5. Doug Martin
Doug Martin had a huge rookie season, but had dipped slowly the next 2 years. Then in 2015, Martin came back and had a big year, posting 1,402 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. For the most part, he was a consistent player. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a few big time play makers on offense that will help take the load off Martin. Martin had some big games in 2015 where he would breakout for a 40 plus yard touchdown. I expect the same from the 5’9 running back in 2016.
4. Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell only appeared in 6 games in 2015 due to suspension and injury. His numbers were a small sample size, but he still had 556 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in 2015. His 1,361 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in 2014 show the potential is still there. He also is valuable in the passing game, with 854 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in 2014. He might be the top receiving back in football. If he keeps his head straight and stays healthy, he could be the most talented running back in football. He might be higher on this list if he didn’t have to serve a 3 game suspension at the beginning of the year. The reality is, Bell is a little bit of a gamble, but if he stays on the field after the suspension, he could be a top 5 fantasy running back.
3. Eddie Lacy
Eddie Lacy was a little bit of a disappointment in 2015. Coming off back to back 1,00 yard seasons, he had 758 rushing yards in 2015 with only 3 touchdowns. It became public that Lacy’s weight was a concern, but according to ESPN, Lacy’s weight has dropped from the 260s to the 240s. Lacy has been a proven power back, and he is still only 26. Being a bruiser of a back led him to 20 touchdowns in his first 2 seasons. I think Lacy is worth the risk because he should be pretty consistent this year. With running backs being weak this season, Lacy should be one of the better backs in football. With his weight loss, I expect Lacy to go back to being a power back, and putting up big numbers in 2016.
2. Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley had a phenomenal rookie year with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Not many thought he would be this good, but it appears he has the potential to be the best in football. Some might question whether he will have a sophomore slump, but with running backs being weak in 2016, Gurley could be a difference maker. I could see him being the best in football, because it seemed like he was just that in 2015. I see him going late 1st round, early 2nd round depending on how many teams. He might be risky because he has only played 1 season, but it’s almost process of elimination with running backs being weak in 2016. His stats showed he could be the best in football, and there are many expectations that he will. I would take Gurley on my team.
1. Adrian Peterson
Is there anyone more consistent than Adrian Peterson in football? It seemed like he quietly led the NFL in rush yards in 2015. He had 1,485 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015. He is getting up there in age at 31, but he’s still the best in football. I’d put him in a different category than every other running back in football. The gap between him and the other 4 on this list is astronomical. It seems like he quietly gets 14 plus points every week. Peterson is a player tough to pass up on. The only player in all of football I’d draft over him is wide receiver Antonio Brown. Peterson is no doubt a top 10 player for fantasy football. There is rarely regret from the owner of the team he is drafted by. It’s nice to have a player like him who will rarely have a dud week. Peterson is the best running back in football, draft him if available.
All stats via ESPN