2016 Outlook: Another year, another injury. Foster has missed 23 regular-season games over the past three seasons, including 12 last year, which led the Texans to release him this past winter. When healthy, Foster has been one of the league's most effective backs, having finished as a top-five fantasy RB in four of the past six seasons. But last year was a struggle, with just 163 yards on 63 carries--that 2.6 ypc ranked last among RBs who rushed at least 50 times. Foster is now 30, and while he figures to latch on with a team this summer, his days of carrying the load are over.
2016 Outlook: Abdullah's performance as a rookie was underwhelming, but that was mostly the result of his being overhyped in the preseason. A second-round pick out of Nebraska, Abdullah picked up 597 yards on 143 carries for a healthy 4.2 ypc. Just 23 years old, Abdullah has the ability to make explosive plays and is the most talented RB on Detroit's roster. But Stevan Ridley could take away some of his early-down work, and theo Riddick has the third-down role locked up. Abdullah, then, is far from a safe investment, but he has the upside you want in a midround flier.
2016 Outlook: Ivory is fresh off a career year in which he busted loose for 1,287 yards from scrimmage and eight TDs on 277 touches. But he's moving from a primary role with the Jets to a situation in Jacksonville where he will split carries with T.J. Yeldon. Ivory, 28, is more experienced and a better blocker than the 22-year-old Yeldon, and since he entered the league, Ivory's 4.6 ypc ranks ninth among the 49 RBs with 500-plus carries. But Yeldon is the same size, plays a similar game and is a superior receiver. Even if Ivory ends up as the leader of that tag-team backfield, his fantasy upside will be limited by Yeldon's presence.
2016 Outlook: The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner landed with the Titans with the 45th pick in April's draft. Henry is an absolute tank at 6-3, 242 pounds, but he also sports impressive speed (4.54 40-yard dash) and athleticism for his size. Still, he obviously projects as a power back, which means he'll be busy on early downs and at the goal line. That's good news in terms of TD upside, but it's unlikely he will do much on passing downs, which limits his upside, especially in PPR formats. As a rookie, Henry will work behind DeMarco Murray, likely limiting him to flex production.
2016 Outlook: Eyeing some quality depth behind Le'Veon Bell last offseason, the Steelers signed Williams. The move certainly paid dividends last season as, dealing with a suspension and injury, Bell appeared in only six games, and is slated to miss the first four weeks of the 2016 season due to another suspension. Williams averaged 17.8 carries and 4.1 targets during his 10 starts last season, easily pacing the position in fantasy points during those 10 weeks. On the season, he racked up 11 rushing touchdowns and 15 carries within 3 yards of the goal line, both of which were most in the league. Williams is 33 years old and may not see the field much when Bell is healthy, but assuming the Steelers do not bring in another back, he can step in as a starter to start the season before being relegated to the role of a high-end handcuff.
2016 Outlook: A complementary back throughout his career, Powell was on the fantasy radar in 2012 and 2013 but took a back seat to Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory in 2014. With Johnson out of the picture last season, Powell's playing time rebounded, and his efficiency was the best of his career. That helped Powell to a top-14 finish in targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs at the position. Now behind Matt Forte on the depth chart, Powell figures to struggle for touches out of the gate, but he'll be in position for a prime role should the overworked 30-year-old go down with an injury. Powell is a worthwhile late-round target.
2016 Outlook: Ajayi was initially considered a top fantasy prospect entering his rookie year but plummeted down draft boards because of concerns about his knee. He then went on to miss half the 2015 season because of cracked ribs and finished with just 277 overall yards and one TD. Ajayi is a talented runner and a competent receiver, but he stands 6 feet and 228 pounds, so pass-blocking is a concern. With only receiving specialist Kenyan Drake in the mix, though, Ajayi has a chance to bust out as Miami's clear early-down back.
2016 Outlook: Running backs with only 43 carries are rarely relevant in fantasy, but Riddick was an exception last season because of his pass-catching prowess. He finished 19th among RBs in PPR scoring despite producing just three TDs because he tied for first among RBs in receptions, placed second in targets and receiving yards and tied for seventh in receiving TDs. The former sixth-round pick lacks a high ceiling in non-PPR leagues, posting just two top-20 weeks last year, but his solid floor puts him in the RB2 mix in PPR.
2016 Outlook: Doug Martin gets the headlines, but a case could be made that Sims was the better RB in 2015. In fact, Sims was one of the best backs in the entire league. Operating as the passing-down complement to Martin, Sims posted 1,090 yards and four TDs (all receiving) on 158 touches. He finished among the top 11 RBs in targets, receptions, receiving yards, receiving TDs, yards per catch and yards after contact (2.3 per rush). Sims--at worst--should have a similar role this season, and Martin's durability is always a concern. So target Sims in the middle rounds and give him a big boost in PPR leagues.
2016 Outlook: Operating as the thunder to Duke Johnson's lightning in Cleveland last season, Crowell racked up 888 yards and five touchdowns on 204 touches. He averaged a substandard 3.8 yards per carry and failed to impress after contact. Crowell has posted a total of four top-10 weeks during his two seasons. At only 23 years old, he is the favorite to handle early-down and goal-line duties in Hue Jackson's run-first scheme, so he's worth a flier, as there's still a chance he takes a step forward. But the better bet is that he continues to play second fiddle to Johnson.
2016 Outlook: He was initially ticketed strictly for change-of-pace work, but Starks' 2015 role grew significantly once it became apparent that Eddie Lacy couldn't carry the load. Starks ran the ball 148 times and averaged a solid 4.1 ypc, and he also finished among the top 18 RBs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs. Starks was an unreliable fantasy source, though, as he spread a trio of top-10 weeks over the entire season and managed only one additional top-20 week. Green Bay will put Lacy in position to reclaim feature-back duties, but it's no certainty that he will. This makes Starks a fine late-round flier.
2016 Outlook: Although he has never quite maintained a featured role, Blount has been one of the NFL's most efficient backs since entering the league in 2010. Including the playoffs, Blount has racked up 945 carries (18th most) over the past six years. His average of 2.35 yards after contact trails only Adrian Peterson's among 65 RBs with at least 350 carries during that span, and his 4.6 ypc ranks 10th. Blount isn't much of a receiver and is 29, but he's been underused throughout his career. Back with New England, he should see action on early downs and at the goal line and is a flex candidate in standard leagues.
2016 Outlook: Ware came into the league in 2013 as a fullback with Seattle, then sat out the 2014 season. But last year he re-emerged as a tailback with the Chiefs, and after injuries to Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West, he burst onto the fantasy scene with 101 total yards and two TDs in a Week 11 win against San Diego. Ware averaged 5.6 yards per carry, including an NFL-best 3.3 yards after contact, and scored six TDs. He certainly made a case for a larger role, but Charles is back, and even if Charles' recovery from ACL surgery is slow, Ware must beat out West.
2016 Outlook: Coleman appeared ready for fantasy stardom at the start of last season. The Falcons' third-round pick won the starting job and rushed 20 times for 80 yards in the team's opener. Then he suffered a rib injury in Week 2, and Devonta Freeman not only ran away with the lead-back gig but also led all RBs in fantasy points. But Coleman could answer back this season. For one thing, his 4.7 ypc against base defenses ranked 11th in the league, while Freeman was just tied for 27th (4.0 ypc). Coleman has a good shot to pick up more carries this season, and at worst he projects as a high-end handcuff.