Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fantasy Football: Running Back Rankings

Here are your Joe & Joe Sports top 25 running backs for the 2008 fantasy football season. (These rankings assume 10 rushing/receiving yards per point, 6 points for rushing/receiving TD, no points for receptions).
  1. LaDainian Tomlinson - While a lot of people will want to take Adrian Peterson first, it's just foolish. Tomlinson is a no-brainer...as in, if you don't take him, you don't have a brain.
  2. Adrian Peterson - All of that said about Tomlinson, Peterson could be obscenely good. He benefits from the best left side of an O-line in football.
  3. Brian Westbrook - He's less reliable than the top two because he relies a lot on the passing game, but he's a big time producer. Westbrook leapfrogs Peterson in leagues that give points per reception.
  4. Joseph Addai - Indianapolis' offense is one that you can't go wrong investing in. He'll find the end zone at least a dozen times, and give you solid, consistent performance every week.
  5. Steven Jackson - Other lists have him higher, but this isn't the Rams offense of years past. Holding out shouldn't hurt him much, though; running backs usually succeed or fail on their own ability.
  6. Marion Barber - I have concerns as to how he'll handle a full load, but he was a top 10 back sharing carries last year. Even if Felix Jones gets substantial playing time, Barber will be productive.
  7. Larry Johnson - He had back to back 1700 yard seasons before his injury-riddled 2007. My bet is he bounces back.
  8. Clinton Portis - New head coach Jim Zorn will likely call on Portis a lot, and Portis has the talent to excel when given the opportunity.
  9. Frank Gore - He's produced well for an awful 49ers team that should be improved. The law of averages says eventually they'll have a passing game.
  10. Marshawn Lynch - He had 1100 yards and 7 TDs in 13 games as a rookie. My guess is that we'll forget all about his vehicular hit and run by October.
  11. Willie Parker - People seem to put out of their minds that he led the NFL in rushing for a good part of the year last season. Rashard Mendenhall may eventually take over, but Parker will be a big time producer again this year.
  12. Ryan Grant - I'm a little wary of his flash-in-the-pan potential, but he sure seemed good. Still, he'll need Aaron Rodgers to be closer to '07 Favre than '06 Favre to be sure he won't see stacked boxes.
  13. Brandon Jacobs - Who had the third-highest yards per game last year? Who had more yards per carry than Westbrook, Tomlinson, Barber, Jackson, Gore, Addai, and Parker? This guy.
  14. Ronnie Brown - He was the best fantasy running back in football when he got hurt last year. And come on, we're worried about Ricky Williams taking carries? No.
  15. Willis McGahee - He could probably afford to be a little higher on most lists, but I really just don't like him as a fantasy player. It doesn't help that he's undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, either.
  16. Laurence Maroney - The guy is a tank, and New England will likely find success in running the football this season.
  17. Maurice Jones-Drew - Hyphenations aside, he's explosive and exciting. It'd be nice if he got more carries, but Fred Taylor may actually help Jones-Drew by keeping him fresh and healthy.
  18. Michael Turner - Don't look now, but the Falcons have an interesting QB/RB/WR trio in Matt Ryan, Turner, and Roddy White. I'm not saying championship, but it's good to see the Falcons moving on quickly from the loss of Michael Vick.
  19. Jamal Lewis - It's been years since he was dominant, but he's got back-to-back 9 TD seasons, and Cleveland's potent passing game should continue to open things up for Lewis.
  20. Edgerrin James - Like Lewis, his best days are behind him, but playing San Francisco and St. Louis twice a year each is always a good thing.
  21. Darren McFadden - In fantasy football, talent is king, but opportunity is the ace. McFadden's got Big Slick suited, as he has both in spades.
  22. Earnest Graham - I don't know why Tampa is surrounding Graham with competitors. He was a great producer down the stretch for a lot of fantasy teams last year (though I'm sure I'm not the only one who got screwed by his benching in week 16).
  23. Reggie Bush - He ranks higher in point per reception leagues, but in a pure yardage & TD league, he's hurt by having to compete for playing time with Deuce McAllister and now Pierre Thomas, who Sean Payton apparently loves.
  24. Selvin Young - Young had over 5 yards a carry last year in limited duty. While that doesn't always translate over to full-time carries, we all know that the starting running back in Denver will succeed, and that appears to be Young right now.
  25. Lendale White - White had 1,100 yards and 7 scores, and figures once again to be the featured back for a Tennessee team that will lean on its running game. Lock it up.

2 comments:

Pun said...

No Thomas Jones?

GoodPointJoe said...

Interesting you should mention him, I initially had him penciled in at #25, and he's probably my #26. However, I absolutely love Leon Washington's explosiveness, and I think players like him can only be kept out of the limelight for so long. Additionally, Washington is a better pass-catcher, and with the addition of Favre, I think you're going to see a lot of screen and swing pass plays, which favor Washington's game-breaking ability.

Jones will probably still get 900 to 1,000 yards and 6 TDs, and won't do any damage to your fantasy team. But I think the upside of guys like Reggie Bush and Selvin Young and the youth of Lendale White trumps the aging Jones.

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