Top 5 Big Fantasy Football Faces in New Places - Running Backs

By Carl Tempesta
Carl Tempesta

Unlike other positions, there are many top free agents that have signed at running back. In season long fantasy, these running back signings not only effect their fantasy value, but also effect the fantasy value of other players around them. Four out of these five were in the top 20 among running backs last season, the fifth was ranked 30th.

1. Donald Brown – Chargers to Patriots
Brown didn’t have a significant fantasy football year last season. In ten games, he only rushed for 229 yards and one touchdown. The current running backs on the New England Patriots roster include Dion Lewis, James White and Brandon Bolden. LeGarrette Blount has yet to be signed by any team. I don’t see Brown having a big fantasy season, but if Blount does not resign with the Patriots and he beats Bolden in training camp, he may see his fair share of touches and goal line carries.

2. Matt Forte – Bears to Jets
Forte, despite missing three games, still finished in the top ten among running backs last season. He averaged 69.1 rushing and 29.9 receiving yards per game. Forte has been a top running back in fantasy football for years, especially in point per reception formats, but this year may be different. Forte was one of three running backs signed by the Jets this offseason. The Jets resigned Bilal Powell, and added Khiry Robinson of the Saints.  Both of these players hurt Forte’s value. Powell is known to be a fantastic pass-catcher, and Robinson is a big back who could steal goal line touches. Forte will be worth his usual first-round fantasy pick, but could be worth the risk in the third or fourth round.

3. Chris Ivory – Jets to Jaguars
Ivory was a hit or miss almost every week in fantasy football last season. He had games where he rushed for over 150 yards, and games where he rushed for under 30. One thing you get with Ivory is goal line carries, which all fantasy football players know are crucial. Ivory will most likely have a similar season. The Jaguars have a decent pass game along with a smaller, pass-catching running back (TJ Yeldon), just like the Jets did in Bilal Powell. Let’s just hope Ivory isn’t the next Toby Gerhart.

4. Lamar Miller – Dolphins to Texans
The Houston Texans have completely transformed their offense during free agency, signing Lamar Miller and quarterback Brock Osweiler. Miller can catch, so he will most likely be the workhorse of the Texans backfield. Miller had 1,269 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns last season, and I expect those numbers to rise in 2016. Also, with a successful run game and a new quarterback, I expect DeAndre Hopkins to have a remarkable fantasy football year. If the offensive line holds up, and Osweiler can match expectations, Miller and Hopkins will both be top-tier fantasy football picks next season.

5. Demarco Murray – Eagles to Titans
Murray rushed for 1,845 yards in 2014, and only 702 yards in 2015.  That stat alone shows how bad of a fit Murray was in the Philadelphia Eagles offense. The acquisition of Murray can only help the Titans, whose leading rusher (Antonio Andrews) only rushed for 520 yards last season. If the Titans passing game can get going, so will Murray. He will most likely be a three-down running back, and will revert back to his Dallas Cowboy days. Murray will be a high risk/high reward draft pick this fantasy football season. 

Other notable free agents at the running back position include: Arian Foster, Reggie Bush, Tim Hightower, James Starks, Ronnie Hillman, Chris Johnson, and Alfred Morris.