Fantasy Sports Fix: Football Draft Special Part 4 — Running backs
Welcome to the last installment of my fantasy football draft special. It’s all about running backs this time around and I’m confident these picks will help your fantasy backfield in 2016.
Lamar Miller, Houston TexansLamar Miller, Houston Texans
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Miller could be the poster child for when opportunity meets talent. He averages 4.6 yards per rush for his career but was so underused in Miami that he really never got to show off what he could actually do. He’ll get that chance this year in Houston, and he has a great chance to be a top five running back when the season ends.
Matt Jones, Washington RedskinsMatt Jones, Washington Redskins
Matt Jones, Washington Redskins
With Alfred Morris out of the picture in Washington, Jones will have to pick up the slack in the backfield. He will have the majority of the touches this season and could get well over 250 rushing attempts while making strides in the yards and touchdown department.
Dion Lewis, New England PatriotsDion Lewis, New England Patriots
Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
Lewis was having a great season last year before it all ended with an ACL injury. Through just seven games last year, Lewis totaled four touchdowns and more than 600 combined yards in rushing and receiving. Look for him to continue down that path this year towards a finish among the top 10 running backs.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay PackersEddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Lacy’s newer, more svelte look helped him garner 24 yards in only four carries in last week’s preseason opener against the Browns. He’s coming into 2016 in much better shape than last year and the Packers offense is looking strong, so my guess is that he’ll accumulate right around 1,500 total yards rushing and receiving with a solid 10 touchdowns.
DeMarco Murray, Tennessee TitansDeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
Currently going as the 18th running back off the board, this former rushing leader racked up 93 yards on just six carries in preseason action against the Chargers. Look, the ceiling for Murray is relatively high seeing as how Tennessee is making it a point to run the ball this year, so my guess is that he totally outplays his average draft position by a ton and finishes as a top eight running back.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans SaintsMark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Don’t be scared to draft him even though he’s never topped 1,000 rushing yards in a season. He still averaged a nice 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and also caught 50 passes for a career high of 405 receiving yards last year. With the Saints looking to run the ball more this year and focus on a more balanced attack, look for Ingram to get more touches out of the backfield than ever before.
DeAndre Washington, Oakland RaidersDeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders
DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders were looking for a change-of-pace running back to complement starter Latavius Murray and seem to have found him in 5-foot 8-inch DeAndre Washington. Washington showcased his ability against the Cardinals last Friday when he rushed eight times for 43 yards and caught one pass for a 32-yard gain. With minimal touches this year, he could be very effective in the Raiders offense, and he’s largely being ignored in drafts right now.
Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland BrownsDuke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland Browns
Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland Browns
While it looks as if Isaiah Crowell will be the starter in Cleveland this year, Johnson will have his fair share of looks, too. I believe he has more value than just the second guy in a running back by committee. His value comes from his receptions out of the backfield, where last year he had 61 total catches for 534 yards.
Chris Ivory, Jacksonville JaguarsChris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars
He’s showed he’s a valuable back when he’s healthy. For his career, he averages 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and also rushed for 1,070 yards last year, the fifth best in the NFL. He should see a somewhat expanded role in the Jaguars’ offense this year, and he’s currently being taken as the 29th running back off the board in most drafts.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City ChiefsJamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
He’s such an awesome player, and for fantasy purposes he’s Grade A material, but this year I would be scared to draft the J.C. of K.C. for a couple reasons. First, he’s coming off his second ACL injury in five years. Second, I fear there’s a lot of tread on the tires here and he might actually regress just a little bit.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
From 2012 to 2015, Stewart has never played in all 16 games of a season, and his high was 13 in 2014 and 2015. Even after becoming the Panthers’ full-time starter, he still only managed to top 100 yards rushing four times in the last two seasons.
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