. Instead, all you would need is the knowledge of what style running game they bring to table. In the words of Jigsaw from the Saw series: The choice is yours, make your move.
Tristen Challe is a Fantasy Writer for Rantsports. Follow him on Twitter @TristenChalle