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Running Backs

Aug. 10, 2009
Aug. 10, 2009

Table of Contents
Aug. 10, 2009

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
PABLO SANDOVAL
PRO FOOTBALL
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Running Backs

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This is an article from the Aug. 10, 2009 issue

SI PLAYER RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 statsRUSHING YDS. PER GAME100-YD. GAMESRECEPTIONSRECEIVING YDS. PER GAMETOTAL TOUCHDOWNSBYE WEEK
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings110.010217.8109
2. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers94.78227.6204
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars51.526235.3147
4. Steve Slaton, Texans80.145023.61010
5. Michael Turner, Falcons106.2862.6174
6. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers69.425226.6125
7. Steven Jackson, Rams86.844031.689
8. Matt Forte, Bears77.436329.8125
9. Brian Westbrook, Eagles66.935428.7144
10. Clinton Portis, Redskins92.962813.698
11. Brandon Jacobs, Giants83.8462.81510
12. Frank Gore, 49ers74.034326.686
13. Ryan Grant, Packers75.24187.355
14. Joseph Addai, Colts45.312517.276
15. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins57.333315.9106
16. Chris Johnson, Titans81.944317.3107
17. Marion Barber, Cowboys59.035227.896
18. Thomas Jones, Jets82.053612.9159
19. Marshawn Lynch, Bills69.134720.099
20. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers52.3282.9104
21. Felix Jones, Cowboys44.3021.736
22. Kevin Smith, Lions61.023917.987
23. Julius Jones, Seahawks46.52144.427
24. Jamal Lewis, Browns62.602311.149
25. Derrick Ward, Buccaneers64.124124.028
26. Willie Parker, Steelers71.9431.258
27. LenDale White, Titans48.3251.0157
28. Pierre Thomas, Saints41.713118.9125
29. Ray Rice, Ravens34.913321.007
30. Chris Wells, Cardinals*119.7884.784
31. Reggie Bush, Saints40.405244.065
32. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos*107.773330.2187
33. Darren McFadden, Raiders38.412921.949
34. Cedric Benson, Bengals62.332015.428
35. Larry Johnson, Chiefs72.83126.258
36. T.J. Duckett, Seahawks10.800087
37. Justin Fargas, Raiders60.91103.719
38. Earnest Graham, Buccaneers56.322317.448
39. Leon Washington, Jets28.004722.289
40. Fred Jackson, Bills35.713719.839
41. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs22.312717.018
42. Donald Brown, Colts*160.211219.6186
43. Jerious Norwood, Falcons30.603621.164
44. Willis McGahee, Ravens51.632413.377
45. Glen Coffee, 49ers*98.85168.4116
46. Shonn Greene, Jets*142.31383.8209
47. Darren Sproles, Chargers20.612921.469
48. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers14.5024.308
49. Ricky Williams, Dolphins41.212913.756
50. Tim Hightower, Cardinals24.903414.8104
51. Fred Taylor, Patriots42.81167.518
52. LeSean McCoy, Eagles*114.563223.5214
53. James Davis, Browns*57.82149.5119
54. Chester Taylor, Vikings24.904524.969
55. Andre Brown, Giants*59.012923.8910
56. Maurice Morris, Lions44.221910.527
57. Tashard Choice, Cowboys29.502111.626
58. Kenneth Darby, Rams14.001918.309
59. Laurence Maroney, Patriots31.000008
60. Kevin Faulk, Patriots33.805832.468
61. Jerome Harrison, Browns16.40127.729
62. LaMont Jordan, Broncos45.400047
63. Sammy Morris, Patriots55.921712.478
64. Le'Ron McClain, Ravens56.41197.7117

*Rookie (college statistics)

Talking Points

• If you get the top pick in your draft, don't overthink it. Take Adrian Peterson. Please.

• Don't let the presence of Jonathan Stewart in the Panthers' backfield keep you from using a high pick on DeAngelo Williams. Carolina will run the ball enough to keep both backs busy.

BUYER BEWARE

• Why isn't Michael Turner, who performed so well last year, rated even higher than No. 5? Look at the Falcons' schedule: Eagles, Giants, Jets, Pats, Redskins.... He'll be seeing a lot of tough run defenses.

• Matt Forte has actually been going No. 1 in some mock drafts, but I see his workload going down with Jay Cutler behind center in Chicago and a healthy Kevin Jones as his relief option.

• I'm not as high on second-year man Chris Johnson as most people, who expect he'll take over the Titans' backfield. LenDale White will still get plenty of work.

OVERRATED

• Marion Barber dropped in my ratings because of what Felix Jones showed in 2008 before he got hurt. Jones will get the ball plenty between the 20s.

• Thomas Jones isn't going to do as well as he did last year for the Jets. New coach Rex Ryan will have a Ravens-style RB rotation that will include Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Greene.

• Whenever Detroit made good use of Kevin Smith last season, he got the job done. In games in which he had 20 or more carries, he averaged close to 100 yards.

• Why is Beanie Wells rated ahead of fellow rookie Knowshon Moreno, even though Wells was taken 19 spots later in the NFL draft? Because Moreno is joining a Broncos offense that looks like it could be a mess.

• Three seasons ago Larry Johnson was a top two fantasy back. This year he isn't even a lock to make the Chiefs.

SLEEPER

• T.J. Duckett is a great value pick. He had more rushing TDs last year than Marion Barber and Frank Gore. Also, Seattle's new coordinator, Greg Knapp, who knows Duckett from Atlanta, directed offenses that were No. 1 in rushing from 2004 to '06.

• Earnest Graham was always an accidental starter in Tampa Bay. It isn't a promising sign for him that Derrick Ward was the Bucs' big free-agent acquisition.

• The Colts will use Donald Brown. When a team drafts a back in the first round, it's usually a bad sign for the incumbent.

• No one in Baltimore's committee backfield is worth taking all that high, but if you dive in, remember that the pecking order has changed. Last year it was Willis McGahee with a side of (Ray) Rice; now it will be the other way around.

• The Dolphins' drafting Pat White is not good news for Ricky Williams. The former West Virginia QB should take some of Williams's snaps in the wildcat formation.

SLEEPER

• LeSean McCoy is the backup with the best chance of scoring big. He has Brian Westbrook--like skills, and given Westbrook's injury history, it's easy to imagine the rookie falling into a lot of playing time.

• Giants rookie Andre Brown is a guy I'd take a flier on. Many assume that the departed Derrick Ward's carries will go to Ahmad Bradshaw. I would bet that this fourth-round pick beats out Bradshaw.

• Le'Ron McClain looked good last year when he got a shot at tailback. Now he's back at fullback—at least until someone gets hurt.

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PHOTOGREG NELSON (SLATON)ON THE RISE • Steve Slaton has young legs and clear ownership of the Texans' backfield. With a year of experience running behind Houston's zone blocking scheme, he's primed for a breakout season.PHOTOKEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES (TURNER)PHOTORONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (BARBER)PHOTOROD MAR (DUCKETT)PHOTODAVID BERGMAN (MCCOY)