2013 NFL Running Back Preview
There is a calmness that is soon to be disrupted in the NFL 2013 season. And the reason for that havoc is none other than one of the most talent backs to ever play the game. Adrian Peterson looks to follow up his 2012 NFL MVP season, coming into the 2013 season as one of the best players in the NFL. But luckily, even if you aren’t a Vikings fan, there are a host of other good backs that are ready to make a statement this year. Here is a list of some of the best backs that should make an impact in 2013.
As mentioned earlier, A.P. won his first NFL MVP trophy in 2012 after coming back from a torn ACL and MCL (an injury that was supposed to take over a year to recover from, by the way). Questionable in week 1, Peterson got the ball and never looked back. He rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2012, the second most ever by a running back, and you can expect for him to pick up where he left off with this season.
Arian Foster had a huge 2010 season after breaking on to the scene as an undrafted back. Three full seasons later, Foster has amassed more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three years. The reason you can expect Forster to do this well is because the Texans need him to do well. This is a huge year for the Texans and many will have them picked to go deep in the playoffs. Without Foster carrying his end of the deal, it’s not likely to happen. But if he does, the Texans will be a formidable team.
Beast Mode is coming into 2013 presumably more excited than he’s ever been since entering the NFL. Each of his years in Seattle, he has been forced to carry the load of a faltering offense. However with Russell Wilson becoming a legit quarterback for the Seahawks, expect a bunch of opportunities to open up for Lynch. Many have the Seahawks picked to easily win their division and to make a strong playoff push into January. With Beast Mode in the backfield, it is very likely to happen.
Chris Johnson lost a lot of credibility last year. Two years ago, he was leading the league in rushing and was even challenging Usain Bolt to a race. But after lengthy contract disputes with the Titans, Johnson seemed to loose a bit of his ‘umph’ in the early part of 2012 that haunted his entire season. The Titans still don’t have much to offer in terms of a credible team, which means Johnson is going to get stuck carrying a lot of the load. But if he can stay motivated and healthy, his lightening quick speed makes him a threat every time he touches the ball. He’s not just fast, he’s freaky fast. And he’ll show it if he wants to.
Other running backs to keep an eye out for this year include Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Doug Martin, Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush and Maurice Jones-Drew. And the best part is, it seems that every year a new unknown back comes out of nowhere and bursts onto the national stage. And although we don’t know who that unknown player will be yet, the names on this list aren’t a mystery and you can expect them to be atop the rushing leaderboards at the end of the season.
Don’t Let Draft Tendencies Fool You
The 2013 NFL draft did not feature a single running back being taken in the first round. The good news for fantasy players is that this is merely a sign that players at this position are a better value later in the draft. Rookie rushers such as second round picks Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball should be contributors to their teams right away.
Several Running Backs Should Approach 300 Touches
Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin are going to get at least 300 touches this year. C.J. Spiller is most likely going to get a combined 300 carries and receptions in 2013. Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris should also be candidates to get 300 or more touches this upcoming season. With the exception of Spiller, everyone mentioned in this group carried the ball more than 300 times last season.
This Doesn’t Mean That Running Back By Committee Is Going Away Anytime Soon
The running back position is going through a period of transition in the NFL. While some teams are giving one running back the majority of the carries, many teams prefer to spread the carries to ensure that no one gets hurt or too tired during the game. It will make for an interest dynamic for players, coaches and fans who are trying to figure out who to draft in fantasy football.
Teams with elite quarterbacks such as the Saints, Packers and Patriots are still going to pass the ball more than they run the ball. When they do run the ball, look for several different running backs to get the ball.
In Green Bay, DeJuan Harris is going to combine with Eddie Lacy to add some punch to their running game. New England is looking to feature Stephon Ridley on the ground while getting the ball to speedster Shane Vereen in open space as often as possible.
New Orleans is likely to get Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles more carries now that Chris Ivory is with the Jets. However, the truth is that the Saints are still going to throw the ball as often as possible.