7 RBs Who Can Win Your Fantasy League in 2011

Every year there are players who come from “out of nowhere” to become Fantasy Studs. The teams who took one of these RBs (Arian Foster in the 3rd or 4th round last year), or WRs (Calvin Johnson in 2008) who vaulted into the top-5 or top-10 from well outside of there, probably wound up winning their leagues based largely on the contributions of those players. The problem is, the next year those guys will all be 1st or 2nd round picks, and some of them may even be over-drafted as the hype builds and people start thinking silly things like the guy who just had a career year might have an even BETTER year this season.

You know the key to winning is finding a fresh new set of guys who people think are middling starters who you can get in the 4th, 5th, 7th round or later this year, but who will never be drafted that late again. There are more opportunities at the RB position due to injuries creating job openings and the general shorter shelf life of running backs. There are just fewer RBs that stay at the top of the game for more than a few years.

We’re going to take a hard look at the RBs who are in position to do that this year and tell you who the best bets are based on talent, opportunity, and some good-ole, down-home solid reasoning. There are no guarantees in Fantasy Football, but we think if you get 2 or 3 of these guys on your roster between the 4th and 8th rounds, you’ve got a better shot than most at landing the next “out of nowhere” RB who probably won’t be available after the first round next year.

So, if we were betting men (and we are!), here are the guys we’d put our money on and why:

#7 – Delone Carter

Carter is way down the list in most drafts, going somewhere around the 12th round. He doesn’t have as clear a path to the lead RB job as the first 6 backs on this list, and he probably won’t be a 1st round pick next year, but he’s also the only RB on this list who you don’t have to take until round 10 or 11. He could certainly be the lead RB on the Colts by the halfway point, and that means he could be a guy with fresh legs who comes on strong in the second half of the season. And those are exactly the kind of players who win Championships.

The Colts brought back Joseph Addai, one of the most frustrating backs in the league. After a promising start to his career, Addai has not played 16 games since he was a rookie in 2006 and has rushed for under 4.0 YPC in two of the last three years. Part of that was due to the OLine, which has been upgraded this year, but part of that has been Addai. He’s versatile, but there’s just nothing he does REALLY well. The Colts also hung on to Donald Brown, who has some talent but has had all sorts of trouble both staying healthy and picking up blocking schemes.

Right now Carter looks like he will at least get some short yardage work, but Addai will be the lead RB to start the season. We think Carter will pass Addai at some point this year, either because he shows he is clearly more talented, or because the inevitable injury to Addai makes Carter the lead RB by default. It looks like Brown will never be a lead back, so while the Colts seem to want him involved, he is almost certainly going to be the 3rd down/change of pace back, with either Addai or Carter as the RB1.

With an improved OLine and perhaps the best QB to ever play the game throwing to Wayne, Clark, Garcon and Collie, it will be hard for defenses to focus on the run. If Carter gets to take over the starting job he could be a beast.

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