Everybody in the NFL fantasy community knows who the go-to options are at running back. So who are some potential surprises in 2014?
Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
Steven Jackson didn’t turn into the solution the Atlanta Falcons had hoped for at running back last season. So the team looked to the draft to bring in help. What they got was Devonta Freeman. Despite being just 5’8″, he showed at Florida State that he has the strength to run with power and also pass protect. His soft hands also make him an able pass catcher. Expect Matt Ryan to make quick use of him in the Falcons attack.
Montee Ball – Denver Broncos
Running backs always have it good when Peyton Manning is their quarterback. Ask guys like Joseph Addai, Dominic Rhodes and Knowshon Moreno. All had their best seasons as pros with Manning under center. That bodes well for second-year man Montee Ball who moves into the starting job with Moreno gone. Ball runs with power and is at his best near the goal line, which could mean a lot of touchdowns in 2014. Great news for NFL fantasy owners.
Toby Gerhart – Jacksonville Jaguars
He’s 27-years old but he might as well be 24. Toby Gerhart has spent his entire pro career as a seldom-used backup behind Adrian Peterson. Yet every time he got a chance to play, the Stanford product deliver solid performances. The Jacksonville Jaguars believed he was ready to make a name for himself as a starter and signed him in free agency. He isn’t a receiving threat, but he is a consistent, dependable runner.
Khiry Robinson – New Orleans Saints
They always seem to have a knack for unveiling surprising talents on offense and the New Orleans Saints did not disappoint last season. In need of a spark on the ground with injuries piling up, the team activated rookie Khiry Robinson. He responded by turning in some impressive performances, particularly down the stretch. In the playoffs he averaged 4.9 yards per carry. All this without getting more than 13 carries in a game. NFL fantasy owners must be curious what will happen once he gets more.
Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans
He was the first running back taken in the draft, so that alone should hint that Bishop Sankey has some skills. Indeed proved a versatile weapon at Washington, showing power, vision and agility while running and the hands to make regular catches. He knows how to be a workhorse type player and he has experience in a pro-style attack. Most importantly though, he should be running behind a solid offensive line for the Tennessee Titans.