Fantasy Football: 2011 AFC West Running Back Situations

Jun 4, 2011


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We’ll wrap up the AFC running back scene by heading out west.
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Jamaal Charles is the best in the West. He showed 2009 was no fluke by running for 1467 yards with five touchdowns. He added another 468 yards and three touchdowns on 45 receptions. Charles is expected to carry an even bigger load for the Chiefs this year, which puts him in the conversation for the number one overall pick in fantasy drafts. He will likely be a top four pick in most fantasy leagues. Thomas Jones will still be in the picture, and while he is much more than just a handcuff to Charles, I do expect his production to decrease.
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Darren McFadden finally delivered last year erupting for 1157 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 47 catches for 507 yards and three more scores. He is a bit of a risk as he has missed 20.8 percent (ten of 48) games in his young career. Hard to argue with his production as a bona fide RB1. He will likely be the sixth to tenth running back selected. Michael Bush is a free agent, but the Raiders are likely to make a play to keep him. Given Run DMC’s injury history, Bush is a high-end handcuff.
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Knowshon Moreno has had some moments, but many (myself included) think he will take a big step forward with John Fox on board. If he can stay healthy, he can easily build upon the 1151 (779 rushing, 372 receiving) total yard and eight (five rushing, three receiving) touchdowns. The Broncos will likely add to their backfield once free agency opens up. Obviously who they bring in will determine Moreno’s fantasy worth, but he looks like a solid RB2.
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In San Diego you have a pair of running backs that should provide fantasy goodies. Ryan Mathews had a disappointing rookie season, and should be much better in 2011. He will likely be the 15th-20th running back taken in fantasy drafts. I’d prefer to get him as my RB3 given his injury history and the presence of Michael Tolbert, who is a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4. Darren Sproles will likely part ways with the Chargers when the lockout ends.
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