Thursday, June 21, 2012

Running Back Power Rankings: 16-30

Statistics say that one of these running backs will surprise everyone and crack the top 10. Last season it was Marshawn Lynch (and we could have seen that one coming after the way he demolished the Saints in the playoffs), so who will it be this season? Give us your prediction below.

Running Back Power Ratings: Ranks 16 through 30(Ranks 1-15)
Compare to my opinion one month ago.
Feel free to post your own list below.

16. Jamaal Charles: (1,078 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 344 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 2 turnovers) 11.26 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.

Jamaal Charles has an absolutely insane career yard per carry (ypc) average of 6.1. That is phenomenal, but it actually hurts him coming off an ACL injury. Charles is a shifty runner, and it will probably take him until his bye week to really find his groove, if he finds it at all this season. At 25 years old, Charles still has plenty of good football left in his body, but this probably won't be the season he breaks out for 1,600 yards. The Chiefs will want to ease him into a full workload, but he should be at his peak once the fantasy playoffs get started, so that is definitely a plus. 


17. Shonn Greene: (1,217 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 200 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 2 turnovers) 11.23 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Shonn Greene was something of a disappointment last season, but Rex Ryan has said that Greene will be the featured back this year. Tim Tebow's appearance will take away most, if not all, of his goal line touches, but it should help his ypc, which has been mediocre throughout his career. He needs to get into the passing game more if he wants to crack the top-10, and I just don't see that happening this season.Greene is a mid-level RB2, yet again, and his potential comes more from his workload than his stellar ability.


18. Jahvid Best: (986 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 380 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, and 1 turnover) 11.04 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Best has the potential to do much better than this, but the crowded backfield in Detroit could hold him back. If there are any injuries in the Detroit backfield (and there always seem to be plenty), Best's value could go up significantly or go down significantly. The Lions are effective at using the running game and passing game together, given how well Kevin Smith did last season, but the injury concerns with Best are glaring, and it would be nice to see him get through training camp without getting banged up. If he tops the Lions depth chart at the start of the season, he should be a steal.


19. Ahmad Bradshaw: (899 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 270 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 3 turnovers) 10.68 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Bradshaw would be great if I had any reason to believe that he was going to be a featured back this season. You don't draft a running back in the first round to sit him all season, so I expect Wilson to get at least 100 carries this season. I increased Bradshaw's carries accordingly and came up with this disappointing yardage number. He still holds his value, though, because Jacobs has been removed as the goal line back, making Bradshaw primed for that duty. I also have concerns about his durability, as he missed 4 games last season. If Ward or Wilson get hurt before the regular season, you can bump Bradshaw up to 1,000 rushing yards. 


20. Donald Brown: (1,013 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 180 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns, and 0 turnovers) 10.08 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

The Colts added Mewelde Moore the afternoon after I published my last post, which took all of the air out of my bold prediction about Brown. If he loses those 60 carries to Moore, he is looking more like a solid flex starter than a featured back. I still think he gets over 200 carries (I'm thinking in the 220-230 range), but that really takes a bit out of his yardage. If he can prove that he is the best back on this team, and I truly think he is, then he could end up getting more carries. I will be drafting him in every one of my fantasy leagues this year (I can guarantee this because I know no one else will touch him), and I should be ahppily playing him in the flex spot all year.


21. Darren Sproles: (570 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 620 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns, and 0 turnovers) 10.06 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

I think the Saints will put more of an emphasis on Mark Ingram running the ball this year, but Sproles still has more value because he catches the ball like crazy. I think his yardage and touchdown numbers will drop a little this season, but he is still a valuable flex starter and could get more carries if Ingram gets hurt again. It is a bit risky to draft a running back who isn't going to get 100 carries, but his 86 receptions last season (he had 87 carries) mean he is still getting the ball plenty.He should be consistent but not spectacular. The little guy is 29 years old.


22. Fred Jackson: (907 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 370 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 3 turnovers) 9.86 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Jackson is a low end flex player, and you can count me as one of the skeptics who thinks this 31 year old running back will have a hard time keeping C.J. Spiller off the field. Spiller is younger and was a top-10 pick a few years ago. The Bills need to see what Spiller can do this season so that they know whether they should resign him in the future. Jackson is on his last leg, and his body might not be able to handle the workload this season. I also have a hard time believing that he will sustain a 5.0+ ypc this season. If Spiller tops the depth chart there is no reason to draft Mr. Jackson.


23. Frank Gore: (1,034 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 150 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 3 turnovers) 9.65 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Poor, poor Frank Gore. This team just keeps bringing in players to strip away little pieces of your game, and you have dropped to just the 23rd best RB in fantasy. Brandon Jacobs is the biggest threat here, as he has a tendency to take over at the goal line. Jacobs does have an absolutely terrible attitude (for the most part), and I can't believe he took the offer from San Francisco knowing that they already had an entrenched starting running back. Anyways, none of this bodes well for Gore, who has been having injury issues over the last few seasons. His age is catching up with him, and drafting him is certainly a risk. 


 24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis: (972 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 80 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns, and 0 turnovers) 9.20 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

 The Law Firm (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) needs to win the starting job in Cincinnati. He could have very Cedric Benson-like numbers this season, which would make him an absolute steal in the middle rounds, but it is difficult to predict him having a great season, since we don't know how the Bengals will utilize him this season. The one thing we do know about Green-Ellis is that he can find the end zone (he scored 24 touchdowns with only 1,675 rushing yards over the last two seasons). If he wins the majority of the carries, he should see plenty of touchdowns even if he doesn't rush for 1,000 yards.


25. DeAngelo Williams: (791 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 150 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 1 turnover) 9.13 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Every Panthers runner (DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Cam Newton) had at least 5.4 yards per carry last season. That is absolutely unbelievable. Unfortunately, DeAngelo Williams only managed to get 155 carries in their crowded backfield. That situation has not been changed, so Williams only has moderate value as a flex starter. I can't imagine him reaching 200 carries or having a 5.4 ypc this season, which is unfortunate. Williams and Stewart are probably two of the top 10 runners in the NFL. If one of them gets seriously injured, the other immediately moves into the first 3 rounds.


26. Beanie Wells: (958 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 50 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns, and 2 turnovers) 9.05 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Wells had a pretty good season last year, but there will be more runners in the Cardinals backfield this season, which should siphon away a few of his carries. Keep him as a flex back, but don't expect a breakout season. He had his opportunity last season, but Ryan Williams should take some carries away from him and reduce his ability to make a huge impact. Draft him as nothing more than a flex back. 


27. Isaac Redman: (955 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 85 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 2 turnovers) 8.87 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

There is some potential for Redman to have a big season. I worry about him not being able to handle a feature back-level of work and I'm not sure he has the ability to have a huge impact on fantasy. As training camp comes to a close, we will know how well Mendenhall does with his recovery and whether Todd Haley is willing to rely heavily on Redman. If I had to draft a team today, though, Redman would be a low-level flex back; certainly not a starter.


28. James Starks: (1,005 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 250 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns, and 2 turnovers) 8.72 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

James Starks seems like a great pick now that Ryan Grant is gone, but the truth of the matter is that the Packers don't score enough rushing touchdowns to give Starks real value. Even as the primary back for the Packers, John Kuhn will probably get most of the goal line touches, while Starts will struggle to get 250 carries in this system. The Packers do have a tendency to play conservative once they get the lead (unlike the Saints), but we'll have to wait until we see something more definite about who will get the most carries. Even if it is Starks, he is not better than a flex starter.

29. Mark Ingram: (839 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 60 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns, and 1 turnover) 8.12 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.

The Saints wanted to use Ingram as something of a featured back last season, but an injury sidelined him for the last group of games. I simply projected his carries over the rest of the season and upped his ypc slightly to make this prediction. There are just too many decent backs on the Saints' roster to have one back make a huge difference. If Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory get hurt, expect Ingram to have a bigger role and more fantasy value.


30. Willis McGahee: (902 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 50 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 2 turnovers) 7.95 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues. 

Running backs with Peyton Manning rarely succeed, John Fox likes to have a committee system, and this team has plenty of good running backs; old man McGahee just can't get enough looks to make a huge impact this season. He was wonderful last season in the Tebow system, but he had an unbelievable ypc last season. Don't expect another great season here.


Use these projections as you wish and feel free to leave a comment below...just try to have some kind of statistical reasoning behind your comment. If you say, COME ON HOW IS CHARLES THIS LOW, provide something to convince people why he should be higher. Otherwise your comment is useless.

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