Running backs are tough to gauge this year because there’s no Adrian Peterson vs. Chris Johnson in their heyday battle at the top, and everyone is decent but not dominant. With that said, the top 10 guys seem like solid first through third round picks any way you hash them. If I have a top-5 pick I’m taking one of the first 3 guys here. After that, I’m looking for a top-5 QB or Calvin Johnson before I take one of the next couple guys.
The reason I don’t always make clear-cut number 1 guys is that every league’s scoring is different, and these guys are that interchangeable. Don’t worry though, there’s a clear cut WR and QB coming at you when those rankings come out.
The Cream of the Crop
1 to 3 Arian Foster (HOU), Ray Rice,( BAL) LeSean McCoy(PHI)- I like Rice and McCoy a little better just because of how good Foster’s backup Tate is, but these guys are all worth Top-5 picks in any order.
4. Darren McFadden (OAK)- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this guy was a better break away runner than AP in college he just had durability issues. He’s healthy and he doesn’t have Michael Bush breathing down his neck, this is going to be his huge breakout year. Look at this: in 2010 he had 47 receptions for 507 yards. By comparison LeSean McCoy had 48 for 315 last year.
5. CJ2K (TEN) – No holdout no injury. That’s all I got, he’s Chris Johnson anyone who says he’s not a top 5 RB probably hasn’t heard about MJD’s holdout.
Not Top-Tier But Don’t Sleep On…
Ahmad “No Brandon Jacobs” Bradshaw (NYG), Jamaal Charles (KC), Marshawn Lynch (SEA), DeMarco Murray (DAL), Adrian Peterson (MIN, he’ll be back don’t worry)
Rashad Jennings (JAX) -I got him in an earlier draft in the last round but that is definitely not going to happen now that MJD’s holdout is so publicized.
Ryan Williams(ARI)- ARI Cardinals-Beanie Wells is going to get hurt and when he does Williams is the guy.
Mikel LeShoure (DET)- Jahvid Best is more of a guarantee to get hurt than Beanie Wells, the problem here is how capable of a replacement Kevin Smith has been for Detroit and LeShoure’s legal troubles. His ceiling is sky-high though and nobody seems to remember his sleeper status from last year.
Stay Away From
Ronnie Brown & Ryan Matthews (SD)- Unless Matthews misses a serious amount of time Brown’s not going to be worth season-long drafting. Matthews is the next coming of Clinton Portis’s fragile frame so Ronnie might see some time but I’d rather draft a definite starter. They could also be staring down the barrel of a Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams kind of timeshare when both healthy.
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX)-Unless I’m getting him in the third round, even then I’d rather take someone who’s going to play week 1.
Frank Gore (SF)-Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs and that is what you call a crowded backfield.
Yes, I left a ton of guys out, but that just means I’m not high or low on them, feel free to take anyone not on this list after the fourth round.