5 running backs we’re keeping an eye on headed into the 2016 season.
It’s never too early to talk some fantasy football especially when it comes to running backs and knowing the importance of having a true #1 or a consistent back or two on your roster. I’m going to go ahead and talk about 5 running backs who either under-performed, went down with injury, or those who maintained expectations from last season. Now if you’re like me you love going after the best available backs in a draft right out of the gate. No one loves having a running back with a bunch of questions midway through the season. It’s frustrating to the point where you may find yourself deep-sea fishing constantly on the waiver wire, or streaming different backs on a week to week basis. With that said, the list isn’t in any order, so let’s go ahead and get started with the first running back who obviously comes to mind.
Eddie Lacy drove a lot of people crazy including myself. He was one of the first players gone in the first round in numerous leagues. Now traditionally Eddie Lacy has been a slow starter fantasy wise, but last season he never seemed to get into a rhythm until midway through the season, and even at that he wasn’t consistent. He wasn’t helping you win you your league. He had his off field issues, and one thing every Lacy owner hated is that you didn’t know when James Stark was going to take over. You had no idea what to do with Lacy last season. You couldn’t drop him, but at the same time you weren’t going to get full value back in a trade either. Now going into the 2016 season everybody has seen the photos of a much slimmer and healthier Eddie Lacy floating around all over social media, and heard about his p90x routine. After last season some fantasy players may not even want a part of Lacy again, at least he won’t be their first choice, but I’m willing to take the gamble on Lacy again and I’ll tell you why. To begin, Jordy Nelson is coming back off of a torn ACL which tremendously helps Lacy’s value and the Packers offense as a whole. Oh yeah and an underrated fact is that he’s in a contract year, and wants to forget about what he didn’t do last season and come in this season fresh and ready to put in the work. My gut feeling is that Lacy has a bounce back year. I’m drafting him with confidence.
Now let me start off by saying Jeremy Hill you *%***! Whew! Okay now that I got that off my chest let’s begin. Jeremy Hill was another running back who was going late in the first round and in the early second. Talk about a hype train. 2015 was supposed to be Hill’s break out year to where he was going to turn into that true RB-1. Yeah none of that ever happened. While he did finish the season with 12 TD’s he was another player who was constantly driving you crazy week to week and wasn’t consistent. If you found yourself starting Hill in your line up you were basically throwing up a Hail Mary, and hoping that he at least fall in to the end zone. It didn’t help much either when he was supposed to be the guy and Gio Bernard would come in for him in-between snaps to outplay him majority of the time. It just seemed as is Hill wasn’t comfortable in numerous situations, and if he just simply didn’t have any passion to be on the field at times. Looking ahead into the season I’m not that excited for Hill. I’d probably take a flyer on him if he’s available in the mid rounds, but I’m definitely not reaching. He’s still one of the running backs I’m going to be keeping an eye on, and hoping he can return to the guy we saw running the ball in 2014.
In Jamaal’s case it was just fantasy heart-break. Coming off a 1,000 yard season Charles was a safe pick for most players drafting him. Especially when it came to TD’s whether it was on the ground, or in the air. Making a safe and speedy recovery from a second ACL injury Charles should still be drafted in the early rounds of a draft. It’s going to be an interesting situation considering how Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware played down the stretch while Charles was sidelined. At 29 years old and getting closer to 30, I truly believe Charles still has some good days ahead of him in the NFL and in fantasy as well. I don’t expect him to be the same guy we’re all accustomed to seeing, but I still expect Charles to get a healthy workload and be consistent on a week to week basis for the most part.
Talk about a fantasy heart-break to travesty. Bell started the season serving a two game suspension due to driving under the influence of marijuana last off-season, and we watched DeAngelo Williams fill in just fine. From weeks 3 to 8 Bell started getting back into his groove and was consistent until he suffered a gruesome knee injury in week 8 against the Bengals where he finished the day with 45 yards on 10 attempts. Not having played a full season yet in the NFL Bell stated that he’s using that as his motivation going into the 2016 season and that he’s excited to show the whole world what he’s fully capable of when healthy, and playing a full season. Bell also stated that he’s talked to his coaches and staff, saying that they’re going to protect him by only allowing him to participate in non contact drills going into the season. Bell in most leagues should be the #1 RB off most boards given the fact that there’s definitely going to be risk involved in the pick, but is well worth the reward. I expect Bell to come into the 2016 season motivated and thrilled to get back onto the field and hopefully give us a season to remember we all know that he’s capable of.
If any running back had piles of questions and scrutiny following him into the 2015 season it was Ap2k himself. After only playing one game in 2014 and sitting on the shelf for the rest of the season due to off field issues with child abuse accusations. You didn’t know what you were going to get out of Adrian Peterson in 2015 being that he was basically out a full year. Although he was still taken within the first three picks of most drafts he got off to a slow start week 1 on Monday night vs the 49ers, but was able to keep his owners content week to week with his production on the field showing us that he still a beast on the field. Peterson finished 2015 with 1,485 yards on the ground and 11 TD’s. If there was ever a safer pick Adrian Peterson is your best bet. At 31 years old, Peterson is just a freak of nature, and special kind of talent that I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he gives us another year similar to what we got last season. If you’re a little worried about taking a guy like Le’veon Bell #1 overall due to health reasons, no one is going to judge you for taking AP over anybody else.