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Last week, we discussed Three Up-and-Coming Quarterbacks for 2015, and we’ll continue that series today with Three Up-and-Coming Running Backs for 2015.

The running back position in the NFL has taken a back seat to the passing game over the last few years as coaches have replaced the run with short passes.

Until defensive coaches start to shut down the pass efficiently teams will continue to move the ball through the air. This actually makes running backs more important in the Fantasy game.

There are only a handful of 20-carry workhorses that get goal line duty left so having one or two on your roster gives you an advantage.

As we get ready to move into the 2015 season let’s look at a few backs that have an opportunity to push into the workhorse category this year.

3 Up-and-Coming Running Backs for 2015

Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

With the immortal Frank Gore finally moving on there is a gaping hole at running back to fill in the bay. I kept thinking last season that Hyde would get his chance once Gore blew a tire, but alas we’ve had to wait until 2015.

Now with Reggie Bush, who is always an ankle sprain away from one of those grocery store scooters, and Kendall Hunter, who is recovering from a second knee surgery, as his main competition Hyde has the inside track on moving into a workhorse role on a team that needs to run to win.

In his limited time last year, the rookie averaged 4.0 yards a carry and scored four times. He had some rookie mistakes but also flashed some ability that caught people’s attention. As long as he wins the starting job, I would expect Hyde to amass 1,200-plus total yards and 10-plus touchdowns this year.

Latavius Murray, Oakland

Murray will enter training camp in 2015 battling Trent Richardson for the starting running back job. In other words, Murray should be the Raiders starting running back by the first preseason game unless Richardson has blackmail material on the Raiders coaches.

Murray showed good moves and excellent breakaway speed last year. This is evidenced by his 90-yard touchdown run against Kansas City shortly after being given an opportunity to get on the field. He had a concussion scare but still finished with 567 combined yards, two TDs, and 5.2 yards per carry.

As long as Oakland gives him a chance to get the lion’s share of touches his athletic ability alone puts him over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.

 Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

McKinnon went to the Vikes in the third round last year. He was a freak of nature at the NFL Combine, but was considered raw.

After Adrian Peterson ran into some off the field trouble and Matt Asiata showed he was again Asiata-like McKinnon stepped in. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and totaled 673 combined yards from scrimmage, although, he did not score a touchdown last year.

He eventually had to undergo back surgery and wasn’t able to finish the season. He’s been working out with other Vikings this offseason and sounds ready to go. McKinnon is a huge break out candidate with one caveat, he has Adrian Peterson in front of him right now on the depth chart. If the Vikes deal Peterson, McKinnon becomes someone to target in drafts.

Stay tuned as we continue our “Up-and-Coming” series, with articles on Wide Receivers and Tight Ends. And now that you’ve read about the Up-and-Coming Running Backs, go back and check out our Three Up-and-Coming Quarterbacks for 2015.

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