The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #32-25 RBs

July 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Now, we’re starting to get into the range of RB3s and borderline RB2s.  If you have any of these guys as your RB3 or later, you’re in good shape.

Starting this article at #32 is Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller.  Spiller could be an interesting sleeper this season, provided he can develop during the offseason.  Last season, he was a dud, and he’s stuck behind the perfectly serviceable Fred Jackson.  But, he has the big-play ablity in him; we saw it in his punt returns.  If he can bring that explosiveness to his running, he could complement Jackson in an improving Bills offense.

Knowshon Moreno can break multiple tackles, but that might be due to the power of the banana split jerseys.

Knowshon Moreno is another person who probably should be higher on this list, when you regard him just by his talent.  But with Tim Tebow starting for Denver this season, Moreno will almost never get into the end zone himself.  And plus, he’s only had two 100-yard rushing games in his entire pro career.  He’ll probably be a PPR starter, but without the reception points, Moreno’s value loses a lot of its luster.  Depending on how many red zone carries Tebow vultures away from Moreno, he could be of value, but not as much value as people are claiming.

Inside my top 30 is Felix Jones.  Like I said in my last article, running back by committee is a fantasy killer.  And Jones will be competing with Tashard Choice, DeMarco Murray, and probably Marion Barber III.  He’ll have to settle on 10-15 carries a game.  But, Jones can probably make a lot out of those 10-15 carries, so Jones is still viable.   Just don’t expect tons of 100-yard games from him.

Back in 2007, Joseph Addai had just completed his second straight 1,400 total yard season, and he just got 15 total touchdowns.  But since then, he’s only had one 1,000 total yard season, and he’s been mired with injuries, that culminated in him missing eight games last season.  I think #29 (on the field and on the list) will stay healthy, thanks to an improved offensive line, and a pass-happy offense that will keep him rested.  He’s a good PPR running back, and a borderline RB2 in deeper, non-PPR leagues.

You want to see Marshawn Lynch's season highlights, here you go. This is it.

One play, a season does not make, even if it was the best play of the season.  Marshawn Lynch made the Saints defense look like a bunch of Pop Warner kindergarteners… once.  Other than that one run, he was a thoroughly unimpressive back who averaged less than 50 rushing yards per game.  However, he is the undisputed mainstay in Seattle’s rushing attack, and the New Orleans run proved that he can break off a run of epic proportions when the conditions are right, and in the NFC Worst, er I mean, the NFC West, the conditions will be right often.

I’m not sure why Cedric Benson is admonished by the fantasy community the way that he is.  He ran for over 1,100 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons in a pass-happy offense.  Yes, he doesn’t pick up a lot of yards per carry, but Cincinnati is one of the few teams that still primarily employ a one running back system.  So he’s not getting these yards because of his own talent.  He’s getting those yards because apparently Head Coach Marvin Lewis (who is still somehow employable after going 18-29-1 over the last three seasons) has Benson on his personal fantasy keeper league.  I guess my biggest fear about Benson, and the reason he’s only #27 on the list, is that they’re going to overload him, especially while the Bengals are trying to transition Andy Dalton into the quarterback position.  Ironically, I think Dalton was #27 on the quarterback list.

Fred Jackson is a back that really doesn’t get the credit he deserves.  He’s one of those backs that puts in his time, and goes largely unnoticed because of the team he plays for.  He should easily rack up 1,000 total yards, maybe eight touchdowns, and hardly anyone will notice.  Jackson might actually be a sleeper due to the fact that the Bills offense seems to be improving.  If you can find Jackson in the ninth or tenth round, you’ll get an excellent deal on him.

My #25 running back, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, is the #1 back in the best RB by committee in the league and even he barely gets a top 25 spot.  That should tell you how destructive RBBC’s are.  BJGE (my god, I’m acronyming it up) will still lead the charge for the Pats’ running game, but he’s competing with Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, and Stevan Ridley.  But, it’s not like there’s going to eight or nine in the box with Tom Brady flinging the ball for New England, so he’ll have plenty of room to run.

In the next article, we’ll talk about a few high profile rookies, sophomores, and third-years who are in good situations.

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