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Fantasy Football Rankings - Tier 1 Running Backs

There has been conflicting comments on my fantasy football posts over the past few weeks.  Several people have commented that they are too focused on fantasy baseball right now and they’d appreciate it if I would just go away for a while.  However, The Boss has asked why I haven’t started with my rankings yet.  So, which way to go? 

Just like at my job and in my marriage, I guess I should listen to The Boss.

Now when I draft I don’t have a list of players from 1-400, instead I use a tier system so that’s how I’ll be discussing it here.  I’ll also list the players within the tier in alphabetical order, so don’t jump on me because you think I’m an idiot for listing your favorite player at the bottom of the list.  (If you think I’m an idiot for another reason, then go ahead and say so.)   You’re going to read the first name and freak out, so remember what I just said. All the players in a tier have roughly the same value as far as I’m concerned.

So here are first set of FFL rankings, starting with running backs.  I’ll be revisiting these continuously throughout the off-season, updating them as the season gets closer.  You could make a case for any RB in this top tier being the #1 overall pick.

Running Backs – Tier 1

Joseph Addai, Ind – Joseph Addai is a very underrated fantasy running back.  He now has two consecutive 1000+ rushing yd seasons under his belt, and last year he increased his TD total from 7 to 12.  He’s durable (only missed one game last season), consistent (rushing TDs in ten different games) and has become a solid part of the passing game (364 rec yds, 3 rec TDs).  In fact, his 2007 stats are slightly understated since the Colts had nothing to play for late in the season and cut Addai’s workload to only 25 total carries over the final three games.   He has a great offensive line, a great QB, a great receiving corps....he has just about everything.   He is a solid, consistent RB1 for your fantasy team.  Period.

Steven Jackson, StL – I’ll just say this: I like Steven Jackson this year.  More on him coming up.

LaDanian Tomlinson, SD – Tomlinson’s amazing totals of 1474 rushing yards and 15 rushing TDs will have fantasy football players around the world taking him with the #1 overall pick or bidding up big totals for his services.  Fair enough, I’m not going to talk you out of that.  But before you get visions of championships dancing in your head, take a look at these splits.

Week 1 to Week 5                  329 rush yds, 1 rush TD

Week 8 to Week 12                345 rush yds, 3 rush TDs

Week 6, Week 13 to 17          800 rush yds, 11 rush TDs

I’m not just cherry-picking the bad games here either.  There were two, significant, five-game periods where Tomlinson was a very regular running back.   Tomlinson was the key to a lot of championships, but a lot of people with LT on their squad they never made it to the playoffs.   This may have been a one-year blip, or it may have been the first sign that LT is wearing down.  


Brian Westbrook, Phi – People continue to underestimate Brian Westbrook. In point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, Westbrook is probably the #1 overall pick.  His rush+receive totals of 2104 yards and 12 touchdowns last season should have propelled anybody who had him to the league playoffs.  QB Donovan McNabb is expected to be healthy this year and rookie WR DeShaun Jackson should take some of the defensive pressure off Westbrook.   Although Westbrook seems to be injured every single week, he’s only missed two games over the last two seasons.  If your league lets you get Westbrook at #4 overall, start laughing maniacally.