The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #48-41 RBs

July 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , , , )

And now we move onto the running backs.  The most important position in fantasy football, just try to disagree with me.

Barely making the list is Montario Hardesty at #48.  Peyton Hillis was an absolute beast last season, but he slowed down at the end of the season.  The Browns have said that Hardesty will be a bigger part of the offense, and I think that at some point Hillis will slow down enough for Hardesty to be a viable starter.  Hardesty is this low on the list, however, because he’s unproven and is still coming back from last season’s season-ending injury.  Call him a deep sleeper, consider that the Browns offense is so weak.

At #47 is Rashad Jennings.  Jennings is just one Maurice Jones-Drew knee problem away from starting in one of the most run-happy offenses in the NFL.  However, he’s also in one of the most one-sided running games in the NFL, so unless MJD does go down, Jennings probably won’t get a ton of carries. Jennings is another candidate in the high risk/high reward category.  If he gets significant time this season, he’ll be a great pickup.

No words can describe this picture. Other than, FALCON KICK!!!

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  LaDainian Tomlinson is #46 on this list.  Wasn’t it a few years ago, when he wouldn’t be caught dead outside the top 5.  Now, I have him barely outside the top 45.  But that’s what will happen when you get injured on a regular basis, stuck into a running back committee, and hit the 30 year old mark as a running back.  LT might have a good game or two, but his best days are far behind him.

I don’t like to copy-paste in this article, but Thomas Jones is kind of similar to LT’s.  So that means I have to come up with new content for Thomas.  Um…  Jones isn’t in an excellent running game?  No.  Jones isn’t behind some young future star at running back?  No, that’s not it.  Jones isn’t in his early 30’s and in the decline of his career?  That’s not it either.  OK, I got nothing.

Anybody see Danny Woodhead coming?  Put your hand down Danny.  The former Hard Knocks star got picked up by New England and he did pretty damn well for himself with a 5.6 yards per carry average, and he became a massive threat in the passing game.  He might get hurt slightly due to the drafting of both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, but Woodhead will still be the Pats’ #2 running back.

Number 43 on this list is Brandon Jacobs.  Last year, New York was switching running backs like Carolina was switching quarterbacks.  Every week, it seemed that Brandon did something bad, and then Ahmad Bradshaw would start next week, then vice versa.  But, then Bradshaw distanced himself from Jacobs, proving him expendable.  If Jacobs stays in New York, he will strictly the change-of-pace back.

Ryan Torain is #42 on this list, but he’s nowhere near the answer to Washington’s running game (or the universe).  He’s a good one cut running back, but he’s not even the most interesting runner on the team.  Roy Helu is going to take carries away in chunks.  Torain will get 15 carries a game, maximum.  He’s not going to the starter for Washington by season’s end.

Somehow, this doesn't make me feel like eating sandwiches.

My #41 running back is Beanie Wells.  He is a nonfactor in Arizona.  His explosiveness is gone.  His tackle breaking is gone, and now his job security is gone.  The Cards drafted Ryan Williams, and they always seem to rely on Tim Hightower at some point in the season.  Beanie could still have a third-year breakout, but I wouldn’t bet my life savings on it.

In the next part, we talk about some backs in a running back committee situation.

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