5 Breakout Running Backs That Fantasy Owners Should Watch

chuck mitchellContributor IFebruary 26, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs with the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images


·         Jerome Harrison- Had 862 yards rushing while averaging 4.4 yards per carry.  His longest run was for a 71 yard touchdown and he ended with  touchdowns.  These stats are based on 12 games.  In my fantasy league he average 9.7 points per game.  The last three games of the season, he averaged 32.0 points in my fantasy league.  The Cleveland browns offensive line only gave up 19 sacks.  This doesn’t tell us much about their run blocking, but it does tell us that they are a solid unit up front.   The browns must build on their offensive line if they want to have a solid ground game.

·         Jonathan Stewart- He had 1,133 yards rushing while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.  His longest run was for a 76 yard touchdown and he ended with 10 touchdowns.  He plays on a team that desires to run the ball first.  He has a solid offensive line in front of him.  The offensive line only gave up 23 sacks last season.  Believe it or not DeAngelo Williams makes him a more desired running back.  He keeps Stewart well rested.  The panthers have relied on their aggressive running game due to Jake Delhomme’s inconsistent play at times.  He could be a valuable back that could get overlooked come draft day.  Breakout alert!

·         Beanie Wells- Kurt Warner has called it a career.  The talented team now looks to Matt Leinart as a leader.   Beanie Wells will become his best friend.  The cardinals have a solid offensive line up front.  They only gave up 24 sacks on the quarterback.  Wells had 793 yards rushing while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.  His longest run was for 33 yards and he ended with 7 touchdowns.  We will really see if he can carry the workload.  Leinart is an inexperienced Quarterback who will need to rely on a solid running game that will take pressure off the Quarterback.  He will be a make or break pick.  I would not feel comfortable spending a high draft pick on him, but if he goes really late in drafts then he is worth that risk.  Use CAUTION!

·         Shonn Greene-  He had 540 yards rushing while averaging 5.0 yards per carry in limited playing time.  All the signs are  pointing to this guy taking the spot of Thomas Jones.  He just probably the best year of his career.  He also is 31 years old which spells opportunity for Greene.  He and Leon Washington will have more touches this season.  Due to the age factor of Jones and his 5.0 yard per carry average, this will give Greene some added fantasy value come draft day.  Fantasy Football owners are always looking for that unknown back that can really be a factor.  This is the guy.  He will be overlooked because of the season that Jones had last year.  Fantasy owner should be cautious of Jones simply due to his age.  All the great running backs in history have broken down when they reach the age of 30.  This guy could be the X factor on your team.

·         Jamaal Charles- He had 1,120 yards rushing while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.  That stat

·         alone tells me that he will be a featured back next season.  His longest run was for a 76 yard touchdown and he ended with 7 touchdowns.  These stats are based on 12 games.   Over the last 6 weeks of the season he averaged 25.8 fantasy points.  If the chiefs make efforts to strengthen their offensive line, he could be in for a big season.


I feel like these guys will be valuable come draft time.  I have found a cool website that all fantasy footballers should see.  Go to www.fantasyfootballcalculator.com/blog