Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Top Fantasy Prospects: Running Backs

You may not be looking at what’s going on prior to the 2011 NFL Draft that much right now but aside from all of the problems with the players and the owners there is some real work going on. NFL teams are evaluating those players that could be drafted and are trying to get an idea of which players appeal to them and what they might be interested in.

Running backs have generally been difficult to scout when it comes to the NFL Draft because you really don’t know what will happen with them until they land with the team that drafts them. If they go to a team that uses a two back system, their value and ability can be watered down and could make them less desirable to fantasy owners that are looking for a running back to be a big time producer on their fantasy team.

Rookie running backs can start out faster than other rookie players such as quarterbacks and running backs because they don’t have as much to learn and they can be plugged in right away. Rookie running backs could be attractive on teams that run the ball a lot and so it’s easier to take a rookie runner than a rookie at another position.

This draft isn’t that deep in terms of talent at the running back position but there might be some guys at the top that could have successful seasons in their first NFL year.

Listed below are the top six guys at the running back position in the 2011 NFL Draft.

1. Mark Ingram-Alabama
2. Mikel Leshoure-Illinois
3. Ryan Williams-Virginia Tech
4. DeMarco Murray-Oklahoma
5. Jordan Todman-Connecticut
6. Kendall Hunter-Oklahoma State

Ingram appears to be a lock to go in the first round and if that’s the case then he will be a starter right away barring any kind of injury. Depending on what kind of system he ends up in it’s possible that he could have a pretty good year in 2011 and would be worth a look in your fantasy draft.

Some of the other guys, especially Leshoure could end up some time during their rookie seasons and could be pretty productive.

There are a few things to look for when you look at drafting a rookie running back in your fantasy league. The first thing to look for is what team they are on. Are they on a team that likes to run the ball a lot? Is he on a passing team that likes to throw the ball to its running backs often? Those factors have to be considered.

You also need to look at whether or not the rookie running back is going to split carriers with another running back. This will have a huge impact on any decision that you make about drafting him because he won’t have as many carries (or points) as running backs in a one back system. If that rookie lands in two back system similar to what the Carolina Panthers had with both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams then they may have some luck in their first season and would be a possibility in any fantasy draft.

Finally, you need to look at the injury history of the player. If they have been injured often in college it’s probably best to stay away from them in their first year just in case. You don’t want to spend a pick on a guy that’s going to get injured right out of the gate.

So rookie running backs in fantasy football do remain somewhat of an unknown but they are definitely worth a look but remember to look for those things discussed above so that you don’t make a mistake when drafting rookie running backs, if you choose to do so, in your fantasy draft.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Jon Williams said...

I hope Ingram lands in a good spot, because I think I already got some drool on him. I have a feeling he'll be a beast in the NFL.

March 22, 2011 at 6:12 AM  

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