2009 Cheat Sheet Rankings – Running Back (RB) Rankings – Fantasy Football 2009

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With the 2009 fantasy football season about to get under way, here are my top 80 overall running back RB rankings to begin the 2009 season. Rankings are based on a normal mixed NFC/AFC one-year redraft fantasy football league, with scoring categories including: rushing yards, receiving yards, return yards, touchdowns. Each players age for the 2009 season is listed after their name.

BUST = player will register far below last seasons stat totals

BREAKOUT = player has the potential to have a career year in 2009

SLEEPER = player will be a late round pick or go undrafted and has the potential to produce solid fantasy stats in 2009

BOUNCEBACK = player is either returning from injury or is coming off of a down season and has the potential to rebound in 2009

Rankings Updated: July 25, 2009

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Running Back (RB) Rankings – 2009

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1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota (24)

Move over LaDainian Tomlinson, Peterson has taken the reigns as the #1 running back in fantasy football entering the 2009 season. Even though Peterson is fairly injury prone, he is still a near lock to tally at least 1,300 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. His week to week dominance can propel fantasy teams to winning their matchup every week.

2008 Stats: 1,760 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 125 receiving yards

2009 Projections: 1,600 rushing yards, 14-16 rushing touchdowns, 150 receiving yards

2. Michael Turner – Atlanta (27)

After a breakout and Pro-Bowl season last year, Turner enters the 2009 season as a top 5 overall fantasy football running back. With a solid supporting cast on offense, Turner should have no problem tallying 1,200 plus rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. My only concern with ranking Turner at #2 is his awfully high amount of rushing attempts last season. If his 376 rushing attempts concern you at least a little bit, then I would rank Turner below Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew at the #4 spot. However considering Turner is just age 27 and hasn’t been put through a lot of NFL pounding, I think he should hold up just fine during the 2009 season.

2008 Stats: 1,699 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns, 41 receiving yards

2009 Projections: 1,400 rushing yards, 14-16 rushing touchdowns, 80 receiving yards

3. Matt Forte – Chicago (23)

With a fantastic rookie season under his belt, Forte enters the 2009 season as a top 5 overall fantasy football running back. Combine Jay Cutler to the Bears offense, and there should be plenty of extra running holes for Forte this season. And after taking less pounding than what Michael Turner took during the 2008 season (Forte = 316 carries / Turner = 376 carries), Forte is worthy of being ranked as high as the #2 overall fantasy football running back after Adrian Peterson.

2008 Stats: 1,238 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 477 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns

2009 Projections: 1,400 rushing yards, 10-12 rushing touchdowns, 500 receiving yards, 2-4 receiving touchdowns

4. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville (24)

Finally the number one running back in Jacksonville, Jones-Drew at just age 24, is primed for a breakout and Pro-Bowl year during the 2009 season. With Fred Taylor out of town, Jones-Drew could easily tally 275 rushing attempts and 50 receptions. And best of all, Jones-Drew has proven to be a touchdown machine during his career.

2008 Stats: 824 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 565 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

2009 Projections: 1,100 rushing yards, 10-14 rushing touchdowns, 500-700 receiving yards, 4-6 receiving touchdowns

5. Frank Gore – San Francisco (26)

Over the past three years, Gore has proven to fantasy football owners that he can clearly carry the load at running back, even though he has no offensive support around him in San Francisco. With this in mind, and the fact that Gore is entering the prime of his career at age 26 for the 2009 season, a Pro-Bowl and career year could be in store for Gore in 2009.

2008 Stats: 1,036 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 373 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

2009 Projections: 1,400 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 500 receiving yards, 4-6 receiving touchdowns

6. LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego (30)

After a ‘down’ year that included 1,110 rushing yards, 426 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns, 0 lost fumbles, and just 292 rushing attempts, I would be ecstatic to snag Tomlinson at the back end of any fantasy football draft this year. At age 30, many fantasy football owners will likely pass over the so-called “over-the-hill” Tomlinson for other younger and unproven running backs. However I won’t be one of those owners.

2008 Stats: 1,110 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 426 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

2009 Projections: 1,300 rushing yards, 12-14 rushing touchdowns, 500-600 receiving yards, 2-6 receiving touchdowns

7. Steven Jackson – St. Louis (26)

Since Jackson’s monster year in 2006 which resulted in 1,528 rushing yards, 806 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns, fantasy football teams have been thoroughly disappointed with his production over the past two seasons. However entering the prime of his career at age 26 for the 2009 season, I am still a believer that Jackson can return to elite fantasy football running back status.

2008 Stats: 1,042 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 379 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

2009 Projections: 1,300 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 300-500 receiving yards, 2-4 receiving touchdowns

8. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina (26) BUST

I know Williams had a career year last season, but can you honestly expect DeAngelo to produce anywhere near those types of stats again in 2009? In my mind, he will be lucky to reach just half of those stats this season. Entering the 2009 season, I think Williams is extremely highly overvalued, as many fantasy football rankings have him listed as a top 5 overall fantasy football running back.

2008 Stats: 1,515 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 121 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

2009 Projections: 900-1,100 rushing yards, 8-10 rushing touchdowns, 200 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

9. Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia (30)

At age 30 for the 2009 season, Westbrook isn’t exactly old, but he sure isn’t young anymore either. After an injury riddled 2008 campaign, and undergoing ankle surgery in the beginning of June, as well as the addition of rookie running back LeSean McCoy, Westbrook’s fantasy football status could fall dramatically from now until the start of the regular season. Beware on drafting Westbrook too early if you have an early season draft.

2008 Stats: 936 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 402 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns

2009 Projections: 800-1,200 rushing yards, 6-8 rushing touchdowns, 300-600 receiving yards, 4-6 receiving touchdowns

10. Steve Slaton – Houston (23)

As long as Slaton can stay healthy and the Texans don’t force him to carry the ball too many times to the point where he gets worn down, Slaton should continue his dominance into the 2009 season. In my mind, Slaton is a better pick than fellow second year running back Chris Johnson, however Johnson will likely get drafted before Slaton in numerous fantasy football drafts this year. Slaton is a younger mini-version of Brian Westbrook in terms of fantasy football potential.

2008 Stats: 1,282 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 377 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

2009 Projections: 1,100-1,300 rushing yards, 8-10 rushing touchdowns, 400-600 receiving yards, 4-6 receiving touchdowns

11. Chris Johnson – Tennessee (24)

12. Marion Barber – Dallas (26) BREAKOUT

13. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants (27)

14. Clinton Portis – Washington (28)

15. Ronnie Brown – Miami (27)

16. Ryan Grant – Green Bay (26) BREAKOUT

17. Kevin Smith – Detroit (22) BREAKOUT

18. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans (24)

19. Marshawn Lynch – Buffalo (23)

20. Darren McFadden – Oakland (22) BREAKOUT

21. Knowshon Moreno – Denver (22)

22. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis (26) BOUNCEBACK

23. LenDale White – Tennessee (24)

24. Chris Wells – Arizona (21)

25. Willie Parker – Pittsburgh (28)

26. Reggie Bush – New Orleans (24)

27. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina (22)

28. Larry Johnson – Kansas City (29) BOUNCEBACK

29. Thomas Jones – New York Jets (31) BUST

30. Felix Jones – Dallas (22)

31. Derrick Ward – Tampa Bay (29) BUST

32. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh (22) SLEEPER

33. Shonn Greene – New York Jets (24) SLEEPER

34. Earnest Graham – Tampa Bay (29)

35. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati (26)

36. Jamal Lewis – Cleveland (30)

37. Ray Rice – Baltimore (22) SLEEPER

38. Donald Brown – Indianapolis (22)

39. Willis McGahee – Baltimore (28) BUST

40. Tim Hightower – Arizona (23)

41. Darren Sproles – San Diego (26)

42. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia (21) SLEEPER

43. Fred Jackson – Buffalo (28) SLEEPER

44. Leon Washington – New York Jets (27)

45. Laurence Maroney – New England (24) BOUNCEBACK

46. Jerious Norwood – Atlanta (26)

47. Le’Ron McClain – Baltimore (24)

48. Sammy Morris – New England (32)

49. Julius Jones – Seattle (28)

50. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants (23) SLEEPER

51. Chester Taylor – Minnesota (30)

52. Ricky Williams – Miami (32)

53. TJ Duckett – Seattle (28) SLEEPER

53. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City (22)

54. Brandon Jackson – Green Bay (24)

55. Ladell Betts – Washington (30)

56. Michael Bush – Oakland (25)

57. Jerome Harrison – Cleveland (26)

58. Chris Perry – Cincinnati (27)

59. Deuce McAllister – Free Agent (30)

60. Justin Fargas – Oakland (29)

61. Edgerrin James – Free Agent (31)

62. Fred Taylor – New England (33)

63. Carnell Williams – Tampa Bay (27)

64. Kevin Jones – Chicago (27)

65. Peyton Hillis – Denver (23)

66. Kolby Smith – Kansas City (24)

67. Tashard Choice – Dallas (24)

68. Mewelde Moore – Pittsburgh (27)

69. LaMont Jordan – Denver (30)

70. Kevin Faulk – New England (33)

71. Dominic Rhodes – Buffalo (30)

72. DeShaun Foster – Free Agent (29)

73. JJ Arrington – Free Agent (26)

74. Warrick Dunn – Free Agent (34)

75. Rudi Johnson – Free Agent (30)

76. Selvin Young – Free Agent (26)

77. Kenny Irons – Cincinnati (26)

78. Ryan Torain – Denver (23)

79. Justin Forsett – Seattle (24)

80. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England (24)

QUESTIONS???

Not sure about my rankings, sleeper, breakout or bust picks for this upcoming season? Check out my 2008 RB rankings, sleepers, breakouts and busts from last year to see how I did.

Complete Look Back at my 2008 RB Rankings & Predictions.

Quick Preview Look Back at my 2008 Predictions:

Worst Predictions:

My worst prediction was thinking Laurence Maroney could somehow have a breakout year last season, while not giving enough credit to Michael Turner who I thought might struggle in a Falcons offense with a rookie QB. And who knew Thomas Jones still had it in him? Probably more like a last ditch one year running spree to earn a contract before he fizzles out.

#10 = Laurence Maroney – New England Patriots BREAKOUT

So much for a breakout campaign from Maroney in ‘07. How about ‘08?

#16 = Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons BUST

Lots of potential, but a bad offensive line and no quarterback could mean a long year for Turner.

#30 = Thomas Jones – New York Jets BUST

Best Predictions:

Overall I had a couple of rock solid predictions from last year, most notably tagging Willis McGahee and Reggie Bush as RB busts. While nailing down two rookie RB sleepers in Matt Forte and Chris Johnson. As for Fred Taylor, Ahman Green and Justin Fargas getting the bust tag, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who got that right.

#14 = Willis McGahee – Baltimore Ravens BUST

Baltimore’s offense just isn’t one you want to rely on to win games.

#22 = Reggie Bush – New Orleans Saints BUST

He just doesn’t produce enough stats to be a fantasy force.

#28 = Matt Forte – Chicago Bears SLEEPER

Something about Chicago Bears running backs scares me….and not in a good way.

#47 = Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans SLEEPER

Loads of potential, and it shouldn’t take him much to beat out LenDale White for the starting spot.

#31 = Fred Taylor – Jacksonville Jaguars BUST

#35 = Ahman Green – Houston Texans BUST

#39 = Justin Fargas – Oakland Raiders BUST

Fargas is good, but limited opportunities in Oakland will not allow him to shine like he did last year.

Complete Look Back at my 2008 RB Rankings & Predictions

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