There is a trap I believe fantasy owners will fall into in preparing for their drafts.I will sum it up like this: sometimes the sum doesn't exactly equal the parts. When you are looking at players' stats last year, do not focus solely on what they ended up with.
Here's an example …
Jamaal Charles, of the Kansas City Chiefs, rushed for 1,509 yards last season.
On Sept. 23 of last year, Charles torched the New Orleans Saints for 233 yards, highlighted by a 91-yard TD run. I had Charles at that time and in my point-per-two receptions league, he netted me 57 points!
It was a great week, but here is the fine print. … Charles did not produce anything close to that until he racked up 47 in Kansas City's next-to-last game of the regular season.
That is the fantasy playoffs for most leagues, and if your team made it with Charles, then congratulations.
But I doubt teams with Charles made the fantasy playoffs because the KC running back produced weeks of 5, 1, 6, 13, 15 and 3 points.
Oh, and for those who did benefit from those 47 in their fantasy semifinals? Charles scored 6 points for you in your Super Bowl week.
It is that kind of inconsistency that makes me wary of drafting him with my first pick.
Marshawn Lynch is ranked behind Charles in several of the preseason rankings I've seen for this year, but Lynch is the player I would draft.
Lynch totaled 1,590 yards last season, but was much more consistent from week to week. Lynch scored 15 points or more in 11 of the Seahawks' 16 games.
It is all about consistency.
Try not to go all in on a running back that has big weeks that are predicated solely on big plays. Charles and Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller instantly fall into this category. They can be big producers as long as they get that 40- or 50-yard run, but what if that doesn't happen? Then you are left with their remaining 12 carries for 37 yards.
Meanwhile Lynch grinds out 124 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown with his longest carry going for 18 yards.
The name of the game, especially for your RB1, is consistency.
Now, there are other flashier choices like Chris Johnson (will give owners a migraine with inconsistency), Frank Gore (great but injury-prone and 49ers have stable of backs) and Matt Forte (see above). There are also potential home runs like Dallas Cowboys' DeMarco Murray, if he could only stay healthy.
But if you grab one of the top 6 players on the list, you will have a consistent RB1. Nos. 7-10 all have the potential to finish as the best back in the league, but could also be swallowed up in dreaded running back by committees.
That means, to be safe, an owner should think about taking running backs with two of their first three picks and maybe four of their first six.
Just make sure to get a consistent producer and your season will be a whole lot less stressful.
— Chris Parry began playing fantasy football in college in 1996 and he has won numerous titles in both fantasy football and baseball. His column appears each Thursday on Page Two. Feel free to email lineup questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet to @CParryETFS on Twitter or post on the ETFinalscore.com Facebook page.
TOP 10 RUNNING BACKS TO TARGET ON DRAFT DAY
1, Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Very consistent and the unquestioned top back in the NFL
2, Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Consistent producer and the Bucs are going to feed this second-year player the ball on first down, second down and third down.
3, Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns: Just like with Martin, Richardson is the unquestioned tailback who will get all of the workload, and most importantly, the goal-line carries.
4, Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: Very consistent weekly point producer for a team that wants to run the football.
5, Arian Foster, Houston Texans: Also falls into the consistent category, and the ONLY reason Foster is not ranked higher is the potential of losing carries/TDs to backup Ben Tate.
6, Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens: A PPR gold running back, but you have to worry about Rice losing out on carries at the goal line.
7, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: New head coach Andy Reid loves to throw the ball to his RBs, so he could be a solid play, but you also have to take into account potential bad weeks.
8, C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills: This guy could be the steal of your draft, but he also relies on the big play. Plus, the ageless Fred Jackson is always around to vulture carries and touchdowns from Spiller.
9, LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles: He frustrated owners last season with a paltry 840 yard and 2 rushing TDs. New head coach Chip Kelly will run a high-paced offense and that should bring McCoy back to his usual standard.
10, Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: Normally, you always stay away from Patriot backs, but Ridley proved last year he could be the workhorse (1,263 yards, 12 TDs), and with free agent move of Wes Welker coupled with injuries and other factors decimating their receiving corps, Bill Belichick may decide to go away from air-it-out and utilize Ridley even more.