By Joseph Zbytek
- Adrian Peterson. Can you believe this is going to be A.P’s 10th season? At age 31, it seems like nothing can slow this guy down. An ACL injury will usually effect a players performance the following year. Not for Peterson, he’s a machine. Last year A.P ran the ball 327 times for 1,485 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. In seven games he had rushed for 100 yards or more while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. According to a source close with the team, Peterson wants to be heavily involved in the passing game. If this is the case then expect Peterson’s value to rise even higher come draft day. A.P was ranked second with the most points for fantasy, trailing behind Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman.
- Le’Veon Bell. In 2015, Bell severely injured his MCL and his PCL. He underwent surgery during the offseason to repair both ligaments in his right knee. Last year, Bell was suspended for marijuana possession and driving under the influence. He sat out the first two games and only played in six games after that. He had rushed 113 times for 556 yards and punched in three touchdowns. At the time, he was averaging a bruising 4.9 yards per carry. Bell is probably the most explosive player in the NFL. If you give him open space, he will burn right through everyone. He is a big part of the Steelers passing game just as much as the run. Everybody knows what Bell is capable of. Now, it’s really just a matter of if he can stay healthy for a full season.
- Ezekiel Elliot. It’s tough to even think a rookie can crack the top five without proving himself in the NFL, but “Zeke” is a different story. He has the best offensive line to run behind. If Darren McFadden can eclipse 1,000 yards behind that line, imagine what Elliot is going to do. McFadden is going to miss a couple months due to an elbow injury which will leave a wide open door for Elliot to gain more reps. Being such a versatile player is going to make him become a big part of the passing game, which will increase his value. It seems like Elliot has already won the starting job.
- Todd Gurley. Gurley is going to try to avoid the sophomore slump this season after he had a tremendous rookie year. In 13 games in 2015, Gurley carried the ball 229 times for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4. 8 yards per carry. After adding only 21 catches for 188 receiving yards, the Los Angeles Rams may need to start throwing the ball to him a lot more. He really is the only person on that team with any sort of talent. Rookie quarterback and number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff is going to need a good amount of help from Gurley if he has any chance of surviving under center. Gurley was ranked as the 5th best running back in fantasy last season.
- Lamar Miller. Goodbye Miami and welcome to Houston! Miller finally has a chance to show everyone what he can do, we saw glimpses of his excellence in 2015. In 16 games, Miller rushed the ball 194 times for 872 yards and ran in eight touchdowns. He also accumulated 47 receptions for 397 yards and scored twice. He is an excellent pass catcher who has explosive speed. Miller is now on a team with a decent quarterback (Brock Osweiler) and gifted receivers around him such as DeAndre Hopkins. This will open up his running game. Expect big numbers from Miller this season. He is going to be a steal in fantasy drafts.