Fantasy Sleepers

Fantasy Factor: 2011’s Best RB 20+Yard Runners

Big Play Fantasy Threat

Being elusive in the NFL is what makes good running backs great. The offensive line pulls and blocks to create holes for it’s running backs to run though, but after the first wave of defenders it’s up to the ball carrier to bust loose.
It’s no surprise we see the leagues best fantasy running backs atop this list, yet players like Ryan Mathews, DeMarco Murray, C.J. Spiller and Ben Tate are definitely sleepers brewing.

2011’s Highest Number of 20+ Yard Runs

Top 20+ Yard Run Leaders of 2011

Player TM 20+ 40+ Lng Yds Avg TD
LeSean McCoy PHI 14 2 60 1,309 4.8 17
Matt Forte CHI 12 4 46 997 4.9 3
Frank Gore SF 11 3 55 1,211 4.3 8
Chris Johnson TEN 11 1 48T 1,047 4 4
Michael Turner ATL 11 4 81T 1,340 4.5 11
DeAngelo Williams CAR 11 2 74T 836 5.4 7
Fred Jackson BUF 10 3 80T 934 5.5 6
Willis McGahee DEN 10 1 60T 1,199 4.8 4
M. Jones-Drew JAC 9 3 56 1,606 4.7 8
Ryan Mathews SD 9 0 39 1,091 4.9 6
Ray Rice BAL 9 5 70T 1,364 4.7 12
Darren McFadden OAK 8 3 70T 614 5.4 4
Reggie Bush MIA 7 1 76T 1,086 5 6
Arian Foster HOU 7 2 43 1,224 4.4 10
DeMarco Murray DAL 7 2 91T 897 5.5 2
Adrian Peterson MIN 7 3 54 970 4.7 12
C.J. Spiller BUF 7 0 38 561 5.2 4
Darren Sproles NO 7 0 36 603 6.9 2
Steven Jackson STL 6 2 47T 1,145 4.4 5
Cam Newton* CAR 6 1 49T 706 5.6 14
Jonathan Stewart CAR 6 0 32 761 5.4 4
Ben Tate HOU 6 2 56 942 5.4 4

Fantasy FootballBeing elusive in the NFL is what makes good running backs great. The offensive line pulls and blocks to create holes for it’s running backs to run through, but after the first wave of defenders it’s up to the ball-carrier to bust loose.

It’s no surprise we see the league’s best fantasy running backs atop this list, yet players like Ryan Mathews, DeMarco Murray, C.J. Spiller and Ben Tate are definitely sleepers brewing.

What’s important to remember is that any running back can break a big one on any given Sunday, but the RB’s who can do it consistently have that x-factor that fantasy owners love.

Chris Johnson didn’t have the same sort of season we all expected in 2011, although he did tie for 3rd in the leagues with eleven 20+ yard carries.

One thing to take note of when looking at these statistics is the potential for greater things to come. These numbers can showcase the best of the best at making people miss, but also show us the guys who never caught a break. I don’t know about you, but Ryan Mathews stands out to me on this board. The San Diego RB had an excellent season with 1,091 yards 6 touchdowns but never broke off a big run greater than 39 yards. That’s quite amazing for a guy that was 10th in the league for rushing yards. Matt Forte had 12 carries that went for 20+ yard runs and 4 that went 40+ yards, yet his longest run of the season was only 46 yards.

Padding the stats happens each and every week, one big run that pushes a fantasy RB’s performance over the 100 yard mark, yet some guys are just workhorses, and while we may pigeonhole them as “not a home run threat” talent, all it takes is a little luck before they go from top 10 performers, to leading the league in yards.

*Cam Newton was added to the list to remind us all we should ignore any sort of sophomore slump talk leading up to the start of the season. The rookie Panthers QB  was a bigger threat on the  ground than most of the RB’s in the league, including Jonathan Stewart who he tied for most 20+ yard runs.

 

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