Athlon continues its 2010 college fantasy draft kit with a look at the ACC running backs.
ACC Fantasy Running Back Rankings and Profiles
Fantasy points based upon standard scoring system – passing touchdowns = 4 pts, rushing touchdowns = 6 pts, 25 passing yards = 1 point, 10 rush/receiving yards = 1 point, receptions = 0.5 points, 2 point conversions = 2 points
1. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (SO) – Bye Week – 9
Despite losing 1,000-yard rusher Darren Evans to a torn ACL before last season, the Hokies were in good shape in the rushing department. Williams was a top recruit coming out of high school and didn’t disappoint with 1,655 yards and 21 scores, along with 16 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown. Williams rushed for 100 yards or more in 10 games, including the final five contests of last season.
Athlon’s Take: The biggest question mark regarding Williams’ status is Evans’ return and sophomore David Wilson. The Hokies have one of the top backfields in the nation and Williams probably won’t equal the 293 carries he had last year. Even with a drop in carries, fantasy owners can expect 1,400 yards and 13-16 scores.
2009 stats: 298.8 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,655 yds., 21 TDs
Receiving: 16 rec., 180 yds., 1 TD
2. Montel Harris, Boston College (JR) – Bye Week – 3
With an inexperienced quarterback under center last season, the Boston College offense relied heavily on the run, giving Harris a whopping 308 carries. Harris held up under the workload, posting eight games of at least 100 rushing yards – including a run of five straight to close out the season. The junior also posted a career-high 264 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-20 romp over NC State.
Athlon’s Take: Boston College should be better at the quarterback spot this year, but will continue to rely on Harris. The Eagles also boast one of the top offensive lines in the nation, with four starters returning. Another season of 300 carries would be a concern from a workload standpoint, but expect Harris to top 1,300 yards and 12-15 scores.
2009 stats: 231.7 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,457 yds., 14 TDs
Receiving: 8 rec., 69 yds., 1 TD
3. Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech (SR) – Bye Week – 9
Jonathan Dwyer is gone, but the Georgia Tech rushing offense won’t miss a beat with Allen taking over the No. 1 role. Allen only toted the rock 64 times last season, but posted an impressive 9.7 yards per carry. Allen’s best yardage performance last year came against Clemson, rushing for 127 and a score on only five attempts. In addition to his big-play ability, the senior has displayed a nose for the endzone, collecting 30 total scores on 336 opportunities. With Dwyer no longer manning the B-Back position, Allen should see a significant increase in carries to 200-250 this season.
Athlon’s Take: Georgia Tech will get Embry Peeples, Roddy Jones and others involved in the rushing attack, but Allen will clearly be the No. 1 option. The only concern could be the workload. The senior has never collected more than 146 carries in a single season. Despite the question mark regarding the workload, expect Allen to rush for over 1,000 yards and 10 scores this year.
2009 stats: 107.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 618 yds., 6 TDs
Receiving: 5 rec., 112 yds., 1 TD
4. Andre Ellington, Clemson (SO) – Bye Week – 4
Clemson will certainly miss C.J. Spiller, but the Tigers have two talented options ready to step up in 2010. Ellington finished second in rushing on the team last season, averaging 7.2 yards per carry on 68 attempts. Ellington’s best outing came against Coastal Carolina, rushing for 88 yards and one score on six attempts. Although Ellington exited spring practice as the likely starter, the Clemson offense will continue to give Jamie Harper plenty of opportunities.
Athlon’s Take: The only thing that is preventing Ellington from being a fantasy stud in 2010 is a possible split in carries with Harper. A 50-50 split would be bad news for fantasy owners, but if Ellington can muster 150-170 carries, 800-1,000 yards with eight scores seems reasonable.
2009 stats: 69.8 fantasy points
Rushing: 491 yds., 4 TDs
Receiving: 11 rec., 55 yds.
5. Da’Rel Scott, Maryland (SR) – Bye Week – 6
Injuries prevented Scott from reaching 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year last season and he should be one of 2010’s top rebound players. Scott suffered a forearm injury against Clemson, forcing him to miss five games, before returning for the final two contests. Although his playing time was limited last year (85 carries), Scott averaged five yards a carry and posted one score in each of the first three contests.
Athlon’s Take: Scott should push for a 1,000-yard season in 2010, but there are question marks surrounding the Maryland offense. The Terrapins have a shaky offensive line, and quarterback Jamarr Robinson is still finding his way as the starter. Scott should see 200 carries this season and rushing for 1,000 yards can’t be ruled out.
2009 stats: 83.4 fantasy points
Rushing: 425 yds., 4 TDs
Receiving: 12 rec., 111 yds.
6. Chris Thompson, Florida State (SO) – Bye Week – 8
Jermaine Thomas nearly rushed for 1,000 yards last season, but begins fall practice locked into a battle for the starting job. Thompson made a push in spring practice and exited as Florida State’s starter. Thompson flashed potential in limited action last year, averaging 5.2 yards per carry on 23 opportunities, but remains largely unproven. Although Thompson finished as the starter in spring practice, expect Jermaine Thomas to make another run at the starting job in the fall.
Athlon’s Take: Thompson isn’t a huge back (5-8, 173 pounds), but provides speed and the ability to make big plays. The Seminoles have one of the top offensive lines in the nation, so whichever back wins the job should have plenty of open rushing lanes. However, is this a spot where one back will maintain the starting job or one where Thompson, Thomas and others will share time? Take a Seminole back in 120 leagues with caution.
2009 stats: 26.0 fantasy points
Rushing: 120 yds., 2 TDs
Receiving: 2 rec., 10 yds.
7. Damien Berry, Miami (SR) – Bye Week – 3
The Hurricanes are loaded at running back, which makes this situation a difficult one to peg for fantasy owners. Berry averaged 6.6 yards per carry last year and led the team with eight rushing scores. The senior boasts a powerful running style, which was used frequently in the second half of games last year. Although Berry is Miami’s top returning rusher, he will face competition from Lamar Miller, Mike James and Storm Johnson.
Athlon’s Take: If Berry is the workhorse, 200 carries and 1,000 yards isn’t out of the question. However, Miller, James and Johnson are talented backs and will get their opportunities to play this year. Expect Berry to push for 120-150 carries, but his power could come in handy around the goal-line with a push for 10 scores.
2009 stats: 116.0 fantasy points
Rushing: 616 yds., 8 TDs
Receiving: 5 rec., 68 yds.
8. Shaun Draughn, North Carolina (SR) – Bye Week – 2
Draughn suffered a shoulder injury against Duke and was lost for the final four games of the season. Before the injury, Draughn was averaging 63 rushing yards a game and had two 100-yard efforts last season. The senior has never been a factor around the goal-line, with only four career rushing touchdowns on 322 attempts. Although Draughn figures to lead the team in carries, expect Ryan Houston to see plenty of attempts, particularly around the goal-line.
Athlon’s Take: Draughn should be a safe pick to reach 600-800 yards this year, but finding the endzone could be difficult once again. Houston has 17 touchdowns in two years and will be the main threat around the goal-line this season, which limits Draughn’s value.
2009 stats: 87.1 fantasy points
Rushing: 567 yds., 1 TD
Receiving: 21 rec., 125 yds.
9. Jamie Harper, Clemson (JR) – Bye Week – 4
Harper and Andre Ellington were billed as the next thunder and lightning combo when they committed to Clemson and 2010 will be their year to shine. Harper checks in at 230 pounds, while Ellington brings more speed to the table at 180 pounds. Ellington finished second on the team in rushing last season, but Harper was only 73 yards behind. Harper had four outings of at least 75 yards or more, including 86 yards and a score against NC State.
Athlon’s Take: Fantasy owners should closely monitor the Clemson running back situation this fall. The winner of the battle between Ellington and Harper should contend for RB3 status, but a split in carries is also likely. Ellington exited spring practice atop the depth chart, but Harper figures to get 100-120 carries this year.
2009 stats: 59.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 418 yds., 4 TDs
Receiving: 11 rec., 49 yds.
10. Jermaine Thomas, Florida State (JR) – Bye Week – 8
Thomas finished 2009 as Florida State’s leading rusher with 832 yards, but begins fall practice behind Chris Thompson. Thomas rushed for 482 yards in 2008 and was expected to challenge for 1,000 yards last season, but began the year with only 16 carries in his first four games. Despite his slow start, Thomas closed out the year with four 100-yard efforts in his last six games, including 121 yards and two scores against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.
Athlon’s Take: Although Thomas is No. 2 on the depth chart, he should figure heavily into the running plan this year. However, will the Florida State running back situation sort out enough to warrant fantasy consideration in 120 leagues or will this be a committee approach throughout the year?
2009 stats: 139.4 fantasy points
Rushing: 832 yds., 9 TDs
Receiving: 17 rec., 129 yds., 1 TD
11. Ryan Houston, North Carolina (SR)
12. Josh Adams, Wake Forest (SR)
13. Roddy Jones, Georgia Tech (JR)
14. Curtis Underwood, NC State (JR)
15. Lamar Miller, Miami (FR)
16. Darren Evans, Virginia Tech (JR)
17. Torrey Mack, Virginia (SO)
18. Mike James, Miami (SO)
19. Desmond Scott, Duke (SO)
20. Perry Jones, Virginia (SO)
21. Davin Meggett, Maryland (JR)
22. James Washington, NC State (SO)
23. Brandon Pendergrass, Wake Forest (JR)
24. Brandon Barnes, NC State (SO)
25. Josh Snead, Duke (FR)
26. Embry Peeples, Georgia Tech (JR)
27. Rolandan Finch, Boston College (SO)
28. Storm Johnson, Miami (FR)
29. Dominique Wallace, Virginia (FR)
30. Keith Payne, Virginia (SR)
31. Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech (FR)
32. Ty Jones, Florida State (JR)
33. Giovanni Bernard, North Carolina (FR)
34. Marcus Wright, Georgia Tech (JR)
35. Roderick McDowell, Clemson (FR)
36. Jay Hollingsworth, Duke (JR)
37. Lonnie Pryor, Florida State (SO)
38. Josh Harris, Wake Forest (FR)
39. Kevin Parks, Virginia (FR)
40. David Wilson, Virginia Tech (SO)*
* Wilson likely to redshirt in 2010.
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