Uncertainty in the backfield
Steve Schwarz - NFL Fantasy Analysis|
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The NFL running back position could see changes at a historic level this offseason. We're talking a major portion of the league's top fantasy running backs might not be with the same team in 2015.
And with player movement comes uncertainty.
Let's take a look at how crazy this offseason could be.
The best fantasy running back last season was Dallas tailback DeMarco Murray (position-leading 345 fantasy points). He's a free agent and the Cowboys don't appear to have the money to re-sign him and wideout Dez Bryant. What will his value be in 2015 if he's running behind an inferior offensive line?
Seattle's Marshawn Lynch is contemplating retiring, though the huge raise the Seahawks are offering is likely to be too big to turn down.
One of the biggest surprises of 2014, Baltimore's Justin Forsett, is another of this season's free agents. Though it looks like he wants to stay with the Ravens, he's said he will only sign with a team that will show him "commitment" (read long-term contract). Forsett will be 30-years-old in October and we all know that's the usual "line in the sand" for running backs to begin their downward trend.
Those three backs were all top-eight in last season's fantasy rankings.
But it doesn't stop there.
LeSean McCoy, the Eagles star running back and fantasy stud, has been mentioned in more than one trade scenario as Philadelphia attempts to move up in the draft to get Chip Kelly's "ultimate weapon" - Oregon's Marcus Mariota.
San Francisco running back Frank Gore, he of four consecutive 1,100-yard rushing campaigns, recently wrote, "I know the fans love me, but I need to know if the management does."
Of course, Gore is 31-years-old and management may not "love" him for as long a contract as he would like. They also like his backups - Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter.
The Saints' Mark Ingram, a first-round pick in 2011, finally had his breakout season in 2014, rushing for a career-high 964 yards and nine touchdowns, despite playing in just 13 games and starting only nine. He's a free agent and New Orleans doesn't appear to be interested in signing him.
And of course, there is the ongoing Adrian Peterson saga. His old team, the Minnesota Vikings, keep saying they want him back. But Peterson rightly has "trust issues" with the team that so quickly sent him packing at the first sign of trouble last season. It appears he wants to get a new start in a new city. Could that be Dallas with his friend Jerry Jones?
Over and above the seven players already mentioned that might be leaving their current team, there are running backs who were highly thought of last season who didn't perform up to expectations.
What do fantasy owners do about Montee Ball? Giovani Bernard? Doug Martin? C.J. Spiller?
It's going to be a very interesting couple of months. My suggestion is that fantasy owners should pay close attention before making any decisions for 2015.
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