Running backs are the back bone of any good fantasy team.  If your running back is a bust it may be a good time to head to Cold Stone for a case of “Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some.”  But here at Razzball we are doing our best to keep you in your 30 inch slacks.  There truly are no running back locks because they get injured far too often. Add to that this crazy idea that splitting them up into a committee will help keep them healthy and deciphering who and where to draft rb’s is getting tougher and tougher.  So I say pick them early and often.  Your wide receivers have a good chance of staying healthy so be sure to grab as many rb’s as you can fit in the later rounds.  You never know when a running back-by-committee member or a starter will go down.

1. Adrian Peterson: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

2. Maurice Jones-Drew: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

3. Michael Turner: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

4. Steven Jackson: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

5. Matt Forte: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

6. Chris Johnson: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

7. Ladanian Tomlinson: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

8. DeAngelo Williams: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

9. Steve Slaton: See Top 10 for 2009 Fantasy Football for projections.

10. Frank Gore: There are two factors holding Gore back this season.  First, his team sucks.  I know this is harsh, but when you are choosing between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith at QB you might as well forfeit half your games.  The second is Gore’s propensity to get nicked up.  But, wait, don’t go anywhere; there are good things too!  Last year was his worst as a starter and he still managed a thousand yards and forty receptions, but you say, didn’t Derrick Ward do that and he’s ranked like 373rd?  True, true, (you smart ass son of a . .) but if Ward were the sole starter in Tampa Bay he would be ranked much higher.  Gore has nobody stealing carries from him, will get goalline carries, and has shown that, if he can stay healthy, he is a top 10 back.  ADP: 14 Projections:  9/1225, 2/400

11. Ronnie Brown: Just go back a few posts and you’ll see why I like him.

12. Brian Westbrook: The Eagles and Brian Westbrook were made especially for fantasy football.  When the run isn’t working they go to the pass, but who do they pass to?  T.O., no, Mr. Westbrook.  The guy lines up about anywhere on the field and can score from anywhere on the field.  But sadly all our idols fade and Westbrook’s knee is starting to show an uncanny resemblance to Joan Rivers’ face.  He should get enough injections to keep him going most of the season and the Eagles’ offense hasn’t changed much so I still predict a productive season. ADP: 16 Projection: 7/950, 4/450

13. Clinton Portis: Keeping with the walking wounded theme, Portis and Westbrook are hand in hand on a nice stroll into old person land.  Portis was unstoppable for the first half of ’08, but slowed down considerably toward the end of the season.  The Skins say it was the blocking, but Portis was nicked up as well.  This year they are looking to limit his carries which might limit your prize winnings.  Ladell Betts is going to get third downs and is the handcuff if you draft Portis.  But I’d stay away from those pink fuzzy kind, leave those for Portis’ outfits. ADP: 22 Projection: 8/1200, 1/250

14. Brandon Jacobs: There isn’t much this man can’t run though or over or into or any preposition used in that squirrel tree, but there is one thing he can’t do and that is will himself not to get hurt or to catch the ball.  He is going to score as long as he’s on the field.  The loss of Burress isn’t going to help him any, but his inability to miss tackles is going to hurt him more. ADP: 17 Projection:10/1300, 0/30

15. Marion Barber: They don’t call him Marion “The Barbarian” for nothing.  The guy runs like a mule in a branding shop (if there was such a thing).  He wants to hurt someone and in turn is hurting himself.  And the last time he went down Tashard Choice ran like a man possessed and showed that he too needs that ball a few times.  Oh, and Felix Jones runs like Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders had a love child, so he’ll need the ball a couple times so he can break an 80 yard run just for shizz and giggles. ADP: 23 Projection: 8/1000, 2/300

16. Kevin Smith: After watching his performance as Silent Bob I never thought he’d make it as a running back, but there he is, well, with the 0-16 Lions, so I guess it wasn’t much of a leap.  As a rookie Smith started 12 games and ended with a 238 carries/976 yards, 39 receptions/286 yards.  Now I’m not going to tell you that the Lions will turn things around completely, but they can’t really be worse (can they?), so with a full season, a QB who will need to dump the ball off a lot, and being one of the few every down backs in the league I see Smith being a quality #2 running back with some upside if Stafford pulls his shizz together quick.  ADP: 34 Projection: 7/1100, 1/300

17. Ryan Grant: It may have been the offensive line, but Grant looked like a different player in ’08 than in ’07.  I can’t drop him too far because like I’ve said, finding a starting running back who doesn’t share his gum, let alone the ball, with the other RB’s is tough in this league.  As long as he stays the starter and gets in the game around the goalline he’ll give you decent stats, especially on the Packers’ offense, but don’t look for him to go all Eric Dickerson on you.  ADP: 33 Projection: 7/1125, 0/250

18. Pierre Thomas: This one was tough.  Predicting who gets what in the Saints’ offense is like predicting who’s Andy Dick’s type.  Thomas showed that even though he’s a small fella he can punch it across the goalline.  And the Saints showed that they want to stick with him at the goalline because they didn’t get some tub during the off season.  I just don’t trust Reggie Bush to stay healthy.  If I did Thomas would be much further down.  He has a ton of upside if Bush goes down in his first preseason game, but since he broke up with Kim Kardashian I just don’t see that happening. ADP: 30 Projection: 7 /900, 2 /300

19. Marshawn Lynch: He’ll be on the sidelines for the first three games, but he is still the Bills starting running back.  The addition of T.O. could cut into his TD’s a bit, but the boost to the passing game can only help open lanes for Lynch to bowl through.  If Fred Jackson explodes during those first three games while Lynch twiddles his guns it could make it easier for Jauron to play Jackson more, but I still think Lynch is the man in Buffalo. ADP: 41 Projection:  8/1000, 1/250

20. Darren McFadden: With his turf toe now behind him McFadden should be able to play a much bigger role in the Raiders awfense.  There’s a traffic jam at RB in Oakland, but McFadden is versatile enough to stay on the field in many situations.  He should be vitale in the passing game and should see time in some kind of Wildcat offense since he is one of its forefathers. I think taking a Raider on your fantasy team may be outlawed in 49 states, but if you can get him for the right price I say throw caution to the wind. ADP: 44 Projection: 5/800, 3/350

  1. Dawn says:

    No love for Fast Willie? You really don’t think is a top 20 running back? He was the leading rusher in ’07 before he broke his leg(toward the end of the season). And last year his numbers weren’t great because he was coming off that injury. As you know he gains most of his yardage when he breaks it to the outside…and it is hard for any runner to be that effective when you have the worse offensive line in football in front of you(letting everything and the kitchen sink through). I think that will improve…could it get any worse?? lol. With a power back like Mendenhall returning I see flashes of the tandem of Bettis and Parker…which, as you remember, was VERY effective. I would have put him in the 19 spot …at least. Heck, might even be tempted to put Mendenhall in there. :-)

  2. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Dawn: I just think we’ve got too much of a committee going on in Steel Town. And Moore should still get third down work and who knows who will get goalline carries. It’s just too convoluted right now to pick one out. I think Mendenhall can take over eventually, but that’s yet to be seen.

  3. Doc

    Doc says:

    FYI —
    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Pittsburgh Steelers have sent out signals by their silence that perhaps there is no future for RB Willie Parker with the team. Parker is heading into the last year of his contract, and there are no discussions to extend the deal. ‘That’s neither here nor there,’ Parker said of the lack of talks to extend his contract. ‘I’m here trying to get right this season. I have to bounce back from last season and see where it goes from there.’

  4. Doc

    Doc says:

    Bush out of practice today with knee issues. Thomas may be moving up the board. Man, if he were the #1 back all season he could have a monster year.

  5. cws05nuts says:

    @Doc: Crosses fingers!

  6. Andrew says:

    I think Turner is in for a big fall down the rankings this year.

    1. Last place schedule last year, goes up against a first place schedule this year (tougher defenses).
    2. ATL goes up against the AFC East instead of the AFC West this year + NFC East instead of the NFC North. Add even more difficult defense to run against.
    3. The Falcons were ahead in a ridiculous amount of games last year, which led to a lot of touches for Turner at the end of games. The Falcons, especially with their schedule, will be forced to throw more.
    4. Dude simply does not catch passes. He may even lose PT in a lot of passing situations to Norwood.

    I’m actually seriously considering putting Turner outside of my 10 come draft time.

  7. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Andrew: I think you make some really good points. I do think the schedule is tougher, but I usually try not to put too much stock in past defensive performances because of the extreme parody in the NFL. I also think that Tony Gonzalez will help the running game in both his blocking and catching. And I think the reason a non pass catching RB is worthwhile is they usually have a better chance of goalline carries and a better chance of getting across the goalline.

    I do have worries about the burner. I just don’t have much faith in the rest of the RB’s!

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