2012 Runningback

1UP Fantasy Player Rankings: RB

  1. Arian Foster (Hou) – Continued to shine, despite concern over his injury last year. Everything points to another incredible season, and a healthy Matt Schaub combined with the WR talent picked up the in the draft will only stretch defenses more for him.
  2. Ray Rice (Bal) – Coming off a monster season with 15 TD’s (3 Receiving) and over 200 yards. Rice has gotten over 500 yards receiving every year he has been a feature back, and these numbers should remain constant. The Ravens took a slight hit on offensive line, but they also lost Ricky Williams to retirement, freeing up more goal line looks for Rice. Can’t go wrong with either of these top two.
  3. LeSean McCoy (Phi) - Some owners tend to avoid players after signing big contracts (see Chris Johnson, 2011), but there is no reason to shy away from McCoy in this case. After raking in 17 rushing TD’s last year, he looks set to continue to get all the work and see somewhere around 300 carries. Only question is how many scores a healthy Vick will take off him.
  4. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jax) - Finally caved, and reported for camp. Despite the fact, Rashad Jennings will start week 1. It would be a tremendous surprise not to see Jones-Drew out there soon, working for that “elite-caliber” contract he wants so badly. The downside here is that star backs average around 450 yards less than their previous year’s turnout after a holdout summer. However, that still puts him around 1,150 yards accounting for a 450 decline which might not even happen. His holdout will certainly scare off some owners, but that could leave him representing a solid pick for value after the top 3 are gone. The biggest concern here is a potential injury. Despite his phenomenal performance, there is no question MJD has been overworked by the Jags, and that makes him a threat to go down.
  5. Marshawn Lynch (Sea) – Turned out to be a steal when compared to his average draft position last year. Will continue to see the brunt of the work in Seattle, including goal line carries. He is a one hard-nosed S.O.B, and his “beast mode” rushing style places him a little more on the injury prone side, but owners should see atleast 1000 yards and 10+ TD’s once again. His suspension and injury worries should be shortlived.
  6. Chris Johnson (Ten) – In for a rebound year? There have been a history of players underperforming the year immediately after signing big-money deals. This guy has all the tools to bounce back from his 4 TD/1043 yard campaign last year, but consider him a solid option in the late first round, that could slip to the early second depending on the skittishness of the other managers in your league.
  7. Ryan Matthews (SD) - Now that Mike Tolbert is out of the mix, count on Matthews to produce. Owners have had to deal with the rough handcuff the past couple of seasons, but Matthews is now set to be the feature, every down back. Miraculously, this guy has never cought a TD pass despite amassing 500 yards receiving to go along with his 1000 on the ground, so expect some added bonus there as well. You will have to monitor his shoulder injury, though he says he will be back for week 1.
  8. Darren McFadden (Oak) – Never played more than 13 games in a season, but he is awesome when he’s healthy. Count on him being 100% going into 2012 but will it last? With Michael Bush gone, he will seemingly be in line for 20+ touches a game.
  9. Steven Jackson (StL) – Reports of the Rams trying to trade up for Trent Richardson have caused a little drama, but apparently every thing is hunky dory in St. Louis.
  10. Trent Richardson (Cle) – Should see the bulk of the touches, but count on Hardesty and Jackson to take away from him. Probably will be a solid #2 fantasy RB, and his big upside makes him worth a gamble in the late 2nd or early 3rd round. You’ll have to monitor his injury moving forward.
  11. DeMarco Murray (Dal) – With Felix Jones looking awful and hampered by injury, Murray should be in line to pick up more carries than last season.
  12. Matt Forte (Chi) – Another contract holdout. Doesn’t help that the bears went out and got Michael Bush either, but this could change. Settled, Forte is a solid #2 back in standard formats and notably more in PPR.
  13. Michael Turner (Atl) – Notably struggled from week 12 onward in 2011 yet still managed to post over 1300 yards and 11 TDs to boot. He is on the decline.
  14. Fred Jackson (Buf) – CJ Spiller will be a serious handcuff, but if he played like he was before his injury in 2011, he should be a solid #2 RB.
  15. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) – Brandon Jacobs out, 1st round draft pick from Va Tech, David Wilson, in. Coughlin likes his options in the backfield, and Bradshaw has a history of foot injuries
  16. Adrian Peterson (Min) – Owners seem to be picking him in the 3rd round in early mock drafts. Monitor his status, as depending on how the Vikings handle it, it could change drastically.
  17. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cin) – Finally has 1000yard/10TD potential in Cinci.
  18. Darren Sproles (NO) – If you play PPR, this guy is a borderline #1 RB. In standard formats, look for him around the 4th round
  19. Reggie Bush (Mia) – Proved he can handle the additional workload last year. Should be a great #2 back, with more upside in PPR formats.
  20. Frank Gore (SF) – Should still be the #1 guy, but what does that mean with Kendell Hunter and Brandon Jacobs?
  21. Shonn Greene (NYJ) – Tomlinson’s retirement helps, but the Tebow acquisition should take some goal line opportunities away
  22. Doug Martin (TB) – High ceiling rookie, but LeGarrette Blount remains a strong handcuff
  23. Jamaal Charles (KC) – Worth taking higher in PPR, but Peyton Hillis will kill his scoring potential.
  24. Willis McGahee (Den) – Age is a concern for the carries department, but looked great last year.
  25. Roy Helu (Was) – Avoid Mike Shanahan backfields. A Helu/Royster/Hightower split is emminent.Beanie Wells (Ari) – Never been a fan of Beanie, and would not be surprised to see Ryan Williams take the starting job sooner rather than later.
  26. Jonathan Stewart (Car) – Appears to be rooted in Carolina, along with Mike Tolbert DeAngelo Williams, and Cam Newton all vying for carries and goal line opportunities.
  27. Peyton Hillis (KC) – Charles is coming off knee surgery, and Hillis should get his share of TD’s regardless.
  28. Donald Brown (Ind) – Coaching staff claims him every down back, but the O line is a worry. Rookie QB’s + feature backs = fantasy points. Has had a nice preseason, and of anyone you could pick here, arguably has the most upside.
  29. Stevan Ridley (NE) – Should be “the guy” in NE, but that doesn’t necissarily mean much in a Belicheck backfield.
  30. Ryan Williams (Ari) – Never been a big fan of Beanie Wells, and if Williams is able to take the job, could be in line for a 1100 yard/8+ TD season.
  31. Mikel Leshoure (Det) – Likely to be out first two weeks for a substance abuse policy violation, and will lose some carries to Jahvid Best & Kevin Smith.
  32. DeAngelo Williams (Car) – Even if Jonathan Stewart moves, they still have Tolbert and Newton on the goal line. Won’t get many scores, and most likely won’t see the ball more than 15 times a game.
  33. Michael Bush (Chi)
  34. CJ Spiller (Buf) – Spiller was crushing late last year and the Bills need to keep him involved. Status is boosted in PPR formats, and Fred Jackson being 31 years old, and coming off a broken leg only helps.
  35. Kevin Smith (Det) – Is the starter, for now. LeShoure and Best are still hanging around.
  36. Isaac Redman (Pit)
  37. Cedric Benson (GB) – GB will run the ball as an afterthought, and Benson was never anything spectacular. If you are imagining anything more than what Green-Ellis turned out for the Patriots the past couple of seasons, you are kidding yourself.
  38. Toby Gerhart (Min)
  39. Ronnie Hillman (Den)
  40. Mark Ingram (NO)
  41. Ben Tate (Hou)
  42. Mike Goodson (Oak) – If you own McFadden, or want to piss off some one who does, look for this handcuff in the later rounds. The only worry is that speedster Taiwan Jones could edge in and nab the backup job. Keep an eye out.
  43. Mike Tolbert (Car) – 21 TD’s in the last 2 seasons, albeit with the Chargers. Has to compete with Newton, D. Williams, and J. Stewart now. Doesn’t bring tremendous value apart from his TD’s, and they would appear to be set to take a huge hit from the crowd in Carolina this year.
  44. Rashard Mendenhall (Pit) – Activated from the PUP, despite having major knee surgery in January. Who knows what is going on here, he will miss time for sure, and check my post concerning RB’s coming off knee surgery if you have any reason to believe this won’t hurt his performance.
  45. David Wilson (NYG) – Strong handcuff with Bradshaw’s injury history.
  46. Felix Jones (Dal)
  47. Brandon Jacobs (SF)
  48. Bernard Scott (Cin)
  49. Evan Royster (Was)
  50. Shane Vereen (NE)
  51. Joseph Addai (NE)
  52. Taiwan Jones (Oak)
  53. Jacquizz Rodgers (Atl)
  54. Isaiah Pead (StL)
  55. Joe McKnight (NYJ)
  56. Danny Woodhead (NE)
  57. Pierre Thomas (NO)
  58. Kendall Hunter (SF)
  59. Dion Lewis (Phi)
  60. Chris Rainey (Pit)
  61. Curtis Brinkley (SD)
  62. Robert Turbin (Sea)
  63. Delone Carter (Ind)
  64. Rashad Jennings (Jac)
  65. Javon Ringer (Ten)
  66. Bernard Pierce (Bal)

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