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Fantasy Football: RB Rankings (1-24)

A change of scenery could help RB Steven Jackson reemerge as a fantasy star

A change of scenery could help RB Steven Jackson reemerge as a fantasy star

  1. Adrian Peterson, MIN – What’s not to love about Peterson? He has exceptional talent, the Vikings will force feed him the ball, and he has scored double digit touchdowns in every season in his career. Take him number 1 and don’t think twice.
  2. Arian Foster, HOU – Foster is showing some early signs of wearing down, but he should still be an elite fantasy option in 2013. He has scored 47 TDs over the last 3 seasons and will shoulder a huge workload. Nagging injuries are a concern, but Foster’s consistency is remarkable for a running back.
  3. Doug Martin, TB – Martin is a true feature back for the Bucs. He will get 300+ carries, about 50 catches, and all the goal line work he can handle. He is young and has no injury concerns. He also gets two excellent blockers in Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks back. He’s worth a top 5 pick in fantasy drafts.
  4. Marshawn Lynch, SEA – Lynch will get his carries and his TDs, so he’s clearly an RB1. He’s not quite an elite fantasy player, though, since he doesn’t catch passes and will compete for touches on an increasingly talented Seahawks offense. Fantasy owners can trust him to stay healthy and find the end zone, and that alone makes him a hot commodity among RBs.
  5. Ray Rice, BAL – Bernard Pierce is a legitimate threat to Rice’s workload, but little Ray can still be a valuable fantasy option in a timeshare. He should be good for 60-80 catches along with double digit TDs, making him attractive in both PPR and standard leagues. He’s still a first round pick and a clear-cut RB1.
  6. Jamaal Charles, KC – Charles’ stock is on the rise with Andy Reid at the helm for the Chiefs. He looks like a great fit in a west coast offense and should be a big factor as a receiver. Reid will find creative ways to get him the ball even if he doesn’t hand it to him 300 times. He won’t have too many scoring opportunities on a weak offense, but Charles still looks like a first round pick, especially in PPR formats.
  7. C.J. Spiller, BUF – After being locked in a timeshare with Fred Jackson for several years, C.J. Spiller could explode under new head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone has promised to feature Spiller more, which is bad news for defenses around the league. Still, Buffalo doesn’t have a QB and TDs will be hard to come by for the smaller back.
  8. Steven Jackson, ATL – Despite entering his 10th season in the league, Jackson has plenty left in the tank. He is a huge upgrade over Michael Turner and will be a great fit with the Falcons. He will have many more goal line carries than he did in St. Louis and should be a big factor in the passing game. Jackson is a borderline first round pick.
  9. Alfred Morris, WSH – Fantasy owners can’t be sure if Morris will benefit from a healthy RG3 or catch more than 11 passes in 2013, but they do know that the Redskins will give him as many carries as he can handle. Any player who will run the ball 300 times and get goal line work is a good fantasy option, and Morris is no exception. Knock him a bit in PPR leagues, but he will retain RB1 value in standard formats.
  10. Trent Richardson, CLE – Richardson already has some injury concerns and plays on a rotten offense, but the negatives end there. If fantasy owners are comfortable with his bruising running style that could open him up to injuries, he could pay big dividends. He’s a true workhorse back who catches passes and scores TDs.
  11. LeSean McCoy, PHI – McCoy could easily lead the league in carries and TDs if Chip Kelly’s offense works according to plan. Kelly’s system could just as easily crash and burn and hurt McCoy’s rushing average, receiving totals, and scoring opportunities. “Shady” is a boom-or-bust pick who – given where others are rating him – I would let somebody else roll the dice on.
  12. Matt Forte, CHI – Forte never blossomed into the fantasy stud that everybody thought he would, but he’s still a talented player who catches a lot of passes. With new head coach Marc Trestman in town, the Bears might improve offensively, opening up the door for Forte. He’s not a great goal line runner, but he should still be productive and consistent. Draft him as a high-end RB2.
  13. Stevan Ridley, NE – It’s easy to get excited about Ridley after watching him rumble for 1,263 yards and 12 TDs in 2012, but he has a few red flags. Bill Belichick likes to spread carries around, as Patriot rushers have gone over the 200 carry mark only twice in the past 7 years. Ridley also offers nothing as a receiver, having caught 9 career passes. Still, the Patriots should be more run-minded with question marks surrounding their receiving corps and Ridley is in line for a lot of work in 2013. He’s a borderline RB1, but only in standard formats.
  14. Frank Gore, SF – Gore is still an effective, well-rounded back, but at age 30, the 49ers are scaling back his workload in an effort to lengthen his career. He won’t touch 300 carries and doesn’t catch nearly as many balls as he used to, but he has a fantastic offensive line and will get goal line touches. He’s a pretty safe pick as a high-end RB2.
  15. DeMarco Murray, DAL – When Murray is healthy, he can be a great fantasy player. He doesn’t play in a committee and will catch a bunch of passes. He’s a talented player who benefits from big running lanes in a wide open offense. Owners who draft him must take on considerable injury risk, though. Murray’s inability to find the end zone is also a concern. Murray could easily string together a top 10 fantasy finish, but he’s a big gamble in the second or third round.
  16. Chris Johnson, TEN – Despite his home run hitting ability, it’s not as easy to buy into CJ2K’s upside as it once was. He hasn’t averaged over 4.5 yards a clip since 2009 and he hasn’t topped 276 carries since 2010. While the Titans upgraded their offensive line, Johnson’s workload doesn’t figure to increase, especially with Shonn Greene competing for touches. Johnson is a solid RB2, but his days of lighting up fantasy box scores are likely behind him.
  17. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX – MJD is no longer the elite fantasy option he was 3 years ago, but the Jaguars have little choice but to give him the ball. Don’t expect any Jaguar to score a lot of TDs in 2013, but MoJo is a threat for 300 carries and has been a very steady presence in the stat sheet. He’s still a solid RB2.
  18. Chris Ivory, NYJ – Ivory is no longer buried on the depth chart by other productive veteran backs and has a chance to establish himself as a legitimate fantasy starter in New York. He enters the season as the unquestioned lead dog in a Marty Mornhinweg offense that has been very kind to running backs. The Jets will struggle to score and nobody knows how well Ivory can catch the ball, but expect over 250 carries. His opportunity coupled with his violent, downhill running style makes him an RB2.
  19. Montee Ball, DEN – All reports out of Denver point to Montee Ball as the Broncos’ lead back. He will likely cede most of the third down and receiving work to Ronnie Hillman, but he should register around 250 carries and get a decent amount of goal line work. I don’t see much upside in a running back who doesn’t catch passes in Denver’s system, but Ball looks like a solid RB2.
  20. Darren McFadden, OAK – McFadden burned his owners in 2012 after posting a miserable 3.3 yard-per-carry average, but the outlook for 2013 looks brighter. He still doesn’t have much talent around him, but the Raiders are transitioning to a power blocking scheme that McFadden has been very successful running behind and there is little competition for carries. He’s a potentially great buy-low candidate, but buyer beware – McFadden has missed almost 5 games per season due to injury.
  21. David Wilson, NYG – Wilson has a chance to step into the spotlight in New York after the departure of Ahmad Bradshaw, but he is still dealing with fumbling issues and a timeshare with Andre Brown. He won’t get much goal line work and isn’t a 20 carry-per-game back. His explosiveness makes him worth a pick in the middle rounds, but he’s a low-end RB2.
  22. Darren Sproles, NO – The Saints will always carve out a role for Darren Sproles. While he is much, much more valuable in PPR leagues (borderline RB1), Sproles can rack up yardage in bunches and has found the end zone 15 times in two seasons as a Saint. In standard formats, owners will be frustrated by his inconsistency, but in the long run, expect Sproles to score like an RB2 regardless of league format.
  23. Ryan Mathews, SD – Mathews has spent far too much time in the trainer’s office as a pro, but that doesn’t mean his potential is gone. The Chargers have a bad offensive line and Mathews isn’t a productive goal line runner, but he will still get the bulk of the carries in San Diego and catch 40 or 50 passes. I wouldn’t trust him as an RB2, but he’s well worth a gamble as a backup, particularly in PPR leagues.
  24. Reggie Bush, DET – In Miami, Bush was used as a traditional lead back who did a bit of everything, but in Detroit, he will return to a role that suits his skill set much better. He will catch upwards of 50 passes in the Lions’ spread scheme and split between-the-tackles work with Mikel Leshoure. He could be a PPR beast, but the lack of carries and goal line work will make him tough to start in standard formats.

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