Fantasy Football Player Analysis: Running back

by Cory J. Bonini on July 23, 2012 @ 02:26:46 PDT

 

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25) Jonathan Stewart | Carolina Panthers | 5-foot-10, 235 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
71111280430241420911300226

Fantasy analysis: J-Stew has Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and now Mike Tolbert to contend with for touches, especially around the end zone. His receiving figures were nice last year (47 receptions), but his production was erratic. Stewart needs to tote the ball nearly 20 times per game to really get his motor going, and he didn't rush more than 14 times in any game last year. He is a roster-filler at this point as a third fantasy back with more value in PPR leagues.

26) BenJarvus Green-Ellis | Cincinnati Bengals | 5-foot-11, 215 pounds | 5th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1551956257757939237001710

Fantasy analysis: The Law Firm begins his Bengals career as the projected starter. He may share carries with Bernard Scott, who has failed to live up to expectations. BJGE is a between-the-tackles plodder with history of having a knack for finding the end zone. The Bengals' OL is built for power running; the passing game is competent enough to keep defenses honest. Green-Ellis is an uninspiring but solid No. 3 fantasy back. You typically can land him in the fifth round.

27) Donald Brown | Indianapolis Colts | 5-foot-10, 210 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
32721382880271346860103

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Fantasy analysis: Brown has an interesting sleeper quality to him. The Colts will have to depend on some form of a consistent running game to help Andrew Luck's maturation. If Luck is a quick study, Brown could have larger running lanes. Indy's revamped offensive line will be the key. Brown has OC Bruce Arians' unrelenting dedication to the ground game working in his favor. The former first-round pick showed signs last season of being able to play in this league. Draft him as a third back (sixth-round ADP), but be aware of his inconsistent performances.

28) Reggie Bush | Miami Dolphins | 6-foot, 203 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
212252946109646667241645424610

Fantasy analysis: Bush's coming out party may have coincided with a change of scenery. The versatile back rushed for a career-high 1,086 yards and hauled in 43 passes last year for the Dolphins. He will see more time sharing with second-year back Daniel Thomas in '12, but as long as he can stay healthy, the former USC standout should check in as a third fantasy back in all scoring formats. He could be extremely dangerous in the passing game now that the Dolphins will employ a West Coast system under OC Mike Sherman. PPR owners should have more confidence in him.

29) Darren Sproles | New Orleans Saints | 5-foot-6, 190 pounds | 8th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
519129444402717766071668610

Fantasy analysis: Simply put, Sproles was a PPR demon last year. That, however, may overvalue him in 2012. He is going in the fourth round of standard-scoring and PPR formats. The creativity displayed by Sean Payton in how he utilized the diminutive back will be missed. Drew Brees' contract spat with the team also factors in, to a lesser degree. Sproles should have a solid season, but at 29 years old, with the expected healthy return of Mark Ingram, hedge your bets on statistical regression. He is a No. 3 in PPR and a fourth back in standard scoring.

30) Jahvid Best | Detroit Lions | 5-foot-10, 199 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy analysis: A major concussion robbed Best of 10 games last year. He started hot by averaging 4.6 yards per carry, catching 27 passes and scoring three times in six games. The Lions are a pass-first team, which isn't all bad given Best's natural receiving talents. Best, who has drawn rave reviews this offseason, will have to contend with a healthy Mikel Leshoure for at least 14 games. PPR owners should look to him as a high-risk, high-reward third back in the middle rounds.

31) DeAngelo Williams | Carolina Panthers | 5-foot-9, 217 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1451856848344612181301940147

Fantasy analysis: Williams comes with mild injury risk but more importantly has to battle Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert for touches any given week. The big-play veteran can help your team a great deal, but it is maddening to figure out when to play him (seven games with no more than 35 rushing yards in 2011). He came on strong in the second half last year, but he still had four games with single-digit carries and no receptions. DAW is a low-end No. 3 or an ideal fourth back.

32) C.J. Spiller | Buffalo Bills | 5-foot-11, 193 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2482881265141557434934439213610

Fantasy analysis: Spiller is likely to make a significant jump in our rankings as this offseason makes his role clearer. He could split evenly with Fred Jackson, and the Bills will have packages in which both backs are on the field at the same time. Spiller looked like an NFL running back in 2011 after a miserable showing as a rookie. He hasn't quite put a stranglehold on our confidence yet, but Spiller is inching his way to becoming a weekly flex play if he indeed shares carries. Draft him as a low-end No. 3 in all formats; this valuation is more certain in PPR leagues.

33) Stevan Ridley | New England Patriots | 5-foot-11, 225 pounds | 2nd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2913311293144311136124691011114

Fantasy analysis: Don't expect a lot of carries, and Ridley is not much of a factor in the passing game. Nonetheless, he has the size to handle a 200-carry season of a lot of work between the tackles. Ridley is a No. 3 fantasy back with the upside to produce weak RB2 stats if he has a quality year in the red zone. The Pats love to pass and have a cache of mouths to feed. He is being drafted, on average, in the early seventh round.

34) Mark Ingram | New Orleans Saints | 5-foot-9, 215 pounds | 2nd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1722127318816871330560169

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

Fantasy analysis: Ingram's rookie season was marred by injuries and impotent play. The offense runs through Drew Brees' arm and boasts three legitimate rushing threats. Ingram's talent is not in question, although he seemed to be tentative at times as a rook. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason and will be ready for Week 1, sans a setback. Draft him as a weak No. 3 or quality fourth option in the middle rounds of your selection process, if he falls past his overvalued early fifth-round average placement.

35) James Starks | Green Bay Packers | 6-foot-2, 218 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
20608923902060500103

Fantasy analysis: From a physical skill set perspective, Starks is nothing more than an average player. This high-octane offense has so many weapons that Starks is unlikely to be given a chance to prove he is better than a bit player. Even though Green Bay's pass-happy offense will make it tough for him to garner a lot of work, he has value as a third fantasy back. Starks has little competition for touches. He goes, on average, in the fourth round, which may be a hair too early.

36) Peyton Hillis | Kansas City Chiefs | 6-foot-2, 250 pounds | 5th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1959732230261249970103

Fantasy analysis: Hillis may be more than an insurance policy for Jamaal Charles (knee) in 2012. KC's team is built for running, which may be the only way they will have success with Matt Cassel at quarterback. A sustained ground attack means more than just Charles, regardless of his health. Enter Hillis' contrasting style of play. He should be involved in tough-yardage situations as well as near the stripe. Don't forget his savvy as a receiver out of the backfield. Hillis could be a sleeper if you can land him at the right price. He generally comes off the board in the ninth round. 

Read on to get the scoop on low-tier fantasy rushers.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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