Fantasy Football Guide: Running Backs

Ground and pound your opponent into submission with these rushers!

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

The running back position has multiple big name players with question marks this season.  From players coming off of injury (Adrian Peterson), are injury prone (Ryan Matthews), or are holding out (Maurice Jones-Drew).  These players should be the best bet to buy high.

The top five:
Arian Foster – Houston: Foster started last season battling injuries, but the 2010 rushing champion finished up strong.  Injuries to the top two quarterbacks and the Texans' top WR allowed opposing teams to stack the box against Foster and he was still able to put up good numbers.  If the team as a whole stays relatively healthy, Foster could have a big year.

LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia: McCoy might be the best dual threat back in the league, which is exactly what head coach Andy Reid likes.  McCoy has answered doubters that he can be an every down back and should rack up lots of yards from scrimmage this year.

Ray Rice – Baltimore: Rice is the Ravens biggest weapon year in and year out.  As long as Baltimore doesn't try and prove to the world that Joe Flacco is better than he really is and run the offense through Rice first and foremost, Baltimore will have a good year, and Rice will have another good year.

Matt Forte – Chicago: Forte has his new contract and should be ready to carry the Bear's offense.  New offensive coordinator Mike Tice will try and focus on a balanced offense which means good things for Forte. Forte was dominant last season before injuries cut his season short, but he doesn't have a history of being injury prone, so this year could be a good one.

Fred Jackson – Buffalo: Just like Forte, Jackson was dominating on the ground before injuries cut his season short.  The Bills are at their best when they spread out their offense and Jackson is their most effective weapon on the ground and at times through the air.  A late first round selection of the underrated Jackson should be a winning move.

Later round steals
Doug Martin – Tampa Bay
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati
Tampa traded into the first round to pick up Martin and even though he's in a position battle with Legarrette Blount, coach Greg Schiano has already stated that the job is Martin's to lose.  It would not surprise me if Martin won rookie of the year this year.  Green-Ellis will finally get his chance to be a featured runner in Cincinnati.  He doesn't fumble, ever, and should finally give the Bengals some stability at the position.

Be cautious when drafting
Ryan Matthews – San Diego
Darren McFadden – Oakland
Total boom or bust potential with these two running backs.  Both are rated high enough to be drafted in the first round of most leagues, and if they stay healthy each would be among the top point scorers in the league. But more than likely one of these two players will miss half the season.

J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook