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Any fantasy owner with the No. 1 overall draft pick this season will not have an easy decision, as there is no clear consensus on which player is the safest choice. Based on an average draft position, most fantasy owners agree that the pick should be a running back.
Here are my top five fantasy running backs and sleepers:
1.) Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers-Bye week 11) – Marshall Faulk Jr. in the making. He’s young, quick, and dominant in the passing game. In the Steelers high powered offense, there’s little reason to think Bell cannot get right back to high numbers once he comes back from his suspension in Week 3. He’s still my choice for #1 overall.
2.) Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs-Bye week 9) – Yes he fell off a little last year, but he’s still the man in Kansas City. His legs are fresh and at 28 years old, he’s still one of the top fantasy running backs in football.
3. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings-Bye week 5) – A lot of question marks going to this season for AP due to numerous reasons (he’s 30 years old; only played 1 game last season due to his suspension, and now he lost his right tackle for the season) but to me he’s still a fantasy beast when he’s healthy. He has a lot to prove after the lost season so expect good numbers this year.
4.) Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers-Bye week 7) – As long as Aaron Rodgers is under snap, Lacy will remain one of the focal points of the Packers offense, which caps Lacy’s upside. He struggled in his first four games last year, but finished strong (1,139 on only 246 carries and 13 total TDs), which makes him worth a top five pick.
5.) Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks-Bye week 9) – Is it me, or does it seem like Lynch has been in the league over 10 years??? Regardless, the man called “Beast Mode” is still one of the best fantasy running backs today. His workload decreased last season, yet his production (yards and touchdowns) went up. Newly acquired tight end, Jimmy Graham, should take some attention away to bring Lynch touchdown numbers back to double digits.
Here are my top 5 sleepers:
1.) Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions-Bye Week 9) – Coaches are praising Abdullah’s for his work ethic so far and he also had a great 1st preseason game (67 yards on only 7 carries). He will likely open the season behind Joique Bell, but has the talent to steal away featured duties. Don’t be surprised if he ends up the starter later in the season.
2.) David Cobb (Tennessee Titans-Bye week 4) – If you truly think Bishop Sankey is the answer at running back,THINK AGAIN! Cobb figures to be a big factor in the running game and is a better pass blocker. He had a nice preseason game (53 yards on 11 carries) compared to Sankey (15 yards on 8 carries) so the door is open for Cobb to steal major carries away this season.
3.) Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Bye week 6) – It’s hard to put Martin here as a sleeper, being that just two seasons ago he was a fantasy monster as a rookie. Big injuries caused him to have a sophomore slump last year, and now he’s finally healthy; hoping to relive his 2012 form. Charles Sims is currently battling Martin for the starting spot, but Doug is leaner, stronger, and is ready to take the full load in Tampa.
4.) Joseph Randle (Dallas Cowboys-Bye week 6) – Any running back to run behind one of the best offensive lines in football should post great fantasy numbers. Randle, if healthy, should finish in the top 12.
5.) Lorenzo Taliaferro (Baltimore Ravens-Bye week 9) – Let’s not forget this: Justin Forsett only had 1,692 rushing yards TOTAL in five years before exploding for 1,266 last season. Dorsett is 29 years old and now is going to be the featured back in Baltimore??? I don’t care if Marc Trestman is their offensive coordinator and no disrespect to Forsett, I just can’t see him repeating those numbers. Look for Taliaferro to get the goal line carries.
Next week, I will give you my “Top 5” wide receivers and sleepers.