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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 SprolesHi, 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

18 Responses

  1. David_KOA says:
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    @Sky,
    I remember reading your top 20 overall and it reading
    12.) CJ?K 13.) Murray 14.) Richardson 15.) DMC

    Now in your top 20 RB’s it reads
    6.) DMC 7.) CJ?K 8.) Murray 9.) Richardson

    Is this a misprint or last minute change to your RB rankings?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It was a change I made last weekend but apparently I didn’t hit save on. Ooph.

  2. David_KOA says:
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    @Sky,
    Even though the falcons have come out many of times this offseason and said they are going to reduce the workload of Michael Turner(Carries). The goal line touches are not going to any other RB on the Falcons roster. Looking back at 2010, when his total carries was only 184(injury), he still got to 10 TD’s. I was also surprised to read that he was tied for third in the NFL last year with 11 runs of 20+ yards.

    He is still one of the few(very) RB’s that are locks for double digit TD’s. Say he gets around 250 carries, we are looking at a RB who can get you at least 1,000+ yards and 10 TD’s. I know people want to jump ship and believe me I was one of them not that long ago. I have had a change of heart and feel like he should he viewed as a viable RB2 option in 2012.

    The good news is that his ADP over at FFC(12 teams) is going down by the day and is the 18th RB off the board. Hopefully that trend continues as the summer keeps a rolling along. If you have top five or higher pick and miss out on being able to go RB-RB. You can go the route of getting your RB in round one, a combo of WR-WR or TE-WR in rounds 2-3. Then grab you some Michael Turner and his 10 TD’s as your RB2.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, I had a really hard time ranking Turner this year. My only issue with him isn’t just the age but the workload he’s had up to this point. You’ll see where I’m coming from in the top 40 next week, even if you disagree with it :)

      • David_KOA says:
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        @Sky,
        I will be looking forward to it. Always enjoy it when I can read how other people view certain players. Especially a player like Michael Turner in 2012.

        • Charles says:
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          @David_KOA,

          No Turnerin the top 20? It is not possible that defenses scheme directly aroudn the passing game and forget how much of a threat Turner can be? I agree his value is hurt due to his age, the new atlanta offense and the emergence of J Rogers, but can you really put Shonn Greene ahead of him or an unproven rookie in Trent Richardson?

  3. trevor says:
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    Im with this David. At first I was totally off turner but now that everyone else is off as well im on. Hes a better bet than Gore who is dangerously close to maxing out on his career numbers. However, I do like both of their prospects on the season.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @trevor, Hope the strategy of getting Turner works out for you this year.

  4. trevor says:
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    Well if I do I won’t pay too heavy of a price for either one. Im thinking closer to 50 overall and I have seen them drop lower on a couple occasions

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Very true. Good luck this season!

  5. Tmac says:
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    Any chance Foster falls to 4 or 5 after the news he’s a vegan is out?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha, wow that one was fresh off the presses. Foster Vegan Farms…it’s possible but I’d be surprised if he did.

  6. T-Mac says:
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    I’m gonna start the rumor that he’s anemic due to his new found veganism.
    Best and worst first round scenario that you see for the number 6 pick in a 12 team draft – Go!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @T-Mac, Ha! Go, go, go! Actually been reading a bit up on it. I wonder how he’s going to sustain the protein levels he’ll need for his body to respond to the wear and tear of football life. My guess is he’ll have some change of heart at some point in the season…or maybe even the pre-season. Seriously, teams should put into contracts ‘no vegan diets’.

  7. Tecmo Scott says:
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    Draft is in month and we do a re-draft every year. Based on our NCAA bball tourny pool, I get the 5th pick. I doubt the top 3 RB will be available to me, so I was planning on taking Calvin. I’ve been checking our recent mocks and see that quality RBs get a tad thin starting at the end of round 2. Would taking Ryan Matthews make more sense than Calvin at 5, or do you see it as a push?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It’s probably a push, though I like/trust Calvin more.

  8. adam says:
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    Who do you like more, Beanie Wells or Ryan Williams? Do you trust either to put up RB2 numbers? It’s a keeper league.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Via my rankings, I like Beanie more because we know what he can do and it’s useful. That said, I don’t truthfully trust either nor do I expect RB2 numbers from them this year. In a keeper, I’d lean towards Ryan Williams for upside/versatility.

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