Fantasy Football: Preliminary Running Back Rankings, Part 2

Fantasy Football: Preliminary Running Back Rankings, Part 2


Fantasy Football: Preliminary Running Back Rankings, Part 2

On Sunday, I posted the first 24 running backs in my initial rankings, so here are the next 24. If your looking for a guy and he is not on this list (like, say, C.J. Spiller) chances are that I inexplicably put him higher, or that I ignored him altogether (I’m looking at you, Beanie Wells).

25. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis. I think Addai still appears to be the guy who will get more carries when healthy as Manning trusts him more, and the team added two young linemen.

26. Benjarvus Green-Ellis, New England. I would have Green-Ellis higher if I had a sense of the running back rotation, but based on Belichick’s history and the addition of 2 rookies with Woodhead, I’ll assume Green-Ellis still gets more work than any other NE back, but less than last year.

27. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle. Seattle’s running game wasn’t very good last year, but Lynch would appear to be the top option in 2011 and will have a full season with the team.

28. Ryan Williams, Arizona-R. I’m assuming that the Cardinals didn’t draft a running back unless they were dissatisfied with Wells, and his touches will be reduced. Williams has the potential to move up the board once we see how the Cardinals’ QB situations shakes out.

29. Shonn Greene, NY Jets. Greene will never be a good receiver and he’s not exactly young, but I’m assuming his role expands a little at the expense of Tomlinson in 2011.

30. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati. He’s a lesser version of Michael Turner (reliant on high carries and TD opps), and just like Turner, I think he has downside risk in 2011.

31. Daniel Thomas, Miami-R. I’m assuming he moves into the Williams role at this point, but actually expands it and is the better/goal line half of a platoon in Miami.

32. LaDainian Tomlinson, NY Jets. I wouldn’t write LT off yet, but I think he sees his role decline slightly as he ages, and I don’t think he has the upside of backs in the 20-25 range.

33. James Starks, Green Bay. Starks or Grant? I am assuming Brandon Jackson is out of the picture, and whether he starts in the primary role or not, I like Starks as the better half of what I suspect will be a platoon situation.

34. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit-R. If Detroit improves in 2011, Leshoure could be the beneficiary as the goal line back.

35. Bernard Scott, Cincinnati. I think Scott was better than Benson in 2010, and so I think there is a decent chance he gets some opportunities in 2011.

36. Ryan Torain, Washington. I’m sure a Washington back will finish higher than this, but do I know his identity? Torain is the tentative first option.

37. Michael Bush, Oakland. Bush may end up elsewhere in 2011, but this is a tentative spot for the big back if he stays in Oakland.

38. Brandon Jacobs, NY Giants. Jacobs is another 29 year old big back. He had a good year relatively speaking in 2010, but I’m shading him this year.

39. Ryan Grant, Green Bay. Some people will probably have him much higher, assuming he just returns to form from 2008-2009. I can’t. He’ll be 29, and is coming off a full season missed. He was a solid player, but not a special one, and those guys from age 26-28 don’t tend to hold on much longer. Plus, Starks should provide a good alternative.

40. Chris Ivory, New Orleans. Ivory had a pretty good year as a runner, and should get some opportunities in the Saints offense to make him a flex option with good matchups, even with Ingram now present.

41. Ben Tate, Houston. Houston’s running game was very productive, mostly with Foster, but it’s a good situation. If Foster misses any time, Tate would have bigger upside than most in this range.

42. Shane Vereen, New England. I don’t know how the Patriots will divide the Vereen/Woodhead usage in 2011, so for now, I’ll split the baby.

43. Danny Woodhead, New England.

44. Ronnie Brown, Miami. Brown fell off last year and is now 30. He can still be effective in small doses, but I expect him to play the slightly lesser half of a platoon.

45. Donald Brown, Indianapolis. He had a golden opportunity to take control of the Indianapolis backfield last year, but couldn’t stay healthy.

46. Fred Jackson, Buffalo. I’m expecting Spiller to get a greater share of the opportunities in 2011, which is why I have Jackson this low, but it’s one to keep an eye on.

47. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco. Here’s a guy I think has potential this year with Gore’s age/recent injury issues and because he is better than Anthony Dixon. Probably a boom/bust pick at the end of a draft.

48. Thomas Jones, Kansas City. The coaching staff loves him, so he’ll probably get enough carries at 3.2 yards per pop to make me curse again.

[photo via Getty]

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