The record-setting 2011 season was definitely the year of the QB. However, the contributions of running backs cannot be ignored in the process. None of the running backs shattered seemingly unreachable records like New Orleans’ Drew Brees or Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, but there were several performances worth noting.
The running back position, more so than any other position in the league, can fluctuate in performance out of the top backs year-to-year depending on circumstances and health—similar to relievers in baseball.
One year, a guy like Adrian Peterson can be the consensus best running back in football, and the next he can barely make the top 10. It is interesting how from year to year, especially from a fantasy perspective, there is no sure bet for a top running back that you can build around on your fantasy football team.
Last year, guys like Peyton Hillis and LaGarrette Blount burst onto the scene with dominant performances that would have made a list like this. This year, however, neither performed at a level high enough nor long enough to repeat.
Guys like Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson came out of nowhere to perform at near-elite levels after being considered backups or change-of-pace backs in the past.
Who do you think would make a top 15 list based on this year alone? With some consideration of the past, here is how I saw it: