Quiz: Who are the NFL’s two leading rushers?
I took the quiz, and failed. I guessed Devonta Freeman of Atlanta and Todd Gurley of St. Louis. I knew Freeman was high in overall points for running backs, and earlier in the season Gurley was running and producing like the second coming of Eric Dickerson.
Through 12 games, in points-per-reception leagues, Freeman does lead all running backs in points. While his rushing yards (764) and rushing touchdowns (9, most in the NFL) are outstanding, he has vaulted to the top because of his 48 receptions (third-most, behind Theo Riddick of Detroit and Danny Woodhead of San Diego).
Freeman’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he basically missed the last two games with a concussion.
I felt Gurley was a strong guess until I remembered he didn’t play in St. Louis’s first two games, and barely played in the third, because of a knee injury. In the eight games since, he’s rushed for six touchdowns, and has eclipsed 100 yards rushing four times.
The answers: Adrian Peterson, with 1,164 yards, and Doug Martin, with 1,038 yards. Peterson has quietly justified his status as a first-round fantasy pick, while Martin has rewarded owners who banked on him having a bounce-back season. In PPR leagues, Peterson is second in running back points, Martin fourth.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona: Because of injuries, Johnson has a chance to be the lead back in an offense that is first in points per game (32.3) and first in total yards per game (410).
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets: No team allows more passing yards per game than the Giants. “Fitzy” is a solid option.
Vance McDonald, TE, San Francisco: 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert has to throw to someone, and lately it’s been McDonald.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Denver: If Denver is going to finish strong with Osweiler, it must establish the run. Broncos back C.J. Anderson is in line for a big finish.
Shaun Draughn, RB, San Francisco: He’s now the lead back, so the race is on to either pick up Draughn or trade for him. Stay away; he’s still on a bad team that is going to be consistently playing from behind.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego: Rivers has put up big numbers in 2015, but the Broncos have allowed the fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks.Ed Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan.