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Fantasy Football Weekly Preview: Top Rookie Running Backs

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Denver Broncos Rookie Camp

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Round 2, Pick 26 – Wisconsin

Ball set an NCAA record with 83 touchdowns (77 rushing and six receiving) during his four years at Wisconsin. He led the nation in rushing touchdowns in 2011 with 33. That year, Ball finished fourth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy. Wisconsin teammate Russell Wilson finished ninth.

Ball appears to be headed to a good situation in Denver. The team’s leading rusher in 2012 was Willis McGahee, but he’s 31 and coming off a broken leg and MCL tear.  Denver’s second leading rusher in 2012, Knowshon Moreno, underwent surgery after the season on the same knee in which he suffered a torn ACL in 2011.

For more info on Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell and Giovani Bernard, 

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Round 2, Pick 29 – Alabama

Lacy did not become the feature Alabama back until 2012, after both Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson had moved on to the NFL. Lacy rushed for 1322 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2012, capping off the year by rushing for 140 and scoring two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in the BCS championship game against Notre Dame.

Lacy had a toe injury in 2011 that reportedly required fusion surgery and reportedly resulted in three running backs being picked ahead of him in the 2013 draft.

Green Bay did not have a running back with 500 yards in 2012, but in the fourth round, the Packers drafted another running back, UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, potentially cutting into Lacy’s value. Keep this in mind if you are in a fantasy football weekly league.

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 2, Pick 16 – Michigan State

Bell left Michigan State after his junior year, when he rushed for 1793 yards and 12 touchdowns.  He rushed for 13 touchdowns in his sophomore year.

The Steelers had no running back rush for more than two touchdowns in 2012. Rashard Mendenhall left as a free agent, leaving Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and newly-signed LaRod Stephens-Howling. Bell, at 6’2” and 244 pounds, could be in line for goal-line opportunities, with the 5’7”, 185-pound Stephens-Howling more of a third-down back.

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Round 2, Pick 5 – North Carolina

After missing 2010 with a torn ACL, Bernard rushed for 1253 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2011 and 1228 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. Bernard also had 47 receptions for 490 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.

The Bengals already have BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who rushed for over 1000 yards in 2012, so Bernard will have to compete for playing time.

To learn more about fantasy football weekly issues, click here.

Ben Hargrove writes on fantasy football weekly topics for DraftStreet.com.

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