15 Fantasy Football Running Backs for 2013
Arian Foster HOU - Houston Texans, Bye: Week 8
2. Ray Rice BAL - Baltimore Ravens, Bye: Week 8
3. LeSean McCoy PHI - Philadelphia Eagles, Bye: Week 7
4. Maurice Jones-Drew JAC - Jacksonville Jaguars, Bye: Week 6
5. Ryan Matthews SD - San Diego Chargers, Bye: Week 7
6. Chris Johnson TEN - Tennessee Titans, Bye: Week 11
7. Darren McFadden OAK - Oakland Raiders, Bye: Week 5
8. Adrian Peterson MIN - Minnesota Vikings, Bye: Week 11
9. Marshawn Lynch SEA - Seattle Seahawks, Bye: Week 11
10. Frank Gore SF - San Francisco 49ers, Bye: Week 9
11. DeMarco Murray DAL - Dallas Cowboys, Bye: Week 5
12. Michael Turner ATL - Atlanta Falcons, Bye: Week 7
13. Jamaal Charles KC - Kansas City Chiefs, Bye: Week 7
14. Steven Jackson STL - St. Louis Rams, Bye: Week 9
15. Fred Jackson BUF - Buffalo Bills, Bye: Week 8
Second Tier Starter with Upside: Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
In only ten
games as the Bills starter, Fred Jackson rushed for 934 yards
and gained 442 through the air. He was in integral part of Chan
Gailey’s offense and when he went down due to injury, the Bills
passing attack lost all potency. Jackson is a dual threat runner
that’s capable of putting up gaudy numbers with Ryan Fitzpatrick
under center. The only road block in his way is former first
round pick CJ Spiller. Spiller is an undersized back in the mold
of Reggie Bush and the two will share the backfield at times.
Jackson is a true three down back. He will hold off the young
playmaker this year and provide the boost you need to win your
Sure to Disappoint: Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions
Best is an
extremely talented multi-purpose back. He’s quick and elusive,
he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he’s a home run
threat every time he touches the football. He’s also extremely
fragile. Best has a concussion history that dates back to his
college days at UC Berkeley and these issues have followed him
into the NFL. Best has yet to finish a full NFL season and he's
clearly prone to concussions. I would place Jahvid Best on my do
not draft list for 2012.
great Fantasy Runner: Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Richardson is the real deal. He’s a true every down back with
the size and speed to run between the tackles or carry the ball
outside. Not since the great Jim Brown have football fans in
Cleveland had a premiere runner in the backfield that they can
count on as a home run threat in this offense. Richardson is a
physical back that gains yardage in chucks. He will stabilize
the ground game for the Browns and allow Brandon Weeden to work
the play action passing game.
What I said in 2011 ...
Premiere Rusher : Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster burst onto the fantasy football scene in 2010 with 1600
yards on the ground and 600 yards receiving. He also
notched sixteen rushing touchdowns and two through the air.
The high-octane Houston Texans offense has been waiting for a
long time for a featured runner to emerge to allow them to field
a more balanced attack and Foster delivered in 2010.
Extremely active in the passing game, Foster is an elite PPR
talent and his punishing run style wears down defenses allowing
him to rack up the garbage time yardage in the fourth quarter.
Foster will continue his dominance in 2011.
Running Back: Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts
Year after year, the Indianapolis Colts continue to try to find an
option to unseat Joseph Addai from the top of their depth chart at
the running back position. Donald Brown, Dominic Rhodes,
Mike Hart ... they even gave Edgerin James's cousin Javarris a shot.
Addai is a solid runner, but he's far from an elite prospect.
He's injury prone and he's beginning to lose his effectiveness in
the Colts Passing game. The Indianapolis Colts will continue
to utilize a running back by committee approach to their ground game
and although Addai is the starter of this group he will produce
another set of mediocre numbers in 2011.
What I said in 2010 ...
Premiere Rusher : Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Chosen as my Next Great Fantasy RB only last year, Chris Johnson
is a bit ahead of schedule. His size, speed, an
elusiveness are unmatched in the NFL. Johnson really is
actually a threat to take the ball to the house every time he
touches it. He leaves linebackers flat footed and
can outrun event he fasted defensive backs. With Vince
Young under center the Titans will employ a lot of option plays
which create more room for Chris Johnson to run. He will
hit 2000 yards again this year.
Running Back: Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Knowshon Moreno is going to have a tough 2010. The hamstring
injury that's been bothering him through the preseason will linger
well into the regular season, drastically affecting his production
throughout the year. This injury is typically the kiss
of death for fantasy success. Moreno will play every game in
2010, but his breakaway speed will not be there and Moreno will
continue to reinjure the hamstring each week. He won't
be right until next year.
Fantasy Sleeper: Shonn Greene, New York Jets
New York Jets are primed to make a run at the Super Bowl for the
2010 season. They're returning the number one rated defense in
the NFL, they have a strong offensive line, and finally a franchise
quarterback in Mark Sanchez. Last year they had the number one
running offense in the league and due to the progress of Shonn
Greene, the Jets brass felt comfortable enough to let their 1400
yard, #1 running back walk. Shonn Greene is a special back, he
will pick up where Thomas Jones left off and he will run behind an
All-Pro, behemoth offensive line that the Jets have been building
through the draft to make this Super Bowl run.
to Disappoint: Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts
Joseph Addai was very mediocre last year. He looked great in
the Super Bowl, but I believe his time has passed. Addai might
be a solid option as a Fantasy back for this year, but he will not
be an elite option. Donald Brown is breathing down his
neck for playing time, former Michigan Wolverine Mike Hart is a
solid change of pace back, and I'm not sure how long Addai will be
able to hang on to the starting spot.
Great Fantasy RB:
His selection by the San Diego Chargers in the 2010 draft solidified
this featured back's role as the top fantasy football rookie this
year. Ryan Matthews has excellent size and is a powerful
inside runner who will flourish under the guidance of Norv Turner.
With a strong offense led by All Pro quarterback Philip Rivers,
Matthews will have plenty of support making for a more gradual
adjustment to the pro game.
What I said in 2009 ...
Premiere Rusher : Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson had an incredible 2008. Rushing for 1760 yards on
the ground and scoring 10 touchdowns. He's a young back,
I'm not too concerned about the number of carries he received
last year and I expect him to get into the endzone more on 2009.
Petereson will lead his Vikings deep into the playoffs
especially if they can get a deal done with Brett Favre.
Running Back: Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins
Clinton Portis is nearing the twilight of his career. As a
rookie starter in Denver he excelled in Mike Shanahan's zone
blocking scheme, but as a system back, the move to Washington never
quite agreed with Portis. He tenure in the Capitol City
has been marked by injuries and inconsistent production. I
don't expect much from Clinton Protis this year.
Fantasy Sleeper: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
was drafted in Baltimore to be the primary back in the Ravens ground
attack. Everything I've heard in training camp has been about
how coaches are impressed with Rice's elusiveness and ability to
catch balls out of the back field. This year Rice will assert
himself over Willis McGahee as the three-down primary option that
Ozzie Newsome envisioned when he draft Rice.
LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
Tomlinson's best years as a running back are finally behind him.
He's had an exceptional run, but being on the other side of thirty,
coupled by the fact that the Chargers actually franchise tagged
Darren Sproles tells me that they've lost confidence in LT.
I expect and RBBC situation to play out in San Diego and and a
pass-first offensive mentality as Philip Rivers takes over this
Great Fantasy RB:
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
2009 is destined to be the year of Chris Johnson. This guys is
too elusive and too fast to continue to play second fiddle to
LenDale White. I expect Chris Johnson to take over as the
primary option in the Titan ground game and furthermore I think he
has the tools to make the most of his increased workload.
What I said in 2008 ...
Premiere Rusher : LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
No one has been as consistent as LaDanian Tomlinson in fantasy
football over the last five years. LaDanian Tomlinson is a fantasy
football manager's dream. He is the focal point of a playoff caliber
San Diego Chargers football team and is easily considered it's most
valuable player. Tomlinson is a threat to go the distance from any
position on the field, he routinely posts multiple touchdown games,
and is dangerous catching balls out of the backfield. The San Diego
offense also represents one of the few single back sets in the NFL
that utilizes Tomlinson as an every down back, maximizing his
touches each week. Leading all running backs in the statistical
categories of rushing, receiving, and touchdowns, Tomlinson is a
slam dunk to go number one overall in most fantasy football drafts.
He makes weak fantasy football owners look like gods.
Running Back: Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints
I don't like Reggie Bush, you can see it in my comments from last
year ... and I was right. Last year Reggie Bush posted 581 yards
rushing, 417 yards receiving, and only four touchdowns. He may have
shoe ads and all types of endorsements, but Reggie Bush is a nitch
player. He's great change of pace back, the type of guy that can
spark your team to a win, but he's not an every down back and is
most successful in a supportive role. He's also not a durable
running back, spending four weeks on the sidelines recovering from a
knee injury. With Duce McAllister still in the fold in New Orleans,
I look for both of these guys to be sharing touches, which will
ultimately hurt Bush's production. Do yourself a favor an leave him
alone on Draft Day.
Fantasy Sleeper: Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
Rudi Johnson had a very disappointing, injury plagued, 2007
season and the Cincinnati Bengals offense struggled as a result.
Last year Rudi posted 497 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but I
expect him to bounce back in 2008. Johnson is a great between the
tackles runner and is an every down back capable of punching it into
the end zone. Without much competition in the Bengals backfield,
Carson Palmer and Co. will rely heavily on Rudi to provide the
strong ground attack that was severely lacking in 2007.
to Disappoint: Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Call me crazy, but I'm predicting that Michael "the burner"
Turner will be a huge bust in Atlanta. There is a reason that backup
running backs in the National Football League are relegated to the
bench ... and it's not that they're being held back by the talents
of another. Rarely does a backup running back leave via free agency
to become a stud in another city. In most of the cases where a solid
backup leaves to become the starter for another team, he remains
mediocre in fantasy football circles. Think about it, do the names
Chester Taylor, LaMont Jordan, Derrick Blaylock, Jesse Chatman, or
Kevan Barlow strike you as fantasy studs? Michael Turner will be
another in a long line of promising backup running backs that simply
couldn't get it done when called upon to be the focal point of an
Great Fantasy RB:
Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were smart to lock this guy up in a multi-year contract
because in Earnest Graham, John Gruden finally has the workhorse
every-down back he has been missing in Tampa. Cadillac Williams had
a fantastic rookie campaign, but as predicted on draft day, he is
injury prone. The release of Michael Pittman and acquisition of
Warrick Dunn, coupled with the placement of Cadillac Williams on the
physically unable to perform (PUP) list paves the way for Earnest
Graham to lock down the starting running back position in Tampa. At
5'9" 225 lbs, Graham is the battering ram John Gruden will use to
open things up in the passing game for the Bucs. He will build upon
his surprising 2007 campaign in which he posted 898 yards on the
ground, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in eleven games as the
starter. This guy is a stud.
What I said in 2007 ...
Premiere Rusher : LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
LaDanian Tomlinson is the engine that drives the San Diego Chargers
offense and should be the engine that drives your fantasy football
team. Since his entry into the National Football League,
Tomlinson has dominated opposing defenses and amassed an awesome
statistical resume that has made champions of the weakest fantasy
football owners. Tomlinson is the essence of the complete
back. He runs hard, blocks, catches balls out of the
backfield, and scores touchdowns ... lots of touchdowns.
Tomlinson dropped 31 touchdowns on NFL opponents last year to set
the single season touchdown mark. With Norv Turner returning
to the San Diego Chargers, we can expect a solid dose of LaDanian
Tomlinson on a weekly basis.
Overrated Running Back: Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints
A lot of people will disagree with me because the NFL is so enamored
with the unique talents of Reggie Bush, but the fact of the matter
is that although versatile, Reggie Bush is still sharing the Saints
backfield with Deuce McAllister. I realize that the
Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears popularized the running back by
committee approach on their way to the Super Bowl last year, and
however successful it may be in the National Football League, that
success does not translate to Fantasy Football. As long
as Deuce in healthy and in New Orleans, downgrade Reggie Bush on
your fantasy football cheat sheets.
Fantasy Sleeper: Travis Henry, Denver Broncos
I don't know how much of a sleeper Travis Henry is, but anyone that
has watched this guy play football understands how well his running
style will mesh with the Denver Broncos zone blocking scheme.
Travis is a one-cut, bruising back that has one of the best stiff
arms I have ever seen on the National Football League.
Travis is powerful, he plays hurt, he doesn't miss games, and he's a
team player. The Broncos will enjoy having him in the locker
room and fantasy football owners will thoroughly enjoy the extreme
yardage and touchdowns Travis adds to their bottom line now that he
has joined the premiere rushing system in the NFL.
Disappoint: Lawrence Maroney, New England Patriots
Lawrence Maroney had a breakout season for the New England Patriots
last year, but I'm predicting the sophomore slump for 2007.
The Patriots cut Corey Dillon who was their goal-line back this year
and this would indicate a confidence in Maroney, but I believe this
will be the Tom Brady show in New England. With the weapons
that Tom has at his disposal, touchdowns through the air will be at
an all-time high in New England. the fact that Maroney has
spent the entire training camp in a red no-contact jersey as he
recovers from off-season shoulder surgery concerns me greatly.
Something is not right in New England ...
Great Fantasy RB: Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills
It may not be this year, but Marshawn Lynch will blossom at the
running back position in Buffalo. Lynch is a dual threat
rusher, able to catch the ball out of the backfield and run the ball
effectively between the tackles. Nothing stands in his way in
Buffalo, which has a roster and a system suited to making Lynch a
star. The starting running back position for the Buffalo Bills
is his job to lose and the city of Buffalo is looking to embrace
another rising star at the running back position after the Willis
McGahee debacle. Marshawn Lynch will prove to be that