Very Early 2011 Fantasy Football Running Back Ranks 1-25

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1 – Adrian Peterson, MIN – Although injury-prone he is the best back in the league and now that he has some value in PPR leagues he is the clear cut number one. With his big size he is also a goal-line back and will score many close quarter TD’s.

2 – Chris Johnson, TEN – Wait a second…1364 rush yards and 11 TD’s with 44 catches for 245 yards and a TD is a bad year? If Johnson had put up the same numbers he did in 2009 it would have been historic. I don’t see anything wrong with the stats he put up this year and he deserves a top 2 spot.

3 – Arian Foster, HOU – While he did have an amazing year and he did outscore Peterson and Johnson I wouldn’t trust him as much as Peterson or Johnson with a top 3 pick, although I would take him over MJD.

4 – Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC – MJD put up 1324 yards in 14 games, but disappointed almost everywhere else. He only scored 5 TD’s and caught only 34 passes.  While the catches may stay down and he could lose some value in PPR leagues the TD’s will be back.

5 – Michael Turner, ATL – The Burner put up solid numbers in 2010 and led the NFC in rushing yards with 1371 and finished second in rushing TD’s with 12. He should put up similar numbers next year and could very easily do better with the emergence of Matt Ryan.

6 – LeSean McCoy, PHI – I know that I’m high on him, but he is performing just like Westbrook used to and that deserves a top ten spot.  His rushing totals may not be the greatest, but take a look at his receiving numbers, seventy-eight catches and almost 600 yards. Those 1600 yards from scrimmage can compete with the likes of anybody in the top 5.

7 – Frank Gore, SF – While the rush totals may not have been amazing Gore’s pass catching ability is what makes him an elite back. Gore had 46 catches in only eleven and a half games and would have had around 60 had he played the entire season. With a new coach Gore should shine in San Fran in the 2011 season if he manages to stay healthy.

8 – Jamaal Charles, KC – If it wasn’t for Thomas Jones he would be much higher on this list. Jones is a goal line vulture who will take anything near the goal line. With the Chiefs relaying heavily on their rush game Charles should put up another monster season in 2011.

9 – Darren McFadden, OAK – Finally healthy in 2010 after two extremely disappointing seasons McFadden showed why he was a top five pick in 2008. Michael Bush may steal some goal line carries, but McFadden will get the majority of the other carries as well as receptions.          

10 – Ray Rice, BAL – Rice had a “disappointing” season after not living up to the expectations of being a top five pick, but he actually had pretty good numbers. The only thing that causes Rice to drop down in the ranks is his inability to get into the end zone. Give Rice another 5 TD’s and he will be a top five pick once again.

11 – Steven Jackson, STL – Jackson is no longer a one man show in St. Louis with the arrival of Sam Bradford and he put up pretty solid numbers. Like Ray Rice if he could get into the end zone a little more he would move up in the ranks.

12 – Rashard Mendenhall, PIT – While Mendenhall put up better numbers than others who are ahead of him on this list I still don’t see him as being drafted in the first round. He isn’t really a pass catcher and I don’t see him getting into the end zone thirteen times again next year.

13 – Peyton Hillis, CLE – Possibly one of the best pick-ups of the year Hillis is another great Running Back on a bad team. Hillis basically did it all for the Browns in 2010 with 1177 rush yards and 61 receptions. He also managed 11 TD’s playing for a dreadful Browns offense. He did fade down the stretch with an injury, but he solidified himself as a top Running Back for next year.

14 – Knowshon Moreno, DEN – Moreno looked good in 2010 and an injury cost him the last few games. Tebow may steal a few goal line carries, but he will be a solid producer for fantasy owners in 2011.

15 – DeAngelo Williams – Could be out of Carolina and he would greatly benefit from it.

16 – Matt Forte, CHI – After being a complete bust in 2009 Forte somewhat redeemed himself in 2010. He rushed for over 1000 yards, caught 51 passes, and scored 9 total TD’s. He’s not as bad as everybody thinks he is and he could be a steal in 2011.

17 – Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG – Yes, he splits carries with Jacobs, but he is clearly the better Running Back and will get the majority of the work. Another 1000 yard rushing season is very possible and he is also pretty good in PPR leagues as he recorded 47 receptions in 2010.

18 – Lagarrete Blount, TB – Took over the starting job and never looked back and if Tampa Bay keeps playing like they did in 2010 he has the potential to be a top 10-15 Running Back.

19 – Benjarvus Green-Ellis – Green-Ellis will be sure to get plenty of chances at the end zone if he remains with the high powered Patriots offense.

20 – Jahvid Best, DET – Another rookie who didn’t live up to expectations and could be a nice pick in the later rounds in 2011.

21 – Ryan Matthews, SD – As a rookie so much was expected of him and he didn’t live up to expectations. Now after a down year he could be a sleeper next year.

22 – Felix Jones, DAL – Is getting the majority of carries in Dallas, but not at the goal line.

23 – Ryan Grant, GB – He could be higher when the Regular Season comes around, but with the uncertainty of his injury I’m going to keep him lower than I expect him to be.

24 – Shonn Greene, NYJ – If he fixes his fumbling problems and LT is out of New York then Greene could be a sleeper for 2011.

25 – Jonathan Stewart – If DeAngelo is out than Stewarts value will increase as he will receive more carries. 

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