Skip to main content

Fantasy Football Handcuffs

Fantasy Football drafts are taking place daily, and fantasy owners everywhere are already planning on what to do in case of an injury.  We look at all 32 NFL teams and breakdown their RB situations.  Some teams still have a go to guy, while others will go with the running back by committee.

Injury Risk - INJ
Not So Good - NSG
Split Carries - 50/50
Touches Vulture - VUL
Offensive Weapon - PPR

Aricona Cardinals
Mendenhall had 3 good season in a row from 2009-11 rushing for 3309 yards and 29 TDs. But he now joins an Arizona Cardinals offense with a terrible offensive line, and plays the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers 4 times. The Cardinals were dead last in rushing yards last season and have had just 2 1,000 yard rushers over the last 6 seasons. Ryan Williams is the better running back and if he proves healthy could take over again as the teams starting back. Either way, avoid all Cardinals running backs unless you play in a very deep league, or injuries ruin your fantasy team.

Atlanta Falcons Steven Jackson is as good as they get and has rushed for 1,000+ yards 8 years in a row. The Falcons need him to be healthy and even though he is capable of catching balls out of the backfield, we could see many of those opportunities given to Jacquizz Rodgers.

Baltimore Ravens
Ray Rice rushed for over 1,000 yards and 9 TDs last season, but Bernard Pierce tallied over 500 yards himself!  The one nice thing is that Pierce does not catch any passes out of the backfield.  The problem is that Rice got less than 60% of the teams carries.  It should be closer to 70/30 then 60/40.

Buffalo Bills
C.J. Spiller ran all over opposing defenses after Fred Jackson went down with two knee injuries last season.  With a new HC in town and Spiller's break away speed, it is very possible Spiller loses a handful of TDs to Jackson at the goalline.

Carolina Panthers
With Jonathan Stewarts ankle injury still a problem, DeAngelo Williams is the guy in Carolina.  That is of course if you do not count Cam Newton.  Newton led the team in rushing yards and rushing TDs last season.  Mike Tolbert actually scored more TDs than Williams as well so if you draft Williams, don't expect more in the scoring column!

Chicago Bears
Much like the situation in Buffalo, a new HC in Chicago means we don't know how the backs will be used.  Rumors have it that Forte will be heavily involved in the offense, but Michael Bush knows how to score around the goaline.

Cincinnati Bengals
BJGE rushed for 1,000+ yards for the second time in his career, during his first season with the Bengals.  But his 278 rushing attempts are too much for him to handle and rookie Giovani Bernard was brought in here to do damage.  Of the top RBs with the 10 most rushing attempts, only Shonn Greene averaged less per attempt then the Law Firm and only he and Stevan Ridley had less rushing attempts go 20+ yards. 

Cleveland Browns
One of the few teams in the NFL with a single 3 down running back. 

Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray is a great running back...when healthy.  He averages 4.8 yards per carry for his career, but have played in just 23 of 32 possible games.  Feel confident drafting Murray, but make sure you have a solid 3rd running back JUST IN CASE!

Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos don't even need to run the football with the weapons they have at receiver, but it looks as if Ball and Hillman will split the carries to start the season.  Both are best suited as 3rd or 4tth RBs on your fantasy team come Week 1 and let them play it out while they are sitting on your bench.

Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush proved that he could run the football in the NFL last season on a bad Miami Dolphins team.  Now he gets to join a Detroit Lions offense that should open up the field for him to continue to run and catch passes, while being a valuable fantasy RB2.  Leshoure will spell Bush from time to time to keep him healthy, while stealing a couple of TDs close to the endzone!

Green Bay Packers
There is no doubt that Eddie Lacy is the guy in Green Bay, it's just how often will he be used.  The Packers lost Bulaga upfront which will hurt as the Packers didn't have a good offensive line to begin with.  Lacy is used to running behind the best lineman in the nation so things could get tricky if he can't run straight downfield.  Starks sits ahead of Franklin at the moment on the depth charts, but I doubt we hear much about him this season.

Houston Texans
As long as Arian Foster stays healthy, we got nothing to worry about here.  It's business as usual!

Indianapolis Colts
Bradshaw has foot issues, us Giants fans know all too well.  Vick Ballard has a solid rookie campaign and will improve on that this season as well as stealing all goalline carries from Ahmad.  Neither back will be catching many passes out of the backfield.

Jacksonville Jaguars
One of those few teams with a do it all back.  MJD is healthy, that's all we care about in Jacksonville.

Kansas City Chiefs
See above

Miami Dolphins
By the look of things, its Lamar Miller's job to lose, but both backs will be used.  Miller averaged nearly 5 yards per carry last season while Thomas gained less than 4.  Try not to rely on these boys for the first couple of weeks if you can help it!

Minnesota Vikings
All Day

New England Patriots
If you miss out on Darren Sproles and want a similar player, go for Vereen.  Ridley will get 90% of the carries, so Vereen's value is in PPR leagues.  Even if Ridley suffers an injury, the Patriots might go to Bolden or Blount before handing the ball off to Vereen.

New Orleans Saints
If you told me that Mark Ingram wouldn't be the starting running back in New Orleans 3 years after being drafted, I would have laughed in your face.  He is going to get the majority of the carries, but Thomas will still be there and Sproles will be in on 3rd down.

New York Giants
David Wilson is as explosive a runner there is in the NFL, but like we saw with Bradshaw, Andre Brown (or Brandon Jacobs) vulture those TDs, that's just the way it is for Big Blue RBs..  Brown did a great job for the G-Men scoring 8 TDs on just 73 touches last season.

New York Jets
Ivory battled injuries in New Orleans as well as the 3 guys listed above him on the depth chart.  Now in green, if he can stay healthy, there is no reason why he can't be a VERY valuable draft pick and RB2.  There are to many touches to be lost to injury!  Bilal Powell is going to get his touches as the Jets will need to keep Ivory healthy.

Oakland Raiders
The Raiders will be playing from behind often this season and Reece is the guy out of the backfield catching passes.  The Raiders rushed for just 4 TDs as a team last season.

Philadelphia Eagles
It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly uses his running backs, or if his tempo requires constant substitutions.

Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers couldn't move the football on the ground last season.  Le'Veon Bell is clearly the best running back on the team and should see the majority of the carries.  Doesn't mean he will take them very far though.

San Diego Chargers
If Mathews is healthy there is nothing to worry about here.  Woodhead will get in on passing situations but shouldn't be stealing carries away from anywhere on the field. 

Seattle Seahawks
Beast mode

San Francisco 49ers
This is Frank Gore's team, no need to worry about Hunter.

St. Louis Rams
Try to avoid this situation.  Come the middle of the season, whoever has taken over will be a nice Bye Week Filler.  There are big shoes to fill now that Steven Jackson is gone and I'm not even sure Jeff Fisher knows if all of these guys combined can fill 'em!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I don't think we need to worry about goalline carries being taken away.  If anything, he will take some of the short yardage situations to spell Martin.  I doubt they want Doug to have 319 rushing attempts again.

Teneessee Titans
CJ will be fine, and Greene will only get a handful of goalline carries.

Washignton Redskins
Alfred Morris has nothing to worry about.