What makes the running back position so pivotal in the fantasy game? Having a runner that has the ability to catch the ball makes him that much more valuable. If your league values receptions, you pick up an even bigger bonus.
Here are the top five NFL backs based on reception totals in 2011.
1. Darren Sproles, New Orleans
In his first season with the Saints, Sproles filled the hole left by Reggie Bush and led the league in running back receptions with 86. Sproles found the end zone seven times through the air and another two on the ground while gaining over 600 yards for the Saints offense.
2011 Stats: 111 Targets – 86 Rec – 10 TD
2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
What isn't there to like about Rice's game? He will be a top three pick in most leagues in upcoming drafts and his 76 catches and three touchdowns adds to his value as a runner.
2011 Stats: 104 Targets – 76 Rec – 16 TD
3. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
While the self proclaimed best back in football took a big step back last season, he still finished third in the league for running back receptions. None of his 57 catches resulted in a touchdown and while that was the biggest part of his game to fall, he still touched the ball over 300 times during the 2011 season.
2011 Stats: 79 Targets – 57 Rec -4 TD
4. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
Tolbert, the human bowling ball has taken his talents to Carolina. His 54 receptions put him in the top five a season ago and while he scored a combined 10 touchdowns with San Diego last season he will fight for carries with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
2011 Stats: 79 Targets – 57 Rec – 10 TD
5. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster added 53 catches and two scores to his impressive rushing totals. The top pick on most boards played only 13 games last season and would have worked himself into the top three had he stayed healthy.
2011 Stats: 72 Targets – 53 Rec – 12 TD