Hello again to my fellow fantasy footballer's. The Fantasy Outlook continues with my top 30 RB's. Why top 30? Well I figured, once again, that these rankings apply to a ten franchise fantasy league that only starts two RB's. This would give you two starters and a back-up. The point system I used is as follows:
10 rush yards equals 1 point, 10 receiving yards equal 1 point, 1 reception equals 1 point, a receiving or rushing TD equals 6 points
I want to add a small disclaimer for my rankings. When you go through and add up some of the points, you might find that "RB 3" is outscored by "RB 6". This is because I don't base my rankings strictly on the expected performance. I also factor in the likely availability of the listed player at a given position. Some players I believe will score more then others but be available later.
Without further ado. The 2010 running back rankings.
1. Chris Johnson, Ten: Of course he is number 1. Chris Johnson will be the first player taken in roughly 90 percent of standard scoring drafts and why not? He runs like a mad man. He catches and then runs like a mad man. I caution for the buyer to beware though. I am forced to believe with the fact he had no real supporting class last year he can produce again but 2000 yard rushers almost always struggle the following season. Still, you have to rank him number 1.
Projected Stats: 1629 rush yards 12 TD, 47 receptions 458 receiving yards 2 TD
2. Adrian Peterson, Min: This guy has produced since first stepping foot in this league and I see no reason why he won't again. There is also an added bonus. Chester Taylor has been shipped to Chicago so this allows Peterson to spend even more time on the field. Taylor use to come in for obvious passing downs but Peterson was actually quite adept at catching the ball last year. I forsee another great year.
Projected Stats: 1453 rush yards 15 TD, 46 receptions 434 receiving yards 1 TD
3. Ray Rice, Bal: This is my personal choice to be the best running back in the league this year. He should lead the league in yards from scrimmage and I have a feeling McGahee doesn't poach nearly as many touchdowns again. The acquisition of Boldin can only improve his chances to succeed as he will open up the offense even more. Take this guy and feel comfortable about your RB position.
Projected Stats: 1304 rush yards 10 TD, 74 receptions 842 receiving yards 3 TD
4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac: Here's a little secret about the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maurice Jones-Drew is their offense. The great thing is the other teams know that and they still can't stop the man. He rushes, he catches, and he scores a ton of TD's. He performed well last year in his first full time duty and even though they might drop his work load a little, giving Rashad Jennings 70 to 100 touches, he will still finish as a top RB at the end of the year.
Projected Stats: 1326 rush yards 13 TD, 54 receptions 439 receiving yards 2 TD
5. Frank Gore, SF: Frank Gore is San Fran's workhorse. He will miss a few games for you, but in the rest he will be a standout performer. His has big value as a receiver and even though SF always try to lighten his load by bringing in another back, it just hurts them to much to keep him off the field. He is a safe pick and minus a serious injury will give you a great performance.
Projected Stats: 1226 rush yards 8 TD, 49 receptions 402 receiving yards 2 TD
6. Rashard Mendenhall, Pit: Watch for Pittsburgh to get back to a more serious running game. Mendenhall is the type of back that can handle 25 carries a game and with Rothliesberger's early season suspension he will get his chance. If you believe he will produce all year he makes for a great pick and if you think he will become a secondary option when Ben comes back then he makes for a nice early season trade to get somebody with more value for later. Either way he is a nice solid pick for your number 1 running back.
Projected Stats: 1302 rush yards 10 TD, 27 receptions 276 receiving yards
7. Michael Turner, Atl: Injuries derailed Turner's season last year. He is a big bruising back so the risk of a serious injury is always a possibility. The upside he presents though is too tempting to pass up as the number seven back. 1400 plus yards and double digit rushing touchdowns are all but guaranteed if he stays healthy. His downside is of course that he is nonexistant in the passing game but for a standard yardage and touchdown league the man could make a case for a top 3 spot.
Projected Stats: 1439 rush yards 15 TD, 6 receptions 32 receiving yards
8. Steven Jackson, Stl: You are of the mind set of one of two people when it comes to Steven Jackson's value. Mindset A says Jackson will perform regardless of his situation. Mindset B says Jackson will struggle alot and will at best be a running back 2 for your fantasy squad. I am obviously of mindset A. Jackson's lack of touchdown's last year really hurt his position rankings for this season but that could be a huge gain for you. With a rookie quarterback most likely starting or a veteran quarterback who just isn't good, Jackson becomes the safety valve making his reception number's jump tremendously. His touchdown totals may still stay low but the absence of a true number one wide receiver, a good tight end, or another running back to steal carries just screams for a lot of production if only because of the sheer volume of touches Jackson should receive. Great value for those on the end of a snake draft. Get a top wide receiver then grab Jackson with your next pick.
Projected Stats: 1359 rush yards 6 TD, 76 receptions 570 receiving yards 2 TD
9. DeAngelo Williams, Car: Carolina's game plan is pretty simple. Run the ball with one running back and then run it with another running back. Well DeAngelo is one of those running backs and he benefits greatly from the game plan. Although he has a bit of an injury history it's not so worrisome as to keep him out of the top 10. Williams will score a lot of points for you so draft him with confidence.
Projected Stats: 1198 rush yards 9 TD, 33 receptions 269 receiving yards 1 TD
10. Jamaal Charles, KC: Charles was one of fantasy's great suprises last year. He rushed for over a thousand yards, even though he didn't get more then 6 rush attempts before week 10. His standout performance was rewarded by having his team sign the third leading rusher in the league last year in the form of Thomas Jones. What the...? Thomas Jones will most likely poach short yardage touchdowns from Charles but between the 10's I expect it to be a Charles show. Catching, running, cartwheels, and juggling, Jamaal's performance should be enough to warrant top 10 positioning.
Projected Stats: 1203 rush yards 7 TD, 48 receptions 374 receiving yards 2 TD
11. Joseph Addai, Ind: This spot was supposed to belong to Cedric Benson but since punching bartender's in the face is apparently his new past time, Benson will most likely miss a few games. I can't give Bernard Scott the same vote of confidence in his stead so rankings are adjusted and number 12 is now 11. Anyway onto Addai's positioning. Although he hasn't played a full season since his rookie year, Addai puts up points when he is on the field. He is an excellent pass catcher and will get you a combined double digit touchdown performance for the year. He's not the sexiest pick but will be very solid as your number two running back. Make sure you handcuff him with Donald Brown.
Projected Stats: 813 rush yards 9 TD, 47 receptions 326 receiving yards 2 TD
12. Ryan Grant, GB: Grant really came into his own last year. Most people considered his 2008 performance as a disappointment, since he did not get many touchdown's, and he responded with a well placed slap to their collective faces in 2009. Grant should continue to produce above adequate numbers in the high power offense of Green Bay and is a perfect fit for your number 2 running back.
Projected Stats: 1213 rush yards 9 TD, 23 receptions 180 receiving yards
13. LeSean McCoy, Phi: McCoy is a huge question mark to many people. Will he get enough reps or is he destined to receive the same 15 to 20 touches Westbrook had but without Westbrooks home run ability? Will he learn to hit the hole with authority instead of auditioning for the Saturday Night Fever remake? Will he keep the ball in his hands instead of doing his best Daunte Culpepper impression? I believe he will accomplish all of these goals and become a great running back for the Eagles. While he is not as speedy as Westbrook, McCoy does have the ability to be a better pure runner. He won't be quite the pass catching threat BWest was but should still be more efficient at it then 60 percent of the other number one running backs in the league. Draft McCoy as a solid number two but feel free to expect a performance closer to top 8 material.
Projected Stats: 954 rush yards 6 TD, 56 receptions 424 receiving yards 2 TD
14. Shonn Greene, NYJ: Fun Fact. The Jets ran the ball over 600 times last year. Do you think the new number one running back might get a few carries? Greene came out of the draft in 2009 as a good college back that could be a solid running back especially in a tandem. I seen it as Greene has the ability to be a once every decade kind of back. High hopes I know, but damn't if Harry Kalas didn't teach me a few things in life. Greene might lose a few goal line touches to LT but I don't see that as that big of a problem for this year. I am going to rank the man conservatively for the time being but I say be prepared for something simply awesome come the season.
Projected Stats: (Conservavtively) 1272 rush yards 11 TD, 11 receptions 63 receiving yards ( My personal outlook) 1743 rush yards 15 TD, 23 receptions 121 receiving yards
15. Ryan Matthews, SD: San Diego has leaned more towards the pass in recent years but that was a combination of a declining running back and a declining offensive line. The offensive line still needs some work but the running back situation has been handled. Matthews will be a good back who has a nice combination of both quickness and power. He will receive the bulk of the carries in San Diego and when the Charger's absolutely destroy some of the AFC West teams, Matthews will shine. Draft him knowing he will most likely be the offensive rookie of the year and will give you great number two running back stats.
Projected Stats: 1114 rush yards 8 TD, 30 receptions 270 receiving yards 1 TD
16. Knowshon Moreno, Den: The good news is that Moreno should be the majority of Denver's offense this season. The bad news is every team knows about it. Moreno should steal more touches from Buckhalter this year and improve on his paltry 3.8 ypc from last year. The problem is he doesn't have the passing game to rely on to help open up some running room. Moreno should still perform but only as a lower tier number 2 running back.
Projected Stats: 1099 rush yards 8 TD, 34 receptions 268 receiving yards 1 TD
17. Pierre Thomas, NO: Pierre is officially the number one running back in New Orleans this year. The Eagles acquired Mike Bell and Bush is more of a gimmick player then anything else. New Orleans flexed their running muscles late in the season and throughout the playoffs last year. I think the balance they found will continue throughout this year and Thomas will be the beneficiary of all the extra touches. A nice break out canidate so draft with a smile.
Projected Stats: 893 rush yards 7 TD, 38 receptions 315 receiving yards 2 TD
18. Cedric Benson, Cin: This dumb ass was poised for a nice season before he went and got himself in trouble. I believe Goodell will most likely suspend him for 3 games thus limiting his potential production. On a point per game basis, though, Benson should still get considered as a running back two. The Bengals have officially transitioned to a run first team and while Benson may not be around after this year he should give a nice performance on the season, if only to audition for a team next year. If you take him I'd advise finding another sure thing running back two or handcuffing him with Bernard Scott for at least the beginning of the season.
Projected Stats: 1139 rush yards 7 TD, 8 receptions 56 yards
19. Jonathan Stewart, Car: Stewart is part of a running back committee but is in a special case. Since Carolina runs so much Stewart should be good for a thousand yards and double digit touchdowns while supplying a nice change of pace to DeAngelo Williams. As a second running back you can't do much better so snatch him up.
Projected Stats: 1093 yards 10 TD, 16 receptions 119 receving yards 1 TD
20. Matt Forte, Chi: A lot of people will disagree with him being ranked so low but I just don't see his appeal. I know the offensive line was a huge let down last year but the true blue elite backs don't let that become an issue. Chicago must of felt the same way since they went out and signed free agent Chester Taylor. Taylor will negatively affect Forte's receving numbers which was a nice chunk of points in Forte's rookie year. I look for this offense to be a RBBC and so Forte can not be anything but a low tier number two running back.
Projected Stats: 723 rush yards 5 TD, 36 receptions 291 receiving yards 1 TD
21. Ronnie Brown, Mia: Poor Ronnie. He produces like a top 5 running back when he is on the field, but just can not shake the injury bug. He will be an electrifying combo for your team as he will run, catch, and even pass. If you can deal with a minimum of 4 games lost, he will give you some nice production the rest of the time. The special bonus here is that if he somehow makes it through the whole season unscathed, you will have gotten yourself a great mid-round steal.
Projected Stats: 930 rush yards 9 TD, 22 receptions 206 receiving yards 1 TD
22. Beanie Wells, Ari: Wells stayed healthy and produced pretty good in his rookie season. He is a strong runner who can handle the ball 20 times a game. He is also an underrated pass catcher coming out of the backfield, see his 11.9 ypc last year, but he is in a time share. Tim Hightower will limit his on field time on 3rd downs and maybe even a few goal line situations. The best news is that with Leinart taking over at quarterback, I expect Arizona to run a lot more so maybe the increased running repetitions will give Beanie the chance to crack a 1000 yards.
Projected Stats: 1076 rush yards 8 TD, 19 receptions 162 receiving yards
23. Justin Forsett, Sea: This is my guy to suprise for the 2010 running back spot. Once Lendale White was signed everybody wrote Forsett off as a back who would get limited opportunities behind White, Leon Washington, and even the always disappointing Julius Jones. What people fail to realize is that when given the appropriate reps last year Forsett did great whether by running or catching(check his week 10-12 stats). The release of White should make Forsett the favorite to grab the starting role. The flip side is Seattle will probably be playing from behind often, their passing game makes no one fear, and Washington, when he returns healthy, will snare most of the 3rd down reps. Still this man has a lot of upside and drafting him as your 3rd running back will ultimately pan out well for you.
Projected Stats: 969 rush yards 9 TD, 29 receptions 276 receiving yards 1 TD
24. Jerome Harrison, Cle: The backlash on this guy is he had never earned the starting role before Jamal Lewis was injured and his 3 big games were against weak defenses. While all these assertions are true, the kind of stats Harrison put up against those weak defenses were still impressive. He is a quick and shifty back and has the potential to be a nice homerun hitter. The Browns brought in the rookie Hardesty to give a nice power/speed combo to their running corp but Harrison is the man there until further notice.
Projected Stats: 884 rush yards 5 TD, 43 receptions 297 receiving yards 2 TD
25. Felix Jones, Dal: He should inherit the bulk of the carries as Marion Barber returns to more of a closer role. He is quick and gives the Girls a nice weapon, but only if he stays healthy. Since that isn't likely (only available for 17 games over 2 seasons) his expected performance leaves him ranked as the 25th best available running back.
Projected Stats: 834 rush yards 6 TD, 33 receptions 214 receiving yards 1 TD
26. Brandon Jacobs, NYG: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Jacobs was often drafted in the first 2 rounds last year but after showing an uncanny knack for not producing, be it because of a nagging knee injury or just not having it, he has fallen tremendously. The Giants seem to be leaning more towards the pass and you also got Ahmad Bradshaw eating into his playing time. If you think he has the ability to revert back to the touchdown machine he was in 2008 then you have yourself a great value player here.
Projected Stats: 910 rush yards 8 TD, 16 receptions 137 receiving yards
27. Jahvid Best, Det: A multi-dimensional weapon, Best takes over the starting spot in Detroit. He is extremely elusive when running and should be targeted often in the passing game as well, to help open things up for Calvin Johnson downfield. Of course he has a knock on him and suprise, it is injuries. Once again this selection is all about how you feel. He has the potential to be a great weapon when playing, but how often will he be on the field?
Projected Stats: 782 rush yards 5 TD, 37 receptions 297 receiving yards 2 TD
28. Ben Tate, Hou: This positioning assumes Tate will be crowned the starter in Houston. Houston has had trouble finding a steady contributing running back and drafted Tate with the hope he can fulfill that role. He has Slaton, who just rushed for 1200 plus yards 2 years ago, and Arian Foster to compete with but if he can beat them out and hold onto the ball ,Slatons downfall, he will be a very productive rookie.
Projected Stats: 875 rush yards 8 TD, 15 receptions 111 receiving yards
29. Fred Jackson, Buf: The least respected running back in the league, Jackson should be the main contributor in Buffalo. Spiller is a Reggie Bushesque type player and Marshawn Lynch isn't even a sure thing to still be part of the team come the season. Jackson has produced quite well considering what he is running behind and the fact that Trent Edwards/Ryan Fitzpatrick/Brian Brohm/Ryan Leaf/Neil O'Donnell/Rosie O'Donnell is the worst quarterback in the league and the opponents know where to focus their defensive attention. Sadly his upside is limited by the fact that even though all he does is produce his coaches get fooled at practice by Lynch and possibly even Spiller and they run with a committee approach. Until Jackson is annointed "the one" his role for your team will be as a bye week/match up fill in.
Projected Stats: 930 rush yards 3 TD, 31 receptions 265 receiving yards 1 TD
30. Carnell Williams, TB: Playing on a bad team and overcoming the free agent acquisiition of Derrick Ward, Williams turned in a decent performance last year. The hope is he will return to his ridiculous rookie numbers but I don't see that happening. He does, however, have the ability to place himself into the top 20 echelon at the running back spot if he can get a decent performance from his defense, to keep the score down, and his quarterback/wide receivers, to open things up for him. Realistically he will probably be a decent number four option in case of emergency or a bye week fill in but that is it.
Projected Stats: 845 rush yards 5 TD, 28 receptions 213 receving yards 2 TD
So there you have it. I think these guys will give you the chance to most likely field a competitive running back corp for your fantasy team. I would like to make a special mention of 10 additional running backs I suggest you watch closely and be ready to snag as injury fill in/ breakout players.