Top 20 Fantasy Running Backs

Raymond Ayala’s Top 20 Running Backs

1) Adrian Peterson (MIN) – The running back quality is starting to dwindle, but Adrian Peterson is my choice as a top pick in any draft, as well as being the top Running Back. Peterson offers it all, and he has yet to even hit his stride. I look for Adrian Peterson to improve his receiving touchdowns and increase his touchdowns by at least five this year.
2) Michael Turner (ATL) – Turner fell victim to a rookie quarterbacks fantastic season last year, but anyone who snagged him early was rewarded with arguably the best running back in 2008. Now Turner is an elite running back, which defenses will be gunning for. I see a little slip in Turner’s touchdowns, but not by much. Expect more of the same from the kid who went to the school of LaDainian Tomlinson.
3) Matt Forte (CHI) – What Forte did last year did not go unnoticed by fantasy owners. In his rookie campaign, Forte not only put up eight rushing touchdowns, he also added four receiving touchdowns. Forte is a double threat, whose running game will only, improve with Jay Cutler in the backfield. Look for Forte to finish with 20 total touchdowns this year.
4) DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – Williams was put in charge of the Carolina running game last season and he showed that size does not matter. The 5’9 running back scampered around the field scoring an NFL leading 18 rushing touchdowns. Last year was no fluke and expect Williams to have a similar performance, with a small decrease in yardage.
5) Clinton Portis (WAS) – Portis has a solid skill set, but he is injury prone. Last season, he showed his old Denver form with a fantastic season for the Redskins. Look for the Redskins to rely on him this season, and Campell improving only helps his stock. He is a lock for double-digit touchdowns this season.
6) Stephen Jackson (STL) – An injury hurt Jackson and his owners last season, but I predict a season of full health, and at least 10-15 touchdowns from him.
7) Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – Jacobs proved last season that he can handle a starters load, and now he will look to breakout this season by improving on his yardage.
8) LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) – While the Chargers have decided to use Darren Sproles more, many people think this will affect LT negatively. I think LT is looking to prove he is still an elite running back and will bounce back this season.
9) Tim Hightower (AZ) – After a breakout rookie season last year that saw double-digit touchdowns, I expect a breakout season for Hightower, due to the passing game being the main focus of opposing defenses.
10) Thomas Jones (NYJ) – Jones showed up in a big way last year, but his numbers will not be nearly as fantastic. With a rookie QB in the backfield, it is going to be tough for Jones to find holes, but double-digit touchdowns should be expected.
11) Frank Gore (SF) – If healthy, Gore is one of the deadliest Running backs in the game. With a smart quarterback behind him, Gore is a lock for at least 10 touchdowns this season.
12) Brian Westbrook (PHI) – Westbrook has been the cornerstone of the Eagles offense for the past three seasons. Injuries are starting to catch up to him, but he should improve on his stats from last year.
13) Steve Slaton (HOU) – Slaton left West Virginia for the NFL, and it was a wise decision. Slaton had a fantastic rookie campaign and is my pick to be this years Michael Turner-like steal.
14) Chris Johnson (TEN) – He would be higher on this list if he were not splitting duties with LenDale White. Johnson will improve on his yardage, but his TD’s will probably stay the same as last season.
15) Ryan Grant (GB) – Grant will need to improve his TD total to be valuable in Fantasy this season, but I see him doing it and becoming a great 2nd running back.
16) Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – Lynch could easily have been in the top 10, had he not been suspended for the first three weeks. Including the bye week that is four missed games this season for Lynch. Still he is a top tier RB.
17) Marion Barber (DAL) – Barber was somewhat of a disappointment last season, and Felix Jones threatens to take some of his carries. There is no question that Barber will get the goal line runs, which equal easy touchdowns.
18) Ronnie Brown (MIA) – Brown will take the load of the carries this season, and he will be relied upon to finish his season strong this year. Double-digit touchdowns will be attainable this season by Brown.
19) LenDale White (TEN) – White finally lived up to the expectations set at USC. He is a beast at the goal line and will continue to rack up TD’s so long as he stays in shape.
20) Reggie Bush (NO) – Bush knows how important this season is for the Saints, and a break out season is to be expected. By seasons end Bush will lead the league in receiving TD’s by a running back, and is a threat for 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards one day.