Over the past decade, offenses have become more reliant on the passing game in the NFL. However, when it comes to orchestrating the aerial attack successfully, a decent rushing attack is essential. Especially in short yardage situations.
TOP NFL RUSHING TEAMS PREVIEW
Looking ahead into the 2016-17 season, we’ve created a listed of who we believe will have the most dominant rushing offenses in the league, barring any major injuries.
- Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are one of the few teams in the league with an above average passing and rushing attack. Veteran running back Chris Johnson was more productive than most analysts projected him to be at his age, and second-running back David Johnson will be looking forward to his first season as the team’s starting back after a dominant rookie year. Andre Ellington is still there to carry some of the load as well. Expect David Johnson to be a very valuable asset in fantasy, especially in points-per-reception formats.
- Buffalo Bills
Although the Bills missed the playoffs last season, they led the league in rushing yards, despite LeSean McCoy being plagued by injuries. Karlos Williams did a spectacular job filling in for the injured McCoy though, rushing for 517 rushing yards and 7 TDs on 93 attempts. Look for Karlos Williams to maintain the same role, while a healthy McCoy tries to regain his reputation as an elite back in the NFL. Dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor also plays a major role in head coach Rex Ryan’s ground and pound scheme.
- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers finished just 16th in rushing yards last season, but that was mostly the result of coming from behind in games and the absence of Le’Veon Bell, who only played six games before tearing multiple ligaments in his leg. With Bell expected to return week 1, it’s hard not to see Pittsburgh having an efficient run attack. Bell will also be sharing touches with running back D’Angelo Williams, who is considered one of the best backups in the league at the position. If their defense can hold up, the Steelers could be among the league’s leading rushing teams.
- Seattle Seahawks
After losing Marshawn Lynch to an unexpected retirement, many expect a slight decline in the Seahawks rushing game, but will that really be the case? Last year rookie Thomas Rawls was brilliant as Lynch’s replacement due to injuries, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him handle the heavier workload with no problem. The huge breakout of Doug Baldwin should have an impact on Seattle’s rushing offense as well, as he give opposing defenses more to focus on, in addition to Rawls, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Graham. Due to Rawls expected workload, he should be a premier fantasy option as well in 2016.
- Carolina Panthers
After a career year, MVP Cam Newton and the panthers were shut down in the Super Bowl after a superb season. They lost rising star cornerback Josh Norman in free agency to Washington, but all of their offensive weapons have returned, including receiver Kelvin Benjamin who missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. Benjamin gives Carolina the receiving threat they need to open up the running game for Cam Newton and Johnathan Stewart.
Sleeper Alert: Dallas Cowboys
With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant set to return from injuries, many expect the Cowboys to have one of the top offenses in the league after a horrendous 2015 season. With Darren McFadden’s week 1 availability in the air, first-round draft pick Ezekiel Elliot is expected to be the team’s starting running back. Expectations are high for Elliot, which could result in a huge workload, making him an enticing fantasy option as well. It’s possible that Elliot will thrive, along with Darren McFadden and new addition Alfred Morris behind the Cowboys’ impressive offensive line.