Keeping the Faith - Running Backs

As the football season fast approaches I've been taking the time to look at the running backs on my keeper league roster. As many of you may know I've been a part of one of the most competitive keeper leagues around called the Tri-State Football League. I originally started this league but handed off the commissioner reigns to my brother in the second season. You can check out the league website here.

I've obviously made some bad decisions when it comes to running backs. My first mistake was hoping that Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams could coexist in a backfield with Cam Newton as quarterback. Newton took over so much of the touches in the offensive last season that their wasn't much left for either Stewart or Williams. I haven't lost faith in Stewart who is four years younger than Williams. He was starting to catch the ball better out the backfield last season, so his value will increase when teams start to take away the deep pass and Newton's running ability. Williams who I acquired a few years ago for Matt Cassel (after the Tom Brady injury) was once a fantasy stud, but as he gets closer to age thirty, he's become a dud and it looks like his time is running out. I probably won't be able to trade Williams but he's a nice handcuff for Stewart.

Javid Best has been another major disappointment. All the analysts rave about his "potential" but that's all it "potential." The last two years he's come out of the gate strong and been a top fantasy performer through three weeks, then he gets hurt. The return of Mikel Leshoure (who was injured all of this rookie year) could mean less opportunities for Best who already plays in a pass heavy offensive where running backs are an after thought.

LeGarrette Blount has never been a consistent back and his attitude on and off the field is starting to make NFL coaches doubt if he'll ever been a feature back. Last year, the Bucs tried to make him one and didn't even break 1,000 years, was terrible in the red zone, and had fumble issues. Tampa Bay has already stated that rookie David Martin will be there #1 back in 2012. Blount is nothing more than a bye week filler for me or a handcuff for Martin if I can get him in the draft.

Michael Bush is in an interesting situation. He's been brought into Chicago to compliment Matt Forte. He'll mostly be a third down back or get goal line carries. However, he did have similar stats to Forte last season, which may mean he'll see more carries than people think and if Forte gets hurt, then he'll be the guy.

Rashad Jennings could be a dark horse. A couple of years ago he had 459 rushing yards, and 223 receiving years even with MJD (Maurice Jones-Drew). He was injured all of last year. Jennings is a solid back who will get a lot of opportunities in a run heavy offensive. He's a nice back-up to have on your bench, especially if MJD goes down with an injury. 

Phillip Tanner was a waiver pick-up for me last year, and with the log jam at running back in Dallas I'll most likely drop him.

In the draft this year I'll be looking to take a couple running backs. While I doubt I'll be able to get Trent Richardson at the #4 pick, I may have a shot at getting David Martin or David Wilson
If all three are gone by the #4 pick I'll probably try and snag a second tier running back like Isaiah Pead or Ronnie Hillman in the second round. While this won't fill my most glaring need, it will at least give me something to build on.

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