7 Running Backs to Target in Early My Fantasy League MFL10s

arianfoster

I recently published a list of six running backs I’ll be avoiding in early 2015 MFL10s based off of my four simple rules for drafting RBs. At the time that article was published, MFL10 best ball leagues had not started yet and so I had no ADP data. Now, I have about a week’s worth of ADP data. That’s not substantial, but it is more than enough to be useful. At this point I should mention that I’m not going to include Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, or Eddie Lacy on this list. That’s because they’re the top three RBs in terms of ADP, and also pretty clearly my top three choices at RB. You probably don’t need much convincing to draft any of these guys. With that disclaimer and the new ADP data in mind, here are seven more RBs to target:

LeSean McCoy

McCoy had a disappointing 2014 after being drafted as a top two pick. He still had almost 1,500 total yards from scrimmage. That high floor is why I’m targeting McCoy heavily, and it’s important to remember why he was a top two pick just a season ago. In 2013 he had over 2100 yards from scrimmage in the Eagles fast-paced offense. That upside still exists. The Eagles offensive line suffered multiple injuries in 2014 and their quarterback situation was a platoon featuring a regressing Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. There’s a real possibility for a bounce-back year here. McCoy is being drafted as the sixth RB off of the board on average, but has fallen as far the 20th overall pick.

Arian Foster

Foster is the eighth RB off the board after a season in which he just posted almost 1,600 yards from scrimmage and 13 total TDs… in just 13 games. I think the “just 13 games” part seems to be affecting his ADP negatively, which is fair. We’d all prefer our players to stay healthy for 16 games and Foster’s injury history isn’t a short read. But the thing you have to keep in mind is that in a best ball league you’re almost never going to get 16 games from a player. Look at Foster’s stats again. When he did play, he was great, and that’s what you really want. Foster may play fewer total games than the alternatives… but he’s also probably likely to give you more total games than the alternatives.

Lamar Miller

My nickname for Lamar Miller this season is probably going to be Mr. Third Round. His average ADP is pick 3.04 and he’s fallen as far as pick 4.o2. Miller seems to get no credit and a lot of flack, and I suspect that’s largely because of how much he disappointed drafters in 2013. Here are some quick bullet points on Miller:

  • Was at one point considered to be a potential first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
  • The 2015 season will be Miller’s fourth in the NFL, and he will only be 24.
  • His carries have increased in each NFL season.
  • In 2014 he had 1,374 yards from scrimmage and 9 total TDs along with 38 receptions.
  • He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in his first year in new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense.

All of that seems to fit the profile of an RB whose career is on an upward trajectory. I would not be surprised at all if Miller easily outperforms his ADP.

Justin Forsett

I’d say Forsett is easily the riskiest of my targets. He only has one great year on his record and he’s a free agent. Still, I think he presents an option with a decent floor and even some considerable upside. Part of the argument for Forsett is easy to make- He just had over 1,500 yards from scrimmage with 8 TDs and 44 receptions. That’s the most obvious part. For his career, Forsett has actually averaged 5.1 yards per carry, so it seems unlikely that last season was a complete fluke. The real question is what will Forsett’s role be in 2015? Here are the four most likely possibilities in my opinion:

  1. He stays in Baltimore with a similar role. This is obviously the ideal situation, and the one I personally think will be the most likely. Forsett has expressed interest in staying in Baltimore and says they have also expressed interest in keeping them. It seems to be the most reasonable decision for both parties. Gary Kubiak has left but Forsett says they plan to keep some of the same run-game principles. What’s truly interesting is Gary Kubiak’s replacement: Marc Trestman. You may recall that Matt Forte had over 100 receptions in Trestman’s offense. I doubt that Forsett would reach that milestone, but there’s a lot of upside to be had.
  2. He stays in Baltimore with a smaller role. This mostly boils down to the possibility that the Ravens increase the talented Lorenzo Taliaferro’s role or draft another RB. In this scenario Forsett would likely still have a pretty high floor.
  3. He gets a lead role elsewhere. There probably aren’t many places where this is a possibility, but Atlanta would be one as Kyle Shanahan and Gary Kubiak have historically utilized similar running schemes. In this scenario Forsett is still valuable.
  4. He gets a committee role elsewhere. This is the least ideal choice, but he’s still far from a waste of a pick in this scenario.

In the fourth round, and even sometimes in the third, I think he’s well worth the risk.

Jeremy Hill/Giovani Bernard

Both of these picks are very conditional on draft position for me. Hill has gone as early as the sixth overall pick and as late as the last pick of the second round. Taking Hill anywhere in the first round is probably a mistake, but I’ll be getting some exposure towards the end of the second. Bernard has been drafted as early as pick 3.06 but as late as pick 5.10. I’m probably targeting him from the mid-fourth on. Both of these backs figure to have big weeks and I kind of like the idea of drafting both in the same draft if things work out that way.

Bishop Sankey

There’s no denying that Sankey was a complete bust in 2014. However he was an incredible prospect based off of his athleticism and college production and he was the first RB taken in the 2014 NFL Draft. That last part is critical because draft position seems to be a significant predictor for carries in a RB’s first two years. Sankey is a risk but he’s one of the few nominal starters that can be frequently found in the seventh round or later.

Final Thoughts

These recommendations are not all-encompassing, and are bound to change over time with changes in ADP or player news. If you have any questions on these RBs or others feel free to leave a comment in the comments section or reach me on Twitter @TheHumanHuman.