Fantasy Football: 5 Tips For Drafting A RB In 2014

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How To Draft A Fantasy RB Star

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

Even though every fantasy player swears by a different strategy when selecting a player, almost everyone can agree that the first running back you draft can either make or break your season.

When you look at the top ten wide receivers from 2013, many of the same names from the 2012 top-scorers were repeated. Between Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson, there were not too many surprises on the list for top wide receivers. When you draft someone like Johnson or Green, you know what you are going to get.

For many fantasy players, there were some surprising names who made the list of top 10 scoring running backs in 2013. Knowshon Moreno, Eddie Lacy, DeMarco Murray, Fred Jackson and Ryan Matthews all made the list. If you drafted C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice or Trent Richardson in the first round of your draft, you probably had a rough season. Drafting your first running back will help to determine the success of your team, but many fantasy owners go crazy trying to figure out who can help them win.

Is there one answer on how to draft a starting running back? The answer is obviously no. Running backs come in all shapes and sizes, and a successful season can be determined by factors that you can not predict. If the offense struggles, if the player gets hurt or loses his starting job, your season may go down the drain.

While it can be difficult to find that running back who is going to take you to a championship, there are certain characteristics and factors that can help you decide on who to draft.

Here are are five tips for drafting running backs in 2014.

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5. Make Sure He Protects The Quarterback

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

Even with all the buzz around Montee Ball in 2013, I knew that he wouldn't have a successful fantasy season. Running backs need to be able to block for their quarterback, and they need to absolutely be able to block if Peyton Manning is calling the plays. I saw reports and heard analysts say before the season started that Knowshon Moreno would be used to help block because Ball was not up to par in his blocking ability, and I knew that meant Moreno would see more touches. When you draft a running back, especially a rookie, make sure that he can block.

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4. Don't Rely On Last Year's Numbers

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

You can not solely rely on statistics from the previous season to predict the success of a running back. Even though Trent Richardson finished 2012 with 11 rushing touchdowns, he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Fantasy owners should have known that it would be hard for Richardson to repeat those touchdown numbers unless he maintained a high number of carries near the end zone.

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3. Understand Usage And Injury History

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

With an absurd 351 carries in 2012, it should not have shocked anyone that Arian Foster was only able to play in eight games in 2013. If a player is able to be protected more by being heavily involved in the passing game like LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles, then it is less likely that they will suffer an injury. If a player is constantly just running the ball into a defense, then they will become injured at some point.

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2. Avoid Timeshares

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

Sometimes you can find a a player who is successful in a time-share like C.J. Spiller was in 2012, but players who split carries are normally not as productive as a single lead-back. In a change of fortunes in 2013, Fred Jackson had a much better season than Spiller. It is difficult to predict who will thrive when two different players are sharing rushing duties.

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1. Look For Pass-Catching Ability

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

I think the ability for a running back to catch the ball is still severely underrated. Older fantasy players may be used to pure rushing backs like Adrian Peterson, but the NFL is becoming filled with more players like Giovani Bernard than Eddie Lacy. Out of the top five scoring fantasy football running backs in 2013, four out of five of them had 500 receiving yards or more. Being actively involved in the passing game will not only help to protect backs from the wear and tear of constantly being tackled by several players at once, but it will also allow the coach to draw up more plays for the running back.

 

 

 

1 of 6

How To Draft A Fantasy RB Star

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

Even though every fantasy player swears by a different strategy when selecting a player, almost everyone can agree that the first running back you draft can either make or break your season.

When you look at the top ten wide receivers from 2013, many of the same names from the 2012 top-scorers were repeated. Between Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson, there were not too many surprises on the list for top wide receivers. When you draft someone like Johnson or Green, you know what you are going to get.

For many fantasy players, there were some surprising names who made the list of top 10 scoring running backs in 2013. Knowshon Moreno, Eddie Lacy, DeMarco Murray, Fred Jackson and Ryan Matthews all made the list. If you drafted C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice or Trent Richardson in the first round of your draft, you probably had a rough season. Drafting your first running back will help to determine the success of your team, but many fantasy owners go crazy trying to figure out who can help them win.

Is there one answer on how to draft a starting running back? The answer is obviously no. Running backs come in all shapes and sizes, and a successful season can be determined by factors that you can not predict. If the offense struggles, if the player gets hurt or loses his starting job, your season may go down the drain.

While it can be difficult to find that running back who is going to take you to a championship, there are certain characteristics and factors that can help you decide on who to draft.

Here are are five tips for drafting running backs in 2014.

2 of 6

5. Make Sure He Protects The Quarterback

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

Even with all the buzz around Montee Ball in 2013, I knew that he wouldn't have a successful fantasy season. Running backs need to be able to block for their quarterback, and they need to absolutely be able to block if Peyton Manning is calling the plays. I saw reports and heard analysts say before the season started that Knowshon Moreno would be used to help block because Ball was not up to par in his blocking ability, and I knew that meant Moreno would see more touches. When you draft a running back, especially a rookie, make sure that he can block.

3 of 6

4. Don't Rely On Last Year's Numbers

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

You can not solely rely on statistics from the previous season to predict the success of a running back. Even though Trent Richardson finished 2012 with 11 rushing touchdowns, he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Fantasy owners should have known that it would be hard for Richardson to repeat those touchdown numbers unless he maintained a high number of carries near the end zone.

4 of 6

3. Understand Usage And Injury History

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

With an absurd 351 carries in 2012, it should not have shocked anyone that Arian Foster was only able to play in eight games in 2013. If a player is able to be protected more by being heavily involved in the passing game like LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles, then it is less likely that they will suffer an injury. If a player is constantly just running the ball into a defense, then they will become injured at some point.

5 of 6

2. Avoid Timeshares

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

Sometimes you can find a a player who is successful in a time-share like C.J. Spiller was in 2012, but players who split carries are normally not as productive as a single lead-back. In a change of fortunes in 2013, Fred Jackson had a much better season than Spiller. It is difficult to predict who will thrive when two different players are sharing rushing duties.

6 of 6

1. Look For Pass-Catching Ability

Fantasy Football Running Backs
Getty Images

I think the ability for a running back to catch the ball is still severely underrated. Older fantasy players may be used to pure rushing backs like Adrian Peterson, but the NFL is becoming filled with more players like Giovani Bernard than Eddie Lacy. Out of the top five scoring fantasy football running backs in 2013, four out of five of them had 500 receiving yards or more. Being actively involved in the passing game will not only help to protect backs from the wear and tear of constantly being tackled by several players at once, but it will also allow the coach to draw up more plays for the running back.


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