It is fantasy football draft time once again, and that means it is time to figure out who should be drafted early and who might slip to later rounds as wonderful sleeper picks. With a number of big issues, such as the CBSSports announcement on Aug. 26 that the Buffalo Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is refreshed and ready for game one, here is a look at the fantasy football 2013 draft running back cheat sheet.
1. Adrian Peterson – Not only is AD the top running back in the fantasy football 2013 cheat sheets for running backs, but he should be the first player taken overall in all fantasy drafts. He returned from a torn ACL and ran for 2,097 yards, almost breaking the single season record. All he lacked was a ton of touchdowns, even though he did finish with 13. He will be just as dominant in 2013.
2. Arian Foster – Is his injury history worth taking Arian Foster this high? It should be. Even in 2012, while banged up, he ran for 1,424 yards and caught 40 passes for 217 more. He added 17 touchdowns to make him a solid first round draft pick this year.
3. Marshawn Lynch – The Lynch years in Buffalo are now a long-forgotten memory, and in Seattle, he is a monster. He ran for 1,590 yards and 11 touchdown in 2012 in eight of the last 10 games of the season, including all the fantasy playoff weeks. He won fantasy titles for a lot of owners last season.
4. Jamaal Charles – Jamaal Charles is a bit underrated based on his injury from two years ago coupled with his hurt foot this preseason. But, the fact is, Charles ran for 1,509 yards in 2012 with 236 more yards in the air. His big problem was that he only scored six touchdowns. Andy Reid as his new head coach will change that later stat for the better.
5. Ray Rice – Ray Rice is the best dual-tier running back in fantasy football right now. In 2012, he ran for 1,143 yards and caught 61 passes for 478 more yards. He also scored 10 touchdowns. Expect another 1,500 combined yard season and a few more scoring possibilities this year.
6. Doug Martin – Doug Martin is the next Ray Rice, and if Tampa Bay was as good as Baltimore, he could eclipse Rice as they grow older. In 2012, Martin ran for 1,454 yards and caught 49 passes for 472 yards. He scored 12 touchdowns, giving him better numbers than Rice. Maybe with one more year of consistent play, he will move ahead of Rice for good.
7. LeSean McCoy – McCoy has slipped in many fantasy football draft cheat sheets after a rough 2012 where he only ran for 840 total yards with just two touchdowns. But, remember that he missed four weeks, including two that probably cost his fantasy football owners their playoffs. With Chip Kelly a quarterback who likes to run the ball, expect a resurgence for McCoy in 2013.
8. Maurice Jones-Drew – MJD has been left for dead, after a bad 2012 that started with him holding out for a new contract and public spats with his owner. Then he got hurt and didn’t play a game after week seven, some thinking he was sitting out to force a move. This is a contract year, so if MJD wants out of Jacksonville to play for someone who actually cares about winning, he should have an amazing year. Expect him to be back close to 1,500 combined yards, but don’t expect a lot of touchdowns.
9. Chris Johnson – Speaking of someone who has been left for dead, Chris Johnson was – at one time – the best running back in the entire NFL. Then, a bad attitude and a poor offensive scheme slowed his career. He was also accused of quitting after getting paid his big contract. Despite this, he will ran for 1,243 yards in 2012. He should still produce in 2013, but fantasy football owners have to hope for a better attitude.
10. Trent Richardson – Richardson proves that you can play strong even on a bad team. While Cleveland scares no one, and Richardson didn’t eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in 2012, he did run for 11 touchdowns and catch another. His total numbers were 1,317 combined yards and those numbers should spike even more with experience.
11. C.J. Spiller
12. DeMarco Murray
13. Darren Sproles
14. Matt Forte
15. Alfred Morris
16. Steven Jackson
17. Stevan Ridley
18. Frank Gore
19. David Wilson
20. Darren McFadden
21. Eddie Lacy
22. Reggie Bush
23. Montee Ball
24. Chris Ivory
25. Ryan Mathews
26. Lamar Miller
27. Ahmad Bradshaw
28. DeAngelo Williams
29. Giocani Bernard
30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
31. Rashard Mendenhall
32. Daryl Richardson