The shift towards PPR leagues has been ongoing over the last few years. This has added a new dynamic to fantasy football and changed the values of many players. It would seem that the running back position has been affected the most. Third down backs and running backs heavily involved in the passing game have climbed higher in the rankings, while traditional running backs have fallen somewhat behind.
Foster is the complete running back. He has very good speed and can run between the tackles. His receiving totals were also great, as he caught 66 passed for 604 yards.
He also has a great all-around game. Rice has caught 141 passes for 1258 yards over the last two years. With Willis McGahee moving on, here's hoping that Rice gets more chances at the goal line.
Charles is a gamebreaker with his speed and agility. He has scored 7 touchdowns from 40 yards or more over the last two seasons. Within the passing game last season, he caught 45 passes for 468 yards.
4. Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings
He has really developed as a pass catching back over the last couple seasons. With McNabb at quarterback, Peterson should receive a fair amount of targets out of the backfield. His rate of a touchdown per game is also very impressive.
McCoy is worth a lot more in PPR leagues than regular scoring based. He's not that big or super fast but he led all running backs with 78 catches in 2010. He also doesn't score as much as other backs but maybe that will change this season.
6. Chris Johnson - Tennessee Titans
His holdout is a growing concern for fantasy owners. Added to that is the changing Titan offense, that seems to be a work in progress. Johnson's talent is undeniable so he can't be dropped too far down the list.
Forte was very productive despite a poor offensive line. The Mike Martz offense has helped his value, as he likes to target his backs. Forte is a great receiver.
8. Steven Jackson - St. Louis Rams
He has had to carry the offense for the last few seasons but last year finally received some help in 2010. With the offense improving hopefully Jackson will be able to find the end zone more. He's taken a lot of abuse but should have something left in the tank.
Jones-Drew may be on the decline because of being a violent runner. His numbers have been great since taking over the starting running back job. Watch out though as his backup, Rashad Jennings could be used a lot more this year.
Jim Harbaugh loves to run the football. That is a great sign if you own Frank Gore. The big concern with Gore is durability but if healthy expect some very good numbers.
Hillis was a very nice surprise to fantasy owners in 2010. The Browns are looking to share the rushing load but Hillis is still the lead back. The one problem Hillis has though is that he fumbles too much.
This Steelers back is a true workhorse back. Mendenhall is not a receiving threat because of his horrible hands. If you're in a scoring based league without PPR, bump Mendenhall into your top 5.
Best is an amazing playmaker as evidenced by his long touchdowns in 2010. His rushing though left something to be desired as he only averaged 3.2 yards per carry. The Lions lost their second round pick, Mikel Leshoure, to a torn Achilles, so Best is the main man.
He still needs to prove himself as he enters his fourth season. McFadden has been injured and missed games in each of his first three seasons. With Michael Bush also in the mix, McFadden gets dropped down a few spots.
15. Mike Tolbert- San Diego Chargers
Tolbert will still be a big part of the Chargers rushing attack in 2011. He seems to have the goal line carries locked up as his. The other bonus is that he is a very good receiver out of the backfield.
He is a very tough runner and is very hard to bring down. Even though Brandon Jacobs is here, Bradshaw gets his fair share of the goal line work. The concern with Bradshaw is his durability over the season.
17. Ryan Mathews - San Diego Chargers
Mathews disappointed many fantasy owners who expected big things in his rookie campaign. He has great speed and very good moves. If he continues to improve, don't be surprised if he begins to take away some of Tolbert's touches.
He doesn't have elite speed but does have a very good initial burst. Ingram sees the field very well and can break through defenders. There may be a split of the carries in New Orleans but Ingram is their main man.
Greene is a very powerful back with punishing runs. He will be their main ball carrier in 2011 and with the Jets run based offense should set new career highs across the board. The downside is that Greene is not a receiving threat.
He is no longer the running back that he used to be. The Falcons are moving quickly to an offense that is based on the pass. Turner is not used in the passing game and with the amount of carries he's had, red flags are up.
Jones can be viewed as a threat to score almost every time he touches the ball. The Cowboys also love to use him as a receiving option out of the backfield. A big concern is that he seems to be injury prone and lacking durability.
He won't put up the giant numbers of other backs but is very dependable. The Bills only scored six rushing touchdowns in 2010 and 2009 but Jackson should increase that number by at least a couple in 2011. He is probably the most underrated back in the league.
Benson will be used a lot as the team breaks in a rookie starting quarterback. He is not used much in the passing game which drops his value. The other thing to think about before you draft him is that he faces Pittsburgh and Baltimore and their defenses twice a year.
He is a terrific receiver out of the backfield. His rushing ability though leaves a lot to be desired. Now that Willis McGahee has come to Denver, it looks like they will split time.
Addai is in an offense that passes first but if Manning sits out a game or two to start the season, he will benefit. The Colts will probably split the carries again and that means a part-time role for Addai. His durability has come into question recently also.
His offensive line should be better than last year and that's a great start. He is the team's goal line back. When the Seahawks get close they like to pound the ball in.
27. LeGarrette Blount- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blount was another big surprise. He averaged over 100 yards in his ten starts. But he really won't help you in PPR, as he only caught 5 passes all season.
28. DeAngeloWilliams - Carolina Panthers
If he can stay healthy, Williams is a great running back to own. But there are too many question marks. Including how many carries Jonathan Stewart will get and how much Cam Newton will be used near the goal line.
Grant is not a great receiving back but he is a big help in protecting Aaron Rodgers. He has experience in the offense which counts for something. But it is pass heavy and the run just keeps defenses honest.
He is more valuable in a basic scoring league. The Patriots have averaged twenty rushing touchdowns a year over the last three years. It looks like he will share time in the backfield but will be the goal line back.
Thomas was a workhorse back in college. He doesn't have much speed or power. The situation he finds himself in is a good one and that means he will get carries.
32. Danny Woodhead - New England Patriots
He fits his role perfectly in the Pats offense. Woodhead is a great third-down back. His value definitely increases in PPR leagues.
Who is the top fantasy running back in PPR leagues?
Arian Foster (113 votes)
Ray Rice (167 votes)
Jamaal Charles (53 votes)
Adrian Peterson (70 votes)
403 total votes