Running back is the most volatile position and in dynasty leagues that can be scary.  As soon as a back reaches 30 they are sent off in a space ship to Vorgon 7, so you must draft some youngsters and then some youngster back-ups and then some 15 year old prodigy types.  A trade or injury can make an ok running back into a top ten running back in short order and the other into a short order cook.

Tier 1

1. Chris Johnson 25 — You know what he can do.

2. Adrian Peterson 25 — Purple Jesus can still raise the dead.  He is 1b.

3. Maurice Jones Drew 25 — He’s got a nose for the goal line.

4. Ray Rice 23 — I’m not too worried about McGahee and these are Dynasty rankings we are talking bout.

Tier 2

5. Jamaal Charles 23 — Probably deserves Tier 1 status, but needs to perform for a whole year.

6. Rashard Mendenhall 23 — Young and the #1 on a good team.

7. Shonn Greene 25 — L.T. will take carries away from him, at least until they realize he’s washed up.

8. Frank Gore 27 — Steady and versatile, but aging and injury prone.

9. Beanie Wells 22 — Hightower will be eating his dust.

10. Jonathan Stewart 23 — His age and ability trump his RBBC lot in life.

11. Steven Jackson 27 — Will put up good numbers, but his back could be a problem dynasty-wise.

12. Michael Turner 28 — He can put up TD’s with the best of them.

Tier 3

13. Knowshon Moreno 23 — Didn’t overwhelm in his rookie season, but his situation is ripe for success.

14. DeAngelo Williams 27 —  He’s too good to knock down far even though he’s older than his RBBC pal.

15. Ryan Mathews 23 — His situation is too good to pass up.

16. Ryan Grant 27 — On a great offense.  Steady production.

Tier 4

17. LeSean McCoy 22 — Bell doesn’t hurt him too much.  The Eagles will score.

18. Pierre Thomas 25 — Just hope Payton gives him some goal line work.

19. Felix Jones 23 — Worried about his health, but see him getting the most numbers in cow town.

20. Donald Brown 23 — RBBC for now, but youth always wins out.

21. Cedric Benson 27 — Bengals have become run first.

22. Matt Forte 24 — Chester Taylor hurts him, but thankfully Taylor will be 31 this season.

Tier 5

23. Jahvid Best 21 — He has the ability, but he doesn’t have a 300 carry build. The Lions are going to give him a shot at being the main guy.  If he stays healthy he’ll be a steal.

24. Ahmad Bradshaw 24 — Jacobs and he were both injured, but he outplayed him.

25. CJ Spiller 23 — Great ability, but a Bill. I like his long term value though.

Tier 6

26. Joseph Addai 27 — Has some productive committee years left.

27. Ronnie Brown 28 — He could slip or rise further depending on how his injury looks, but he is an elite talent.

28. Brandon Jacobs 28 — I’m not a fan, but if he’s healthy he can get in the endzone.

29. Ben Tate 22 — Will get early downs and goal line looks in a high powered offense.  If he takes advantage, he could be a huge steal.

30. Justin Forsett 24 — Should be the most productive back in Seattle.

31. Fred Jackson 29 — There’s a good chance he’ll get the bulk of the carries this season, but he is old (which makes me ancient).

Tier 7

32. Reggie Bush 25 — Reggie Bush type.

33. Darren McFadden 23 — Campbell will help him, but he’ll be battling Bush for carries.

34. Darren Sproles 27 — Reggie Bush type, but a bit older.

35. Marion Barber 27 — Most Barbarians have short life spans.

36. Michael Bush 26 — If he gets goal line and early down work he goes ahead of McFadden.

37. Montario Hardesty 23 — Will have to beat out Harrison and Davis, but will be given the opportunity.

38. Marshawn Lynch 24 — His age and past production make him hard to pass on.  Will move up if he gets traded to a better sitch.

Tier 8

39. Jerome Harrison 27 — He has skills, but needs an opportunity.

40. Kevin Smith 23 — His injuries and inability to run well are worrisome. Best won’t be able to carry a huge load so he could still have some value.

41. Laurence Maroney 25 — Had a great stretch last season.  Still young.

42. Toby Gerhart 23 — He is an Adrian Peterson injury away from being a top RB, but he sure isn’t fantasy worthy right now.

43. Jonathan Dwyer 21 — He’s a Mendenhall handcuff for now, but there are rumblings of him being a goal line back.  That would move Mendy and him closer together in the rankings.

Tier 9

44. Thomas Jones 32 — Doesn’t get hurt so should have a year or two left.  Will get goal line looks in KC.

45. Tashard Choice 25 — Barber is declining.  Jones is injury prone.

46. Chester Taylor 31 — Role is undefined now in Chicago, but he could do some things in a Martz offense.

47. Steve Slaton 24 — Had a great rookie season.  Has skills.  Benched. Is hurt. Has Ben Tate in his way. Flier.

48. Dexter McCluster 22 — He could end up being on the WR rankings instead of the RB rankings.  If these were redraft, ppr, or return yardage league rankings, he would be higher.

Tier 10

49. Carnell Williams 28 — Lasted all last season.  Probably won’t this season.

50. Tim Hightower 24 — Still young, but will be a Beanie back-up.

51. Willis McGahee 28 — Staying in Baltimore will hurt his value.

52. Ricky Williams 33 — Should get you one more productive year.

Tier 11

53. Arian Foster 24 —  The drafting of Ben Tate was a sad one for Foster. If he happens to beat Tate he moves way up.

54. LaDainian Tomlinson 31 — The Jets run a ton, but LT is breaking down quickly.

55. Javon Ringer 23 — Would  pick up the reps if CJ goes down.

56. James Starks 24 — Should beat out Brandon Jackson and end up backing up Ryan Grant.

57. James Davis 24 — Young and will compete with Jerome Harrison and Montario Hardesty for playing time.

58. Bernard Scott 26 — If Benson goes down he would easily take up the slack.

59. Lex Hilliard 26 — Ricky is old. Ronnie is oldish/injuryish.

60. Jerious Norwood 27 — Turner has had a lot of carries.  Norwood should be healthy.

61. Larry Johnson 30 — I don’t like him, but he could rise if he starts for the Native Americans.

Tier 12

62. Glen Coffee 23 — Gore is injury prone.

63. Rashad Jennings 25 — Just has MJD blocking him.

64. Derrick Ward 30 — Will be in the mix, but the recipe is bland.

65. Leon Washington 28 — 3rd string in Seattle.  Will need help to be fantasy relevant.

66. Charles Scott — In line for the Eagles’ future goal line back.

67. Correl Buckhalter 31 — Should still be the #2 in the mountains, but old.

68. Mike Bell 27 — Will get some goal line looks in Philly, but Weaver will also.

69. Maurice Morris 30 — Best will best him.

70. Tyrell Sutton 23 — A good change of pace back that could flourish with an opportunity.

71. Mike Goodson 23 — See above.

72. Jason Snelling 26 — Norwood was hurt much of last season so Snelly got the work.

73. Larod Stephens-Howling 23 — Has the ability to be a Reggie Bush type.

74. Brian Westbrook 31 — If he hooks up with the right team and looks healthy I could see moving him up a little, but I’m not taking him.

75. Chris Jennings 24 — Slim chance to get into the mix after Harrison, Hardesty and Davis.

updated 6/10/10

  1. Cheese

    Cheese says:

    On my keeper team (16 team league) I have Charles, Forsett, D Brown and J Harrison. If 2 of those guys become the feature backs for their teams, I’ll be golden. Only if Brown didn’t get injured this year, I wonder where Addai would be… What are my chances?

  2. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Cheese: Well, Charles has it wrapped up. Brown will take the longest, but probably is second as far as long term potential. Forsett and Harrison will both get a lot of work. Just hope that Seattle doesn’t go after a veteran which I kind of doubt they do. I like all 4.

  3. Guest says:

    Tyrell Sutton! Carolina is talking about trading away one of there backs. Personally I don’t see Williams or Stewart leaving this system anytime soon. Sutton proved last year he could be a star back if given chance. Don’t be surprised to see sutton be traded and make an impact for his new team immediately!

  4. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Guest: Sutton should be on there. I’ll add him when I drop Forte!

  5. Stephen says:

    And Barry Sanders is very similar to Peterson too.

  6. Stephen says:

    I wrote this to a local sports radio talk show host earlier this year. Sorry for the tenses and personal pronouns.

    As an avid Vikings fan for years, well as many years as a 22 year old kid can have watching the Vikings, I have had the anguish of watching the ’98, ’01, and now the ’10 playoff debacles. Due to my schedule, I rarely get to listen to your show (I usually get to listen to the Power Trip), but when I do, I really enjoy listening to your perspectives and your guests. I know this going to be a long rant, but I’d appreciate knowing what you think of what I have done.

    One of the things that is bothering me more than ever is the attention Adrian Peterson’s fumbles are getting. Now, I feel like you did a comparison of great running backs and the percentage of caries they had per fumble a few weeks back (noting specifically the use of Walter Payton). Going from that basis, I did a brief research project and looked back at some great, hall of fame, running backs that have had quite a few fumbles in a season. For example, out of Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen, OJ Simpson, and Walter Payton, only OJ Simpson had fewer fumbles in his first three years than Peterson had. However, Peterson had more carries than Simpson. In the season that Dickerson had 2105 yards, he also fumbled 14 times.

    Eric Dickerson had 37 fumbles in his first three years on 1153 touches (92 of those on receptions). He had 78 career fumbles on 3277 touches. 1st three years fumbling rate (fumbles divided by carries) 3.2% fumble rate | Career fumbling Rate: 2.4%

    Tony Dorsett had 28 fumbles in his first three years on 859 touches (111 of those on receptions). He had 90 career fumbles on 3334 touches. 1st three years fumbling rate: 3.3% | Career fumbling Rate: 2.7%

    Marcus Allen had 27 fumbles in his first three years on 871 touches (170 of those on receptions). He had 65 career fumbles on 3609 touches (587 of those on receptions). 1st three years fumbling rate: 3.1% | Career fumbling Rate: 1.8%

    OJ Simpson had 17 fumbles in his first three years on 545 touches (61 of those on receptions). He had 62 career fumbles on 2607 touches (203 receptions). He didn’t start getting a lot of carries until his fourth year. 1st three years fumbling rate: 3.1% | Career fumbling rate: 2.4%

    Walter Payton had 30 fumbles in his first three years on 921 touches (75 of those on receptions). He had 86 career fumbles on 4330 touches (492 on receptions). 1st three years fumbling rate: 3.3% | Career fumbling Rate: 2.0%

    Adrian Peterson has 20 fumbles in his first three years on 998 touches (83 of those on receptions). 1st three years fumbling rate and career fumbling rate: 2.0%

    Now, I know picking and choosing running backs that have a lot of fumbles isn’t a fair game. But just to be fair, lets look at LaDainian Tomlinson who has a reputation for not fumbling.

    LT had 13 fumbles in his first three years in the league on 1262 touches (238 of those on receptions). He has 27 career fumbles on 3410 touches (530 of those on receptions). 1st three years fumbling rate: 1%| Career Fumbling Rate: .8%

    Emmitt Smith had 19 fumbles in his first three years on 1113 touches (132 of those on receptions). He has 61 career fumbles on 4924 touches (515 on receptions). 1st three years fumbling rate: 1.7% | Career fumbling rate: 1.2%

    These differences are significant. However, something to notice, after the first three years, career rates are half a percentage point lower. Meaning that it would be safe to assume that Peterson should have reduced fumbling rates for the remaining of his career. Obviously, these are just regular season fumbling numbers. Another thing to note, LT, Dickerson, and Smith are the only backs here that had more touches than Peterson has in his first three years in the league. Just for giggles, Look what Terrell Davis did for his beginning of his career (very similar to AP, minus 6 fumbles).

    The media, rubes, and fans are making it seem that Peterson is the only back that ever has fumbled in his career. True, his fumbles against the Saints were terrible, his running style may induce a few more fumbles, but how many backs run like him in the league? Two maybe three (Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, pre-2008 LT/Larry Johnson)? Ray Rice, DeAnglo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are threats in their own right, but AP is rivaled by only a select couple of contemporary running backs. I am tired of hear how he should be benched, traded, or even how he is a “terrible” back.

  7. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Stephen: I really have no problem with his fumbling. If I did, I wouldn’t have him ranked second.

  8. Dick Fitzwell says:

    AWesome Dynasty rankings.. I only see RB’s and QB’s… Do you have more coming?

  9. Isles Guru says:

    Shonn Greene had “Bust” written all over him. Sure, he’ll get a lot more carries than last year. But LT is in the picture vulturing TDs and Leon Washington will take 3rd downs and gobble receptions. I hear Greene projected in the 2nd and as early as the first. Seems like a big gamble on an unproven player. I don’t care how good the Jet’s line is this year. I’m not buying the Greene hype.

  10. Cole says:

    “25. Justin Forsett 24 — Showed he was the best RB on the Seahawks last season. If they don’t grab anyone else, he’ll be golden.” TATE! HA!

    In my 8 team keeper (max 3 keep) I have Chris Johnson, Gore, Fitz and Mendenhall. I was set on keeping Mendenhall as my third (to fill in for byes and when Gore misses his annual 2-3 games, but with the whole Rothlisberger unpleasantness, I don’t know if that makes Fitz the better choice.
    Thanks for keeping up with the site in the off season dood!

  11. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Cole: That’s tough. So no RB/WR/TE slot? If Mendenhall is going to be on the bench I think you have to go with Fitz. I’m not too worried about Ben being out. Mendy will get plenty of work (not as many TD’s) while he’s out. But you have to go with the starter over the bench player.

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