The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 31, 2014

2013 Fantasy Football Awards | The Running Backs: Jamaal Charles, C.J. Spiller, Knowshon Moreno

By Eric Pehowic
The Daily Item

— Other awards: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

The 2013 Jamaal Charles Award (for dominance): Jamaal Charles

There's no doubt Jamaal Charles' late-season 8-catch, 195-yard, 4-TD game against the Raiders skewed his numbers a bit, but it was really only a bit. Take away that game and Charles is still the No. 3 fantasy running back in PPR leagues. He still has 1,600 total yards, 15 total TDs and 62 catches -- in just 14 games. Now, let's bring that game back into the equation. It happened in Week 15, which was the fantasy semifinals in most leagues.

The 2013 Trent Richardson Award (for biggest flop): C.J. Spiller

In the preseason, I Tweeted that C.J. Spiller seemed like the kind of player you pick No. 3 overall in mock drafts, but you don't pick at all in real drafts because he'll be overpriced. Fantasy owners who took the plunge were probably feeling bad after Week 1 and encouraged after his 100-yard game in Week 2. I know a couple fantasy owners who tried trading low for him. Recent reports-of-the-obvious say Spiller just didn't look like himself at times this season. I'm not going to speculate on  why. However, Spiller will be on my 2014 fantasy football sleepers lists.

The 2013 Matt Forte Award (for neck-snapping arrival): Zac Stacy

Darryl Richardson was one of my keepers. Not that I thought he was great, I just figured he'd get the bulk of the work and could hold off Isaiah Pead. For a lot of fantasy owners like me, Stacy wasn't even in the conversation. After Week 8, Stacy posted four 100-yard games, all seven of his rushing touchdowns and had a 4-catch game and a 6-catch game. Those all came after Sam Bradford got knocked out for the season. Bradford, you might not remember, had thrown 14 TDs to only four INTs through the first seven games. I'm excited to see what happens with Stacy in 2014.

The 2013 Knowshon Moreno Award (for running back who got no respect on draft day): Knowshon Moreno:

Is it going to be Montee Ball? Ronnie Hillman? I wonder how much work C.J. Anderson is going to get? For me, Moreno was the Broncos running back to draft, and he paid off extremely well, finishing as the No. 4 overall running back in PPR leagues. Remember, he was drafted on average in the ninth round. He had a 3-TD game, a 200-yards rushing game and an 8-catch game, but Moreno's value really was his consistency in a high-powered offense. He'll likely test the free agency waters in 2014.

The 2013 Reggie Bush Award (for career comeback performance): Charles/Moreno

I don't like to give multiple awards to the same players, but it's impossible not to put these guys on here. I was shocked where I was able to draft Charles this year. After an ACL tear in Week 2 of 2011, Charles put up sub-par numbers in 2012. Not every running back is Adrian Peterson. It usually takes time to get back to full power. Oh, and I've owned running backs in Andy Reid offenses before, making Charles an easy pick anywhere in the top five. Like I said in the Moreno blurb, drafters were focusing on the rookie, Ball, and last year's rookie, Hillman, while Moreno kept dropping. But smart fantasy owners saw this coming. In 2012, Moreno had 25+ touches each week from Week 12-Week 16 and averaged 18.5 fantasy points per game.

The 2013 Doug Martin Award (for rookie of the year): Eddie Lacy

I was anti-Eddie Lacy during my fantasy drafts. I didn't want any part of that mess in the Green Bay backfield, and Lacy was the most expensive option of the bunch. Turns out, everyone who guessed Lacy guessed right. He had six games of 20 or more fantasy points in PPR leagues, showed flashes as a pass-catcher, posted a handful of 100-yard games and found the end zone a bunch of times. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers back under center for 16 games, there is scary potential for Eddie Lacy in 2014.