SRG’s 2010 Fantasy Football Guide: Running Backs
NFL season kickoff is now less than a month away, which can only mean one thing: Fantasy Football. That’s right; it’s time to do your research for the 2010 NFL season. Get your league together, buy your magazines, make your rankings, and do some mock drafts. As you know, every fantasy season brings an abundance of new players to the top of draft boards. So starting here, every few days SRG Fantasy Football analyst Thomas Gerard will do his positional rankings. Let’s get started!
• Adrian Peterson, MIN – He is only 25 years old and a beast of an athlete. Coming off a year in which he had 18 touchdowns, he is a fantasy football machine. Brett Favre is back and Chester Taylor is gone, which is an even better situation for prospective fantasy owners. Look for AP to be in on more 3rd down plays this year and to hold on to the ball better. Combine all of that with probably 15 TDs and AP is a great start to your team.
• Chris Johnson, TEN — Most projections have him ranked #1 overall, but for me he had almost “too good” of a year last year. I’m not a huge fan of guys coming off of “monster” years. He has the ability to break for a TD at any moment and is faster than anyone in the NFL. However, he is a smaller player and touched the ball a lot of times last year, so that lands him in the second spot. He will have a big year again, just nothing in comparison to what he put up last season.
• Ray Rice, BAL – Rice straight up stole the RB job in Baltimore last year away from Willis McGahee. He will get even more carries this year than he did a season prior. Combine that with the fact that even when he is not carrying the ball, he has a great chance of catching the ball out of the backfield. The one downside is that McGahee is a highly-paid man who will steal some goal-line opportunities. That doesn’t worry me much though. I think Ray has the possibility of putting up a year such as CJ did last season. He may not rush for 2,000 yards, but he will get around 1,750 and 500 receiving.
• Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX – This guy always figures a way to get into the end zone. Another tiny guy, but get’s a ton of carries inside the 20-yard line. A solid pick. Look for a similar year to the one he put up last season.
• Steven Jackson, STL – Many rankings have Jackson a lot lower than this, but I like him this year for a number of reasons. First, the Rams are terrible and will run the ball a shit load. Two, the Rams have a rookie QB. Three, the Rams have a better offensive line. Four, he has no backup and could carry the ball 375 times this season. Fifth, he is an awesome pass-catching RB. Finally, he is coming off of a 4 touchdown season, which will only go up. Side note: I’m a Rams fan.
• Frank Gore, SF – Frank missed two games last year and still put up good fantasy numbers for an entire season. The 49ers are better offensively and will probably pass more than in previous years. Look for similar stats to ’09.
• Rashard Mendenhall, PIT – I really like him this year, especially with Big Ben’s suspension. He is young, quick, and plays for a good team. Look for him to have his best year yet and carry the Steelers while their QB is out.
• Deangelo Williams/Jonathon Stewart, CAR – I’m sorry, but at this point, I see them as virtually the same RB. They split the carries almost evenly and had virtually the same numbers a year ago. I know Stewart is coming off an injury, but he always is and has done just fine. There’s no need to separate them. A good strategy would be to wait until the 4th-5th round and grab Stewart, meanwhile picking up talent at other positions.
• Michael Turner, ATL – His 370 carry season made him vulnerable to injury last year, after a breakout season with the Falcons. I’m hesitant about putting a guy coming off of an injury too high on this list, especially with Jason Snelling emerging as a solid backup. Even with his injuries and lack of receptions, he is still a top 10 RB. However, this is a very hit or miss spot.
• Ryan Grant, GB – The Packers have an awesome passing game and love to throw the ball. But Grant still had 280 carries last year, to go along with 11 TDs. I think he’ll be slightly less productive as last year, but is still worth of landing in the top 10.
• Jamaal Charles, KC – Would be higher if not for the arrival of Thomas Jones and McCluster.
• Beanie Wells, ARI – With Warner gone, I think the Cardinals establish a little bit more of a run game.
• Shonn Greene, NYJ – Injury prone, but the 2010 playoffs proved he can flat out play. Don’t draft too early.
• Cedric Benson, CIN – His 2009 season came out of nowhere. Will get his fair share of yards, but uncertain about the end zone.
• Knowshon Moreno, DEN – Would also be higher if not for pass-happy Josh McDaniels.
• Ryan Matthews, SD – Prove me something first.
• Lesean McCoy, PHI – The new Brian Westbrook, but has Mike Bell as backup.
• Justin Forsett, SEA – Breakout alert!
• Matt Forte, CHI – Could be a steal at a great price.
• Pierre Thomas, NO – You won’t see me drafting a New Orleans RB.
• C.J. Spiller, BUF – He hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet. But with the injuries to Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, he could take over the reins from Day 1. Future Chris Johnson.
• Felix Jones, DAL – He will slowly get more carries from Marion Barber as the team’s future and feature back. Plus Jerry Jones always favors an Arkansas boy.
• Steve Slaton, HOU – He’s battling Arian Foster for the #1 job and most likely will split carries at best. But with his speed and game-breaking ability, an injury to Foster or a breakout game by Slaton, could make for an MVP-like late-round fantasy pickup.