Top 40 Running Backs For 2010

Depending on your league setup, running back may be the most important position on draft day.  Many times, you don’t need just one or two, but at least three (with the FLEX), plus a suitable replacement for bye weeks.  So, who is the best bet in 2010?  Who is a viable late round sleeper?  Let’s take a look at my current rankings:

  1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  2. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars
  4. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
  5. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
  6. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams
  7. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons
  8. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers
  9. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers
  10. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers
  11. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos
  12. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
  13. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
  14. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals
  15. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
  16. Shonn Greene – New York Jets
  17. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals
  18. Ronnie Brown – Miami Dolphins
  19. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
  20. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants
  21. Ryan Matthews – San Diego Chargers
  22. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys
  23. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts
  24. Clinton Portis – Washington Redskins
  25. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints
  26. Ben Tate – Houston Texans
  27. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills
  28. Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions
  29. Justin Forsett – Seattle Seahawks
  30. Cadillac Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  31. C. J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills
  32. Marion Barber – Dallas Cowboys
  33. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders
  34. Jerome Harrison – Cleveland Browns
  35. Chester Taylor – Chicago Bears
  36. Thomas Jones – Kansas City Chiefs
  37. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants
  38. Montario Hardesty – Cleveland Browns
  39. Ricky Williams – Miami Dolphins
  40. LaDanian Tomlinson – New York Jets

Thoughts:

  • Who is the top RB, Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson?  It’s really a 1 and 1A situation, as neither is the clear-cut better option.  Peterson has the longer track record and led the league in rushing TD with 18.  That’s enough to give him the leading spot, but Johnson, who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season is an extremely close second.  Of course, you also have to factor Johnson’s potential holdout into the mix for now.
  • Jackson is overworked, which the Rams may finally understand (if the rumors of looking at Brian Westbrook or true).  Still, the Rams are likely to lean on a rookie QB and little depth in the WR department for much of the season.  Put that together and it means another big season for Jackson, who will once again be the focus of the offense.
  • Rashard Mendenhall had just 45 yards through three games, yet he managed to finish the year with over 1,100 yards and 7 TD.  With Ben Roethlisberger set to miss the first six games, look for the Steelers to lean even more on Mendenhall early on this year.
  • Who is the top RB in Carolina, DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart?  Does it really matter?  For me, Williams is my top selection, remembering that he is just a year removed from an 18 TD performance and exceeded 1,100 yards despite missing three games.  Still, with 1,100+ yards of his own and being on a team that runs and runs and runs some more, is Stewart an option you wouldn’t want to have?
  • Knowshown Moreno was often an afterthought in the Broncos offense.  He had a game with just 5 carries in the middle of the season.  Still, it’s easy to imagine him being the main focus on the offense, especially with Brandon Marshall now calling Miami home.  Look for a big season from the former first round pick.
  • If the Chiefs hadn’t signed Thomas Jones, I would probably have slotted Jamaal Charles as a RB1.  He slips a little bit, but mid-to-late in the second round, he’s still a great selection.  He proved what he was capable of at the end of last season and should be in line for big things this year.
  • I know many people have Cedric Benson in the Top 10 RB this season, but I just can’t trust him.  He was supposed to be the man in Chicago, but it just never happened for him.  After toiling in the league for a while, he needs to do more to sell me in ranking him as a RB1.
  • Is Brandon Jacobs ever fully healthy?  If he was he could be one of the elite backs in the game.
  • How far has Matt Forte fallen?  He fell short of 1,000 yards last season, but still was an asset in the passing game, adding to his potential value.  I know the Chester Taylor signing could be seen as a hindrance, but at the same time it could be viewed as a motivational move.  Considering how highly ranked he was heading into 2009, if he slips to you as a RB2, he’s certainly worth the gamble.
  • Ronnie Brown may be coming back from injury, but he is the centerpiece of the Dolphins offense.  With Brandon Marshall now in place to help take the focus off the backfield (click here for some of my thoughts on his move to Miami), look for him to settle back into his role meaning he’s a solid option in all formats.
  • The questions about Pierre Thomas’ carries continues to knock him down the rankings.  You know the Saints are going to get Reggie Bush heavily involved, taking away from Thomas’ value in any given week.  I’d prefer him as my FLEX then as my RB2.
  • The bottom of the rankings are a virtual crap shoot, with Darren Sproles and Marshawn Lynch also in the mix, but falling just short for now.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who is ranked to high?  Who is ranked to low?

Don’t forget about our other rankings:

Also, make sure to check out our recent rookie rankings:

Make sure to check out our baseball site by clicking here.
Top 20 Tight Ends For 2010
Top 5 Rookie Quarterbacks For 2010

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