With the NFL’s ever increasing shift to throwing the football, the traditional running back that carries the football 30 times per game is becoming harder to find. Even NFL teams aren’t really worried too much about getting running backs. There wasn’t even one drafted in the first round this year! Fantasy owners have been told for years to stock pile running backs, and in the past that has been good advice. In today’s fantasy leagues, however, you have to draft the right kind of running backs.

I had Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson last year… couldn’t even make the playoffs. What happened? Injuries killed their performance. Guys that carry the ball 25 times per game tend to wind up on the bench. No one could have predicted that Peterson would have been on the pine as much as he was last year. But as a traditional back that gets a lot of carries, it’s bound to happen. I would make the argument that Jamal Charles should be taken before Peterson this year. He catches way more balls out of the back field, and he will get more snaps this year than Peterson because he will stay healthy. Look for backs that get balls thrown to them.  They get over looked because some people consider them a third down back. I have had some good luck over the years taking backs that aren’t on any everyone’s radar. Here’s a couple you should look for next year that will be available in later rounds.

Danny Woodhead has been a mainstay in my backfield for the last couple of years. He caught 76 balls and had 6 TDs in 2013! If I remember correctly, he was the third back that I took last year and probably not drafted until the 7th or 8th round. People shy away from Woodhead because Ryan Matthews is supposed to be the feature back in San Diego, and he is. But Woodhead tended to get the ball later in the game and got quite a few touches around the goal line. Also, Matthews is entering his fifth year in the NFL… time for a season ending injury if you ask me.

The New Orleans Saints throw the football as much as anyone else, and with the absence of Darren Sproles look for Pierre Thomas to have an even bigger impact in the passing game this year. He caught 77 passes last year, which is an insane number when you consider the fact that Sproles caught 71. Look for Thomas to be available late in your draft and grab him when you get the chance.

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  1. Joe says:
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    Great article! I’m excited for fantasy football season. Partly because I’m in last place in baseball, and partly because I need to set a good example for my son who will be born this week. My problem is that I can’t find weekly data for last season in an exportable format Do you know where I can get stats by week for last year? Not just the the top five leaders. I want to calculate medians instead of the average or totals that Yahoo gives you out of the box. Median’s are a more more statistically relevant than averages.

  2. walt

    Walt says:
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    I’m confused on how FFL will help set a good example for your son. I have know idea where u can get the data u desire in an exportable format. Sorry.

    • Jfree says:
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      @Walt: Far fewer concussions in fantasy football

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