Baltimore Sun

2010 Fantasy Football Rankings -- Running Backs

Name | Team | Bye

The Skinny


1. Adrian Peterson | MIN | 4
If you're frantically typing a response informing me that I'm an idiot for listing Peterson No. 1, save your energy. Both are fine choices. I give AP the nod because he's done it three seasons running now. Also, I worry about Chris Johnson's durability

2. Chris Johnson | TEN | 9
Like I said, you can't go wrong with the league's most explosive back -- unless Johnson's wheels fall off after his 408-touch season in 2009


3. Ray Rice | BAL | 8
Why Rice? Read on

4. Maurice Jones-Drew | JAX | 9
The last in the quartet of elite fantasy backs, Maurice Jones-Drew doesn't have to worry about a running-back-by-committee. He rushed for 1,391 yards and 15 scores a year ago

5. Michael Turner | ATL | 8
If you've got the fifth pick in the draft, you will have a tough decision if the four guys listed above are off the board. There will be temptation to take a QB or WR, but I'd go with Turner. Injuries slowed him down a year ago, and I think he'll bounce back in a big way in 2010

6. Frank Gore | SF | 9
The belief is the 49ers will get back to pounding the ball on the ground this season. If they don't, Gore is a capable receiver out of the backfield, too. Now if he could only play all 16 games ...

7. Rashard Mendenhall | PIT | 5
He's got the job and the carries pretty much all to himself, so expect him to top his numbers from 2009 (1,108 rushing yards and eight total TDs)

8. Steven Jackson | STL | 9
Jackson isn't the issue; he's one of the NFL's top five backs. The problem is everything else in St. Louis. The fact that Jackson is still ranked here tells you everything you need to know about his talent

9. Shonn Greene | NYJ | 7
Thomas Jones is gone and L.T. is doneskies, so look for Greene to lug the rock 300-plus times and rack up yard and touchdowns for the Jets

10. Ryan Grant | GB | 10
He's not a home-run hitter, but he doesn't need to be. With defenses loading up to stop the pass, Grant gets plenty of gaping running lanes


11. Jonathan Stewart | CAR | 6
One half of the NFL's most frustrating backfield committee, Stewart was a force when DeAngelo Williams went down last season. Williams is probably gone after the season, so look for the Panthers to give the keys to Stewart now

12. DeAngelo Williams | CAR | 6
If Stewart gets the keys to the car, Williams will be one annoying backseat driver. They both could top 1,000 yards again this season, so both players are worth the gamble

13. Ryan Mathews | SD | 10
Everyone is talking about how this is an ideal situation for Mathews, but he has to actually go out and do the damned thing or Darren Sproles will cut into his carries

14. Knowshon Moreno | DEN | 9
Moreno suffered a hamstring injury in camp, but he's expect to return sometime during the preseason. The Broncos stripped their offensive cupboard bare, so Moreno will be the focal point

15. Cedric Benson | CIN | 6
Maybe I'm ranking Benson too low, but I need to see him do it again before I spend a first-round pick on him. He's running behind a good line, though, and the Bengals added weapons, which could help Benson prove me wrong

16. Beanie Wells | ARI | 6
Wells had a decent rookie season, rushing for 793 yards and seven TDs. He'll be the lead back in 2010, but this offense is in transition


17. Pierre Thomas | NO | 10
With Mike Bell gone, Thomas will get more carries and maybe be the goal-line back. I'd like him more if he could handle a greater workload without breaking down

18. LeSean McCoy | PHI | 8
Are you willing to spend an early pick in case he is the next Brian Westbrook?

19. Matt Forte | CHI | 8
Forte is a forgotten man this year after he ran into irrelevance 3.6 yards at a time in 2009. But he could be a middle-round steal if he matches his numbers from two seasons ago

20. Felix Jones | DAL | 4
Before you get seduced by Jones' potential, remember that he's carried the ball just 146 times over the past two seasons

21. Brandon Jacobs | NYG | 8
Which Jacobs will we see in 2010: The back who bruised his way to 1,089 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008 or the guy who limped his way through 2009?

22. Jahvid Best | DET | 7
Injuries aside, Best was the most talented back in the 2010 draft. The job is his at least until Kevin Smith fully recovers from a torn ACL. But if Best can stay healthy, he'll be the lead guy long-term


23. Jamaal Charles | KC | 4
Charles racked up 1,126 total yards in the second half of 2009, but Thomas Jones isn't done yet. He'll steal some of Charles' thunder this season

24. Ronnie Brown | MIA | 5
I'm sure he's an OK guy, but I loathe Brown when it comes to fantasy. He's so overrated. He's alone on my refuse-to-draft list. Take him at your own risk

25. Joseph Addai | IND | 7
Addai (13 total TDs last year) keeps hanging on to the starting job, but for how long?

26. Ben Tate | HOU | 7
Tate's running style meshes well with the Texans' zone-blocking scheme. Keep an eye on how Houston's running back situation plays out, though, before you select him this high

27. Ricky Williams | MIA | 5
See No. 24. If Brown goes down, Williams will put up fine numbers again

28. Fred Jackson | BUF | 6
The Bills drafted C.J. Spiller in the first round, but Jackson showed last season that he's more than capable of carrying the load. Look for them to bring Spiller along slowly at first


29. Jerome Harrison | CLE | 8
Harrison got hot down the stretch last season. Now he has to prove it wasn't a fluke

30. Marion Barber | DAL | 4
He's no longer atop the Dallas depth chart, but he'll get his looks, especially near the goal line

31. Clinton Portis | WAS | 9
32. Darren McFadden | OAK | 10
33. Willis McGahee | BAL | 8
34. Thomas Jones | KC | 4
35. Justin Forsett | SEA | 5
36. Steve Slaton | HOU | 7
C.J. Spiller | BUF | 6
38. Laurence Maroney | NE | 5
39. Michael Bush | OAK | 10
40. LaDainian Tomlinson | NYJ | 7
41. Donald Brown | IND |7
42. Reggie Bush | NO | 10
43. Ahmad Bradshaw | NYG | 8
44. Derrick Ward | TB | 4
45. Javon Ringer | TEN | 9
46. Tim Hightower | ARI | 6
Toby Gerhart | MIN | 4
48. Marshawn Lynch | BUF | 6
49. Larry Johnson | WAS | 9

50. Cadillac Williams | TB | 4

Sleeper: Matt Forte have great value in the middle rounds even if he ends up having a so-so rebound season

Bust: Here's one last shot at Ronnie Brown (I know I sound like a jilted lover here, but I'm really not)

Rookie: Folks will take C.J. Spiller earlier than they should, but Jahvid Best is the back to reach for


You tell me: Will the running back position return to fantasy prominence in 2010 after a decline in recent years?