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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2009 Player Rankings: Running Backs
Updated: September 10, 2009
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Tier 5
Willis McGahee - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 46
Keeper: 36
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 BUF 14 1146 6 259 990 3.8 6 18 156  
2007 BAL 15 1438 8 294 1207 4.1 7 43 231 1
2008 BAL 13 844 7 170 671 3.9 7 24 173  
Avg   14 1143 7 241 956 3.9 7 28 187 0
Proj FA   690 5   500   3 28 190 2

(-Risk) (+Upside) After a decent yet unspectacular showing in his first year with the Ravens, Willis McGahee nursed various injuries to knees and ankles and only played in 13 games last season. He was banged up in several others and ended 2008 with minimal impact. He did score twice against the Steelers in the Championship game but only had 60 yards on 20 carries. McGahee only had three games with over 65 rushing yards though all three exceeded 100 yards (and the Ravens will not play Miami, Houston or Dallas this year). McGahee led his team in carries for only five games last year.

McGahee underwent arthroscopic surgery on his ankle in the offseason and he is expected to be fully healthy by the start of training camp. He would have cost $11 million to release in the offseason so he gets another season in Baltimore but the team is not content with what he has brought. He’s basically turned into another Jamal Lewis except this one won’t stay healthy. In McGahee’s favor is that the Ravens intend to convert Le’Ron McClain into a fullback so he’ll mainly contend with Ray Rice for carries. The Ravens also ranked #1 in the NFL with 591 carries last year so there’s still plenty of work to go around. The only question is who will get the most carries and will that be enough to warrant being a fantasy starter?

The Ravens have a softer rushing schedule this year but the backfield situation in Baltimore is still not clear. McClain appears destined to become a blocking fullback despite leading the team in rushing for 2008. Ray Rice appears likely to get playing time if not potentially the starting role even though he rarely had more than 10 carries in a game as a rookie and he had injury problems. McGahee needs to step up and reclaim his role as the primary back or his NFL career will continue to slide downwards. He’ll be a big risk to draft but he is going later enough in rounds so that he doesn’t cost much this summer. He’s as big a risk to do nothing as he is become the clear starter again.

06-23-09 Update: It is all but certain now that McGahee and Ray Rice are likely to split perhaps 50/50 and may even favor Rice. That makes McGahee have even more risk.

James Davis - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 47
Keeper: 42
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   690 5   490   4 26 200 1

(+Upside) The 5-11, 210 pound back from Clemson wasn’t chosen until the 6.22 pick of the Browns but there is enough potential in Cleveland to keep an eye on the 14th back drafted last April. Jamal Lewis is on an obvious decline and turns 30 years old and Jerome Harrison is a bit smaller at 5-9, 205 pounds so Davis could have a shot at some playing time. Were Lewis or Harrison to become injured, Davis immediately becomes a factor. He’ll be drafted too early by most looking for the long shot sleeper back but even if he were to be given the #1 role from day one, he might not have much fantasy value. Now consider he is #3 on the depth chart at best.

08-08-09 Update: Impressive in camp, his stock is rising if only in dynasty leagues. He's not a bad play for your RB depth just to see what happens during the season.

08-30-09 Update: Davis continues to shine whenever he plays and Jerome Harrison has now missed three weeks and is getting passed by the dynamic rookie.

Michael Bush - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 48
Keeper: 37
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008 OAK 15 583 3 95 421 4.4 3 19 162  
Avg   15 583 3 95 421 4.4 3 19 162 0
Proj FA   630 6   600   6 4 30  

(+Upside) Bush is now three years beyond the broken leg in college and looking to replace Justin Fargas. Smart money is on him doing exactly that during the season if not by the end of training camp and the duo of speedy McFadden and the bruiser Bush could finally give the Raiders some offensive capability – if they learn the offense and remain healthy. Bush had 95 carries last year but little use after week four until the final game of the season when he exploded for 177 yards on 27 carries and scored twice in Tampa Bay. That performance alone ensured that Bush would be a part of the offense this year.

Bush will pair with McFadden this year and should have the #2 job by the end of training camp. He won’t have the yardage that McFadden will and likely a minimal role as a receiver but he should be the short yardage and goal line back along with enough workload to make him at least worthy of being fantasy depth.

Tim Hightower - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 49
Keeper: 51
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008 ARI 16 636 10 143 399 2.8 10 34 237  
Avg   16 636 10 143 399 2.8 10 34 237 0
Proj FA   740 4   380   4 36 360  

(+Upside) The rookie had a great freshman season when he rushed for ten touchdowns but only had 143 carries for 399 yards and a paltry 2.8 yard per carry average. He only topped 40 rushing yards in two games and mainly served as the short yardage back for the Cardinals last year. There are two problems with that. First, Hightower has lost weight in the offseason trying to improve his speed. Secondly, the Cardinals drafted 235 pound Chris Wells who will certainly become the short yardage back if not the every down, “stay on the sideline, Timmy” kind of back.

Hightower’s fantasy value was almost entirely based on his touchdowns last season and he did score in nine different games. But he’s now just the #2 in Arizona in a role that will be defined by what Wells shows in the preseason. It is unlikely that Hightower offers much more than relief and back-up this year. He may fall into a third down role or more but that depends on what Wells can do in training camp.

Chester Taylor - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 50
Keeper: 48
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 MIN 15 1502 6 304 1214 4.0 6 42 288  
2007 MIN 14 1125 7 157 844 5.4 7 29 281  
2008 MIN 16 798 6 101 399 4.0 4 45 399 2
Avg   15 1142 6 187 819 4.5 6 39 323 1
Proj FA   720 4   420   3 34 300 1

Taylor’s carries have declined each season with the Vikings, though the presence of a certain Pro Bowl running back has more to do with that than Taylor’s production or advancing age. The Vikings aren’t shy about giving Adrian Peterson carries, to the point that Taylor now can expect maybe a half-dozen totes per game. However, he’s slipped comfortably into his role as the Vikings’ third-down back; last season’s 45 catches marked a career high and tied him for 12th among RBs.

While Taylor still has some value as All Day insurance, he may actually lose some looks in the passing game this year. The Vikings plan to use Percy Harvin out of the backfield as well as the slot, and more adept passing and defense-reading from Sage Rosenfels (or Brett Favre) could decrease the number of dump-offs Taylor sees. Plus, with the natives getting restless in Minnesota and Brad Childress’ job anything but secure, getting the Vikings’ best players (read: Peterson) on the field as often as possible will be a priority. Barring a stunning development in training camp, the third-down back gig is Taylor’s alone, so there is fantasy value in PPR leagues as well as as a handcuff to Peterson. But the situation isn’t likely to provide more opportunities than those Taylor turned into the 38th-best fantasy production by a back last year, making him little more than fantasy depth and AP insurance.

Fred Taylor - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 51
Keeper: 80
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 JAC 15 1388 6 231 1146 5.0 5 23 242 1
2007 JAC 15 1260 5 223 1202 5.4 5 9 58  
2008 JAC 13 654 1 143 556 3.9 1 16 98  
Avg   14 1101 4 199 968 4.8 4 16 133 0
Proj FA   620 4   490   3 16 130 1

At the age of 33 (and 34 in January), Taylor pursues the time honored path of not knowing when to retire and just adding to the legacy he hopes to leave behind. Last year is when the wheels fell off and Taylor only managed 556 yards on 143 carries for a career worst 3.9 yards per carry and only one touchdown. His role as a receiver had been diminished for several years as well. The Jaguars cut ties to their franchise leader in rushing and Taylor lands in New England where running backs are mixed and matched as an experiment in randomness.

Taylor will have to share with Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk so his days of reliability are over. This is his swan song and it is not likely to produce significant stats - at least not in a fashion that can be forecasted.

Sammy Morris - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 52
Keeper: 53
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 MIA 12 562 1 92 400 4.3 1 21 162  
2007 NEP 6 419 3 85 384 4.5 3 6 35  
2008 NEP 13 888 7 156 727 4.7 7 17 161  
Avg   10 623 4 111 504 4.5 4 15 119 0
Proj FA   550 5   470   5 10 80  

Morris had a solid season – considering he is a Patriot running back – when he ran for 727 yards and seven touchdowns last year and only missed three games with a bad knee. He’s rarely used as a receiver though and has to share the ball with Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and now even Fred Taylor. Morris always has a way of ending up as the most productive back the last few seasons but even then his fantasy value has been only marginal. It’s more likely to decrease this year with Taylor in the mix.

Glen Coffee - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 53
Keeper: 49
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   600 4   460   4 18 140  

The 49ers drafted Coffee with their 3.10 pick this year and the Alabama star brings a lanky frame at 6-2, 197 pounds. Coffee should supplant Michael Robinson as the #2 back in San Francisco but expecting much this year is unlikely. Gore will certainly take all short yardage and goal line carries in addition to his normal primary duties. Coffee should figure in as nothing more than a relief player though obviously the better he plays, the more he plays. More telling was the 49ers GM Scot McCloughan saying that he expected Coffee to add some weight in future years. Coffee is a prudent pick by the Gore owner but should be available late as he is not really worth stealing.

08-25-09 Update: Coffee has been outstanding this summer. He is a must have handcuff for Gore owners.

Ahmad Bradshaw - IND YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 54
Keeper: 52
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 NYG 12 202 1 23 190 8.3 1 2 12  
2008 NYG 15 397 2 67 355 5.3 1 5 42 1
Avg   14 300 2 45 273 6.8 1 4 27 1
Proj IND   650 3   420   2 21 230 1

Bradshaw enters his third season and should see more use in 2009 after turning in 397 total yards and two scores last season. Bradshaw is first in line to assume the #2 role left behind by Derrick Ward and he has averaged 6.8 yards per carry on his 90 career carries. Training camp will help ensure that Bradshaw remains the #2 or if the rookie Andre Brown or Danny Ware are likely to play a big role. Given the injury history of Brandon Jacobs, the #2 back for the Giants is worth owning.

Jerious Norwood - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 55
Keeper: 55
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 ATL 14 735 2 99 633 6.4 2 13 102  
2007 ATL 15 890 1 103 613 6.0 1 28 277  
2008 ATL 16 827 6 95 489 5.1 4 36 338 2
Avg   15 817 3 99 578 5.8 2 26 239 1
Proj FA   640 3   400   2 24 240 1

Norwood is a prudent pick for Turner owners but not really worthy of stealing. He had a decent enough season last year with 489 rushing yards and 338 yards on 36 catches for a total of six touchdowns. But the way he gained those was as the third down, relief back who topped 100 total yards only twice and varied from around 20 to 60 yards in most games. That’s marginally decent for a bye week filler since he did tack on scores in five different games but as a starter, Norwood doesn’t get the workload needed for fantasy relevance. Over the last half of the season, he never had more than nine touches in any game.

Rashad Jennings - NYG YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 56
Keeper: 47
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj NYG   550 4   460   4 10 90  

(+Upside) The Jaguars took Rashad Jennings with their 7.41 pick as the 20th and final running back taken in the 2009 NFL draft. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the power back for Liberty College and if he fades away it would be no shock. But Jennings has two of the huge ingredients for success – opportunity and situation. Maurice Jones-Drew will need help this year for a run-heavy offense that cannot rely solely on one player. That other person is Greg Jones to start training camp and may well remain so for the rest of the year. But the situation is ripe for another player to either outplay Jones or to replace the oft-injured back.

Jennings was speculated to have second round talent but did a free fall in the draft likely because Liberty is only a D-IAA school and he is 24 years old. But he’s also 6-1, 234 pounds and runs a 4.5/40. And Jones could be a lead blocker again for Jones-Drew. There are a few scenarios that could see Jennings having fantasy value as a rookie. He’s worth a very late round pick in both redraft and dynasty rounds just to see what happens and training camp should go far to define if Jennings holds any promise for this season.

08-17-09 Update: Greg Jones is looking less likely for increased playing time while Jennings has been impressive. The rookie should have at least minimal fantasy value and should Jones-Drew get injured, Jennings would get a huge boost.

Chris Brown - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 57
Keeper: 60
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 TEN 5 160   41 156 3.8   2 4  
2007 HOU 12 590 5 102 462 4.5 5 19 128  
2008                      
Avg   9 375 3 72 309 4.2 3 11 66 0
Proj FA   420 6   390   6 5 30  

(-Risk) HC Gary Kubiak intends on using Chris Brown as a short-yardage back behind Steve Slaton and OC Kyle Shanahan has make a mockery of recorded history when he said he was actually counting on Brown this year. Brown missed all of last year with a herniated disc in his back. In six seasons since he was drafted by the Titans, Brown has played more than 11 games only once and never made it for all 16 in a season. But Brown is 6-3 and weighs 220 so he has more punch than Steve Slaton. He also had a history riddled with various injuries which would indicate slamming into the line is probably not the best role for him.

Brown is a decent late draft pick just to see what happens. The Texans also signed Arian Foster who was undrafted out of Tennessee due to his own injury situation last year. Foster is 6-1 and 226 and could play in a short yardage role as well. Watch it during training camp but short of a summer injury by Brown, he’ll enter the season as the short yardage guy and a decent chance to score some touchdowns.

Samkon Gado - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 58
Keeper: 68
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 HOU 9 295 1 56 210 3.8 1 17 85  
2007 MIA 8 256 4 53 150 2.8 4 12 106  
2008 STL 1 3   2 4 2.0   1 -1  
Avg   6 185 2 37 121 2.9 2 10 63 0
Proj FA   630 2   460   2 18 170  

The Rams released Antonio Pittman and Gado is now the primary replacement for the fragile Steven Jackson. Given Jackson's injury history, that is all you need to know to want Gado on your team.

Darren Sproles - PHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 59
Keeper: 58
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 SDC 15 195 2 37 164 4.4 2 10 31  
2008 SDC 16 672 6 61 330 5.4 1 29 342 5
Avg   16 434 4 49 247 4.9 2 20 187 3
Proj PHI   550 3   310   1 19 240 2

There are those drafters that believe drafting LaDainian Tomlinson requires a lot of optimism this year but that sort of starry-eyed wonder may be better off reserved for drafting Sproles and expecting the smallest back in the NFL (5-6, 180) is destined to erode Tomlinson’s stats so much that Sproles will have significant fantasy value this year. Let’s set the table on this notion. Sproles has never rushed for more than the 330 yards on 61 carries that he had last year. That’s 61 carries over a full season and not in just three games or less which is normal for Tomlinson. Sproles had 29 catches for 342 yards to rank 14th among running backs, right between Leon Washington and Jerious Norwood. Sproles had 672 total yards and six scores on the year. In his worst season ever, Tomlinson had 1536 yards and 12 touchdowns while plagued by toe and groin injuries.

Sproles is going so highly in drafts because his success (all two games) came in the final games of the year when they can be easiest recalled. Sproles best effort was in Denver when he ran for 115 yards on 14 carries and scored once. Tomlinson had 14 runs for 96 yards and three touchdowns in that game. The only other game where Sproles had any fantasy value rushing was in the wildcard round where Tomlinson ran for 25 yards on five carries and then left the game with a groin injury. Sproles racked up 105 yards and two scores in the home win. Sproles was franchised to a one-year contract worth $6.6 million and will be looking for a longer term deal next year – likely with another team.

Sproles has definite value as Tomlinson’s backup and the Chargers paid up this year to ensure he would play that role. But nothing said by HC Norv Turner or the rest of the coaching staff indicates that the Chargers backfield is suddenly going to become a committee situation. Turner has a one-back system and has said Tomlinson is that guy. Sproles should be a handcuff for Tomlinson owners but he’s going so early in many leagues that he’s almost impossible to get without giving up much more valuable draft picks. And remember too – Sproles has his own injury history to consider.

Bernard Scott - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 60
Keeper: 54
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   540 4   420   4 12 120  

The Bengals picked up the troubled running back from Abilene Christian (his fourth college) but he did lead the Division II in rushing last year. But Scott is only 200 pounds and 5-10 so he’ll be best for a third down role if the sixth round pick even makes the team.

Garrett Wolfe - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 61
Keeper: 79
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 CHI 13 202   31 85 2.7   9 117  
2008 CHI 13 69   15 69 4.6        
Avg   13 136 0 23 77 3.7 0 5 59 0
Proj FA   590 2   380   2 18 210  

After two seasons, Wolfe has still not made the leap to being a third down or change of pace back for the Bears. He only had 15 carries last year and just 31 the previous season. HC Lovie Smith wants to give Wolfe a good chance to become more involved in the offense but he’ll have to show more this summer to warrant any increase in workload. Wolfe is only 5-7 and 186 pounds so a third down role is likely all he would qualify for.

Maurice Morris - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 62
Keeper: 59
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 SEA 16 650   161 604 3.8   11 46  
2007 SEA 14 841 5 140 628 4.5 4 23 213 1
2008 SEA 13 710 2 132 574 4.3   19 136 2
Avg   14 734 2 144 602 4.2 1 18 132 1
Proj FA   590 2   420   1 23 170 1

MoMo isn’t a bad back; he’s just never quite been able to be “the guy”. His audition for that role in Seattle when Shaun Alexander was injured earned him a shot at the full-time gig, but the results were nothing extraordinary. Last year he had a couple good outings but didn’t do enough to inspire the Seahawks to move him ahead of high-priced offseason acquisition Julius Jones.

So now he’s in Detroit, where it’s already been made abundantly clear that he’s here to handle Kevin Smith’s luggage and bring him water as opposed to compete for a starting job. He could wind up with some third-down duties, but rookie Aaron Brown might push him in that regard as well. In deeper leagues Morris wouldn’t be a bad handcuff candidate, but the Lions’ offense isn’t so potent that you would expect a backup to step in without a dropoff in production. If placed in that situation Morris might deliver a decent game, but he’s not worth going out of your way for on fantasy drauction day.

Edgerrin James - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 63
Keeper: 76
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 ARI 16 1376 6 337 1159 3.4 6 38 217  
2007 ARI 16 1426 7 324 1222 3.8 7 24 204  
2008 ARI 13 599 3 133 514 3.9 3 12 85  
Avg   15 1134 5 265 965 3.7 5 25 169 0
Proj FA   440 4   440   4      

No analysis available.

Ladell Betts - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 64
Keeper: 61
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 WAS 16 1599 5 245 1154 4.7 4 53 445 1
2007 WAS 16 509 2 93 335 3.6 1 21 174 1
2008 WAS 13 406 1 61 206 3.4 1 22 200  
Avg   15 838 3 133 565 3.9 2 32 273 1
Proj FA   550 2   370   2 20 180  

Betts remains the #2 back in Washington and the insurance pick for Portis owners but other than 2006, he’s never had any real fantasy relevance and has been completely without merit the last two years. He’ll get drafted because he has 1154 rushing yards back in 2006 but short of a big injury to Portis he’ll just ride the fantasy pine all year.

Kevin Faulk - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 65
Keeper: 62
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 NEP 15 479 3 25 123 4.9 1 43 356 2
2007 NEP 16 648 1 62 265 4.3   47 383 1
2008 NEP 15 993 6 83 507 6.1 3 58 486 3
Avg   15 707 3 57 298 5.1 1 49 408 2
Proj FA   660 4   260   2 35 400 2

Faulk is just yet another Patriot player that will never go away. At 33 years old, he enters his 11th season but comes off his best year since 2003 when he had 508 yards and three rushing scores and added 58 catches for 486 yards and three more scores. His 993 total yards were almost double what he had been doing over the previous three years and actually made him a marginal start in a PPR league. He’ll likely do much less with Fred Taylor added to the mix but it is when you write Faulk off that he seems to show up the best.

D.J. Ware - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 66
Keeper: 57
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008 NYG 6 15   2 15 7.5        
Avg   6 15 0 2 15 7.5 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   440 3   400   3 5 40  

(+Upside) Ware was re-signed as an exclusive rights free agent but only cost $460k this year and he has only had two carries in his career. Initially it was expected that he would compete for the #2 job vacated by Derrick Ward but Ahmad Bradshaw has a better chance along with the rookie Andre Brown. Do not touch Ware until it is clear he will make the team and rise in the depth chart.

08-17-09 Update: The loss of Andre Brown for the season means Ware has a lock on the #3 role that will expand greatly once Brandon Jacobs starts having his annual injury problems.

Peyton Hillis - NYG YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 67
Keeper: 70
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008 DEN 12 522 6 68 343 5.0 5 14 179 1
Avg   12 522 6 68 343 5.0 5 14 179 1
Proj NYG   340 4   330   4 2 10  

No analysis available.

Mike Goodson - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 68
Keeper: 64
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   370 3   320   3 6 50  

There might be a little more excitement surrounding Goodson had he gone to another team. The Panthers selected him with the 4.11 pick of the draft but obviously are set with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart firmly entrenched as the #1 and #2 backs. Goodson was expected to head to a team that used third down backs since he is very fast (4.54/40 at the combine but timed 4.43 at his Pro Day) and a capable receiver who is great in open field.

Watch Goodson in training camp but don’t expect much for 2009. He could end up a nice final pick in the draft for teams owning either Stewart or Williams and wanting a little insurance. Or for a team just looking to cash in should either of the Carolina starters become injured.

08-28-09 Update: With Jonathan Stewart still nursing his Achilles tendon problem, Goodson stands a good chance of increased playing time this year after being a star of training camp.

Mike Bell - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 69
Keeper: 82
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 DEN 14 835 8 157 677 4.3 8 20 158  
2007 DEN 5 10   6 3 0.5   1 7  
2008 NOS 4 56 1 13 42 3.2 1 1 14  
Avg   8 300 3 59 241 2.7 3 7 60 0
Proj FA   430 2   250   2 20 180  

Bell serves as the backup to Pierre Thomas and may not make the team in August. If he does, his best bet is to hope for injuries since otherwise he’ll likely not have any playing time. He could serve as a short-yardage back but Thomas has bulked up and should need no help. If he makes it past all the cuts, he worth remembering for the annual running through the depth charts for running backs by the Saints.

Jerome Harrison - DET YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 70
Keeper: 71
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 CLE 9 107   20 60 3.0   9 47  
2007 CLE 8 161   23 142 6.2   2 19  
2008 CLE 15 362 2 34 246 7.2 1 12 116 1
Avg   11 210 1 26 149 5.5 0 8 61 0
Proj DET   480 1   360   1 14 120  

(+Upside) Harrison may be a sleeper this year if only because Jamal Lewis is fading faster than a keg at a frat party. HC Eric Mangini has spoken about how impressed he has been with Harrison and knowing that he used Leon Washington when he coached the Jets makes Harrison even more interesting. In three seasons, Harrison has not had much playing time. His best was last year when he carried 34 times for 246 yards and one touchdown (but a 7.2 YPC). But he’s never had more than eight carries or two catches in any game so an uptick in production will truly be new.

Definitely worth tracking in the offseason, but while Harrison does have upside this year he also is unproven outside of a token handful of touches in previous games and there is still the schedule to contend with. Harrison is worth a late round steal just to see what happens but keep expectations in check until training camp indicates he is ready for a step up. Mangini is bringing in an offense that will use more than one back so Harrison should fill some role.

Carnell Williams - FA* YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 71
Keeper: 91
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 TBB 14 994 1 225 798 3.5 1 30 196  
2007 TBB 4 225 3 54 208 3.9 3 3 17  
2008 TBB 6 276 4 63 233 3.7 4 7 43  
Avg   8 498 3 114 413 3.7 3 13 85 0
Proj FA*   460 1   390   1 10 70  

Williams is still on the roster but his torn patellar tendon rehab kept him out of OTA’s in the preseason. He may start the season on the PUP list once again. Leave Williams alone this year – and every other one as well.

Brandon Jackson - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 72
Keeper: 66
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 GBP 11 397 1 75 267 3.6 1 16 130  
2008 GBP 13 433 1 45 248 5.5 1 30 185  
Avg   12 415 1 60 258 4.6 1 23 158 0
Proj FA   380 1   200   1 20 180  

(-Risk) As a rookie Jackson let an opportunity to grab the starting job slip away by turning 32 carries into a meager 75 rushing yards in his first two NFL games. Though he’s shown flashes since then—113 rushing yards in the 2007 regular-season finale, 80 yards on 11 carries against the Panthers last season—there’s been no consistency; he averaged five catches per game over a three-game span midway through last season, then caught just eight balls over the next six games. While Green Bay’s coaching staff has indicated they’d like to give Jackson more touches, he’ll need more than sporadic production to keep those touches coming—or to warrant fantasy consideration as anything more than Ryan Grant insurance.

09-01-09 Update: Jackson is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain.

Greg Jones - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 73
Keeper: 81
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 JAC 16 218 4 42 119 2.8 2 11 99 2
2008 JAC 12 129 1 2 13 6.5   13 116 1
Avg   14 174 3 22 66 4.7 1 12 108 2
Proj FA   300 2   250   2 5 50  

The Jaguars appear set with Maurice Jones-Drew assuming a far larger role left behind by Fred Taylor but Jones-Drew cannot do it all. Unless the offense turns into a pass-heavy scheme (not going to happen), then MoJo cannot handle the entire workload. Last year there were only 348 rushes by all Jaguar running backs combined. The three previous seasons had 445, 424 and 423. Jones-Drew will need help at a minimum and if the intention is to actually rest him, even more carries must go elsewhere. But the Jaguars did almost nothing to address the departure of Fred Taylor. It’s like Greg Jones is suddenly sitting in the locker room asking “you talking to me?”

HC Jack Del Rio said he could see giving Jones 5 to 10 carries each week which would be 80 to 160 on the year – fairly significant. And he’s done it before. In fact, in 2005 before Maurice Jones-Drew showed up, Jones carried 151 times for 575 yards and four scores. Jones is only 28 and at 6-1 and 254 pounds, he brings a very different complement to Jones-Drew. Jones does have an injury history to consider and Rashad Jennings may be the rare 7th round long-shot that makes good but until training camp shows a development that will change things, consider Jones as having a much busier season in 2009 in support of Jones-Drew. And the nicer part is that Jones rarely catches the ball so Jones-Drew maintains his value in PPR leagues.

08-17-09 Update: Jones has admitted that he is not the runner he once was and that his role as a ball carrier is not likely to expand this year.

Justin Forsett - BAL YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 74
Keeper: 56
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008 SEA 14                  
Avg   14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj BAL   390     100     20 290  

No analysis available.

Le'Ron McClain - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 75
Keeper: 73
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 BAL 16 73 1 8 18 2.3   9 55 1
2008 BAL 16 1025 11 232 902 3.9 10 19 123 1
Avg   16 549 6 120 460 3.1 5 14 89 1
Proj FA   235 2   200   2 7 35  

McClain comes off a career best season (by a huge margin) and started 2008 as the tailback that no one saw coming. The 260 pound tailback went from a rookie season of just eight carries for one fumble to being the primary ball carrier for the Ravens in half of the games last season. McClain ran 232 times for 902 yards and 10 rushing scores along with one via a reception. He only topped 100 rushing yards once last year but scored in ten different games. When Ray Rice was injured and McGahee could not get healthy, McClain had over 20 carries in each of the final five games of the regular season. But he only averaged 3.9 yards per run.

Now that Lorenzo Neal has left, the Ravens want to make McClain into a devastating lead blocker and he certainly has the size and power for the role. It’ll be a big step down from how he played last year though since both Rice and McGahee would be sorting out who would become the primary back. But even in the worst case, it does not preclude McClain from continuing to have a role at the goal line since he excelled in that role last year. Rice rings in at only 205 but McGahee has the bulk at 230 if he can remain healthy. The bottom line here – McClain is not the preferred starting tailback and will become a fullback barring more injuries to Rice and McGahee. McClain was never that impressive other than scoring in most of the games he played. You can collect the trio of Baltimore backs and see what shakes out and none are that expensive in a draft or auction. But there is a decent chance that none of them will offer reliable numbers for the entire season.

Javon Ringer - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 76
Keeper: 69
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   220 2   220   2      

(+Upside) The #3 back in Tennessee is not worth much and Chris Henry is likely to give the job to Ringer who was drafted with the Titan’s 5.37 pick in the draft this year. Ringer is recovering from having his knee scoped but should be ready for training camp. Don’t expect much from Ringer this year but if there are injuries in the backfield he is the best bet to get playing time.

08-22-09 Update: Ringer is making the most of his time in camp and preseason games. He has the markings of a new "Tashard Choice" who is most likely buried on the depth chart but who could see productive playing time should injuries give him the chance.

Justin Fargas - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 77
Keeper: 74
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 OAK 15 750 1 178 659 3.7 1 13 91  
2007 OAK 14 1197 4 222 1009 4.5 4 23 188  
2008 OAK 14 905 1 218 853 3.9 1 10 52  
Avg   14 951 2 206 840 4.0 2 15 110 0
Proj FA   270 1   230   1 5 40  

After speculation that Fargas would be traded or released, the Raiders will enter training camp to determine which players will be starters this year and there is a distinct possibility that Fargas is replaced by Michael Bush as the complement to Darren McFadden. That could happen in training camp or during the season. Fargas is coming cheaply in drafts as the third Oakland back taken and that’s the likely order. Fargas has no upside and is a risk to own. Expect Fargas to have a reduced role this year that may be nothing by the end of the season.

Shonn Greene - TEN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 78
Keeper: 67
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj TEN   120 3   120   3      

(+Upside) Greene was drafted with the 3.01 pick when the Jets made a quick deal in order to get the first pick of Day Two and grab the 24-year old Iowa back. Greene was said to have “starter ability” by HC Rex Ryan and it could have been more than just a ploy against the potential holdouts of Leon Washington and Thomas Jones. Greene is a big powerful runner at 5-11 and 235 pounds. At the least, he’s the heir to Thomas Jones job whenever he retires and between the specter of a holdout or the reality of a 31-year old Jones getting injured, Greene could see playing time this season.

Greene was considered to be the best “big back” in the NFL draft this year but he still needs to prove that he was not a one-year wonder in college and that he can digest a complicated playbook. Greene only had a total of 11 receptions in college so at most he is going to be just a two down back with the receptions going to someone else like Washington. Training camp will help sort out what his role may be this year but at the least he should be taken by the Jones owner and makes a decent later draft steal just to see if Jones gets hurt.

Mewelde Moore - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 79
Keeper: 75
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 MIN 16 599 1 24 131 5.5   46 468 1
2007 PIT 12 161   20 113 5.7   6 48  
2008 PIT 16 908 6 140 588 4.2 5 40 320 1
Avg   15 556 2 61 277 5.1 2 31 279 1
Proj FA   240 1   160   1 10 80  

Moore once again takes a back seat with Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall healthy again but he was solid in 2008 when he ran for 588 yards and scored six total touchdowns in replacement of those two runners. Moore could lose out to the rookie Frank Summers as a short yardage back as well. Leave Moore on the waiver wire this year but it would be no shock if he is not taken in free agency before the end of the year.

Quinn Johnson - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 80
Keeper: 77
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   170 2   80   1 13 90 1

No analysis available.

Tashard Choice - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 81
Keeper: 78
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008 DAL 16 657 2 92 472 5.1 2 21 185  
Avg   16 657 2 92 472 5.1 2 21 185 0
Proj FA   180 1   160   1 3 20  

Choice will remain the #3 in Dallas even though he proved to be a very dynamic runner when given the chance. He gained 472 yards on 92 carries and scored twice mostly over the final five games of the season. Even more impressive was facing games of @PIT, NYG, BAL and @ PHI. He is worth a deep draft pick and is a must get handcuff for Barber owners.

Lamont Jordan - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 82
Keeper: 86
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 OAK 9 508 2 114 434 3.8 2 10 74  
2007 OAK 12 796 3 144 549 3.8 3 28 247  
2008 NEP 8 363 4 80 363 4.5 4      
Avg   10 556 3 113 449 4.0 3 13 107 0
Proj FA   200     200          

Lamont “Journeyman” Jordan shows up in Denver and he played in Josh Daniel’s offense last year so he should have an inside angle to playing time with at least goal line carries and perhaps more. It’s a situation that will be played out in training camp where he will go against Correll Buckhalter for the #2 role. The Denver backfield remains the same indeterminate mess as it was under Mike Shanahan except this time Knowshon Moreno is the only safe bet to get. Watch Jordan in the summer in case he overtakes Buckhalter. Jordan carried 80 times for 363 yards and four scores last season but never had a catch – a bad sign.

Brian Leonard - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 83
Keeper: 83
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007 STL 16 486   86 303 3.5   30 183  
2008 STL 2 7   2 7 3.5        
Avg   9 247 0 44 155 3.5 0 15 92 0
Proj FA   110 1   90   1 4 20  

The Bengals brought Leonard over from the Rams and have at least stated that they want to consider him for third down duty which is a bit surprising since Leonard has no speed, no NFL touchdowns and Kenny Watson should be first in line for any bump in workload. This is worth tracking in the summer but even if it happens, chances are Leonard won’t carry fantasy value.

Michael Robinson - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 84
Keeper: 88
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 SFO 14 163 2 38 116 3.1 2 9 47  
2007 SFO 15 194   26 121 4.7   11 73  
2008 SFO 16 252   19 50 2.6   17 202  
Avg   15 203 1 28 96 3.5 1 12 107 0
Proj FA   100     80     3 20  

Robinson is the #2 back going into training camp but Glenn Coffee is expected to take the job. Robinson never had much fantasy value as the #2 anyway.

Ryan Moats - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 85
Keeper: 89
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 PHI 5 69   22 69 3.1        
2007                      
2008 HOU 9 108 1 26 94 3.6 1 3 14  
Avg   7 89 1 24 82 3.4 1 2 7 0
Proj FA   80     80          

Moats stands as the player most likely to replace Steve Slaton should he get injured but short of that he’ll carry no fantasy value this year. Chris Brown will take the change of pace role and offer short yardage and Moats will likely have a minimal role this year. He could be challenged by the undrafted rookie signees this summer as well.

Javarris Williams - HOU YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 86
Keeper: 90
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                      
2007                      
2008                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj HOU   80     80          

Williams is worth tracking if not a late round grab in a dynasty league. The Chiefs picked him with their 7.03 pick and at 5-10 and 219 pounds he runs a 4.5/40 and has the standard measureables for a running back. Williams will battle just to make the final roster but the Chiefs are figuring out their depth charts this summer and Williams could earn a spot on a team with a starting running back (Larry Johnson) who has been injured the last two seasons.

   
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