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Fantasy Football Rankings - Tier 5 Running Backs

Previous posts: Tier 1 - Tier 2 - Tier 3  - Tier 4

This fifth tier covers the last of the guys that you can be reasonably confident in.  If you drafted a QB in the first round or just had to have Randy Moss in the second, you might be looking at one of these guys as your RB1.  In that case don't panic -- you'll be fine.  Probably.  In alphabetical order:

Reggie Bush, NO – Reggie Bush is a favorite topic of mine, so he gets his own post.

Earnest Graham, TB – Graham came off the bench to replace the injured Cadillac Williams to finish with 898 rushing yards and ten rushing touchdowns.  Very impressive considering he only started ten games.  His receiving skills are also excellent – 49 catches for 324 yards are worth a lot of points in PPR leagues.  The Bucs signed Graham to a new four-year contract and Cadillac will likely start the season on the PUP list, so it should be full speed ahead for Earnest Graham.  I said it SHOULD be, but since these are the Buccaneers nothing is simple.  They signed Warrick Dunn as a third-down back and even drafted rookie Cory Boyd this spring.  Graham sits in Tier 5 because I’m worried the Bucs will mix and match starting RBs all season.  If they commit to Graham, he’s worth much more.

Brandon Jacobs, NYG – Jacobs was touted as a future stud last season and he didn’t really live up to that hype.  He had a good season -- 1009 rushing yards is solid – but the lack of touchdowns (four) kept him from being all that.  His health was also an issue as he missed five games.  I have him rated this low because of the way the Giants successfully split time between Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw during the playoffs.  Bradshaw was released by the Giants, but Derrick Ward is still around and he swiped 125 carries last season in only eight games.  The Giants proved they can win with a lot of different RBs last year; I’m worried they’ll plan to do it again this year. 

Laurence Maroney, NE – Maroney also gets a special post later.

Darren McFadden, Oak – McFadden was touted as the best running back in the draft by some pundits, but he lands in a tough situation in Oakland.  The passing game led by JaMarcus Russell will be spotty (to say the least) and McFadden is trying to take carries away from 1000 yard rusher and fan-favorite Justin Fargas.  I expect McFadden to get the majority of carries in the offense, but Fargas and Michael Bush will get a healthy share as well.  There is a chance for an Adrian Peterson-type of super breakout here and McFadden sits in Tier 5 based mostly on that potential.