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Early Rankings - Running Backs


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#1 Mike FF Today

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

Our Early Rankings series continues with Dave's Top 30 Running Backs. Wide Receivers and Tight Ends to follow.

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#2 Pavlov

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:42 AM

Chris Johnson at 5 seems really really high. I understand the pick was made on talent, but effort has to be taken into account at some point.

Charles at 10 might be a bit low. He's amazing and he's had more time to heal than other backs who got hurt later on in the season.

Fred Jackson is over 30 and coming off a broken leg--those aren't serious red flags? Willie Parker post-leg injury was never the same guy; I expect to see the same thing with DJax.
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#3 Raider 84

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:53 PM

I didn't see any rookies, but good job!
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#4 Fantasy Noob

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:12 PM

I like it and I can't really quibble with any of those rankings.

But is anyone else terrified of the fact that after the first three there are serious questions and negatives with almost every other RB on the list? :shocking: It's going to have an interesting effect draft strategy in standard redraft snake draft formats this year.

#5 DrG

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:28 PM

For PPR leagues, I'd put Sproles higher.

#6 Pecos Rattlers

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:54 AM

I like it and I can't really quibble with any of those rankings.

But is anyone else terrified of the fact that after the first three there are serious questions and negatives with almost every other RB on the list? :shocking: It's going to have an interesting effect draft strategy in standard redraft snake draft formats this year.


Quite concerned. I'm going to have to overpay for one of the top 3 RB in my auction draft - that or buy a bunch of lower tier RB and hope a few of them break through. I can't imagine paying $40+ for injury risks like McFadden, Matthews or Charles.

12 team 2 QB auction redraft full PPR
qb: RYAN, ROMO, glennon
rb: CHARLES, ELLINGTON, R JENNINGS, mcfadden, r rice

wr: GARCON, K WRIGHT, m jones, ginn, crabtree, d davis
te: J. THOMAS, t wright
k: HARTLEY
def: PANTHERS


#7 Muggleborn

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:07 AM

Nice job. I guess where I differ the most from you is:

I suspect the Rams and S. Jackson will rebound nicely and I would have him creeping into the lower top 10 instead of the top 20.

I suspect Forte's situation and discontent matched with the arrival of M. Bush will lower my projections for him... at least until both sides move on and make nice with each other.

I am not sold on Helu yet and have him at the bottom of the currently projected starters (right there with Hardesty and Ridley.

#8 Cara

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:43 AM

I agree with most of the projections, but do differ on some. I think Steven Jackson will have a decent year in 2012 (as posted in the team thread). The new coach, better line (addition by subtraction) and better WR's will all help. If nothing else, he should see his fair share of dump off passes.

I would also have Richardson somewhere in these rankings. I think he will end up in Cleveland or Tampa. If it is Tampa, he may be a Superstar from day one as they have an incredible run blocking line with the newest addition. In Cleveland I will temper my expectations a bit as the line isn't as good and they play the Steelers and Ravens twice. Even in Cleveland though I would expect him to put up solid numbers as the kid can catch and is above where most rookies are in terms of pass blocking, so he will see the field early and often.

#9 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:56 PM

Chris Johnson at 5 seems really really high. I understand the pick was made on talent, but effort has to be taken into account at some point.


Who else would you take ahead of him? Age, explosiveness, health, and opportunity tells me #5 makes sense.
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#10 Matt Mueller

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:28 PM

Who else would you take ahead of him? Age, explosiveness, health, and opportunity tells me #5 makes sense.


I think a case can be made for McFadden, if you are willing to roll the dice on injury, and Ryan Matthews but that's about it.

#11 mobb_deep

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:35 PM

Who else would you take ahead of him? Age, explosiveness, health, and opportunity tells me #5 makes sense.


I agree. Granted, CJ had a bad year and showed some character issues, but he's one of the VERY FEW backs in the NFL that gets the lions share of touches.

Which of those other guys could you really feel comfortable taking before him? McFadden hasn't made it through a full season and doesn't seem to play through the bumps and bruises. Same thing when it comes to Matthews. Forte has Bush vulturing. Lynch has been pretty pedestrian before last year and is not as dynamic as CJ. Charles and Peterson are coming off ACL's. Then you got Turner, Jackson, Gore and all the other geriatric RB's.

If anything CJ at 5 is more of a reflection of how many questions marks surround pretty much EVERY RB.

Just my .02

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#12 Matt Mueller

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

All good points but let's not pretend that CJ wasn't damn near brutal last year. McFadden had 5 tds in the 7 games he played and went 5.4 ypc. Ryan Matthews had 6 tds, Tolbert is gone and went 4.9 ypc.

Chris Johnson had 4 tds all season and went 4.0 ypc. (2.96 in division against Indy, Jax and Houston. This did improve the second half of the season though)


If you take away CJ's big days against the all pro defenses of Cleveland, Carolina, Buffalo and Tampa he was no where near 4.0 ypc.

No tds in the final 4 games of the season and no 100 yard games. Just tossing out a name but Reggie Bush finished the season with 4 100 yard games and 2 tds. Heck guys like Dwill and Spiller were all way more valuable than CJ come play off time.

Plenty of reasons to draft CJ based on history, opportunity, ect but let's not pretend he wasn't awful last year. He straight killed my fantasy team.

#13 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:18 PM

All good points but let's not pretend that CJ wasn't damn near brutal last year. McFadden had 5 tds in the 7 games he played and went 5.4 ypc. Ryan Matthews had 6 tds, Tolbert is gone and went 4.9 ypc.

Chris Johnson had 4 tds all season and went 4.0 ypc. (2.96 in division against Indy, Jax and Houston. This did improve the second half of the season though)


If you take away CJ's big days against the all pro defenses of Cleveland, Carolina, Buffalo and Tampa he was no where near 4.0 ypc.


If you take away the 7 games McFadden played in, he had 0 stats.



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#14 Matt Mueller

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

If you take away the 7 games McFadden played in, he had 0 stats.



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Meh. That's one of the worst arguments. Fantasy football is about winning games weekly not piling up huge end of the year numbers.

Tampa Bay 23- 190-8.3 ypc
Buffalo 23-157 6.7 ypc
Carolina 27-130 4.8 ypc
Cleveland 23-101 4.4 ypc

4 games=578 yards

12 terrible games:

473 yards for 2.8 ypc

** Someone please check this for me b/c when I computed the actual numbers I was kind of in shock. I knew it was bad but not this bad.

#15 Boilermaker04

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:39 PM

Good list! Off-season fantasy info to help me escape the reality of how bad my fav mlb team is this year :(

I think the outlook on ADP is way too pessimistic about his recovery. RB14? Behind Murray, Mathews, and Fjax... I hope others agree with this so I can snatch him in the 3rd round lol yeah right.

#16 IGotWorms

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:07 PM

Wow the names on that list get pretty brutal pretty quickly. Definitely want to go RB very early and then stock up on second tier WRs. OR I guess you could wait on RBs and hope to grab some gems late. Seems risky to me but then again all the top guys have question marks this year.

#17 Skurzilla

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:43 PM

Chris Johnson at 5 seems really really high. I understand the pick was made on talent, but effort has to be taken into account at some point.

Charles at 10 might be a bit low. He's amazing and he's had more time to heal than other backs who got hurt later on in the season.

Fred Jackson is over 30 and coming off a broken leg--those aren't serious red flags? Willie Parker post-leg injury was never the same guy; I expect to see the same thing with DJax.



I think Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles will go later than usual, but have good seasons. Either way, the Chiefs are going to have to give Charles a lot of carries.
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#18 titans&bucs&bearsohmy!

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

Watch this play. Focus on the human pile of excrement we call a center. His momma calls him Eugene Amano.



That should tell you a lot of what you need to know about why CJ sucked last year.

We've added Hutch, and I'm sure will add more interior line in the draft and FA before the season starts.

I took CJ at 1.02 last season, and paid the price. I will take him at 1.05 this year again. I expect the line to improve, and that will help a lot. He got hit in the backfield a LOT last season.
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#19 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:58 PM

I'm fine with the top 5 on this list......my number 6? Trent Richardson, no matter where he lands.
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#20 Matt Mueller

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:12 PM

Watch this play. Focus on the human pile of excrement we call a center. His momma calls him Eugene Amano.



That should tell you a lot of what you need to know about why CJ sucked last year.

We've added Hutch, and I'm sure will add more interior line in the draft and FA before the season starts.

I took CJ at 1.02 last season, and paid the price. I will take him at 1.05 this year again. I expect the line to improve, and that will help a lot. He got hit in the backfield a LOT last season.


Hahahaha.

Oh man. Thanks for that. And for helping me understand why CJ was so bad last year.

#21 Matt Mueller

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:16 PM

I'm fine with the top 5 on this list......my number 6? Trent Richardson, no matter where he lands.


Wow. What makes you so confident, just a special talent?

I don't know much about him. Can you compare him to someone? Can he catch and/or pass protect?

If he goes to Tampa they will likely be down in a lot of games.

FWIW, he's been going as the 38th player of the board at 4.02 over at FFC.

#22 Joey Gladstone

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:35 PM

CJ, Charles and Forte are too high. Lynch is too low.

Overall an ok list.

2-2-14 LOB


#23 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

Wow. What makes you so confident, just a special talent?

I don't know much about him. Can you compare him to someone? Can he catch and/or pass protect?

If he goes to Tampa they will likely be down in a lot of games.

FWIW, he's been going as the 38th player of the board at 4.02 over at FFC.

He's being compared to Peterson, maybe just a half step slower. He does everything. Pass block, receive, all of it.

If he goes to Tampa it's fantastic for him. They went big in FA adding Carl Nicks and V Jax. V Jax keeps the defense honest and Nicks paves the way. Tampa would be a fantastic situation.

I don't track the FFC, and I'm not even sure what FFC stands for, but I'll bet he's not going at 4.02 in drafts going late August/early September.
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#24 Matt Mueller

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

Thanks for the analysis. Didn't know about the addition of the offensive lineman, I assume, Nicks. Good info.

It seems like there have been a couple highly praised rbs recently that haven't made an impact but the truly elite guys like AP and CJ stepped in and made a fantasy impact right away.

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#25 Muggleborn

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:31 PM

I would also have Richardson somewhere in these rankings. I think he will end up in Cleveland or Tampa. If it is Tampa, he may be a Superstar from day one as they have an incredible run blocking line with the newest addition. In Cleveland I will temper my expectations a bit as the line isn't as good and they play the Steelers and Ravens twice. Even in Cleveland though I would expect him to put up solid numbers as the kid can catch and is above where most rookies are in terms of pass blocking, so he will see the field early and often.


Once I know Richardson's team and situation I may be able to agree with you but was reluctant to guesstimate where I thought he would go for this discussion.

#26 IGotWorms

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:42 PM

CJ, Charles and Forte are too high. Lynch is too low.

Overall an ok list.


Who should be ahead of those guys? You listed three who are too high but only one who is too low. A player is only too high on the list if there is someone more deserving behind him.

#27 mobb_deep

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:37 PM

Who should be ahead of those guys? You listed three who are too high but only one who is too low. A player is only too high on the list if there is someone more deserving behind him.


I guess if Lynch moved to 5, that would push the other 3 down one spot. Then they might be ok. :unsure:

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#28 Raider 84

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:39 PM

I'm fine with the top 5 on this list......my number 6? Trent Richardson, no matter where he lands.

:pointstosky:
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#29 Matt Mueller

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:47 PM

Man the kid has tremendous burst. Looks like he was shot out of a cannon in some of these.




When watching these I'm reminded of McFadden's burst in an MJD/Rice sized body . I see some Brian Westbrook too.

#30 Daves Take

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:45 AM

Hi guys,

Thanks for the comments on my article. Here are some responses to your comments.

Sjax - Well, the Rams are my team and I have him ranked pretty low because I do not expect their passing offense to be very good (no WRs, disappointing 2nd yr TE) and I do expect the Rams to finally address the backup RB situation.

Chris Johnson - As I noted, his ego is too big to not expect a bounceback, the offensive line should be better, he's a workhorse back and, as some of you have noted, there are issues with the talented players behind him in the rankings.

RunDMC - Perhaps the most talented running back in the league but I knocked him down due to the injury factor. Much like Ahmad Bradshaw, it doesn't matter if your solid backup leaves when you can't stay healthy.

Charles - I expect the Chiefs to bring him along slowly early in the season so that dampers his prospects.

Richardson - A lot of the recent rookie running backs have struggled. Richardson either lands as a workhorse back in a bad offense in Cleveland or the lead role in what could be a solid Tampa offense but with Blount taking a reasonable amount of the carries.


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#31 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:47 AM

Man the kid has tremendous burst. Looks like he was shot out of a cannon in some of these.

When watching these I'm reminded of McFadden's burst in an MJD/Rice sized body . I see some Brian Westbrook too.


Yes...he hits the hole hard (thats what she said). Compact with great vision, burst, strength, balance, hands, and he has very little injury history, if any.
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#32 IGotWorms

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 12:19 PM

Richardson has incredible balance and footwork, but he looks just a touch slow to me. He doesn't seem to have that extra gear for when he hits the second level.

#33 Joey Gladstone

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:10 PM

Foster
Rice
McCoy
MJD
Matthews
Lynch
McFadden
Murray
Forte
Fred Jackson
Steven Jackson
Gore
Peterson
CJ
Turner
Charles

Or something like that.

Edited to add, Murray is another guy I think was too low.

2-2-14 LOB


#34 Muggleborn

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:12 PM

RunDMC - Perhaps the most talented running back in the league but I knocked him down due to the injury factor. Much like Ahmad Bradshaw, it doesn't matter if your solid backup leaves when you can't stay healthy.


I agree the injury bug is an obvious concern but over the past few seasons when Bush was there to back him up I had the impression a couple times that they did not think there was a need to rush McFadden back onto the field and kept him out longer than they otherwise would have. Now that Bush is gone I would not expect that to be the case any longer.

#35 Joey Gladstone

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:07 PM

The top 4 guys and Lynch are really the only "safe" backs. Matthews and McFadden offer a lot of upside with a lot of injury risk, but both guys are clearly the top dogs on their teams.

After that it's all over the place. As I've already said, I like Murray a LOT. Forte has been excellent so far during his career, but he's coming off an injury and Bush was a monster upgrade over what Barber had become.

Save 4 or 5 guys everybody is carrying a lot of risk.

2-2-14 LOB


#36 IGotWorms

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:41 PM

Edited to add, Murray is another guy I think was too low.


I agree with you there. Yeah there might be some durability concerns with him, but practically all of the top RBs are flawed in some way this year.

#37 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:48 AM

The top 4 guys and Lynch are really the only "safe" backs. Matthews and McFadden offer a lot of upside with a lot of injury risk, but both guys are clearly the top dogs on their teams.


I see you RB list a few posts above. Lynch being suddenly "safe" and CJ now suddenly 14th overall after Peterson and his mangled leg doesn't make sense to me. Before last year, what made Lynch a "safe" RB?

Do you just base all your rankings on exactly what happened the previous year?
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#38 Muggleborn

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:57 AM

I see you RB list a few posts above. Lynch being suddenly "safe" and CJ now suddenly 14th overall after Peterson and his mangled leg doesn't make sense to me. Before last year, what made Lynch a "safe" RB?

Do you just base all your rankings on exactly what happened the previous year?


Not to try and answer for someone else but wouldn't you agree the team has made a commitment to him this year with the intent he will be provided every opportunity to be their primary RB? I find his situation much more solid this year even though I might have some concerns about him personally.

#39 Joey Gladstone

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:39 AM

I see you RB list a few posts above. Lynch being suddenly "safe" and CJ now suddenly 14th overall after Peterson and his mangled leg doesn't make sense to me. Before last year, what made Lynch a "safe" RB?

Do you just base all your rankings on exactly what happened the previous year?


Cable convinced Lynch to quit dancing around at the line last year and he excelled. Add that to the fact that the young offensive line should improve and they have a possible upgrade at quarterback and I don't see what's not to like. Washington will take a few touches but Lynch is the main game in town. Only downsides I can see with him are injuries due to his physical running style and a possible decline in motivation due to getting paid. I don't get your problem with his ranking, must be a Seahawk hating thing. :wave:

Now the other two guys you mentioned I get. CJ dropped off the face of the earth last year for seemingly no reason. Fock him, I wont even think of touching him until the 3rd or 4th round. If you want to gamble on him in the 1st or 2nd round hoping he gets his head right or whatever then have at it hoss. I'm backing way off.

Peterson was hard to fit in, I moved him up and down the list several times before finally hitting "add reply". It was a gruesome knee injury, but if anybody can come back from something like that it's AP. Still there were several guys I was having a tough time placing and Peterson was one of them.

As always, when making a list of your own you realize it's a lot easier to just pick apart other people's lists. 2012 will be an interesting year for FF backs.

2-2-14 LOB


#40 Jarvis Basnight

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:56 PM

Not to try and answer for someone else but wouldn't you agree the team has made a commitment to him this year with the intent he will be provided every opportunity to be their primary RB? I find his situation much more solid this year even though I might have some concerns about him personally.


It was more about the dump on CJ than anything else. Lynch doesn't have any more opportunity than CJ does, and CJ is much more explosive.
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