The demise of the importance of using a top draft pick on a running back is here. Once the central tenement of the fantasy football mantra, some owners now draft their first rusher as late as rounds three or four.
Regardless of your fantasy format, you can bet on at least four receivers (Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas & Odell Beckham), possibly two tight ends (Rob Gronkowski & Jimmy Graham) and likely two quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers & Andrew Luck) coming off the board within the first two rounds of your draft. It is a good bet that even half of them will be picked in the first round. The first round is no longer the sole purview of the running back position.
So which rushers should you count on in 2015?
A Closer Look At The 2015 Vegas NFL RB Props Vs RB Fantasy Rankings
The NFL RB most rushing yards favorite in Vegas right now is Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson is at 9/2 to win the rushing title in 2015. For those who do not remember, Peterson sat out most of the 2014 NFL Season due to charges of child abuse being leveled against him. Peterson has stated that he’ll be shooting for 2,500 rushing yards this season. So far, Fantasy Lists aren’t sure if Peterson’s statement is going to translate into fantasy points. Peterson is ranked no better than fourth on most lists.
Who Will Have More Rush Yards?
Lesean Mccoy -115
Demarco Murray -105
Alfred Morris +100
Eddie Lacy -120
Jamaal Charles +105
Marshawn Lynch -125
Todd Gurley +110
Melvin Gordon -130
Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers is ranked first on most fantasy lists. Bell will have to sit out the first game of the season due to suspension. Those 2 games are against the Patriots and the 49’ers. Bell rushed for 1,361 yards last season. His ability to catch the football makes him a great fantasy player, but he’s not a great pick, even at around 10 to 1, to be the NFL’s rushing yards leader in 2015.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) July 31, 2015
Marshawn Lynch at around 6 to 1 is the second choice in most sports books to lead the league in rushing this season. There is a big difference between 9/2 and 6/1, which shows you how big of a favorite Peterson actually is in this category. Fantasy-wise, Lynch is ranked in the Top 5 for running backs on most lists. Lynch will get almost all of the carries for the Seahawks this season. Once Lynch gets into the open field, Beast Mode could go into effect more this season than it did last season. The Seahawks acquired tight-end Jimmy Graham from the Saints. Graham has the ability to really spread the field, meaning that Lynch could find a lot of room to run if he breaks through that initial line of defense.
Both Eddie Lacy at Green Bay and DeMarco Murray at Philadelphia are at around 10/1 in most sportsbooks to lead the league in rushing. Lacy is ranked second in a lot of fantasy drafts. Lacy rushed for 1,139 yards last season. He rushed for 9 touchdowns. The reason that he’s ranked so high in fantasy drafts is because he’s likely to catch the football from Aaron Rodgers more this season than last season. It doesn’t mean that Lacy will garner more rushing yards. Murray switches teams. Who knows how effective he will be in Chip Kelly’s offensive system? Murray is a tough play in both sports books and Fantasy Leagues.
A dog to lookout for in both sports books and for fantasy is Alfred Morris at Washington. Morris rushed for only 1,074 yards last season. Expect Morris to get a lot more carries in 2015 because Washington’s QB situation is a mess. In most sports books, Morris is around the 20 to 1 range to lead the NFL in rushing yards in 2015.
Most Rush Yards
Most TDs Scored
Calvin Johnson 8/1
Antonio Brown 18/1