2011 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings



Well now that the free agent frenzy has for the most part come to a close, it is time to begin showing you some of our redraft fantasy football rankings.  After all isn’t that what this time of year is for.

 

So here we go, on with my running back rankings:

 

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    1. Chris Johnson (1,650 yards rushing, 12 rushing TD’s, 47 receptions, 353 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – CJ2K should return to the top of the running back heap this season once Tennessee gets and gear and “shows the man the money.”

    2. Jamaal Charles (1,650 yards rushing, 10 rushing TD’s, 50 receptions, 465 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – Jamaal Charles in a much more solidified role as the starter should produce even better numbers than he did in 2010.
    3. Ray Rice (1,417 yards rushing, 11 rushing TD’s, 70 receptions, 616 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Ray Rice finally loses TD vulture Willis McGahee to free agency.  That puts him in the elite group of running backs this year.
    4. Adrian Peterson (1,440 yards rushing, 14 rushing TD’s, 35 receptions, 325 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) –  “All Day” is as solid as they come and a very consistent performer year in and year out.  A very safe pick on draft day.
    5. Arian Foster (1,470 yards rushing, 10 rushing TD’s, 52 receptions, 488 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – I expect some decline from Foster’s magical stats from a year ago.  Running Backs with career years always do that.  Just look back in your history books.
    6. Ahmad Bradshaw (1,440 yards rushing, 9 rushing TD’s, 40 receptions, 308 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) –  This is my surprise top ten and potentially top five pick.  This is all predicated though on the fact he is playing with the Giants and not someone else.
    7. Rashard Mendenhall (1,365 yards rushing, 11 rushing TD’s, 24 receptions, 298 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) –  Mendenhall is a consistent bell cow runner in Pittsburgh.  For some reason though they just don’t trust him in passing down situations.
    8. Knowshon Moreno (1,225 yards rushing, 8 rushing TD’s, 42 receptions, 375 yards receiving, 2 receiving  TD’s) –  Another of my top ten surprise picks for this year.  Moreno should see a lot of touches in John Fox’s run heavy offense.
    9. Darren McFadden (1,075 yards rushing, 7 rushing TD’s, 49 receptions, 525 yards receiving, 4 receiving TD’s) – Run DMC finally showed the talent he was expected to have when he was drafted in the first round by the Raiders.  I suspect he will post similar numbers again in 2011.
    10. Maurice Jones-Drew (1,150 yards rushing, 7 rushing TD’s, 44 receptions, 435 yards receiving, 4 receiving TD’s) – MJD could fall even further on this list.  These numbers are assuming the knee is healthy.  If not he could tumble down further on the list.  I would say injury risk and let someone else draft him.
    11. Frank Gore (1,200 yards rushing, 7 rushing TD’s, 44 receptions, 425 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – Gore is another injury risk coming off hip surgery.  I remember a running back in the past that had hip surgery.  His name was Bo Jackson.  He was a stud of an athlete, but was never the same post injury.  Plus Gore is holding out for more money by not coming to training camp.  Does he just want more money, or is he using that to hide the injury. 
    12. Shonn Greene (1,440 yards rushing, 10 rushing TD’s, 16 receptions, 120 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Another “sleeper” that I hope no one sleeps on. The OC has come out and said Greene will be a 300 carries for the year bell cow rusher this season.  In the Jets rush heavy attack that should add up to a big season.
    13. Steven Jackson (1,365 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 42 receptions, 344 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Jackson may finish a little higher than this if Bradford can progress and through the ball down the field more thus getting more red zone opportunities for the offense.
    14. DeAngelo Williams (1,050 yards rushing, 8 rushing TD’s, 30 receptions, 300 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – Carolina brought DeAngelo back for a hefty price to be a decent workhorse and take pressure off Cam Newton while he is learning the ropes.
    15. Michael Turner (1,175 yards rushing, 12 rushing TD’s, 5 receptions, 35 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) –  Turner should put together another fine season, but I see him being used slightly less as they lean more to the passing game with the acquisition of Julio Jones.
    16. LeSean McCoy (940 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 65 receptions, 494 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) –  I expect a McCoy decline this year.  He had one huge game against Detroit last year that overinflated his overall numbers.
    17. Ryan Mathews (1,150 yards rushing, 7 rushing TD’s, 36 receptions, 210 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – As long as he stays healthy, he should post some nice numbers in 2011.
    18. Joseph Addai (875 yards rushing, 9 rushing TD’s, 45 receptions, 350 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) –  Every other year it seems Addai posts a solid season.  This is one of his years to shine.  He is solid deeper sleeper candidate.
    19. Matt Forte (960 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 57 receptions, 496 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Forte will be hurt by the presence of Marion Barber.  The Bears were clamoring for a short yardage specialist. 
    20. Jahvid Best (875 yards rushing, 5 rushing TD’s, 55 reception, 462 yards receiving, 3 receiving TD’s) – One of my sleeper picks this year.  I didn’t realize his projected stats would put him on pace to finish as the 20th back overall.  His is a better option in PPR leagues.
    21. Ryan Grant (1,100 yards rushing, 8 rushing TD’s, 18 receptions, 150 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Ryan Grant should bounce back nicely after missing nearly a full season and post some solid numbers again for the Pack.
    22. Fred Jackson (1,012 yards rushing, 5 rushing TD’s, 37 receptions, 278 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – He’s not a stud but he is a feature back for the most part.  You could do worse than Fred Jackson.
    23. Felix Jones (1,064 yards rushing, 3 rushing TD’s, 48 receptions, 403 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – For some reason these numbers a looking a little on the light side now that Choice and Murray are injured to start training camp.  He could move up several notches on this list if he uses this time to get in good graces with Jason Garrett.
    24. LaGarrette Blount (1,150 yards rushing, 8 rushing TD’s, 14 receptions, 65 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – He is like Michael Turner-light.  He doesn’t get many receptions.  He also scores TD’s in the red zone. 
    25. Daniel Thomas (1,100 yards rushing, 7 rushing TD’s, 15 receptions, 100 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Thomas should be the main workhorse in Sparano’s rushing attack despite the addition of Reggie Bush to the mix.
    26. Cedric Benson (1,000 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 25 receptions, 150 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – “The Entertainer” resigned with the Bengals and even though he isn’t a great runner, he will get all the carries. Benson represents the end of the line of the “featured” backs on this list.
    27. Ryan Williams (875 yards rushing, 5 rushing TD’s, 30 receptions, 240 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Indications out of Arizona of recent days has Chris Wells getting first crack at the starting gig.  However, I suspect he will blow that opportunity again as usual and Ryan Williams will be the benefactor.
    28. Pierre Thomas (775 yards rushing, 7 rushing TD’s, 24 receptions, 200 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – I suspect that due to the lockout, Pierre’s familiarity with the offense will get him more touches in the beginning of the season than fellow running mate Mark Ingram will get.  That is why I rank him higher than Ingram.
    29. Marshawn Lynch (825 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 28 receptions, 200 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Lynch is with a team that I think is building pieces and will be on the rise in coming years.  They added some decent offensive linemen in the draft (James Carpenter), and in free agency (Robert Gallery). O line coach Tom Cable should be able to do something with this group to open more running lanes.  Caution though, as Lynch does share the load with Justin Forsett somewhat.
    30. Peyton Hillis (650 yards rushing, 8 rushing TD’s, 30 receptions, 255 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Everyone’s waiver wire darling at running back from 2010 and the 2012 Madden Cover player.  He is being way over drafted though in my opinion.  Management has said that want him to share the load with Montario Hardesty.  I foresee them keeping true to their word.  He’s definitely not worth a second or third round pick in my estimation.
    31. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (750 yards rushing, 8 rushing TD’s, 15 receptions, 150 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – After the Patriots drafted Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in the 2011 draft, it really clouded the running back picture in New England.  He is another one on the decline from a year ago.
    32. DeMarco Murray (725 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 23 receptions, 185 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Both I and the Cowboys had some fairly lofty expectations for Murray’s rookie season.  It remains to be seen if he can meet these numbers now that he is nursing a hamstring injury in camp.
    33. Roy Helu (675 yards rushing, 5 rushing TD’s, 28 receptions, 210 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – Helu is the first of the many Redskins backs to show up.
    34. Mark Ingram (700 yards rushing, 5 rushing TD’s, 20 receptions, 225 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – The rookie Ingram shows up finally on my list.  I just think you should temper expectations this year because Sean Payton is likely to play Pierre Thomas more early on due to his familiarity with the offense.
    35. Mike Tolbert (700 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 20 receptions, 175 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Tolbert makes for an intriguing “super sleeper” prospect at running back.  It has widely been reported that Ryan Mathews has reported to camp out of shape once again.  If Mathews continues with plaguing injuries again, Tolbert could be a sneaky good selection.
    36. Ryan Torain (675 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 18 receptions, 150 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Torain is the second Redskin rusher to show up on my list.  Shanny likes him a lot.  Trouble is he isn’t healthy enough to stay on the field to be a full time producer.
    37. Rashad Jennings (450 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 23 receptions, 250 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Jennings I think is going to surprise some people with how well he does in 2011.  I think you will see the Jags spell MJD more this year with him coming off injury and Jennings will be the main benefactor.
    38. Montario Hardesty (625 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 20 receptions, 180 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Hardesty finally gets to show his stripes in the NFL after a rookie season lost to injury.  He figures to split time with Peyton Hillis rendering both of them fantasy useless barring injury.
    39. Mikel LeShoure (625 yards rushing, 6 rushing TD’s, 15 receptions, 105 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – LeShoure follows in Pierre’s and Rashard’s footsteps into the NFL.  Is he going to be an impact running back like them, only time will tell?  For now we just expect some time share with Jahvid Best.
    40. Thomas Jones (675 yards rushing, 5 rushing TD’s, 12 receptions, 85 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Jones is aging and fading fast.  Jamaal Charles will see the bulk on the work in Kansas City this year.
    41. Justin Forsett (475 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 30 receptions, 250 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Forsett is nothing more than a complimentary piece to Marshawn Lynch that eats into Lynch’s touches somewhat.
    42. Darren Sproles (325 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD’s, 45 receptions, 400 yards receiving, 3 receiving TD’s) – Sproles replaces Reggie Bush in the Saints offense.  Scary thing is if they get him in space like they did with Reggie, he might post Bush like numbers.
    43. Jonathan Stewart (725 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 5 receptions, 55 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Stewart was everyone’s sleeper back in the making coming into 2011, but that went all to the wayside when DeAngelo Williams resigned with Carolina.  It’s another year of part time work for Stewart.
    44. Ben Tate (350 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 26 receptions, 275 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – Tate will finally get some carries after missing his entire rookie season and constantly thinking that he could have been the back with Arian Foster-like numbers in 2010 instead.
    45. Carnell Williams (375 yards rushing, 3 rushing TD’s, 40 receptions, 300 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – I think the Caddy pulls back in the Tampa garage for another season as the third down back.  He played well in that role last year.
    46. Brandon Jacobs (650 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 10 receptions, 80 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Jacobs will certainly play second fiddle to Ahmad Bradshaw in 2011.
    47. Reggie Bush (350 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD’s, 40 receptions, 375 yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s) – Bush gets a new home in Miami but probably the same results on the field.
    48. Tim Hightower (435 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 24 receptions, 185 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD) – Hightower gets into the mix in Washington.  Who knows who emerges there?  It could even be Evan Royster that wasn’t even talked about yet.
    49. Chris “Beanie” Wells (550 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 17 receptions, 125 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) – Wells is expected to be handed the starting gig in Arizona.  He will “fumble” that opportunity away in short time and give way to the more talented Ryan Williams before long.
    50. Toby Gerhart (450 yards rushing, 4 rushing TD’s, 15 receptions, 150 yards receiving, 0 receiving TD’s) -  Gerhart simply serves as a solid backup to Adrian Peterson.

1 Response to “2011 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings”


  1. sockonfl

    EDITORS NOTE: Please delete Mikel LeShoure off of this list as he is done for the season with an achilles injury.