Athlon continues its 2010 college fantasy draft kit with a look at the Non-BCS running backs.
Non-BCS 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. Donald Buckram, UTEP (SR) – Bye Week - 13
Buckram was one of last season’s top breakout players, finishing fourth nationally with 132.8 yards per game and setting a single-season record for rushing yards at UTEP. His breakout season came as a surprise, with UTEP expected to lean with the passing attack last year. Before last season, Buckram’s playing experience was limited to 64 yards in 2007 on 14 carries.
Athlon’s Take: Was Buckram’s 2009 season a one-year wonder or a sign of things to come? The senior has one of the best offensive lines in Conference USA returning, but needs to prove he can repeat those numbers to be an elite fantasy option. The Miners still have a solid passing attack and could feature it more in 2010. Expect Buckram to be a solid fantasy back, but only one year of success could cause him to slip in drafts.
2009 stats: 336.7 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,594 yds., 18 TDs
Receiving: 30 rec., 453 yds., 3 TDs
2. Bryce Beall, Houston (JR) – Bye Week – 5
Beall was expected to be one of the top fantasy running backs last season, but the emergence of Charles Sims and nagging injuries prevented him from reaching preseason expectations. Sims was ruled ineligible after spring practice, leaving Beall as Houston’s top running back for 2010. The junior didn’t earn a 100-yard effort last season, but averaged nearly five yards a carry and was a significant factor in the passing game.
Athlon’s Take: Beall is an excellent selection in all formats, but his value with receptions makes him an even better pick in PPR leagues. With Sims sidelined, Beall’s numbers should resemble those of his 2008 season – 1,247 rushing yards, 13 scores and 34 receptions with four touchdowns.
2009 stats: 170.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 670 yds., 7 TDs
Receiving: 32 rec., 311 yds., 3 TDs
3. Martin Ward, Marshall (SO)
4. Sam McGuffie, Rice (SO)
5. Charles Clay, Tulsa (SR)
6. Brynn Harvey, UCF (JR)
7. Kendrick Hardy, Southern Miss (FR)
8. Jonathan Williams, East Carolina (SR)
9. Jerrell Rhodes, Memphis (FR)
10. Jonathan Davis, UCF (SO)
11. V.J. Floyd, Southern Miss (SR)
12. Albert Williams, Tulane (JR)
13. Norman Whitley, East Carolina (SR)
14. Charles Ross, Rice (SO)
15. Tyler Smith, Rice (JR)
16. Jamad Williams, Tulsa (SR)
17. Tracy Lampley, Southern Miss (SO)
18. Terrell Edwards-Maye, Marshall (JR)
19. Pat Shed, UAB (JR)
20. Lance Smith, Memphis (SR)
21. Chris Butler, SMU (SR)
22. Chris Wilson, Houston (SO)
23. Daniel Borne, UAB (SR)
24. Vernon Frazier, UTEP (JR)
25. Michael Dobson, East Carolina (FR)
26. Payten Jason, Tulane (SO)
27. Zach Line, SMU (SO)
28. Andre Booker, Marshall (SO)
29. Darryl Fields, SMU (FR)
30. Alex Singleton, Tulsa (SO)
31. Jeff Brinson, UCF (SO)
32. Derrick Hall, Tulsa (JR)
33. Desmond Johnson, Southern Miss (SO)
34. Justin Johnson, Houston (JR)
35. Brendan Kelly, UCF (SO)
36. Jason Williams, UTEP (SR)
37. Stephen Barnett, Tulane (SO)
38. Alex Owah, East Carolina (FR)
39. Giavanni Ruffin, East Carolina (SR)
40. Gregory Ray, Memphis (SR)
41. Chad Winbush, UAB (JR)
42. J.T. McDonald, Tulane (JR)
43. Justin Brooks, UAB (SR)
44. Greg Franklin, UAB (FR)
45. Orleans Darkwa, Tulane (FR)
1. Bernard Pierce, Temple (SO) – Bye Week – 11
After posting just 13 attempts in the first two games, Pierce burst onto the scene with 116 rushing yards and one score on 20 carries against Buffalo. After his breakout game against the Bulls, Pierce went on to earn five additional 100-yard performances, including 267 yards and two scores against Navy. Injuries hampered Pierce for most of the season half of last season, limiting him to 13 carries in Temple’s final three games. The sophomore didn’t figure much into the passing game last season, catching eight passes, but did catch three in the EagleBank Bowl against UCLA.
Athlon’s Take: The big question with Pierce is health. If the sophomore stays on the field, 250-270 carries, along with 1,500 yards, is a reasonable expectation. Fellow sophomore Matt Brown proved to be a capable backup last season and will be heavily involved in the offense to keep Pierce fresh. Pierce should be a top-10 fantasy back for this season, but be sure to grab Matt Brown as insurance.
2009 stats: 224.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,361 yds., 16 TDs
Receiving: 8 rec., 39 yds., 0 TD
2. Chad Spann, Northern Illinois (SR) – Bye Week – 10
Spann was the workhorse behind the nation’s No. 19 rushing offense last season, tying for fifth among running backs with a whopping 19 touchdown scores. Spann shared the workload with Me’co Brown last year, but Brown is no longer on the team. Junior college transfer Jasmin Hopkins and Iowa State transfer Cameron Bell will figure into the carry mix, but Spann should lead the team in rushing attempts.
Athlon’s Take: Spann had only four 100-yard efforts last season, but finding the endzone in all but three contests raised his fantasy value. Although Brown is no longer on the team, the Huskies won’t turn over a 250 carry season to Spann. The senior needs to be more consistent in his yardage totals each week, but his penchant for finding the endzone keeps him a solid RB2 option.
2009 stats: 226.5 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,038 yds., 19 TDs
Receiving: 10 rec., 122 yds., 1 TD
3. Willie Geter, Bowling Green (SR) – Bye Week – 10
Bowling Green ranked as the No. 6 passing offense in college football last season, but Geter became more involved with the offense as the season progressed. The diminutive 5-foot-8 back posted at least 15 rushing attempts in three out of the final five games, including 114 yards and three touchdowns against Toledo. Geter was also a significant contributor in the passing game, catching one pass in every game last season.
Athlon’s Take: With the dynamic pass/catch combination of Tyler Sheehan to Freddie Barnes out of eligibility, the Falcons will lean more on Geter this season. Geter may not be in position for 230 carries, but an increase from 176 to at least 200 seems likely. If the passing game struggles, Geter could find running room limited, but he will remain a threat to catch 30-50 passes this year.
2009 stats: 161.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 705 yds., 9 TDs
Receiving: 42 rec., 407 yds., 1 TD
4. Eugene Jarvis, Kent State (SR) – Bye Week – 4
Jarvis should be one of 2010’s top rebound candidates. The senior suffered a lacerated kidney in the second game of 2009 and was sidelined for the rest of the year. The senior has been a reliable fantasy option throughout his career, rushing for 1,669 yards and 10 scores in 2007 and despite missing three games in 2008, 801 yards and nine scores.
Athlon’s Take: At only five-foot-five, Jarvis remains an injury concern with a heavy workload. However, the senior should open the season as Kent State’s No. 1 back and 170-225 carries is a reasonable expectation. If Jarvis can stay healthy and shake off the rust from last year, rushing for 1,000 yards would be a nice comeback after the serious injury suffered last season.
2009 stats: 28.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 158 yds., 1 TD
Receiving: 6 rec., 38 yds.
5. Morgan Williams, Toledo (JR) – Bye Week – 10
Williams has been a steady player over the last two seasons, but this will be his first chance to own the starting role all year. As a freshman, Williams collected 1,010 yards and six scores, but had only 74 attempts last season, with only one effort over 100 yards.
Athlon’s Take: The Rockets are loaded up front, with four starters returning on the line. With DaJuane Collins gone, the Rockets will hand the keys to Williams, who should see 170-200 carries this year. As long as Williams stays healthy, 1,000 yards and eight to ten scores is a reasonable projection.
2009 stats: 82.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 444 yds., 2 TDs
Receiving: 13 rec., 83 yds., 1 TD
6. MiQuale Lewis, Ball State (SR)
7. Aaron Winchester, Western Michigan (JR)
8. Matt Brown, Temple (SO)
9. Brandon Thermilus, Buffalo (SR)
10. Vince Davidson, Ohio (SR)
11. Dwayne Priest, Eastern Michigan (SR)
12. Carl Volny, Central Michigan (SR)
13. Thomas Merriweather, Miami (SR)
14. Alex Allen, Akron (SR)
15. Jasmin Hopkins, Northern Illinois (JR)
16. Jacquise Terry, Kent State (JR)
17. Ike Nduka, Buffalo (SR)
18. Eric Williams, Ball State (SO)
19. Broderick Alexander, Akron (SO)
20. Cory Sykes, Ball State (SO)
21. Kenny Ashley, Ohio (JR)
22. Roman Lawson, Miami (SO)
23. Brian Fields, Western Michigan (FR)
24. Paris Cotton, Central Michigan (JR)
25. Adonis Thomas, Toledo (JR)
26. Jeffvon Gill, Buffalo (SO)
27. Branden Oliver, Buffalo (FR)
28. Dominique Sherrer, Eastern Michigan (JR)
29. John Pettigrew, Bowling Green (SO)
30. Cameron Bell, Northern Illinois (JR)
31. Dri Archer, Kent State (SO)
32. Nate Burney, Akron (SR)
33. Willie Culpepper, Miami (FR)
34. Tevin Drake, Western Michigan (FR)
35. Kevin King, Central Michigan (FR)
36. Jake Walker, Toledo (SO)
37. Ben Brown, Central Michigan (FR)
38. Darius Reeves, Toledo (FR)
39. Donte Harden, Ohio (JR)* suspended first six games of 2010
1. Eddie Wide, Utah (SR) - Bye Week - 5
Matt Asiata was lost for the season in the Utes' fourth contest last year, but the running game never missed a beat. Wide assumed the starting job and collected seven 100-yard efforts over the final 10 contests. Asiata gained an additional year of eligibility for 2010, which allows the Utes to spread the wealth with carries. However, Asiata has two major leg injuries in his career and there is some question whether or not he will be 100 percent when the season kicks off. Sophomore Sausan Shakerin will also figure into the mix, but Wide should lead the team in rushing attempts.
Athlon's Take: With four starters back on the line, Utah rushers will have no trouble finding holes to run through. Although Wide is our top-rated Ute running back, the potential does exist for Wide to lose carries this year due to the surrounding talent. The senior is a solid RB3, but be sure to invest in a quality RB4, just in case Asiata comes back at 100 percent and cuts into Wide's workload.
2009 stats: 195.2 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,069 yds., 12 TDs
Receiving: 17 rec., 154 yds., 1 TD
2. Edward Wesley, TCU (SO)
3. Alvester Alexander, Wyoming (SO)
4. J.J. Di Luigi, BYU (JR)
5. Jared Tew, Air Force (SR)
6. Matthew Tucker, TCU (SO)
7. Asher Clark, Air Force (JR)
8. John Mosure, Colorado State (SR)
9. Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State (FR)
10. Demond Dennis, New Mexico (SO)
11. C.J. Cox, UNLV (JR)
12. Leonard Mason, Colorado State (SR)
13. Matt Asiata, Utah (SR)
14. Bryan Kariya, BYU (JR)
15. Sausan Shakerin, Utah (SO)
16. Channing Trotter, UNLV (SR)
17. Walter Kazee, San Diego State (SO)
18. Raymond Carter, Colorado State (JR)
19. Bradley Randle, UNLV (FR)
20. Kasey Carrier, New Mexico (SO)
21. Aundre Dean, TCU (SO)
22. James Wright, New Mexico (JR)
23. Josh Quezada, BYU (FR)
24. Savier Stephens, Air Force (SR)
25. Nehemie Kankolongo, Wyoming (FR)
26. Waymon James, TCU (FR)
27. Davon Brown, San Diego State (SR)
28. Darius Jones, Air Force (SO)
29. Brandon Sullivan, San Diego State (SR)
30. Nathan Walker, Air Force (SR)
31. Anthony Miller, San Diego State (SO)
32. Algernon Brown, BYU (FR)
33. Tedder Easton, Wyoming (FR)
34. Ethan Grant, TCU (FR)
35. Imari Thompson, UNLV (SO)
1. Lance Dunbar, North Texas (JR) – Bye Week – 8
Dunbar suffered a torn ACL midway through the 2008 season, and with the emergence of Cam Montgomery, the Mean Green didn’t need to rush Dunbar back into the lineup. However, Dunbar completed a successful rehab and returned in time for the first game of the season. After rushing for 97 yards in his first three games, Dunbar closed out the season on a tear, earning eight 100-yard games in the final nine contests. Even though Montgomery was expected to be North Texas’ go-to back last season, Dunbar’s quick recovery and stellar performances moved him atop the depth chart.
Athlon’s Take: The schools outside of the BCS always seem to have more volatility when it comes to fantasy value every year, and Dunbar’s surprise performance last season certainly raises the one year wonder question. With 200 carries last season, there is some potential for an increase in touches this season. Dunbar should be a 1,000-yard rusher, but like Donald Buckram, there is some concern whether he can pickup where he left off. Don’t overpay for Dunbar, but he should be one of the top-10 fantasy running backs.
2009 stats: 295.8 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,378 yds., 17 TDs
Receiving: 28 rec., 300 yds., 2 TDs
2. Frank Goodin, UL Monroe (SR) – Bye Week – 1
The Warhawks should have one of the top offenses in the Sun Belt, largely due to Goodin’s success on the ground. Goodin averaged over 100 rushing yards per game in Sun Belt play, but posted respectable yardage against Texas (60) and Arizona State (62). The senior’s numbers have increased every season at UL Monroe and there is a possibility of an increase in carries with 219 last season.
Athlon’s Take: The Warhawks have three new starters on the offensive line, so there is some concern about continuity up front. However, Goodin should shine once the Warhawks hit Sun Belt play and another 1,000-yard season is easily attainable.
2009 stats: 213.9 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,126 yds., 13 TDs
Receiving: 18 rec., 138 yds.
3. Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic (JR) – Bye Weeks – 3, 7
Morris caught the attention of fantasy owners last year with solid efforts against BCS foes in the first two weeks of the season– 95 yards against Nebraska and 79 against South Carolina. Morris closed out the year with four consecutive 100-yard efforts, including 158 yards and two scores in a 28-21 win over rival Florida International.
Athlon’s Take: The big concern with Morris is the offensive line. The Owls are breaking in five new starters – will they be as successful as last season’s group? Morris should be a lock for 100 yards each week in Sun Belt play, but his upside hinges on the rebuilt line.
2009 stats: 196.0 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,392 yds., 11 TDs
Receiving: 7 rec., 114 yds., 2 TDs
4. Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky (JR)
5. Derek Lawson, Arkansas State (JR)
6. DuJuan Harris, Troy (SR)
7. Phillip Tanner, MTSU (SR)
8. Shawn Southward, Troy (SO)
9. D.D. Kyles, MTSU (JR)
10. Julian Shankle, UL Lafayette (JR)
11. Darriet Perry, Florida International (JR)
12. Jeremiah Harden, Florida International (SO)
13. Robert Walker, UL Lafayette (FR)
14. Draylon Booker, UL Lafayette (SO)
15. James Hamilton, North Texas (JR)
16. Jermaine Robertson, Arkansas State (JR)
17. Xavier Stinson, Florida Atlantic (SO)
18. Jyruss Edwards, UL Monroe (FR)
19. Braxston Miller, Western Kentucky (JR)
20. Kevis Streeter, UL Lafayette (JR)
21. Rodney Lovett, UL Monroe (SR)
22. Willie Floyd, Florida Atlantic (SR)
23. Yobes Walker, UL Lafayette (SO)
24. Benjamin Cunningham, MTSU (SO)
25. Da’Juan Cofield, Arkansas State (JR)
1. Vai Taua, Nevada (SR) – Bye Week – 8
Taua was a key cog in Nevada’s three-headed attack last season, with each player rushing for over 1,000 yards. Taua finished as the team’s leading rusher for the second consecutive season, despite missing three games, including the Hawaii Bowl against SMU due to academics. Taua totaled nine 100-yard games last season, with his best performance coming against Fresno State with 179 rushing yards and two scores
Athlon’s Take: With Luke Lippincott no longer around, Taua should be able to see a few more opportunities – likely pushing the 230-250 carry mark. As long as Taua stays out of Chris Ault’s doghouse and keeps the academics straight, he should be a lock for 1,300 yards and 10 scores. Taua has a friendly schedule and should be one of the top five fantasy running backs for 2010.
2009 stats: 225.4 fantasy points
Rushing: 1,345 yds., 14 TDs
Receiving: 12 rec., 99 yds., 2 TDs
2. Michael Smith, Utah State (SR) – Bye Weeks – 7, 13
Until Robert Turbin suffered a knee injury in offseason workouts, all signs pointed to Smith serving as Utah State’s No. 2 back this season. Turbin could return this season, but may not be 100 percent until midseason. Smith averaged 6.3 yards per carry on 46 attempts last season and was a major factor in the passing game, catching 19 passes out of the backfield.
Athlon’s Take: If Turbin returns, he figures to be brought along slowly, leaving Smith plenty of opportunities early in the season. If Turbin doesn’t return this year, Smith should be Utah State’s No. 1 back and 1,000 yards is within reach. Keep a close watch on Turbin’s status going into fall workouts, as it will play a major role in where Smith should come off the board.
2009 stats: 96.8 fantasy points
Rushing: 290 yds., 4 TDs
Receiving: 19 rec., 220 yds., 2 TDs
3. Robbie Rouse, Fresno State (SO) – Bye Weeks – 2, 5
Fresno State will certainly miss Ryan Mathews, but the Bulldogs appear to have a capable replacement lined up. Rouse tallied 82 carries as a true freshman last season, with 21 coming against Louisiana Tech for 75 yards. At five-foot-seven, Rouse isn’t one of the biggest backs in college football, but is elusive and quick.
Athlon’s Take: Can Rouse handle the pounding of a season with 200 or more carries? That’s the question Fresno State has to find out this year. Michael Harris is a bigger back that should see plenty of carries, but Rouse should lead the team in attempts. With a solid offensive line returning and as long as he avoids any injuries, Rouse figures to rush for 1,000 yards.
2009 stats: 69.6 fantasy points
Rushing: 479 yds., 4 TDs
4. Jeremy Avery, Boise State (SR)
5. Seth Smith, New Mexico State (SR)
6. Princeton McCarty, Idaho (JR)
7. Mike Ball, Nevada (SO)
8. Lyle Fitte, Louisiana Tech (SO)
9. Lennon Creer, Louisiana Tech (JR)
10. Robert Turbin, Utah State (JR)
11. Doug Martin, Boise State (JR)
12. Alex Green, Hawaii (SR)
13. Lamon Muldrow, San Jose State (SR)
14. Deonte Jackson, Idaho (SR)
15. Michael Harris, Fresno State (SO)
16. Derrvin Speight, Utah State (SR)
17. D.J. Harper, Boise State (JR)
18. Kerwynn Williams, Utah State (SO)
19. Kenny Turner, New Mexico State (JR)
20. Brandon Rutley, San Jose State (JR)
21. Tyrone Duplessis, Louisiana Tech (SO)
22. A.J. Ellis, Fresno State (SO)
23. Chizzy Dimude, Hawaii (SR)
24. Lampford Mark, Nevada (JR)
25. David Freeman, San Jose State (SO)
26. D.J. Morrow, Louisiana Tech (SO)
27. Myke Compton, Louisiana Tech (SR)
28. Marquese Dunn, New Mexico State (FR)
29. Courtney Randall, Nevada (SR)
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