Everyone’s been waiting for more sleepers from the chinstrap Ninjas. Of course we will not disappoint.
Here are my top three sleeper running backs for 2010:
Arian Foster – Foster in his three game cup of joe last year amassed 257 yards rushing and eight receptions for 93 yards to go along with three TDs. Those numbers projected to a full 16 game season: 1,379 yards rushing and 42 receptions for 496 yards and 16 TDs. Now he’s not going to give you 16 TDs, but the rushing and receiving yards may not be all that out of line for his 2010 season. People forget Foster was adept at catching the ball out of the backfield. He can make Steve Slaton an afterthought. The main runner in the Houston juggernaut offense is bound to roll up fantasy points in 2010. Combine this all with the fact that most fantasy magazines didn’t even have this guy on their radar at all, and you have a true sleeper in the making.
Clinton Portis - Portis is only one year removed from a 1,487-yard rushing, 218-yard receiving, nine-TD season. Last year he was banged up and the offensive play in Washington was horrible. Enter Trent Williams the new first round pick offensive lineman and Coach Mike Shanahan. Let’s everyone remember it was under Shanahan’s offensive scheme where Portis excelled to be a 1,500-yard 14-15-TD man. Portis is still just 29 years old and is coming of a year where he only played about half a season. He should be well rested and primed for a big comeback season with Shanahan at the helm. Don’t let Larry Johnson and his four yards on eight carries in the last preseason game cause you any concern. Draft Portis with confidence.
Laurence Maroney – Maroney had a nine consecutive game stretch last year where he ran for 636 yards and scored nine TDs. That projects to a potential full season of 1,130 yards rushing and 16 TDs. He’s not going to score 16 TDs, but double digit TDs might not be that far fetched with New England’s potent offense and seemingly preseason emphasis on the run in the red zone. I would take that from a guy I drafted in our Chinstrap Ninja 12-team mock draft in round 9.