NFL Top 5: Long-shot rushing yardage leaders

Aug 22, 2013 |
Bettors who put their faith in Adrian Peterson last season were rewarded handsomely. Peterson racked up more than 2,000 yards on the ground, and comes into 2013 as the clear favorite to repeat as the league's rushing champion - but he'll have plenty of competition.

Here are five running backs with an outside chance of being this year's top rusher (odds courtesy

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (+1,200)

Morris burst onto the scene as a rookie, going from a starter on a 1-11 Florida Atlantic team to the NFL's second-leading rusher (1,613 yards). With a year of professional experience under his belt and a quarterback in Robert Griffin III who keeps defenses honest both with his legs and his arm, Morris could be in for another huge year.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (+1,500)

Charles remains underappreciated by oddsmakers despite racking up the fourth-most yards in the league last season, buoyed by the third-highest yards-per-carry average among running backs. He's a perennial injury risk, but a season of relatively good health would almost certainly result in a bump up from the 285 carries he had last season - a development that would make him a legitimate threat to lead the league in yards.

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (+3,000)

The emergence of Bernard Pierce as a solid backup has some wondering if Rice's days as the Ravens' primary offensive weapon are behind him. But he's still just 26, has three 1,200-yard seasons behind him and is coming off a reasonable workload (257 carries) in an offense that will need to rely on the run following the loss of wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Dennis Pitta.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (+3,000)

All eyes will be on the diminutive power back as he makes his much-publicized return from a Lisfranc injury that limited him to just six games in 2012. Jones-Drew says he's feeling good - and as a guy who won the 2011 rushing title and will be playing for a new contract this season, that might just be enough to vault him to the top of the list.

Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (+6,500)

With 2012 starter Reggie Bush signing in Detroit, Miller comes into the season in stiff competition with Daniel Thomas for the No. 1 role. Miller is easily the faster and more elusive of the two, and a few big games early in the season could earn him the undisputed starting job - and with it, a shot at making his long odds pay off.

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