So here is where my rankings for 2012 fantasy football should get you worried. Running Back might be a hard position to field this year as so many teams have gone the route of the dreaded acronym: RBBC. True number one running backs should be coveted, cherished and chased in your drafts and you don’t want to miss out on that action. When you couple that with the high injury risk inherent at the position, you need a top end RB like every heterosexual male needs to watch this Kate Upton video. Alright, now that it’s over and you’re no longer master of your domain, let’s dive into the top running backs for 2012 fantasy football.
Projections based on rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns
1. Ray Rice – See top 10 for 2012 fantasy football for Ray Rice projections.
2. Arian Foster – See top 10 for 2012 fantasy football for Arian Foster projections.
3. LeSean McCoy – See top 10 for 2012 fantasy football for LeSean McCoy projections.
4. Maurice Jones-Drew – See top 10 for 2012 fantasy football for Maurice Jones-Drew projections.
5. Ryan Matthews – See top 10 for 2012 fantasy football for Ryan Matthews projections.
6. Chris Johnson - See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Chris Johnson projections.
7. DeMarco Murray – See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for DeMarco Murray projections.
8. Trent Richardson – See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Trent Richardson projections.
9. Darren McFadden – See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Darren McFadden projections.
10. Matt Forte - See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Matt Forte projections.
11. Marshawn Lynch – See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Marshawn Lynch projections.
12. Jamaal Charles – See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Jamaal Charles projections.
13. Steven Jackson – This is the end of the fifth tier for running backs that I called ‘4 RBs for 5 bucks’ and it started with Forte. It’s also the first time I’ve been able to type something that wasn’t one sentence long which is indicative of how thin running back is this year. Jackson has been solid yet unspectacular for the last few years due to an extremely inept offense surrounding him. He has that same ‘small TDs’ problem that Jamaal and Forte share so it makes sense he’s landed in the same tier. If you’re drafting Jackson it’s because you needed a solid RB2. If you’re drafting him expecting more that’s your fault, not his. 2012 Projections: 1200/6/40/300/1
14. Adrian Peterson – This is the next tier and goes to Bradshaw. This is the ‘slippery slope’ tier because it’s the last tier that feels safe to me. The fact it is led by AP – a guy not guaranteed to even play the first game of the season – speaks volumes as to how thin running back is this year. See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Adrian Peterson projections.
15. Ahmad Bradshaw – I’m probably being overly hopeful with Ahmad this high given his history of foot trouble but then you see who follows him and you start to understand. If he can stay healthy, he’s gonna be very useful. But if his foot goes back into a boot, it might feel like he shoved it up your…hey, look a squirrel! 2012 Projections: 1150/8/35/250/0
16. Reggie Bush – This is the next tier of the top 20 and goes to Sproles. I call this tier the ‘combo platter’ tier as you’ll most likely get the yardage of a lead back but it may not all be in rushing stats. Reggie had a break out season last year and I don’t really expect it to carry over. Sorry for those who believe I just can’t buy in after all those seasons of injury and ineptitude where he was supposed to be the sleeper he became in 2011. Call it payback for all those wasted draft picks I’ve spent on him since 2006. There’s even been news he might play a bit more wide receiver this year, something I talked about earlier in the off-season. If not, he’s still the offensive man of the hour in Miami, for what that’s worth. 2012 projections: 1100/6/40/280/2
17. Darren Sproles – Hi, my name is Darren Sproles. In 2011, I was what everyone thought Reggie Bush would be in New Orleans and made Sky even angrier at Reggie for it. I’ll also be replacing Peter Dinklage in ‘Game of Thrones’ for season 4. That was Darren introducing himself to you. It was also a joke about how small Darren is. Gosh you’re sensitive. 2012 Projections: 550/1/75/650/8
18. Fred Jackson - This tier is for Jackson and Gore. I call it ‘silent but deadly’ tier as I have my hunches that both are in an RBBC situation but we just haven’t been notified of it. Like SBD, drafting these two expecting lead running back touches might leave you feeling like someone crop dusted you and I don’t mean that in agricultural terms. Don’t be fooled by the numbers I’m putting here. I already talked about my trepidations concerning Freddie back in May and nothing has really settled that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach and I’ve taken plenty of Pepto. Kind of tastes like chalk. Anyways, he might be a SBDRBBC but since I haven’t heard any news of it, I can’t leave him outside the top 20. 2012 Projections: 1040/6/45/500/1
19. Frank Gore - Sometimes being in the top 20 isn’t worth much. Heck, I really didn’t want to give him the numbers I did but we’re running out of clear-cut RB1 guys and fast. We already lost Michael Turner to a Jacquizz Rodgers timeshare in late June and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gore finds himself there himself before the season is out. He is always banged up and now the team has Brandon Jacobs to back him up. Seriously, I haven’t said one nice thing about him and I still have him 19th. Are we scared yet? 2012 Projections: 1150/6/25/150/0
20. Shonn Greene – Greene is the start of the next tier and it stretches into the top 40. I call this tier the ‘Team’s #1 RB option until proven worthless’ tier because that is why I have them where they are. Consistent touches usually leads to consistency. It might also lead to consistent frustration but I can’t help that. But enough of that, am I the only one that wants to misspell his name as ‘Shonne Green’? Really, just me? Eh well, I really didn’t want to rank him this high but he’s the clear cut #1 running back on the Jets. Sometimes there’s safety in numbers and one of the numbers I like my RB to hide behind is #1. Hrm, I don’t know if that made any sense and now that the projections are here, I don’t feel a need to explain myself. Saved by the stats! 2012 Projections: 1100/6/25/175/1