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Monday, July 22, 2013

Fantasy Football: Running Back Rankings





By: Steve Zoladek
Follow him on Twitter @WarRoomPHLSteve by clicking here
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1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Projection: 1st Round

This is an easy one.  Just nine months removed from a brutal knee injury, AP shocked the football world and started at RB in week one for the Minnesota Vikings.  HE the shocked the football world even further by actually being effective.  By the time the end of the season came around, he was playing better than he ever had in his entire career, winning his first MVP.  All Day finished with 2097 yards and 12 rushing TDs, carrying many fantasy owners deep into the playoffs.  The Vikings return much of their offense, replacing the traded Percy Harvin (injured for a majority of the season) with another injury-riddled receiver in Greg Jennings.  Expect the offense to flow through Peterson, once again, despite the defense's best efforts to stack the box against him.


2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Projection: 1st Round

While Peterson is on a level by himself in the first tier, Foster is the first player in the second tier of running backs.  He rushed for 1,424 yards and 15 TDs last season with a league-leading 351 rushing attempts.  Last season he saw a huge regression in his receiving numbers, but I expect a bounce-back season for him (more than 50 receptions and 500 yards).  The only fear I have for Foster is that Ben Tate, his backup, is in a contract year and will be playing his ass off.  Not for the reason that Gary Kubiak would dare bench Foster, but he might give Foster a lighter workload to keep him fresh for the playoffs.

3. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projection: 1st Round

Doug Martin burst onto the scene this past season in Tampa Bay in his rookie year, showing a complete skill-set and wiping LeGarrette Blount off the map.  Martin finished 1,926 yards from scrimmage and 12 total TDs.  His numbers may have been ballooned a little bit by his astounding 251 yard, 4 TD performance in week eight, but they are still remarkable for a rookie.  In the offseason, they acquired RT Gabe Carimi from Chicago, Kevin Ogletree from Dallas, and Tom Crabtree from Green Bay.  Carimi and Crabtree will provide huge holes for Martin to burst through and Ogletree provides the Bucs' offense with a legitimate slot threat.

4. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Projection: 1st-2nd Round

Ray Rice, despite the success of the Ravens, had his worst season since his rookie year in 2012.  He had his fewest yards from scrimmage and receptions, but this year he will bounce back in a BIG way.  With the release of Anquan Boldin, a possession receiver and Flacco's safety valve, you can expect Rice's reception numbers to bounce back up above 75.  Rice is still the goal-line back this season, a role he succeeded in last year, which should keep his TD numbers in the double-digits for a second season.  In a PPR league, you can't do much better than Ray Rice.

5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Projection: 1st-2nd Round

Marshawn Lynch went into beast mode last season like never before.  He must have really had a craving for skittles because he found the end zone 12 times and rushed for 1,590 yards.  Seattle gave him 315 carries last season, the most that he's ever had in his career.  While he does struggle with injuries from time to time (chronic back spasms), he rarely allows it to affect his productivity.  With a young, mobile quarterback in Russell Wilson, and the acquisition of Percy Harvin, running room shouldn't be hard for Marshawn Lynch to come by this year.  Expect thirteen bags of skittles for Lynch.

6. CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills
Projection: 2nd Round

7. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Projection: 2nd Round

8. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Projection: 2nd Round

9. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

10. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

11. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Projection: 3rd Round

12. David Wilson, New York Giants
Projection: 3rd Round

13. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Projection: 3rd Round

14. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Projection: 3rd-4th Round

15. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints
Projection: 4th Round

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