Today we examine the top running backs in college football for 2014. While not a complete list, we know most of these guys are ready to perform early on based on their production or playing time potential.
Stay tuned to Daily Fantasy Grind – as we’ll post our specific plays for Week #1 once the daily fantasy sites post salaries.
Nebraska – RB Ameer Abdullah was a top RB play last season, especially against weaker teams. He was 9th in the NCAA in rushing yards a season ago. The one troubling thing about Abdullah is RB Imani Cross comes in and vulture carries the short yardage stuff – and gets the goal-line TD’s. Additionally, the QB position is somewhat weak for Nebraska, so teams might try to stuff the run. However, Abdullah should get plenty of touches/yards to make him a solid #1 RB just about every week when healthy.
Boise State – RB Jay Ajayi was 15th in the NCAA in rushing last season with over 1,400 yards. He seems highly motivated by improving his NFL draft stock, as he’s said “I’m trying to make money for myself,” during camp this off-season … referring to playing well & being drafted high in the NFL next season. He’s a solid #1 or #2 with upside against weak teams.
USC – RB Javorius “Buck” Allen – is predicted by some as being the leading RB, but bloggers don’t decide who gets to start. Early on, likely you’re going to want to avoid the USC running back position all together – which include Tre Madden, D.J. Morgan and Justin Davis.
Army – RB Terry Baggett was a sleeper play last season, and could be again this season. Last season he had over 1,100 rushing yards and 8 TD’s … but 304 yards + 4 TD’s all came in one game vs Eastern Michigan. He’s worth a shot against a super weak defense if you blow your daily college fantasy football budget on QB’s, WR’s and FLEX.
Minnesota – RB David Cobb had over 1,200 rushing yards last season, but did only manage to score 7 TD’s. He rates as a #2 daily college fantasy football RB most weeks if he’s getting 20+ carries, and deserves a look against weaker opponents. Likely I’ll avoid him until a clearer picture of the Gopher’s crowded backfield emerges.
Indiana – RB Tevin Coleman is an explosive player who had some nice games last season. He’s a solid #2 back against weaker teams, but can propel himself into a #1 type RB if given the touches. It appears that Coleman is ready for a big season, and likely will be a guy worth starting against weaker teams.
South Carolina – RB Mike Davis getting the bulk of the carries. Backup RB Brandon Wilids is above average when healthy and fans are already waiting to see red-shirt freshmanRB David Williams touch the ball. He will likely need to see injuries to Davis and Wilids withRB Shon Carson also on the depth chart.. The Gamecocks could split carries among 2 or 3 different backs this season, or they could make Davis the workhorse … I’ve seen predictions for both scenarios. For now, Davis likely rates as a #2 option in daily formats due to the depth. Additionally, you’ll want to monitor Davis’ health – he sat out the first 3 practices with a “slight hamstring pull” and coach Steve Spurrier said the other 3 RB’s were all “faster.”
LSU RB Leonard Fournette – true freshman – was the #1 overall recruit has been compared to Adrian Peterson & Michael Jordan this off-season. I would wait until he’s “the guy” or the #1 starter, but once that happens, he should be considered a #1 guy against weaker teams – and likely a strong #2 play against tougher competition.
Wisconsin – RB Melvin Gordon returns and should be a must start against weak teams and a solid #1/2 RB against everyone else. Last season, Gordon was 10th in NCAA rushing yards and Ameer Abdullah is the only returning running back with more yards.
Bowling Greene – RB Travis Greene is a potential #1 type guy, especially against weak teams, but there are some question marks about an offensive line that only returns 3 starters.
Georgia – RB Todd Gurley was a top ranked daily fantasy college football player last season before getting injured, and some sites have him as the front runner for the Heisman Trophy this season. RB Keith Marshall returns from an ACL injury last season … and if healthy … will get some touches.
Miami RB Duke Johnson is likely to be a decent #2 or FLEX play against weaker teams. It does appear he spent the off-season adding “15 pounds of muscle” and getting faster – making Johnson a guy that you want to keep an eye on as he has the skills to be a #1 type RB play.
Michigan State – RB Jeremy Langford is expected to be the #1 guy most of the time for the Spartans, but the O-coordinator has already said “he’d like to lighten Langford’s load” … so that might make him a solid #2 candidate in daily leagues. Langford had 8 straight games with 20+ carries 100+ yards to finish off last season.
Baylor – RB Shock Linwood is a sleeper type RB at best coming into the season, mainly because Baylor should be airing the ball out with QB Bryce Petty shooting for the Heisman. Linwood would be worth a flier selection strictly against weaker run-D teams unless he proves otherwise.
Oregon RB Byron Marshall and RB Thomas Tyner who are both capable of being a solid #2 option in most daily fantasy lineups … BUT … Oregon is likely going to have true freshman RB Royce Freeman in the mix – as he’s turned coaches’ heads in Ducks’ practice this summer. Until a clear #1 emerges via good play or injury – it’s risky play considering all three will likely see touches, especially in blow-out wins.
Oklahoma – RB Joe Mixon arrives on campus as a potential #1 guy as a true freshman … but punched someone in the face celebrating his 18th birthday. It’s likely RB Keith Ford and RB Alex Ross will emerge as a sleeper starter early on in the season against softer teams.
Stanford – RB Barry Sanders Jr – how can you have a college football running back list without Barry Sanders name on it?? Likely … the Cardinal will be using a running back by committee approach, so Sanders Jr. will be a ‘suckers play’ most week. However, injuries & such could make for 1 clear winner in Stanford … but I’d avoid playing any running back until that day comes.
BYU – RB Jamaal Williams is suspended for the 1st game of the season. Can you guess what it was why?? Beating his GF? … nope. DUI? …. nope. Skipping class? …. nope. Smoking weed? …. nope. Williams is supposedly guilty of playing explicit music too loud – and will miss the 1st game of the season. It certainly will make him a sleeper play week #2 against Texas … a team in which he had over 180 yards rushing on 30 touches last season. The only downside to Williams is he struggles to score TD’s with only 7 last season.
Florida State – Karlos Williams hardly has played during his college career – but enters the off-season as a top-20 Heisman trophy candidate. FSU faces some solid teams this season – so it could actually benefit Williams – who might be relied upon later in games. I think he’s a sleeper #2 against weaker teams until he proves otherwise … but he might be over-priced given the off-season hype he’s gotten.
Alabama – RB T.J. Yeldon returns, but will likely be pressed for carries from RB Derrick Henry among others. Unless it’s a cupcake matchup, Yeldon will likely be a #3/FLEX option while putting up steady numbers – but is worth monitoring because he is capable of being a solid #2 starter with upside. Last season he was 24th in the NCAA in rushing yards and averaged a hefty 6.0 yards per carry. If either one were to get hurt – the other becomes almost a must start against most competition.
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