Fantasy Football Frolicking: A Handful of Horses

A few years ago the common draft strategy was to start off with a RB, pick a RB second, and then get about 4 good backups.  Now the NFL has evolved into a passing orgy, and on top of that many teams now deploy a two headed RB attack and the days of workhorse backs are damn near extinct.  Today we will look at the rare few who remain, and who can still be counted on to anchor your fantasy lineup.  We will also look at a few who were once considered workhorses but no longer carry that tag due to injury or competition.


1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster will be picked first in many leagues and second in those which he isn’t.  He is a perfect fit in the Texans scheme, and he’ll catch a ton of balls, as well as rack up the yardage and TDs.  Even with the talented Ben Tate on the team, Arian is the workhorse and will be a fantasy superstar once again.

2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
The only thing holding Ray Rice back this season was his contract and now that is resolved, so he’s back to being a sure thing in fantasy land.  The team did use a third round  pick on Bernard Pierce, but he won’t be used enough to hurt Rice, who will once again put up huge numbers both receiving and rushing.

3. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
McCoy is set again for another big season especially in PPR leagues.  The team does have Dion Lewis, and drafted Bryce Brown, but the only  way those two will cut into his workload is if Shady gets serioiusly injured.  This is McCoy’s job and he does it very well.

4. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
With Mike Tolbert out of town, Mathews stock rose expotentially.  There is little else on the roster to steal carries, and now the only thing holding Mathews back from a monster season are injuries.  Mathews is set for a huge season if he can stay on the field.

5. Maurice Jones Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Seems like MJD has been playing forever, so it’s suprising to see he’s only 27 years old.  He had a huge season last year, and with some better receiving options in town, could have even a better one in 2012.  There are rumblings that he may hold out of camp, and that is one issue to keep an eye on.

6. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Johnson held out all of training camp last season and wasn’t playing like himself until the last few weeks of the fantasy season because of it.  He should bounce back in a big way this year and will remind everyone of the days when he was being considered as the no. 1 pick in fantasy. 

7. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
It may be surprising to see a rookie on this list but who’s going to take touches away from Richardson?  Certainly not Brandon Jackson, and Montario Hardesty’s chances aren’t any better.  Richardson is a dual threat back who could be catching a lot of balls from fellow rookie Brandon Weeden. 


Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
All Day is coming back from an ACL injury, has off the field issues, and could be eased back into his starting gig.  The Vikings have no real reason to rush him back as they are likley headed for another mediocre season. A platoon with Toby Gerhart is likely going to happen for Peterson, at least for the first half of the season.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Forte’s recent signing of a long term deal was a postive, but the lingering presence of Michael Bush was enough to keep him off the workhorse list.   Forte’s struggled in short yardage in the past, so a lot of that work could go Bush’s way and he may end up vulturing a handful of TDs.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Who knows how Charles will be after coming back from surgery.  Will he have the same burst and speed that carried him to such a great 2010 season?  Things don’t get any better with Peyton Hillis around vulturing touches and likley short yardage plays.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
If I was going to do an extinct list Jackson would be on it.  He’s still going to have a year worthy of RB2 status, but he’s got so many miles on his body that he can’t possibly keep going.  That is why the team used a second round pick on Isaiah Pead who will greatly cut into Jackson’s workload.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Having Kendall Hunter around was bad enough for Gore last season, but now he’s got to compete with LaMichael James, Hunter, and Brandon Jacobs for carries.  This situation went from bad to worse for Gore and anyone looking to draft him.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
McFadden is so talented and was on a monster season a year go before getting hurt.  But therein lies the problem.  The dude just can’t stay on the field and therefore cannot be trusted.


Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Bucs
Martin isn’t great in anyone area, but the guy just makes positive plays when the ball is in his hands.  Unlike Blount, Martin can also catch the ball and should eventually supplant Blount as the starter and could be a perennial first round pick as soon as next year.

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