Running Backs

August 09, 2009

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SI PLAYER RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 stats RUSHING YDS. PER GAME 100-YD. GAMES RECEPTIONS RECEIVING YDS. PER GAME TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS BYE WEEK
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings 110.0 10 21 7.8 10 9
2. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers 94.7 8 22 7.6 20 4
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 51.5 2 62 35.3 14 7
4. Steve Slaton, Texans 80.1 4 50 23.6 10 10
5. Michael Turner, Falcons 106.2 8 6 2.6 17 4
6. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers 69.4 2 52 26.6 12 5
7. Steven Jackson, Rams 86.8 4 40 31.6 8 9
8. Matt Forte, Bears 77.4 3 63 29.8 12 5
9. Brian Westbrook, Eagles 66.9 3 54 28.7 14 4
10. Clinton Portis, Redskins 92.9 6 28 13.6 9 8
11. Brandon Jacobs, Giants 83.8 4 6 2.8 15 10
12. Frank Gore, 49ers 74.0 3 43 26.6 8 6
13. Ryan Grant, Packers 75.2 4 18 7.3 5 5
14. Joseph Addai, Colts 45.3 1 25 17.2 7 6
15. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins 57.3 3 33 15.9 10 6
16. Chris Johnson, Titans 81.9 4 43 17.3 10 7
17. Marion Barber, Cowboys 59.0 3 52 27.8 9 6
18. Thomas Jones, Jets 82.0 5 36 12.9 15 9
19. Marshawn Lynch, Bills 69.1 3 47 20.0 9 9
20. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers 52.3 2 8 2.9 10 4
21. Felix Jones, Cowboys 44.3 0 2 1.7 3 6
22. Kevin Smith, Lions 61.0 2 39 17.9 8 7
23. Julius Jones, Seahawks 46.5 2 14 4.4 2 7
24. Jamal Lewis, Browns 62.6 0 23 11.1 4 9
25. Derrick Ward, Buccaneers 64.1 2 41 24.0 2 8
26. Willie Parker, Steelers 71.9 4 3 1.2 5 8
27. LenDale White, Titans 48.3 2 5 1.0 15 7
28. Pierre Thomas, Saints 41.7 1 31 18.9 12 5
29. Ray Rice, Ravens 34.9 1 33 21.0 0 7
30. Chris Wells, Cardinals* 119.7 8 8 4.7 8 4
31. Reggie Bush, Saints 40.4 0 52 44.0 6 5
32. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos* 107.7 7 33 30.2 18 7
33. Darren McFadden, Raiders 38.4 1 29 21.9 4 9
34. Cedric Benson, Bengals 62.3 3 20 15.4 2 8
35. Larry Johnson, Chiefs 72.8 3 12 6.2 5 8
36. T.J. Duckett, Seahawks 10.8 0 0 0 8 7
37. Justin Fargas, Raiders 60.9 1 10 3.7 1 9
38. Earnest Graham, Buccaneers 56.3 2 23 17.4 4 8
39. Leon Washington, Jets 28.0 0 47 22.2 8 9
40. Fred Jackson, Bills 35.7 1 37 19.8 3 9
41. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs 22.3 1 27 17.0 1 8
42. Donald Brown, Colts* 160.2 11 21 9.6 18 6
43. Jerious Norwood, Falcons 30.6 0 36 21.1 6 4
44. Willis McGahee, Ravens 51.6 3 24 13.3 7 7
45. Glen Coffee, 49ers* 98.8 5 16 8.4 11 6
46. Shonn Greene, Jets* 142.3 13 8 3.8 20 9
47. Darren Sproles, Chargers 20.6 1 29 21.4 6 9
48. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers 14.5 0 2 4.3 0 8
49. Ricky Williams, Dolphins 41.2 1 29 13.7 5 6
50. Tim Hightower, Cardinals 24.9 0 34 14.8 10 4
51. Fred Taylor, Patriots 42.8 1 16 7.5 1 8
52. LeSean McCoy, Eagles* 114.5 6 32 23.5 21 4
53. James Davis, Browns* 57.8 2 14 9.5 11 9
54. Chester Taylor, Vikings 24.9 0 45 24.9 6 9
55. Andre Brown, Giants* 59.0 1 29 23.8 9 10
56. Maurice Morris, Lions 44.2 2 19 10.5 2 7
57. Tashard Choice, Cowboys 29.5 0 21 11.6 2 6
58. Kenneth Darby, Rams 14.0 0 19 18.3 0 9
59. Laurence Maroney, Patriots 31.0 0 0 0 0 8
60. Kevin Faulk, Patriots 33.8 0 58 32.4 6 8
61. Jerome Harrison, Browns 16.4 0 12 7.7 2 9
62. LaMont Jordan, Broncos 45.4 0 0 0 4 7
63. Sammy Morris, Patriots 55.9 2 17 12.4 7 8
64. Le'Ron McClain, Ravens 56.4 1 19 7.7 11 7

*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)

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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