Fantasy Fix: Value in the backfield
Running backs who can boost your fantasy team's rushing numbers
After covering wide receivers and quarterbacks, it’s time to focus some attention on undervalued running backs and tight ends.
The running back landscape has changed the past several years as teams began using a running back by committee style of play that uses two and sometimes three running backs.
This means that there are not very many “workhorse” running backs who get a great deal of carries.
That being said, there are still guys who could prove valuable, even in a time-share situation in the backfield.
Some backs to keep an eye on:
• Tim Hightower, Arizona Cardinals – Hightower could provide value as a number three back in leagues that have a flex option. Expect double digit touchdowns again and roughly 15 to 20 carries per game.
• Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens – He showed great versatility in the Ravens’ preseason opener with 38 receiving yards on three catches and 22 yards in five rush attempts. He is being drafted as high as round four now in mock drafts.
I also like these running back combos: Derrick Ward/Earnest Graham in Tampa Bay, Julius Jones/TJ Duckett in Seattle, Larry Johnson/Jamaal Charles in Kansas City.
If Larry Johnson misses time in Kansas City, Jamaal Charles will have some value this year.
Tight ends don’t often score a lot of points in fantasy football, and there are only a few considered elite. I’ve done a little research and came up with some guys who I think could provide relief at a very thin position.
• Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears – With a quality quarterback who can utilize a tight end, look for Olsen to be more productive this year. Sixty receptions and eight touchdowns is possible.
• Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings – You can probably snag this guy very late in drafts and still expect some decent production. He could possibly get more than 50 receptions, 650 yards and eight or nine touchdowns this season.
• Kevin Boss, New York Giants – With so many questions surrounding the receiving corps, Boss could end up being targeted more by Eli Manning.
Most experts have him falling outside the top 12 at tight end, but I’m going to venture out on a limb and say he finishes inside the top 12 with 500 or more yards receiving and at least six touchdowns.
Other tight ends that I think will have value are Brandon Pettigrew, of the Lions; Dustin Keller, of the Jets; Brent Celek, of the Eagles; and Mercedes Lewis, of the Jaguars.
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