Over the next week, I will be campaigning for "The Next 5." These will be the guys after the most productive/popular players at their respected positions has been drafted in your league already. Today I'll focus on RB's.
When it comes to running backs and their contributions to your fantasy team, it's all about touchdowns, amount of carries or touches a game, which include running the ball and/or catching it out the back field, and yards gained. The first person on my list had a break out season two years ago and was limited in the 2011-12 season due to injuries. The explosive Darren McFadden should be healthy this season and if he can stay that way, he'll have a great season. McFadden can run and catch the ball as well as any back in the league and when at full strength, he can also be the most productive back in the NFL. You know McFadden will get more than the 16.1 carries a game he average last year with old back up Michael Bush now sporting a Bears uniform. He'll do better than the 614 rushing yards and four TD's and will be an important piece to the Raiders offense in Carson Palmer's first full year at the helm. If Darren can stay healthy, he may be the best, yes I said best, fantasy running back in the 2012-13 season.
The San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews comes in second on my board. The ex-Fresno State Bulldog is coming of a 1,091 yards rushing season with six touchdowns. Though Mathews shares carries at times with teammate Mike Tolbert, he is the premier back on the team because of his ability to run and catch the football. You know with coach Norv Turner still running things, expect for him to stick to his philosophy which is running the rock. Which equals out to Mathew getting a few more than the 15.9 carries he averaged last year. It's only Mathews third season so the young running back should improve all across the board. Draft him if he's hanging around. He could be a great pick-up for your squad.
At number three on my board is Beanie Wells. Wells is another one of those backs with a low risk, high reward feel to him. He's a hard nose, downhill runner who when is healthy can provide big time numbers for you. For Wells it's all about coming into camp in shape. The guy is a beast who averaged 17.5 carries (9th in the league), had 1,047 rushing yards and ten TD's last year in limited action. Trust me, with the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation not looking promising, look for Beanie to get his touches and have a few monster games. That's if the old Ohio State Buckeye can stay on the field.
Ahmad Bradshaw comes in fourth on my list. I swear the guy has some type of Napoleon complex with the way he runs. At 5'10" 214 pounds, Bradshaw runs more like a guy who is six feet, 240 pounds. Bradshaw's nine touchdowns was tenth in the league last year and expect that number to get better with the shadow of Brandon Jacobs no longer around. He is now the man for the defending Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants. The 14.2 carries a game and 659 rushing yards he totaled in the 2011-12 season should go up. Oh and let's not forget how good of a catcher out the back field he is when Eli checks down to him. Expect the "little man" to have a nice season so don't be afraid to make him your second choice at running back.
The last guy on my board is actually three of them; DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart of the Carolina Panthers and Ben Tate of The Houston Texans.
I couldn't just pick one of the guys because they all split carries but are very effective and productive when they get their opportunity. Williams 9.7 carries a game and Stewart's 8.9 (roughly 20 combined), may sound insufficient but they both make it count when it's their turn. DeAngelo ran for 836 yards last season while Jonathan added 761 more. They also combined for 11 touchdowns. Though I don't expect for either one of the guys to do to much better statistically in the 2012-13 season because of their roles, they both added depth and production to my fantasy roster last year. I can say the same for the Texans' Ben Tate who 942 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns were very impressive in Arian Foster's absence. The guy is a good running back who led the league in rushing early in the 2011-12 season and combined with arguably the best offensive line in football, don't be surprised if Mr. Tate does even better this season if Foster goes down.
For "The Next 5" Wide Receiver report, check back again tomorrow.