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NFL Fantasy Football: Let's Talk Running Backs...

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

This Fantasy Football season, your draft's first round will be all about running backs. The short supply of elite ball carriers will cause them to go higher than last year. Adrian Peterson is everyone's #1 overall pick, followed by a cloud of top notch backs like Doug Martin, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Steven Jackson, with the Bears' Matt Forte rising fast. If you're in a ten team league, someone will shoe-horn Calvin Johnson into the first round, but the other nine picks are going to be the running backs mentioned. Hmm? Makes me want to pick in the #9 or #10 slots? Why you ask? Because the running back talent is going to be down right tasty throughout the second round before it drops off into the black hole of "Meh-s" and hand cuffs.

Maurice Jones Drew is worthy of a middle second round gamble in my opinion, and I can't see Stevan Ridley lasting past picks #14 or #15. Drew is a one horse show in Jacksonville with Gabbert at quarterback. Ridley will get loads of work, as Tom Brady exercises his right to not throw passes to "iffy" wide receivers. Most have Alfred Morris and Trent Richardson going in the first round. Stop shaking your heads at my fantasy football wisdom! First, as talented as Richardson is, he has yet to inspire confidence in me when it comes to his injury history. Morris is going to get all the attention of opposing defensive coordinators if Robert Griffin III has to limit his run exposure. Not convinced? Well, my top secret method of evaluating a running back won't be shared here. It's worth like $70-jillion, so I ain't giving it away. But let's just say I don't like running backs with names that sound like a butler's... "ALFRED! More Cheetos for my guests!"

My biggest boom or bust running back? Chris Johnson's the name, and rumblin' and stumblin' is just as likely as returning to his earlier brilliance. If he's there in the third round, and you're still searching for an RB2, I'd grab him on the off chance he turns into Fantasy Football gold. My favorite to turn heads this season is Green Bay rookie Eddie Lacy. This kid is a powerful runner who'll make defensive lines bite on play action more than most. You just can't give this young man the room to get up a head of steam.

After the running backs I've just mentioned, there's a drop off in quality. The Reggie Bush experiment in Detroit will last until the second or third week of the season. I'd carry him as a RB3 at best. DeMarco Murray has already had an operation this preseason, so the brittlest Cowboy in the West isn't someone I'd bank on. I like the Giants' David Wilson, but his ball control problems of the past will keep him on a short Tom Coughlin leash. Miami's Lamar Miller is a roll of the dice when you look at the Dolphins' offensive line. Frank Gore will surprise me with his new found durability, until I pick him and he limps off the field in the first game I play him. Outside of Colin Kaepernick, I don't see an offensive player on the 49ers' roster I'd draft. (Now Gore will rush for 1400 yards and 15 touchdown, right?)

The bottom line: Draft running backs high and hard in the first two rounds. But be wary about over-drafting some of the players I've mentioned. Wide receivers? We'll get to them next week...