Fantasy Football
July 19, 2012 posted by Steve DeAngelo

2012 Fantasy Football: Fantasy Impact, Running Backs

2012 Fantasy Football: Fantasy Impact, Running Backs
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CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills

When Fred Jackson went down with a broken leg in Week 11, Spiller got his chance to show his talents. In in the next five games to close the season, Spiller averaged 126 total yards, 5 catches, 5.1 YPC and five total TD’s. Spiller looked explosive, much like he did when he was in Clemson. He displayed his versatility and looked like one of the top backs in the NFL. 

The problem for Spiller’s 2012 impact is Fred Jackson is back and will most likely resume his starting role. Jackson is 31, but doesn’t have many miles on his legs. Regardless, I would still pursue Spiller. PPR leagues, dynasty leagues, as Jackson’s handcuff, 12+ team leagues, Spiller is a must-own. Fred Jackson is still a quality back and will get most of the carries, but Spiller has earned more touches and will receive them. He will remain a factor in the passing game and should see anywhere from 8-16 touches per game. Spiller will make for a good flex and if Jackson goes down with an injury or gets demoted then look for Spiller to produce like a No.1 fantasy back.

Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins

Reggie Bush had a productive rookie season with the Saints with over 1,200 total yards and 8 TD’s. He looked to build on that in his Sophomore campaign, but injuries would derail that season and the next few seasons after. Bush was then getting less and less touches as his career went on in New Orleans. Reggie just didn’t know how to run in the NFL early in his career averaging under four yards per carry in his first three seasons. But before he left New Orleans, Bush was showing more patience as a runner, finally running through holes instead of around them and he looked to be  learning how to attack holes in the NFL. He averaged five YPC his last two seasons in New Orleans.

Putting his injuries, Kim Kardashian and New Orleans behind him, Bush put it altogether in Miami shutting his doubters and haters up by averaging five yards per carry and finishing with his first 1,000 yard rushing season. The agility, speed and explosiveness that he showed at USC and early in New Orleans was showcased and Bush looked like the Reggie of old. In his last four games of the 2011 season, Bush finished with over 100 yards rushing in each game and even had a 203 yards rushing against Buffalo in Week 15. Early indications are Bush won’t be getting a big workload like that under new Head Coach Joe Philbin’s west coast system and with the presence of second year back Daniel Thomas, but regardless Bush is Miami’s best offensive player and will have a solid impact both as a runner and receiver.

Bush is an excellent selection for PPR leagues and a solid one in standard leagues. Expect Miami to give Reggie the rock and for him to produce. Bush is one of the most talented backs in the league, he now has the opportunity, is an extremely hard worker and is plenty hungry to continue to prove his doubters wrong.  Bush could truly build on his 2011 season and finish with the best season of his career.  

Steven Ridley, New England Patriots

Steven Ridley is expected to become the top producer in the backfield in New England now that BenJarvus Green-Ellis is gone. But there is a never a No.1 back in New England. As we all know, Bill Belichick loves playing musical chairs with his RB’s. Green-Ellis had 25 Rushing TD’s the last two years and 11 last year, so now the expectation is Ridley will get those goal line carries and get those TD’s. He is, in fact, the biggest back the Patriots have and arguably the most talented, so it makes sense. 

Last season, Ridley averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 87 carries. The Patriots will obviously be in the redzone plenty of times with Tom Brady and their explosive receiving core, but who really knows how much Ridley will produce. How much stock should you put into him? The Pats did sign Joseph Addai, still have Danny Woodhead and also have Shane Vareen. Ridley may initally be the favorite for goal line carries, but remember he did have fumble issues last season which limited Ridley’s touches in the playoffs. Belichick will not hesitate to discipline the young back again and give one of the other three backs a chance. It could be a carousel all season. Ridley is definitely worth drafting, but be weary and don’t spend too much or draft him to high. If you do pursue Ridley it’s probably wise to grab Addai or Vereen as insurance just in case he falters. 

Steve DeAngelo has been playing Fantasy Football since 1996 when he got started at the age of 14. His first team consisted of names like Terry Allen, John Elway and Michael Jackson. He is a lifetime North Jersey resident and a passionate Yankee and Jets fan. You can follow him on twitter @FantasySavvy
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