The NFL today is all about the quarterbacks and they in turn are all about their favorite targets. It’s a passing league and any team that isn’t implementing a pass heavy scheme is destined for failure. However, in the fantasy world the glory days of Lombardi and Landry are still happening. Running backs rule the earth like the dinosaurs of the gridiron and Barry Sanders is still worshiped as a god among mortals. It’s simple really. A fantasy football championship is almost unattainable without a stable of workhorse runners. I’ve always said that the flex position should only be used for a third running back, but you can’t just plug in any old backup and hope for the best. After scouring the internet for draft information, I have compiled a list of what are some of the best 3rd options at running back and when those options will probably have to be taken.
Maurice Jones-Drew: With all his issues last year no one needs a break like MJD does, and a break out is what I’m predicting. He has a huge chip on his shoulder and when he was healthy last year, he still averaged 4.8 yards a carry. Let’s face facts, Jaguars fans, what else are they going to do this year? Is Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne finally going to wake up and remove that cranium size mass from their colon? Is Justin Blackmon going to wow us all with a breakout season or will Denard Robinson be the next slash? What I do know is MJD is a proven talent has a proven track record, a lot to prove and he is running out of time to sign that lucrative retirement size contract that he’s wanted and deserved for years. He’s been going in the third round which may not qualify as a sleeper, but I think he’ll be a top 5 running back come years end. The majority of mock drafts online had him filling out a stable with the likes of Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris. Not a bad start to a fantasy team or a championship run.
Ahmad Bradshaw: He has found a new home in Indianapolis and for a guy with plenty of tread on the tires he still wants to show the world how wrong the Giants where about him and his value. Last year Colts running backs combined for 1416 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. while Andrew Luck ran for 255 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Colts brass cringed every time they saw Luck lay out for the end zone and want to avoid making his 627 passing attempts a habit. All this adds up to what could be a huge year for some lucky running back in Indianapolis, and Bradshaw is far and away the best option. He is currently going in the 7th round and could be on a team that if drafted correctly could include. Arian Foster and Frank Gore.
Ben Tate: This one is a a bit of a stretch and really all depends on how healthy Arian Foster can stay this year. Now think about the fact that no one has had more carries then Arian Foster the last three seasons, and he has slowed down immensely with his YPC average. He’s also had nagging little injuries all off season and now is sitting out with a sore back. He’s only 26, but this is not the days of yore and guys just can’t take that level of abuse anymore. Remember how Foster got his start? All it took was an injury to Steve Slaton and he was off to the races. Ben Tate’s patience could pay off big this year if those injuries continue or the injury bug takes a bigger bite. He’s currently been going in the tenth round which I think is a little high and mostly the result of paranoid Foster owners hedging their bets. However, if you see him hanging around a little later in the draft, it can’t hurt to take a flyer on him and hope for the best or the worst whatever your pleasure.