Week 17: RB Roundup
The Bills' running game has been good this season. Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have around 190 carries for a little over 800 yards. Respectively they're averaging 4.3 and 4.5 yards per carry. Next year both backs return to the field in Bills uniforms. Jackson will be 33 at the start of next season, while Spiller will be just 27. Obviously, Spiller has the better upside due to Jackson's age, but he has not proven he can be an every down back. Some will project him into RB1 status. We'll see about that.
The Dolphins' run game, oh so frustrating in 2013. Running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are under contract with Miami for next year and could be their one-two punch once again, which isn't necessarily a good thing. On the other hand the front office could look for a more explosive option in the free agent market or at the draft. The real issue is whether the coaching staff will commit to the run going forward or did they not do so in 2013 because they lacked confidence in the pieces on hand?
New England Patriots
New England's run game is one most fantasy owners want to avoid. Week in and week out there's just no telling which back will score the most points, though Shane Vereen is the safest bet due to his pass catching abilities. Couple this with backs having problems holding on to the rock and you have a recipe for disaster. Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden and Vereen are all under contract for next season. This will likely mean a lot of what we saw this season happening next year.
New York Jets
With a rookie quarterback, the Jets' passing game has struggled this year. As a result the run game has struggled too, though Chris Ivory showed flashes when he played. With a season under his belt, quarterback Geno Smith should play better next season. Better QB play from anyone means the chains keep moving and more opportunities simply to run the ball. However, until we see some consistency on the field, it is best to keep Jets backs as flex options only for next season.
Go back to preseason thoughts and it's stunning that Knowshon Moreno lasted the entire season AND was able to fend off Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman for snaps and touches. Heading into the final week of the season, Moreno has rushed for 1,015 yards with 10 touchdowns. This places him solidly in the top 12 for running backs this season. For now we can project another solid performance from Moreno, seeing as the Denver offense with Peyton Manning will score lots. Therefore another top 12 finish seems likely, though the Broncos will have an entire season to work on getting their young legs more involved.
Kansas City Chiefs
Do we need to say anything more than Jamaal Charles? The guy has been a stud for years and next season we're likely to see more of the same. Charles is currently the second leading rusher in the league and should challenge for the top spot again next season. Knile Davis showed ability in limited touches, enough to warrant handcuff status next season.
Oakland's backfield is likely to look a lot different next season. Oft injured Darren McFadden and leading rusher Rashad Jennings are both free agents at the end of this year. One or both backs could resign with Oakland, but it's unlikely we'll see both in silver and black in 2014. We'll need to see who Oakland signs before determining their fantasy value.
San Diego Chargers
Leading rusher Ryan Mathews has carried the ball 261 times for 1,111 yards and six touchdowns through 15 games. With an average performance in the Chargers final game of the season he'll finish as one of the league's top 12 rushers. There's no reason to doubt Mathews won't be a top 12 back again next year and as such he should be drafted as one. Meanwhile Danny Woodhead started strong, but faded a touch over the second half of the season. He'll have Flex appeal in PPR formats. Beyond that, we'll see.