FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2013 Player Rankings: Running Backs
Updated: September 4, 2013
Top 10's:        
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Tier 1
Adrian Peterson - MIN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 25%
Auction 12: 28%
2010 MIN 15 1639 13 283 1298 4.6 12 36 341 1
2011 MIN 12 1109 13 208 970 4.7 12 18 139 1
2012 MIN 16 2314 13 348 2097 6.0 12 40 217 1
Avg   14 1687 13 280 1455 5.1 12 31 232 1
Proj MIN   1880 17   1550   15 35 330 2

What to think? He blows three ligaments in his knee and eight months later he embarks on one of the greatest seasons by any running back in NFL history. He runs 348 times and gained 2097 yards. He averaged a career best 6.0 yards per carry. He basically was the entirety of the Vikings offense. Now he says he wants to rush for 2500 yards this year. Why not? He is not bound by the laws of nature. Peterson does have a tougher rushing schedule than he did in 2012 but he's far bigger than his schedule. He's bound to see a decrease this year but he's already proven everyone wrong before.

Doug Martin - TBB YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 23%
Auction 12: 27%
2010                      
2011                      
2012 TBB 16 1926 12 319 1454 4.6 11 49 472 1
Avg   16 1926 12 319 1454 4.6 11 49 472 1
Proj TBB   1960 13   1500   12 50 460 1

Martin had a rookie season that harkened back to the glory days of running backs. He ended as the #2 fantasy back trailing only Adrian Peterson. He ran for 1454 yards and added 49 catches for 472 yards with a total of 12 touchdowns. He got better as the season progressed, running for over 120 yards in five of his final ten games. Martin once again gets one of the softer rushing schedules and his role as a receiver ensures that there is never a week that he doesn't turn in good stats.

Jamaal Charles - KCC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 23%
Auction 12: 25%
2010 KCC 16 1935 8 230 1467 6.4 5 45 468 3
2011 KCC 2 92 1 12 83 6.9   5 9 1
2012 KCC 16 1745 6 285 1509 5.3 5 35 236 1
Avg   11 1257 5 176 1020 6.2 3 28 238 2
Proj KCC   1850 12   1350   9 58 500 3

(+Upside) This should be a big year for Charles who is in his prime at 27 years old and now becomes the full-time back in an Andy Reid offense. Charles was coming off a blown knee last year and merely racked up 1509 rushing yards and a 5.3 YPC. His career best reception total was in 2010 when he caught 45 passes for 468 yards and three touchdowns. The WCO offense installed by Reid and OC Pat Shurmur never failed to throw at least 90 passes to running backs each year. Just last season, Philly completed 120 passes to tailbacks. Sean McCoy hauled in 54 and he only played in 12 games. Charles is set for a nice season and as the offense is installed, it's a fair expectation that Smith is going to want to dump off to Charles often in the early stages of the season if not the entire year. In a reception points league, Charles will be one of the first backs taken. Make that any kind of league.

Tier 2
Trent Richardson - IND YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 22%
Auction 12: 24%
2010                      
2011                      
2012 CLE 15 1317 12 267 950 3.6 11 51 367 1
Avg   15 1317 12 267 950 3.6 11 51 367 1
Proj IND   1710 13   1220   12 53 490 1

(+Upside) Both Richardson and Doug Martin reversed a decade long trend that said rookie running backs did not matter. Both ended up top ten in the league and in the case of Richardson, he did it despite playing for one of the worst offenses. He ran 267 times for 950 yards and 11 rushing scores and added 51 receptions for 367 yards and one score. Bringing in Norv Turner to be the offensive coordinator can only mean even bigger and better things for Richardson. He's already a top ten back and that's going to remain for many years.

Marshawn Lynch - SEA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 18%
Auction 12: 22%
2010 BUF 16 882 6 202 737 3.6 6 22 145  
2011 SEA 15 1416 13 285 1204 4.2 12 28 212 1
2012 SEA 16 1786 12 315 1590 5.0 11 23 196 1
Avg   16 1361 10 267 1177 4.3 10 24 184 1
Proj SEA   1740 12   1500   12 30 240  

Lynch turned in a dominating performance last year, rushing for a career best 1590 yards and averaging 5.0 per run. He scored 12 touchdowns in all and added 23 receptions for 196 yards. At the age of 27, Lynch is in his absolute prime and in an offense that loves to turn him into a workhorse. He was a top 5 back in most fantasy scoring rules and is granted one of the softest rushing schedules in the league again this year. He should be a lock for another great year that offers consistent production every week. His lack of receptions compared to other elite backs is balanced by his scoring and heavy load every game.

Ray Rice - FA* YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 17%
Auction 12: 22%
2010 BAL 16 1776 6 307 1220 4.0 5 63 556 1
2011 BAL 16 2068 15 291 1364 4.7 12 76 704 3
2012 BAL 16 1621 10 257 1143 4.4 9 61 478 1
Avg   16 1822 10 285 1242 4.4 9 67 579 2
Proj FA*   1830 9   1200   7 63 630 2

Rice was no worse than the #2 overall draft pick in most fantasy leagues last year. He was coming off a season with 2068 total yards and 15 touchdowns. What happened in 2013 was less about him and more about Bernard Pierce getting so much work. Rice had a lower yards per carry (4.7 to 4.4) and yards per catch (9.3 to 7.8). He still ended up around 5th best or so for running backs depending on the scoring rules used. His problem was that he slipped from being a huge difference maker to being just a really good fantasy running back. The same offense is in place and the Ravens will want to run no less. The schedule strength is not good here but it rarely is anyway. Rice has less upside with Pierce around but still remains a solid pick - just one that is less likely to outperform his draft spot. The absence of Anquan Boldin may end up giving Rice more receptions.

C.J. Spiller - BUF YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 17%
Auction 12: 20%
2010 BUF 14 440 1 74 283 3.8   24 157 1
2011 BUF 16 830 6 107 561 5.2 4 39 269 2
2012 BUF 16 1703 8 207 1244 6.0 6 43 459 2
Avg   15 991 5 129 696 5.0 3 35 295 2
Proj BUF   1800 9   1300   7 60 500 2

(+Upside) This should be a banner year for Spiller who finally gets all the stars aligned. Fred Jackson is 32 years old and coming off major injuries. He's unlikely to take a prominent role though he will continue to figure in. Plus Spiller gets a new offense brought in by HC Doug Marrone and his OC Nathaniel Hackett both fresh from Syracuse. The offense should be much more of a fast-paced, no-huddle scheme that should really play into the speedy, open field ability of Spiller. Last year they allowed Spiller a heavier load once Jackson was out and he ended with 1244 yards while averaging a full six yards per carry. Add in his 43 catches for 459 yards and this should be a very nice season indeed. The Bills also get one of the lighter rushing schedules. Expect Spiller to be taken in the first round this summer.

08-08-13 Update: While troublesome that Spiller has never had more than 252 touches in any NFL or college season, the intention is to work him hard and he'll respond with big fantasy stats if he remains healthy.

Arian Foster - HOU YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 15%
Auction 12: 18%
2010 HOU 16 2220 18 327 1616 4.9 16 66 604 2
2011 HOU 13 1841 12 278 1224 4.4 10 53 617 2
2012 HOU 16 1641 17 351 1424 4.1 15 40 217 2
Avg   15 1901 16 319 1421 4.5 14 53 479 2
Proj HOU   1620 12   1300   12 35 320  

(-Risk) The Texans have ranked in the top four in rushing yardage by running backs for each of the last three years. They have also never had fewer than 16 rushing scores in that time. That has a 1:1 relationship to when Foster became a starter. Last season was not his best so he ended up only ranked #3 in his position instead of #1. He has never been worse than #3 in any year as a starter. Where he declined slightly was in catches with only 40 for 217 yards. His two previous seasons produced over 600 receiving yards each. The plan is to have Ben Tate help out more and reduce the incredible workload that Foster has shouldered but they have said as much the last two seasons. Foster is as low-risk of a pick as there is in fantasy football.

07-25-13 Update: Foster opened camp on the active/PUP list because of a calf strain he suffered in spring practice that still has not healed after two months. It is a cause for concern for a back that has been ridden hard and put away wet for three straight years.

08-18-13 Update: Foster remains out and is taking injections for pain in his back. There is speculation by HOU reporters already that he may miss the season opener if not more. He's more risky than before and not a recommended draft pick. Let someone else take the risk.

Matt Forte - CHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 15%
Auction 12: 18%
2010 CHI 16 1616 9 237 1069 4.5 6 51 547 3
2011 CHI 12 1487 4 203 997 4.9 3 52 490 1
2012 CHI 15 1434 6 248 1094 4.4 5 44 340 1
Avg   14 1512 6 229 1053 4.6 5 49 459 2
Proj CHI   1670 11   1150   8 55 520 3

(+Upside) The new west coast offense being ushered in by HC Marc Trestman and OC Aaron Kromer should be tailor-made for the skills of Forte. The rushing effort may not change so much but Trestman has already pointed to Forte's past as a receiver as a skill set that will be exploited. Installing a new offense that is predicated on timing and shorter throws should be all about Forte. He's been consistently a solid fantasy draft pick, especially in reception point leagues. This new offense has the potential to yield Forte's best fantasy season yet.

LeSean McCoy - PHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 13%
Auction 12: 16%
2010 PHI 15 1672 9 207 1080 5.2 7 78 592 2
2011 PHI 15 1624 20 273 1309 4.8 17 48 315 3
2012 PHI 12 1213 5 200 840 4.2 2 54 373 3
Avg   14 1503 11 227 1076 4.7 9 60 427 3
Proj PHI   1540 12   1210   10 34 330 2

(+Upside) McCoy certainly looks more attractive this year in a high- powered offense (on paper anyway) that wants to seriously increase the number of plays which only means good things in fantasy football. How this plays out with McCoy is not 100% certain. He may lose a few of the 60+ receptions he received each year in Andy Reid's west coast offense. Not that it is 1:1 by any means, but at Oregon the lead back never had more than 20 receptions in any of his four seasons (Kenjon Barner). This offense will seek to increase the amount of rushes at least incrementally and possibly significantly. HC Chip Kelly's offense averaged 39 carries per game last year. That is not to say Kelly won't use what works best, but heavier workload for McCoy may not play out well. He has missed one to three games per season since 2009 and he has never carries more than 273 times in a year. In fact, he has only 2011 when he ran more than 207 times. While there are unknowns and some concerns, McCoy in this offense should be very productive as long as he remains healthy. Taking McCoy and doubling down with Bryce Brown could end up a very strong play likely to exceed their draft slots. One caveat here - the Eagles have the toughest rushing schedule in the league this year. That will have some effect.

   
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