Running back rankings for 2009

Following my wide receiver rankings, here is the list for running backs. Keep in mind that this is primarily for non-PPR leagues, but I’ve mentioned in my comments the tailbacks that will be valued higher in leagues that award points for receptions.

You can check out the rest of our positional cheat sheets here.

  1. Adrian Peterson, MIN – Unless you’re in a PPR league, A-Pete is top dog and Favre should distract defenses a bit and open more holes.
  2. Michael Turner, ATL – As with Peterson, he is spectacular as long as you’re not in a PPR league, and he’s only slightly less than spectacular then.
  3. DeAngelo Williams, CAR – Jonathan Stewart continues to show durability issues, meaning plenty of carries again this year for D-Williams!
  4. Matt Forte, CHI – I’m digging Forte this season with Cutler in town.
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX – Finally mini-me becomes the feature back…I expect it to pay some dividends
  6. Steven Jackson, STL – UPGRADE! The Rams offense scares me…and S-Jax has trouble staying healthy. He is a beast though.
  7. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD – He didn’t go from the best in the league to Average Joe over night. Expect LT to surprise the quick-to-be-haters this year.
  8. Frank Gore, SF – Taking a leadership role on the team, hopefully it equates to some leader-like stats.
  9. Brian Westbrook, PHI – He’s never played a full 16 game season and there are already injury worries. He’s a monster when he plays (especially in PPR leagues), but he’ll be 30 in a few weeks and this could be the year he starts slowing down, LT-style.
  10. Ryan Grant, GB – UPGRADE! As long as he stays healthy, Grant should put up decent numbers.
  11. Brandon Jacobs, NYG – He’s a beast when not injured, just hope he can stay on his two feet the whole season.
  12. Chris Johnson, TEN – He hasn’t been impressing this preseason, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.
  13. Clinton Portis, WAS – He’s racked up the carries over his career, but he’ll still get tons of carries this year as long as he stays healthy.
  14. Steve Slaton, HOU – DOWNGRADE! Losing redzone carries to Chris Brown will mean a drop in touchdowns, but he’s still great in PPR leagues.
  15. Pierre Thomas, NO -With Reggie Bush already showing injury concerns, I expect the PT Cruiser to get the bulk of the carries.
  16. Ray Rice, BAL – UPGRADE! Has been named the starter for now over Willis McGahee, most likely for his skills in the passing game.
  17. Marion Barber, DAL – With Felix Jones looking good in camp, the Barbarian will have to fight for his carries.
  18. Thomas Jones, NYJ – For some reason I think Leon Washington will steal some of T-Jones carries…but I think we say that every year.
  19. Ronnie Brown, MIA – Should we expect more Wild Cat this year?
  20. LenDale White, TEN – He’ll get tons of carries, no matter his weight.
  21. Larry Johnson, KC – His attitude has improved, hopefully his numbers will as well.
  22. Kevin Smith, DET – Even on an 0-16 team, Smith produced. He should be better this year.
  23. Felix Jones, DAL – UPGRADE! Was solid in relief of the Barbarian, could get more carries this year.
  24. Joseph Addai, IND – Rookie Donald Brown will steal some carries (possibly at the goal-line?)
  25. Darren McFadden, OAK – This offense looks REALLY BAD through the preseason and it’s starting to get me worried about how McFadden will do this year.
  26. Derrick Ward, TB – Will split carries with Earnest Graham, but should get more if he can be productive.
  27. Jonathan Stewart, CAR – Needs to stay healthy so he can get a split of the carries consistently.
  28. Marshawn Lynch, BUF – The three game suspension to start the season isn’t going to help fantasy owners.
  29. Reggie Bush, NO – Another guy who can’t seem to stay healthy. He’s a PPR monster when playing contributing.
  30. Willie Parker, PIT
  31. Jamal Lewis, CLE – DOWNGRADE! James Davis is going to give him a run for his money (no pun intended) and will no doubt steal carries.
  32. Knowshon Moreno, DEN – I guess the rookie has the most upside of any of the Broncos running backs, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy yet and there are a lot of guys to compete with in Denver.
  33. Julius Jones, SEA – Signing of Edgerrin James hurts value.
  34. Chris Wells, ARI – He’s apparently ready to play this week, so let’s see what he can do to challenge Hightower for the starting job.
  35. Cedric Benson, CIN – Not expecting him to put up the numbers he did last year.
  36. Donald Brown, IND – Rookie should poach some of Addai’s carries.
  37. Sammy Morris, NE – Will Morris be the Patriots running back of choice this year?
  38. Willis McGahee, BAL – Seems to have lost the starting gig to Ray Rice.
  39. Darren Sproles, SD – If LT really did get old over night, Sproles will get tons of carries. Obviously a mandatory LT handcuff.
  40. Leon Washington, NYJ – Washington has looked great so far this preseason and should see plenty of action in the rushing/passing/kick returning game during the regular season.
  41. Peyton Hillis, DEN – Looking good in camp, but he still needs to fight for carries in this crowded backfield.
  42. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG – He’s proving that he could be a starter for a lot of teams out there, but for now he’ll be backing up Jacobs. He’ll still get plenty of opportunities though.
  43. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT– Look for Mendenhall to steal a bunch of Fast Willie Parker’s carries this year. He’s already starting the first preseason game with Parker out due to back spasms. Hand-cuff alert!
  44. Chester Taylor, MIN – A-Pete handcuff and looked really good in the last preseason game. Look for him to get plenty of carries this year and might even be worth an RB/WR flex play.
  45. Tim Hightower, ARI – DOWNGRADE! Getting worried about how much he’ll play once Beanie Wells shows his stuff.
  46. Fred Jackson, BUF – He’ll be the starter for the first three weeks of the season. Mandatory Marshawn Lynch handcuff!
  47. James Davis, CLE – UPGRADE! Looked pretty amazing in week two of the preseason and should compete for some of Jamal Lewis’ carries.
  48. LeSean McCoy, PHI – McCoy is to Westbrook what Sproles is to LT…a MANDATORY hand-cuff! He’ll get carries when Westbrook gets beat up.
  49. Glen Coffee – UPGRADE! He’s tearing it up this preseason and is a near-mandatory hand-cuff for Frank Gore
  50. Correll Buckhalter, DEN – He moves up if he can win the starting job.
  51. Earnest Graham, TB – Should get plenty of carries. Wasn’t long ago that he was a near-1,000 yard, 10 TD tailback.
  52. Edgerrin James, SEA UPGRADE! He should immediately challenge Julius Jones for playing time.
  53. Jerious Norwood, ATL – Not much value unless Turner the Burner goes down.
  54. Le’Ron McClain, BALSee Willis McGahee.
  55. Chris Brown, HOU – Looks like he’ll be poaching Steve Slaton’s goal-line carries this year.
  56. Laurence Maroney, NE – Wild card at this point. He’s a low risk, medium reward type of guy.
  57. Ricky Williams, MIA
  58. Jamaal Charles, KC – LJ handcuff
  59. Shonn Greene, NYJ – Rookie
  60. Justin Fargas, OAK – Will fight McFadden and Michael Bush for carries all season.
  61. Tashard Choice, DAL – Will he emerge as a fantasy-relevant force this year behind Felix and Marion?