Commitee Meetings backfield categories:
Last season, this 'Committee Meetings' column focused on some of the most headache-inducing committee backfields for fantasy owners to deal with. This season, for the sake of reducing some of those headaches, we thought it would be helpful to put all of these committee backfields into categories; based on how carries are projected to be split, the various roles each running back plays in their respective situations and the philosophies of different teams when it comes to the all-important run game.
Hopefully, you can use this categorization as a guideline to make decisions on whom to start each week, build some bench depth at the running back position, handcuff your starters and uncover some potential waiver-wire targets along the way. As the season evolves, these categories will evolve and be revised depending on how things shape up each week. A look ahead will also be provided to preview upcoming matchups, and hone in on some hidden value plays.
Remember that this is not a ranking of fantasy running backs, but more of a reference on how different teams project to utilize their running backs. Be sure to check back for weekly updates that will reflect backfield storylines as they develop over the course of the season.
These are the elite first-round picks at the running back position who come with virtually no concern of being part of a split workload or committee situation. All of these backs should be drafted by the end of the first round in every league. If you're lucky enough to get one, consider yourself in great shape at the running back position. You will also want to pick up their respective handcuffs (or clear-cut backup) later in your draft for some added insurance at the positon. From week-to-week, these players won't likely play a major part of Committee Meetings since they'll be consistently producing fantasy points. That's why you anchor your fantasy team with one of them in the first round and never look back.
Adrian Peterson // Vikings
*Handcuff him with: Jerick Mckinnon *
Concerns: Peterson recentlty stated that his goal is to reach 2,500 yards this year, which is obviously a little steep. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has said that the team plans to feed Peterson "as much as he can take" in terms of workload and that he'll be used in goal-line situations. The only concern here is AD's age and that he may be spelled by McKinnon, at times, in order to stay fresh. However, Peterson is still one of the best backs in the NFL and McKinnon's role won't take away from his first round value during the season.
Jamaal Charles // Chiefs
Handcuff him with: Knile Davis
Concerns: The only worry here is Charles' durability. If he can remain healthy for the entire season, he's arguably the No. 1 back in all of fantasy. He put his owners through a few scary moments last season but has otherwise been able to consistently produce at an elite level. He averaged 14.2 fantasy points per game just a season ago.
Eddie Lacy // Packers
Handcuff him with: James Starks
Concerns: Although the Packers are looking for at least another 1,100 yards out of Lacy this season they still don't want to overwork him in an effort to keep him fresh for a full season, and a potential playoff run. This is a very minor concern however, as Lacy projects to be one of the best backs in all of fantasy. It also helps that he has the league's best quarterback calling the shots.
Marshawn Lynch // Seahawks
Handcuff him with: Robert Turbin
Concerns: To be quite honest, the fantasy world has been "concerned" about Lynch's wear-and-tear for years but he always seems to prove his critics wrong. While it is tough to ignore the massive workload that he has shouldered with Seattle, he keeps getting the job done and has 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of the last four seasons. Plus, in addition to Skittles, he added protein-packed chicken wings to his diet this summer.
Le'Veon Bell // Steelers
Handcuff him with: DeAngelo Williams
Concerns: Now that Bell's suspension has officially been reduced to two games, his position as an elite fantasy back is even more solidified. Fantasy owners will be able to plug him in Week 3 against the Rams begin to see the all-purpose fantasy points pile up. He's arguably the No. 1 overall pick no matter what format you play in and averaged a ludicrous 18.0 fantasy points per game last year.
Arian Foster // Texans
Handcuff him with: Alfred Blue
Concerns: When the season kicks off, Foster will be approximately two years removed from the back surgery he underwent in November of 2013. He dealt with some more minor injury issues last season and he missed three games but still finished among the top of the ranks of fantasy backs. During the offseason Texans Coach Bill O'Brien reassured fantasy owners about Foster by saying that the team plans to use their star back the same way they always have.
Matt Forte // Bears
Handcuff him with: Jacquizz Rodgers
Concerns: Of all the first-round running backs, Forte may be the one with the most concern. With a new coaching regime in Chicago some think that Forte's role will be reduced from what we're used to seeing the past few years and that the Bears will go with more of a committee approach. Some of this might be getting blown out of proportion since Forte is light years ahead of the backs behind him in terms of talent and experience. He's still worth a first-round pick in all redraft formats.
Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. His nickname around the NFL Media office is Franchise, and he's totally cool with it. If you're looking to kill some more time, be sure to check out his player rankings and follow him on Twitter for fantasy advice all season long @m_franciscovich.