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2010 Sizing Up the Running Backs
David Dorey
June 28, 2010
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Other Positions:  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers

In all positions, size does matter to at least some degree. Obviously talent is critical but without the size to play in the NFL - does it really matter how fast a player is or how well he can pass the ball? The intent of these positional reviews is to arm yourself with the conventional wisdom about fantasy positions and typically what is successful. There are always exceptions to every rule, but it is nice to know the rule in the first place. There is a surprising amount of consistency in the measureables of star players.

# Team 2009 Top Ten Ht. Wt. Age Exp.
1 TEN Chris Johnson 5'11" 200 24 2
2 MIN Adrian Peterson 6'1" 217 24 3
3 BAL Ray Rice 5'8" 205 22 2
4 JAC Maurice Jones-Drew 5'7" 208 24 4
5 SF Frank Gore 5'9" 217 26 5
6 MIA Ricky Williams 5'10" 230 32 9
7 STL Steven Jackson 6'2" 231 26 6
8 IND Joseph Addai 5'11" 214 26 4
9 KC Thomas Jones 5'10" 212 31 10
10 GB Ryan Grant 6'1" 226 27 3
    Average Top 10 5'11" 216 26 5

Height - Though there are taller backs, the average always ends up around 5'10" every year. Height is not a success factor for a running back by any measure.

Weight - Most backs tend to be between 210 and 220 pounds but Chris Johnson's 200 pounds is a notable deviation as is Ray Rice. Smaller backs are more successful lately and getting more opportunities. Consider that 215 would be prototypical and yet three of the top four backs in 2009 were under 210 pounds. That is a new phenomena.

Age/Experience : The average age went up last year and there were no rookies breaking into the top ten. Both Johnson and Rice needed one year of lesser work before bursting on the scene last year. This could be a function of the smaller sized back needing one year of seasoning? Probably like a year of work was needed before the coaches were confident in using them so heavily.

Drafted Team Name Ht. Wt. Age
1.09 BUF C.J. Spiller 5'11" 195 23
1.12 SD Ryan Mathews 5'11" 215 23
1.30 DET Jahvid Best 5'10" 195 21
2.19 MIN Toby Gerhart 6'1" 237 23
2.26 HOU Ben Tate 5'11" 217 22
2.27 CLE Montario Hardesty 6'0" 212 23
4.14 NYJ Joe McKnight 6'0" 200 22
4.27 PHI Clay Harbor 6'3" 252 22
5.08 NYJ John Conner 5'11" 240 22
6.04 SF Anthony Dixon 6'1" 233 23
6.11 JAC Deji Karim 5'9" 209 22
6.19 PIT Jonathan Dwyer 6'0" 228 21
6.24 GB James Starks 6'2" 218 22
6.31 PHI Charles Scott 6'1" 238 22

Rookies: Knowshon Moreno, Chris Wells and Shonn Greene had some success last year but all three should be looking at increased workloads and bigger stats for 2010. We see two of the three top drafted backs weighing less than 200 pounds and yet going to situations where they should have a chance to succeed. Spiller and Best may end up following the same path as Rice and Chris Johnson in 2009 with their breakouts not happening until 2010. Mathews is the only lock for a heavy load this year.

Team Name Ht. Wt. Age Exp. Team Name Ht. Wt. Age Exp.
ARI Beanie Wells 6'1" 228 22 2 KC Thomas Jones 5'10" 212 32 11
ARI Tim Hightower 6'0" 222 24 3 MIA Ronnie Brown 6'0" 230 29 6
ATL Jason Snelling 5'11" 229 27 4 MIA Ricky Williams 5'10" 230 33 10
ATL Michael Turner 5'10" 244 28 7 MIN Toby Gerhart 6'1" 237 23 0
BAL Ray Rice 5'8" 205 23 3 MIN Adrian Peterson 6'1" 217 25 4
BAL Willis McGahee 6'0" 232 29 8 NE Laurence Maroney 5'11" 220 25 5
BUF C.J. Spiller 5'11" 195 23 0 NE Fred Taylor 6'1" 228 34 13
BUF Fred Jackson 6'1" 215 29 4 NO Pierre Thomas 5'11" 215 26 4
BUF Marshawn Lynch 5'11" 215 24 4 NO Reggie Bush 6'0" 203 25 5
CAR Jonathan Stewart 5'10" 235 23 3 NYG Ahmad Bradshaw 5'9" 198 24 4
CAR DeAngelo Williams 5'9" 217 27 5 NYG Brandon Jacobs 6'4" 264 28 6
CIN Cedric Benson 5'11" 220 28 6 NYJ Shonn Greene 5'11" 226 25 2
CLE Montario Hardesty 6'0" 212 23 0 NYJ LaDainian Tomlinson 5'10" 221 31 10
CLE Jerome Harrison 5'9" 205 27 5 OAK Michael Bush 6'1" 245 26 3
DAL Felix Jones 5'10" 218 23 3 OAK Darren McFadden 6'2" 210 23 3
DAL Marion Barber 6'0" 222 27 6 PHI LeSean McCoy 5'10" 198 22 2
DEN Knowshon Moreno 5'11" 217 23 2 PIT Rashard Mendenhall 5'10" 225 23 3
DEN Correll Buckhalter 6'0" 217 32 10 SD Ryan Mathews 5'11" 215 23 0
DET Jahvid Best 5'10" 195 21 0 SD Darren Sproles 5'6" 185 27 6
DET Kevin Smith 6'1" 211 24 3 SEA Leon Washington 5'8" 195 28 5
GB Ryan Grant 6'1" 226 28 4 SEA Julius Jones 5'10" 208 29 7
HOU Ben Tate 5'11" 217 22 0 SF Frank Gore 5'9" 217 27 6
HOU Arian Foster 6'1" 215 24 2 STL Steven Jackson 6'2" 231 27 7
HOU Steve Slaton 5'9" 215 24 3 TB Carnell Williams 5'11" 217 28 6
IND Donald Brown 5'10" 210 23 2 TEN Chris Johnson 5'11" 200 25 3
IND Joseph Addai 5'11" 214 27 5 WAS Willie Parker 5'10" 209 30 7
JAC Maurice Jones-Drew 5'7" 208 25 5 WAS Larry Johnson 6'1" 230 31 8
KC Jamaal Charles 5'11" 199 24 3 WAS Clinton Portis 5'11" 221 29 9

Height Weight Age Experience
Brandon Jacobs 6'4" Brandon Jacobs 264 Fred Taylor 34 Fred Taylor 13
Darren McFadden 6'2" Michael Bush 245 Ricky Williams 33 Thomas Jones 11
Steven Jackson 6'2" Michael Turner 244 Correll Buckhalter 32 Correll Buckhalter 10
Beanie Wells 6'1" Toby Gerhart 237 Thomas Jones 32 Ricky Williams 10
Fred Jackson 6'1" Jonathan Stewart 235 LaDainian Tomlinson 31 LaDainian Tomlinson 10
Kevin Smith 6'1" Willis McGahee 232 Larry Johnson 31 Clinton Portis 9
Ryan Grant 6'1" Steven Jackson 231 Brian Westbrook 31 Brian Westbrook 9
Arian Foster 6'1" Ronnie Brown 230 Willie Parker 30 Willis McGahee 8
Toby Gerhart 6'1" Ricky Williams 230 Willis McGahee 29 Larry Johnson 8
Adrian Peterson 6'1" Larry Johnson 230 Fred Jackson 29 Michael Turner 7
Fred Taylor 6'1" Jason Snelling 229 Ronnie Brown 29 Julius Jones 7
Michael Bush 6'1" Beanie Wells 228 Julius Jones 29 Steven Jackson 7
Larry Johnson 6'1" Fred Taylor 228 Clinton Portis 29 Willie Parker 7
Tim Hightower 6'0" Ryan Grant 226 Michael Turner 28 Cedric Benson 6
Willis McGahee 6'0" Shonn Greene 226 Cedric Benson 28 Marion Barber 6
Montario Hardesty 6'0" Rashard Mendenhall 225 Ryan Grant 28 Ronnie Brown 6
Marion Barber 6'0" Tim Hightower 222 Brandon Jacobs 28 Brandon Jacobs 6
Correll Buckhalter 6'0" Marion Barber 222 Leon Washington 28 Darren Sproles 6
Ronnie Brown 6'0" LaDainian Tomlinson 221 Carnell Williams 28 Frank Gore 6
Reggie Bush 6'0" Clinton Portis 221 Jason Snelling 27 Carnell Williams 6
Jason Snelling 5'11" Cedric Benson 220 DeAngelo Williams 27 DeAngelo Williams 5
C.J. Spiller 5'11" Laurence Maroney 220 Jerome Harrison 27 Jerome Harrison 5
Marshawn Lynch 5'11" Felix Jones 218 Marion Barber 27 Joseph Addai 5
Cedric Benson 5'11" DeAngelo Williams 217 Joseph Addai 27 Maurice Jones-Drew 5
Knowshon Moreno 5'11" Knowshon Moreno 217 Darren Sproles 27 Laurence Maroney 5
Ben Tate 5'11" Correll Buckhalter 217 Frank Gore 27 Reggie Bush 5
Joseph Addai 5'11" Ben Tate 217 Steven Jackson 27 Leon Washington 5
Jamaal Charles 5'11" Adrian Peterson 217 Pierre Thomas 26 Jason Snelling 4
Laurence Maroney 5'11" Frank Gore 217 Michael Bush 26 Fred Jackson 4
Pierre Thomas 5'11" Carnell Williams 217 Maurice Jones-Drew 25 Marshawn Lynch 4
Shonn Greene 5'11" Fred Jackson 215 Adrian Peterson 25 Ryan Grant 4
Ryan Mathews 5'11" Marshawn Lynch 215 Laurence Maroney 25 Adrian Peterson 4
Carnell Williams 5'11" Arian Foster 215 Reggie Bush 25 Pierre Thomas 4
Chris Johnson 5'11" Steve Slaton 215 Shonn Greene 25 Ahmad Bradshaw 4
Clinton Portis 5'11" Pierre Thomas 215 Chris Johnson 25 Tim Hightower 3
Michael Turner 5'10" Ryan Mathews 215 Tim Hightower 24 Ray Rice 3
Jonathan Stewart 5'10" Joseph Addai 214 Marshawn Lynch 24 Jonathan Stewart 3
Felix Jones 5'10" Montario Hardesty 212 Kevin Smith 24 Felix Jones 3
Jahvid Best 5'10" Thomas Jones 212 Arian Foster 24 Kevin Smith 3
Donald Brown 5'10" Kevin Smith 211 Steve Slaton 24 Steve Slaton 3
Thomas Jones 5'10" Donald Brown 210 Jamaal Charles 24 Jamaal Charles 3
Ricky Williams 5'10" Darren McFadden 210 Ahmad Bradshaw 24 Michael Bush 3
LaDainian Tomlinson 5'10" Willie Parker 209 Ray Rice 23 Darren McFadden 3
LeSean McCoy 5'10" Maurice Jones-Drew 208 C.J. Spiller 23 Rashard Mendenhall 3
Rashard Mendenhall 5'10" Julius Jones 208 Jonathan Stewart 23 Chris Johnson 3
Julius Jones 5'10" Ray Rice 205 Montario Hardesty 23 Beanie Wells 2
Willie Parker 5'10" Jerome Harrison 205 Felix Jones 23 Knowshon Moreno 2
Brian Westbrook 5'10" Reggie Bush 203 Knowshon Moreno 23 Arian Foster 2
DeAngelo Williams 5'9" Brian Westbrook 203 Donald Brown 23 Donald Brown 2
Jerome Harrison 5'9" Chris Johnson 200 Toby Gerhart 23 Shonn Greene 2
Steve Slaton 5'9" Jamaal Charles 199 Darren McFadden 23 LeSean McCoy 2
Ahmad Bradshaw 5'9" Ahmad Bradshaw 198 Rashard Mendenhall 23 C.J. Spiller 0
Frank Gore 5'9" LeSean McCoy 198 Ryan Mathews 23 Montario Hardesty 0
Ray Rice 5'8" C.J. Spiller 195 Beanie Wells 22 Jahvid Best 0
Leon Washington 5'8" Jahvid Best 195 Ben Tate 22 Ben Tate 0
Maurice Jones-Drew 5'7" Leon Washington 195 LeSean McCoy 22 Toby Gerhart 0
Darren Sproles 5'6" Darren Sproles 185 Jahvid Best 21 Ryan Mathews 0

Other Positions:  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers

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