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Bold Predictions: Running back

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Stevan Ridley could be a very busy man in '13. (USAT)

The meek may inherit the Earth, but they aren't likely to win your fantasy league. When it comes to claiming virtual hardware on the fantasy football field, you have to go big, or expect to go home. With that in mind, I asked my fellow Yahoo! fantasy experts (Andy Behrens, Brad Evans, Scott Pianowski, Dalton Del Don and myself) to peek into their crystal balls and offer up their most eye brow-raising visions pertaining to the running back position for the coming season - check out our Bold Predictions for QBs here:

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THE GOOD

Stevan Ridley leads NFL in rush attempts and scores 15 TDs in the process, finishing in the top five among fantasy RBs. (Funston)

Stevan Ridley leads the NFL with 15-plus rushing touchdowns. (Del Don)

Eddie Lacy scores double-digit touchdowns and finishes well ahead of any other rookie running back. (Del Don)

Eddie Lacy scores 12 TDs, the most by a Packers running back since Ahman Green in '03. (Funston)

(Editor's note: Pure coincidence that Dalton and I had virtually the same predictions for Ridley and Lacy. As they say, "great minds ...")

Giovani Bernard more than doubles BenJarvus Green-Ellis' yards from scrimmage total and finishes as a top 20 fantasy RB. (Funston)

The Marc Trestman scheme does wonders for Matt Forte, as Chicago's bell cow sets a new personal best for receptions and also has his best touchdown count in four years. (Pianowski)

Knowshon Moreno emerges as Denver's primary back, while Mike Salfino is left muttering about the Montee Ball Problem. (Pianowski)

Arian Foster defies his critics by shouldering another 350-plus touches, 1,700 total yards and 17 touchdowns over a full 16-game slate. No RB, not even Adrian Peterson, bests him in per-game average. (Evans)

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Michael

When all the numbers are in, DeMarco Murray will rank as a top-10 fantasy back on a per-game basis. (Behrens)

Marshawn Lynch tragically suffers a catastrophic knee injury Week 10 in Atlanta elevating Christine Michael into the starting spot. The rookie seizes the opportunity, finishes inside the RB top 10 the rest of the way and becomes the stuff of fantasy playoff legend. (Evans)

Christine Michael will find a way to rush for 600 yards and six scores this season. (Behrens)

Le’Veon Bell, left for dead by droves of owners post-foot sprain, miraculously heals in time to seize the starting reins Week 6. He delivers mid-level RB2 numbers in 12-team leagues from that point on. (Evans)

Reggie Bush catches 90 passes and approaches 1,500 yards from scrimmage. (Del Don)

Sparked by an upgraded line and a more decisive running style, Chris Johnson finishes as a top 5 fantasy back. (Pianowski)

David Wilson will play his way into the first round in 2014 drafts. (Behrens)

Jamaal Charles will finish the season with exactly 2104 scrimmage yards. No more, no less. Exactly. Book it. And a career-high 11 TDs. (Behrens)

Ryan Mathews makes the Pro Bowl. (Pianowski)

THE BAD

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Mathews: Kick him to the curb? (USAT)

Ryan Mathews will play a full 16-game season this year, yet still not crack the top 16 at his position. (Behrens)

Discomfort from Jamaal Charles’ preseason foot setback lingers into the regular season leading the popular first-round pick to a very slow start. He finishes strong, but his stumble out of the gate forces him outside the position’s top 12 in per-game average. (Evans)

David Wilson, despite the enormous buzz-build over the past week, finishes with a modest 1,300 total yards and five total touchdowns, an output that ranks him outside the RB top 20. (Evans)

Rashard Mendenhall finished with less than 750 rushing yards and manages just 3.5 yards per carry behind the woeful Cardinals offensive line. (Funston)

Unable to handle the heavy load bestowed upon him by OC Norv Turner, Trent Richardson breaks down, ultimately missing four games and falling outside the RB top 20 for total fantasy points in '13. (Funston)

Shane Vereen is useful in New England, but he scores four touchdowns or less and goes down as a notable value loss. (Pianowski)

DeMarco Murray and Darren McFadden disappoint once again, as health remains a big problem for both backs. (Del Don)

Despite Jonathan Stewart's absence, DeAngelo Williams fails to score more than five touchdowns and is barely worth using as a FLEX. (Del Don)

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Bye, bye, Chis Ivory love. (USAT)

THE UGLY
The crazy workload and consistent attrition finally catch up to Arian Foster, and he goes down as the biggest first-round bust of 2013. (Pianowski)

Fears of Arian Foster's workload catching up to him come to fruition, as he goes down as this year's biggest fantasy bust. (Del Don)

By November, Chris Ivory loses his starting gig to the team's most talented all-around back, Mike Goodson. (Funston)

Another flop for the Jets - Chris Ivory doesn't top 500 rushing yards. (Pianowski)

Chris Ivory will not lead the Jets in rushing. And by the end of the season, no one in your league will own any Jets. (OK, that was not especially bold.) (Behrens)

Darren McFadden gets swallowed whole by a turf monster in Week 9 against Pittsburgh. Doctors don’t immediately disclose the rusher’s diagnosis. He’s listed questionable every week henceforth, but fails to suit up. In the end, he ranks well-outside the RB top 30. (Evans)

Darren McFadden will be outrushed by Terrelle Pryor this year. (Behrens)

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