Tier rankings: Running backs

Rotter’s tier rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | D/ST

Tier rankings: Running backs
  Rushing Rec Total
Rk Player Tm Gm Yds TD Att Avg 100-Yd Rec Yds Yds TD 100-Yd 2-TD
1 Adrian Peterson MIN 16 1760 10 363 4.8 10 21 125 1885 10 11 2
Round 1 He’s a threat to turn any play into a touchdown. If his teammates can establish a legit passing attack, watch out!
2 Michael Turner ATL 16 1699 17 376 4.5 8 6 41 1740 17 8 4
Round 1 Handled a full season of starting while remaining productive. More running lanes will open as Matt Ryan keeps improving.
3 Matt Forte CHI 16 1238 8 316 3.9 3 63 477 1715 12 11 2
Round 1 Great progress at quarterback and offensive line boost Forte’s value as runner and receiver. Did much with little last year.
4 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 16 1110 11 292 3.8 2 52 426 1536 12 8 3
Round 1 Reaching age 30 and enduring recent injuries are concerning, but great stats and potential TD chances are tough to pass.
5 DeAngelo Williams CAR 16 1515 18 273 5.5 8 22 121 1636 20 8 5
Round 1 Became a strong RB to complement his speed and quickness. Helped by excellent line, team’s devotion to run in the regular season.
6 Brandon Jacobs NYG 13 1089 15 219 5.0 4 6 36 1125 15 4 5
Round 1 Injuries are biggest concern, downgrading his value. Otherwise, he’s dominant and extremely productive vs. any defense.
7 Steven Jackson STL 12 1042 7 253 4.1 4 40 379 1421 8 8 2
Round 1 Needs teammates to step up and help him flourish as centerpiece of offense. Staying healthy would help as well.
8 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC 16 824 12 197 4.2 2 62 565 1389 14 5 4
Round 1 Offensive line is a question mark, but his superb all-around skills ensure high yardage totals as focal point of offense.
9 Brian Westbrook PHI 14 936 9 233 4.0 3 54 402 1338 14 5 5
Round 1 Recent knee issues and offseason ankle surgery raise question marks. If he’s healthy, he’ll remain extremely productive in great system.
10 Frank Gore SF 14 1036 6 240 4.3 3 43 373 1409 8 7 1
Round 1 Despite QB woes, he was a productive top 15 fantasy starter. If offense improves, he’ll emerge as a top starter again.
11 Steve Slaton HOU 16 1282 9 268 4.8 5 50 377 1659 10 9 2
Round 1 Even if he shares more carries this season, Slaton has proven to be a top all-around playmaker in a rising offense.
12 Chris Johnson TEN 15 1228 9 251 4.9 4 43 260 1488 10 6 2
Round 1 Has a great combo of power and speed. Run-heavy system helps stats, but may be unable to handle full-time RB role.
13 Clinton Portis WAS 16 1487 9 342 4.3 6 28 218 1705 9 7 2
Round 1 Is a reliable top back. Run-heavy offense helps stats greatly and has managed to stay durable despite heavy workload.
14 Marion Barber DAL 15 885 7 238 3.7 3 52 417 1302 9 8 2
Round 4 Was ineffective in the season’s second half. Has yet to show he could handle full-time load and likely works best in platoon.
15 Reggie Bush NO 10 404 2 106 3.8 0 52 440 844 6 3 2
Round 4 Can’t stay healthy and isn’t reliable. Expect a half season of greatness and have a backup plan when necessary.
16 Ryan Grant GB 16 1203 4 312 3.9 4 18 116 1319 5 4 0
Round 4 Flopped after being a holdout and battled injuries before season even started. Has potential to rebound in potent offense.
17 Marshawn Lynch BUF 15 1036 8 250 4.1 3 47 300 1336 9 5 1
Round 4 Suspended first three games. Enhanced offense will boost yards and TDs, making him a strong fantasy starter rest of way.
18 Larry Johnson KC 12 874 5 193 4.5 3 12 74 948 5 4 1
Rounds 5-6 Attitude and lack of focus make him a weekly question mark. If he can regain his drive, he’ll dominate once again.
19 Ronnie Brown MIA 16 916 10 214 4.3 3 33 254 1170 10 3 1
Rounds 5-6 Has yet to prove he can play full-time over an entire season, and needs more consistent touches and scoring chances.
20 Pierre Thomas NO 15 625 9 129 4.8 1 31 284 909 12 5 4
Rounds 5-6 Became the Saints’ most productive back by end of season. Starting with increased role will boost stats in great offense.
21 Thomas Jones NYJ 16 1312 13 290 4.5 5 36 207 1519 15 7 3
Rounds 5-6 Quarterback questions may lead to decreased TD chances, but he runs effectively behind revamped offensive line.
22 Jonathan Stewart CAR 16 836 10 184 4.5 2 8 47 883 10 2 2
Rounds 5-6 Given better health and a season of experience will lead to greater stats. More PT will put his robust 4.5 yards to good use.
23 Joseph Addai IND 12 544 5 155 3.5 1 25 206 750 7 2 2
Rounds 5-6 Durability questions and sharing carries with first-rounder downgrade value, but he can rebound in top offense if healthy.
24 Donald Brown IND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rounds 5-6 Led NCAA (FBS) in rushing (2,083). Was combine’s top 5 in 40-yard dash, vert. jump (1st), broad jump and 20-yard shuttle.
25 Willie Parker PIT 11 791 5 210 3.8 4 3 13 804 5 4 1
Rounds 5-6 Pittsburgh’s inconsistent offensive line, durability concerns and Rashard Mendenhall make him only a No. 2 fantasy back.
26 Knowshon Moreno DEN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rounds 5-6 Had 5.6 yards vs. tough SEC and had 33 catches to indicate he’ll star as Denver’s primary RB. Downgrade (if) a committee.
27 Chris Wells ARI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rounds 5-6 Will be Arizona’s featured RB after release of Edge. Has injury concerns but offers blend of power and speed as a big back.
28 James Davis CLE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rounds 7-8 Averaging superb 7.8 yards per carry through first three preseason games. Poised to be featured back if Jamal Lewis falters.
29 LenDale White TEN 16 773 15 200 3.9 2 5 16 789 15 3 4
Rounds 7-8 Works effectively as a part-time RB in Tennessee’s conservative offense. But receiving as many TD chances is a concern.
30 Derrick Ward TB 16 1025 2 182 5.6 2 41 384 1409 2 4 0
Rounds 7-8 Though he is likely to be Tampa Bay’s No. 1 back, expect a platoon as he has yet to play full-time over an entire year.
31 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG 15 355 1 67 5.3 0 5 42 397 2 0 1
Rounds 7-8 Owns the skills and talent to replace Ward effectively as the complement to Jacobs. Needs to prove he can produce all year.
32 Cedric Benson CIN 12 747 2 214 3.5 3 20 185 932 2 4 0
Rounds 7-8 Given a second chance, he proved to be a workhorse back again. His durability and number of TD chances are concerning.
33 Julius Jones SEA 15 698 2 158 4.4 2 14 66 764 2 2 0
Rounds 7-8 Many excuses are provided for uninspired stats, but end result is lack of productivity. Hopes coaching change reverses slide.
34 Darren McFadden OAK 13 499 4 113 4.4 1 29 285 784 4 2 1
Rounds 9-10 Injuries and lackluster plays limited touches. Uncertainty of role and durability raise more questions than his talent answers.
35 Kevin Smith DET 16 976 8 238 4.1 2 39 286 1262 8 4 0
Rounds 9-10 He posted many of his solid stats when Detroit had lost the game by halftime. Needs more help from line, quarterback.
36 Le’Ron McClain BAL 16 902 10 232 3.9 1 19 123 1025 11 2 2
Rounds 9-10 Stepped up as a solid fantasy starter with consistent stats in final six games. Powerful line, run-heavy system help bruiser.
37 Felix Jones DAL 6 266 3 30 8.9 0 2 10 276 3 1 0
Rounds 9-10 Is a big-play back who fits well part-time in system. Just needs to stay healthy and is candidate to start vs. shaky defenses.
38 Jamal Lewis CLE 16 1002 4 279 3.6 0 23 178 1180 4 0 0
Rounds 9-10 Lacks big-play ability and is declining after averaging only 3.6 yards last year. He also turns age 30 entering the season.
39 Chester Taylor MIN 16 399 4 101 4.0 0 45 399 798 6 2 0
Rounds 9-10 Offers insurance for Peterson in case he becomes injured. Produces stats like a fantasy starter when he plays full-time.
40 LeSean McCoy PHI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rounds 9-10 If Westbrook misses any games after having offseason surgery on knee and ankle, McCoy can be an all-around star in RB-friendly system.
41 Rashard Mendenhall PIT 4 58 0 19 3.1 0 2 17 75 0 0 0
Rounds 9-10 Season ended early for 2008 first rounder. But he offers more inside power and youth than brittle incumbent Parker.
42 Edgerrin James SEA 13 514 3 133 3.9 2 12 85 599 3 3 1
Rounds 9-10 Will reportedly be the goal-line back, but can replace Jones if he becomes injured or ineffective.
43 Leon Washington NYJ 16 448 6 76 5.9 0 47 355 803 8 1 2
Rounds 9-10 Offers big-play ability rushing, receiving or returns, and serves as a bye-week replacement. Needs more consistent touches, though.
44 Ray Rice BAL 13 454 0 107 4.2 1 33 273 727 0 2 0
Rounds 9-10 Favored to be Baltimore’s featured back but is competing for carries at crowded position and has durability concerns.
45 Laurence Maroney NE 3 93 0 28 3.3 0 0 0 93 0 0 0
Rounds 11-12 Recent disappointment will be a bargain if he can repeat 2006 season of successfully platooning with Dillon. Faces crowded position as well.
46 Fred Taylor NE 13 556 1 143 3.9 1 16 98 654 1 1 0
Rounds 11-12 Struggled last season, however, New England has revitalized careers of aging veterans like Corey Dillon, so Taylor can be a bargain late.
47 Darren Sproles SD 16 330 1 61 5.4 1 29 342 672 6 2 2
Rounds 11-12 If L.T. rebounds to top form, Sproles’ value decreases. But serves as insurance and is a potential start when receiving more PT vs. weak defenses.
48 Earnest Graham TB 10 563 4 132 4.3 2 23 174 737 4 3 0
Rounds 11-12 If Ward cannot handle full-time duties, Graham will have value as No. 3 fantasy back in platoon. Just needs to stay healthy, too.
49 Tim Hightower ARI 16 399 10 143 2.8 1 34 237 636 10 1 2
Rounds 11-12 May find himself the featured back if rookie Wells repeats his injury woes at college. Must draft as insurance if picking Wells.
50 Ricky Williams MIA 16 659 4 160 4.1 1 29 219 878 5 2 0
Rounds 11-12 Serves as insurance for Brown’s owners, but his playing time is erratic in Miami’s inconsistent running back rotation.
51 Correll Buckhalter DEN 14 369 2 76 4.9 0 26 324 693 4 2 0
52 Justin Fargas OAK 14 853 1 218 3.9 1 10 52 905 1 2 0
53 Rashad Jennings JAC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
54 Shonn Greene NYJ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
55 Willis McGahee BAL 13 671 7 170 3.9 3 24 173 844 7 3 1
56 Fred Jackson BUF 16 571 3 130 4.4 1 37 317 888 3 3 0
57 Brandon Jackson GB 13 248 1 45 5.5 0 30 185 433 1 0 0
58 Jerious Norwood ATL 16 489 4 95 5.1 0 36 338 827 6 2 1
59 Maurice Morris DET 13 574 0 132 4.3 2 19 136 710 2 2 0
60 Tashard Choice DAL 16 472 2 92 5.1 0 21 185 657 2 3 0
61 Glen Coffee SF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
62 Jerome Harrison CLE 15 246 1 34 7.2 0 12 116 362 2 1 0
63 Ladell Betts WAS 13 206 1 61 3.4 0 22 200 406 1 0 0
64 Mike Goodson CAR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
65 Ryan Moats HOU 9 94 1 26 3.6 0 3 14 108 1 0 0
66 Adrian Peterson CHI 15 100 0 20 5.0 10 6 45 145 0 11 2
67 Michael Bush OAK 15 421 3 95 4.4 1 19 162 583 3 2 1
68 Jamaal Charles KC 16 357 0 67 5.3 1 27 272 629 1 2 0
69 Kevin Faulk NE 15 507 3 83 6.1 0 58 486 993 6 4 1
70 Sammy Morris NE 13 727 7 156 4.7 2 17 161 888 7 3 0
71 Justin Forsett SEA 14 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
72 Kenneth Darby STL 10 140 0 32 4.4 0 19 183 323 0 1 0
73 Peyton Hillis DEN 12 343 5 68 5.0 1 14 179 522 6 2 1
74 Garrett Wolfe CHI 13 69 0 15 4.6 0 0 0 69 0 0 0
75 Mike Bell NO 4 42 1 13 3.2 0 1 14 56 1 0 0
76 Javon Ringer TEN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
77 Brian Leonard CIN 2 7 0 2 3.5 0 0 0 7 0 0 0
78 Danny Ware NYG 6 15 0 2 7.5 0 0 0 15 0 0 0
79 Bernard Scott CIN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
80 Cedric Peerman CLE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
81 Mewelde Moore PIT 16 588 5 140 4.2 1 40 320 908 6 3 2
82 LaMont Jordan DEN 8 363 4 80 4.5 0 0 0 363 4 0 1
83 Carnell Williams TB 6 233 4 63 3.7 0 7 43 276 4 1 1
84 Eldra Buckley PHI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
85 Jason Wright ARI 19 15 85 0 23 3.7 0 22 156 241 1 0
86 Kolby Smith KC 7 100 1 35 2.9 0 10 52 152 1 0 0
87 DeShawn Wynn GB 5 110 1 8 13.8 1 3 30 140 1 1 0
88 Chris Brown HOU 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
89 Xavier Omen BUF 2 5 0 6 0.8 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
90 Michael Bennett SD 5 12 0 7 1.7 0 1 2 14 0 0 0
91 Chad Simpson IND 11 45 1 15 3 0 3 30 75 1 0 0
92 Noah Herron CLE 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
93 Jason Snelling ATL 16 62 0 15 4.1 0 8 89 151 0 0 0
94 Mike Sellers WAS 16 24 0 6 4.0 0 12 98 122 1 0 0
95 Jacob Hester SD 16 95 1 19 5.0 0 12 91 186 2 0 0
96 Greg Jones JAC 12 13 0 2 6.5 2 13 116 129 1 2 0
97 Patrick Cobbs MIA 16 88 1 12 7.3 0 19 275 363 3 1 1
98 Samkon Gado STL 1 4 0 2 2 0 1 -1 3 0 0 0
99 Moran Norris SF 11 1 0 1 1.0 0 4 16 17 0 0 0
100 Gartrell Johnson SD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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