Finding the right running back is half the battle. First-round picks can get injured or fail to meet expectations, so there aren’t any sure things. If you land three quality running backs that meet projections you should feel fortunate.
1. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia ($50): Shady can go the distance, but he can also fill up a stat sheet.
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City ($48): Don’t expect 19 TDs again this season (only five in 2012) but he’s a stud.
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota ($45): Didn’t duplicate MVP 2012 numbers but still good in a “down” year (1,266 yards, 11 TDs).
4. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay ($43): Packers’ every-down back should improve on 1,178-yard, 11-TD season.
5. Matt Forte, Chicago ($40): The dual threat posted a career-best 1,339 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns.
6. DeMarco Murray, Dallas ($38): Put it all together last year (1,121 rushing yards; 53 receptions and 10 TDs).
7. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh ($38): Coming off a solid rookie season (860 yards in 13 games, 8 TDs).
8. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle ($37): Typical season (1,257 rushing yards, 14 TDs).
9. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay ($36): Don’t forget he ran for 1,454 yards and 12 TDs two years ago.
10. Arian Foster, Houston ($35): An obvious injury risk but should return to form with a 1,300-yard, 12-TD season.
11. Zac Stacy, St. Louis ($35): If he improves on solid stats last year (973 yards, 8 TDs), he could be a difference-maker.
12. Alfred Morris, Wash. ($35): His only flaw is that he’s not a pass catcher; last year had 1,275 rushing yards, 7 TDs.
13. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati ($34): Scored 8 TDs last year; should reach double digits this season.
14. Montee Ball, Denver ($30): Still has much to prove; ran for only 560 yards, 4 TDs.
15. Chris Johnson, N.Y. Jets ($24): With something to prove to a new team, Johnson is coming off another 1,000-yard season.
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