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Sizing Up Fantasy Running Backs
David Dorey
June 20, 2013
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More Sizing Up:  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers

Running backs are one of the most dynamic positions in terms of the number of players coming in and going out every year. Fresh legs and sound knees are hard to keep for more than a half dozen years and there is always a wealth of productive backs in the draft. Where a player goes is very important because locked behind a stud means you may never have any real chance of an NFL career. You could be a complete scrub but if you land on a team with a great offensive line and no other running back, then you run to the hole and fall forward for four yards. Add in some touchdowns and fantasy football loves you.

# Team 2012 Top Ten Ht. Wt. Age Exp.
1 MIN Adrian Peterson 6'1" 217 28 6
2 TB Doug Martin 5'9" 215 24 1
3 HOU Arian Foster 6'1" 228 27 4
4 BAL Ray Rice 5'8" 212 26 5
5 SEA Marshawn Lynch 5'11" 215 27 6
6 BUF C.J. Spiller 5'11" 200 26 3
7 WAS Alfred Morris 5'10" 218 25 1
8 CLE Trent Richardson 5'9" 230 22 1
9 KC Jamaal Charles 5'11" 199 27 5
10 SF Frank Gore 5'9" 217 30 9
Top 10 Average 5'10" 215 26 4

Height - The average height for a back is always around 5'10" for many years. Interesting that two of the three most productive backs were both 6'1" and raised what would have been a shorter crew than usual. Not much variation here really.

Weight - This is where backs have been getting lighter overall. Eight years ago, it was 223 pounds on average with only one under 214 pounds. Not only were only two runners over that 223 pound average from 2005, but Chris Johnson barely missed the top ten and he's only 191 pounds. Weight is getting lower as backfields continue to become committees of specialists.

Age - You would naturally expect youth to rule here and the same 26 year average existed five years ago. Frank Gore managed to sneak in the top ten just barely. There is a youth movement in play thanks to such a productive trio of rookie runners. Eight years back, the average age was 28 because teams were more likely to have the one central back who played until he was too older to go. Guys like Tiki Barber, Curtis Martin, Corey Dillon, Priest Holmes, etc. Older runners just do not get to take the reins by themselves anymore. Youth be served though rookies had not mattered for a long time before last year. It was more the second and third year players entering the top echelon. Now - you better be very good if you top five years of playing.

Rookies

Drafted Team Name Ht. Wt. Age
2.05 CIN Bernard, Giovani 5'8" 202 21
2.16 PIT Bell, Le'Veon 6'1" 230 21
2.26 DEN Ball, Montee 5'10" 214 22
2.29 GB Lacy, Eddie 5'11" 231 22
2.30 SEA Michael, Christine 5'10" 220 22
3.34 KC Davis, Knile 5'10" 227 22
4.28 GB Franklin, Johnathan 5'10" 205 24
4.34 SF Lattimore, Marcus 5'11" 221 22
5.07 ARI Taylor, Stepfan 5'9" 214 22
5.18 DAL Randle, Joseph 6'0" 204 22
5.21 WAS Thompson, Chris 5'7" 192 22
5.27 STL Stacy, Zac 5'8" 216 22
5.31 MIA Gillislee, Mike 5'11" 208 22
6.13 OAK Murray, Latavius 6'2" 223 22
6.14 CAR Barner, Kenjon 5'9" 196 24
6.19 ARI Ellington, Andre 5'9" 199 24
6.21 TB James, Mike 5'10" 223 22
6.22 CIN Burkhead, Rex 5'10" 214 22
6.26 SEA Ware, Spencer 5'10" 228 21
6.31 DET Riddick, Theo 5'10" 201 22
6.36 KC Wilson, Braden 6'3" 251 24
7.09 NYJ Bohanon, Tommy 6'1" 246 23
7.22 WAS Jamison, Jawan 5'7" 203 21
7.24 IND Williams, Kerwynn 5'8" 195 22
7.47 NYG Cox, Michael 6'1" 214 22

Giovani Bernard was the first back drafted but is young and the smallest player taken until the sixth round when some camp special teamers are taken. Interesting that both Le'Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy come in as workhorse backs in college and are much more in the vein of ten years back when big backs were more the rule than exception. That size helps at the goal line but can work against them when they go for a second contract since they were worked so heavily in college anyway. Montee Ball is almost perfectly the prototype for a back in terms of size these days. As with all rookie runners, it is 90% about what their opportunity is and less about any small difference they may have against other backs. The Packers are not certain yet what they will be doing in their crowded backfield but the drafting of both Lacy and Johnathan Franklin looks like Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung on paper.

2013 Possible Starters

Team Name Ht. Wt. Age Exp. Team Name Ht. Wt. Age Exp.
ARI Rashard Mendenhall 5'10" 225 26 5 NE Stevan Ridley 5'11" 220 24 2
ATL Steven Jackson 6'2" 240 30 9 NO Mark Ingram 5'9" 215 24 2
BAL Ray Rice 5'8" 212 26 5 NO Darren Sproles 5'6" 190 30 8
BUF C.J. Spiller 5'11" 200 26 3 NYG Andre Brown 6'0" 227 27 3
CAR Jonathan Stewart 5'10" 235 26 6 NYG David Wilson 5'10" 205 22 1
CAR DeAngelo Williams 5'9" 215 30 8 NYJ Chris Ivory 6'0" 222 25 4
CHI Matt Forte 6'2" 218 28 5 OAK Darren McFadden 6'1" 218 26 5
CLE Trent Richardson 5'9" 230 22 2 PHI LeSean McCoy 5'11" 208 25 4
DAL DeMarco Murray 6'0" 215 25 2 PIT Le'Veon Bell 6'1" 244 21 0
DEN Ball, Montee 5'10" 214 22 0 SD Ryan Mathews 6'0" 220 26 3
DET Reggie Bush 6'0" 203 28 7 SEA Marshawn Lynch 5'11" 215 27 6
GB Eddie Lacy 5'11" 230 22 0 SF Frank Gore 5'9" 217 30 9
HOU Arian Foster 6'1" 228 27 4 STL Isaiah Pead 5'11" 197 24 1
IND Ahmad Bradshaw 5'10" 214 27 6 STL Daryl Richardson 5'10" 196 23 1
JAC Maurice Jones-Drew 5'7" 210 28 8 TB Doug Martin 5'9" 215 24 1
KC Jamaal Charles 5'11" 199 27 5 TEN Chris Johnson 5'11" 191 28 5
MIA Lamar Miller 5'10" 218 22 1 WAS Alfred Morris 5'10" 218 25 1
MIN Adrian Peterson 6'1" 217 28 6  

Running Backs Sorted

Height Weight Age Experience
Steven Jackson 6'2" Le'Veon Bell 244 Steven Jackson 30 Steven Jackson 9
Matt Forte 6'2" Steven Jackson 240 DeAngelo Williams 30 Frank Gore 9
Arian Foster 6'1" Jonathan Stewart 235 Darren Sproles 30 DeAngelo Williams 8
Adrian Peterson 6'1" Trent Richardson 230 Frank Gore 30 Maurice Jones-Drew 8
Darren McFadden 6'1" Eddie Lacy 230 Matt Forte 28 Darren Sproles 8
Le'Veon Bell 6'1" Arian Foster 228 Reggie Bush 28 Reggie Bush 7
DeMarco Murray 6'0" Andre Brown 227 Maurice Jones-Drew 28 Jonathan Stewart 6
Reggie Bush 6'0" Rashard Mendenhall 225 Adrian Peterson 28 Ahmad Bradshaw 6
Andre Brown 6'0" Chris Ivory 222 Chris Johnson 28 Adrian Peterson 6
Chris Ivory 6'0" Stevan Ridley 220 Arian Foster 27 Marshawn Lynch 6
Ryan Mathews 6'0" Ryan Mathews 220 Ahmad Bradshaw 27 Rashard Mendenhall 5
DeAngelo Williams 5'9" Matt Forte 218 Jamaal Charles 27 Ray Rice 5
Trent Richardson 5'9" Lamar Miller 218 Andre Brown 27 Matt Forte 5
Mark Ingram 5'9" Darren McFadden 218 Marshawn Lynch 27 Jamaal Charles 5
Frank Gore 5'9" Alfred Morris 218 Rashard Mendenhall 26 Darren McFadden 5
Doug Martin 5'9" Adrian Peterson 217 Ray Rice 26 Chris Johnson 5
Ray Rice 5'8" Frank Gore 217 C.J. Spiller 26 Arian Foster 4
Maurice Jones-Drew 5'7" DeAngelo Williams 215 Jonathan Stewart 26 Chris Ivory 4
Darren Sproles 5'6" DeMarco Murray 215 Darren McFadden 26 LeSean McCoy 4
C.J. Spiller 5'11" Mark Ingram 215 Ryan Mathews 26 C.J. Spiller 3
Eddie Lacy 5'11" Marshawn Lynch 215 DeMarco Murray 25 Andre Brown 3
Jamaal Charles 5'11" Doug Martin 215 Chris Ivory 25 Ryan Mathews 3
Stevan Ridley 5'11" Ball, Montee 214 LeSean McCoy 25 Trent Richardson 2
LeSean McCoy 5'11" Ahmad Bradshaw 214 Alfred Morris 25 DeMarco Murray 2
Marshawn Lynch 5'11" Ray Rice 212 Stevan Ridley 24 Stevan Ridley 2
Isaiah Pead 5'11" Maurice Jones-Drew 210 Mark Ingram 24 Mark Ingram 2
Chris Johnson 5'11" LeSean McCoy 208 Isaiah Pead 24 Lamar Miller 1
Rashard Mendenhall 5'10" David Wilson 205 Doug Martin 24 David Wilson 1
Jonathan Stewart 5'10" Reggie Bush 203 Daryl Richardson 23 Isaiah Pead 1
Ball, Montee 5'10" C.J. Spiller 200 Trent Richardson 22 Daryl Richardson 1
Ahmad Bradshaw 5'10" Jamaal Charles 199 Ball, Montee 22 Doug Martin 1
Lamar Miller 5'10" Isaiah Pead 197 Eddie Lacy 22 Alfred Morris 1
David Wilson 5'10" Daryl Richardson 196 Lamar Miller 22 Ball, Montee 0
Daryl Richardson 5'10" Chris Johnson 191 David Wilson 22 Eddie Lacy 0
Alfred Morris 5'10" Darren Sproles 190 Le'Veon Bell 21 Le'Veon Bell 0

More Sizing Up:  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers


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