2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

There are always risks in selecting a running back, though as we all know they tend to be the lifeline of your fantasy team.  Who is the right running back to be targeting?  Let’s take a look at how we currently rank them heading into the 2013 season:

  1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  2. Arian Foster – Houston Texans
  3. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks
  4. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
  6. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
  7. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
  8. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills
  9. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns
  10. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins
  11. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
  12. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars
  13. Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons
  14. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans
  15. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriot
  16. David Wilson – New York Giants
  17. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
  18. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys
  19. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders
  20. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions
  21. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
  22. Chris Ivory – New York Jets
  23. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints
  24. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers
  25. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos
  26. Vick Ballard – Indianapolis Colts
  27. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins
  28. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals
  29. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
  30. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
  31. Isaiah Pead – St. Louis Rams
  32. Rashard Mendenhall – St. Louis Rams
  33. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
  34. Shane Vereen – New England Patriots
  35. Andre Brown – New York Giants
  36. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
  37. Ryan Williams – Arizona Cardinals
  38. Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions
  39. Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens
  40. Michael Bush – Chicago Bears

Thoughts:

  • What Martin did as a rookie was astounding, establishing himself as a rare every down running back. He combined for 1,926 yards and 12 TD and is under no fire to lose touches any time soon. That’s the key on why he is #4, over Ray Rice (who could lose touches to Bernard Pierce).
  • The biggest knock against Jamaal Charles was that he rarely found the end zone in 2012 (6 total TD and never more than 8 in a season). With Andy Reid now the head coach and Alex Smith under center, does anyone really think he will replicate that? Don’t be surprised to see a career high in ’13.
  • Will this finally be the season C.J. Spiller is unleashed for a full 16 games without Fred Jackson getting in the way?  With a new regime, a rookie QB likely under center and Jackson offering little competition, we have to believe that to be the case.  With his ability both on the ground and in the passing game he could be inline for monster numbers.  Just look at what he did last season with 1,244 rushing yards and 459 receiving yards.
  • Trent Richardson had an impressive rookie season, rushing for 950 yards and 11 TD despite being banged up.  Considering how unimpressive their passing game once again appears to be, look for him to once again be leaned on.
  • Can we trust a Mike Shanahan running back?  He certainly appears to bebehind Alfred  Morris…  We need to be cautious, but Morris does appear primed for another big season.
  • Speaking about untrustworthy RB situations, we have to talk about Stevan Ridley and the Patriots.  They have a new leading rusher every seasons and, while Ridley was awful impressive, is he really a lock?  You would like to think that hewill be the leading rusher, but that doesn’t mean Shane Vereen won’t cut into his touches.  There’s reason to be at least a little bit skeptical.
  • Indications are that Maurice Jones-Drew will be healthy for training camp.  While 2012 was a disaster, there is little reason to simply ignore him.  Let’s not forget how good he was (over 1,600 total yards from 2009-2011).  As a borderline RB2 he is an easy pick.
  • Steven Jackson has a lot of mileage on him, no one is going to argue that.  However, he also moves to a situation in Atlanta where he is finally going to get significant help offensively and a very good QB throwing the football.  He should once again surpass 1,300 total yards and seeing 1,500+, if healthy, would not be a surprise.
  • There are always questions taming running backs, but the health of Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray definitely suppress both of their values. Can either stay healthy for a full 16 game season?  Murray gets the edge, given less competition, but you are going to want to have depth to protect yourself on either.
  • Chris Ivory is a popular breakout candidate heading into 2013 and it makes sense.  At the same time, do you trust anything Jets related right now?
  • Wouldn’t we all like Darren Sproles a little bit better if he actually got consistent chances to run the football?
  • Don’t be surprised if the most valuable fantasy running back in Cincinnati ends up being Govanni Bernard.  Just saying…
  • Montee Ball is going to be a popular pick, especially now, but Denver is a passing team and there are still plenty of options in the backfield.  Don’t draft him above your RB3.

Make sure to check out all of our 2013 preseason rankings:

2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 10 Rookie Running Backs
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 5 Rookie Quarterbacks

One comment

  1. Micah James says:

    Always interested to see how others are valuing players. A couple of thoughts… Do you still see Vick Ballard as a borderline RB2 given their signing of Ahmad Bradshaw? Bradshaw cuts into Ballard’s role a lot in my mind… Love the Shane Vereen ranking. It’s bold but I see him as a sneaky value guy this season. You say Bernard could be the most valuable back in Cincy but he’s ranked behind BJGE. Shouldn’t he be ranked higher if he’ll be the better player? Best regards, Micah James – @FFMagicMan

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