Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs
What other running backs have seen their values change tremendously?
Let’s take a look at our updated rankings and see:
- Arian Foster—Houston Texans
- Ray Rice—Baltimore Rice
- LeSean McCoy—Philadelphia Phillies
- Chris Johnson—Tennessee Titans
- Maurice Jones-Drew—Jacksonville Jaguars
- Ryan Mathews—San Diego Chargers
- Darren McFadden—Oakland Raiders
- Marshawn Lynch—Seattle Seahawks
- Trent Richardson—Cleveland Browns
- Matt Forte—Chicago Bears
- DeMarco Murray—Dallas Cowboys
- Steven Jackson—St. Louis Rams
- Frank Gore—San Francisco 49ers
- Fred Jackson—Buffalo Bills
- Jamaal Charles—Kansas City Chiefs
- Adrian Peterson—Minnesota Vikings
- Doug Martin—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Ahmad Bradshaw—New York Giants
- Reggie Bush—Miami Dolphins
- Michael Turner—Atlanta Falcons
- Darren Sproles—New Orleans Saints
- Roy Helu—Washington Redskins
- Jahvid Best—Detroit Lions
- Shonn Greene—New York Jets
- Beanie Wells—Arizona Cardinals
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis—Cincinnati Bengals
- Willis McGahee—Denver Broncos
- Jonathan Stewart—Carolina Panthers
- Stevan Ridley—New England Patriots
- James Starks—Green Bay Packers
- Mark Ingram—New Orleans Saints
- Toby Gerhart—Minnesota Vikings
- C.J. Spiller—Buffalo Bills
- Daniel Thomas—Miami Dolphins
- DeAngelo Williams—Carolina Panthers
- Michael Bush—Chicago Bears
- Peyton Hillis—Kansas City Chiefs
- Donald Brown—Indianapolis Colts
- Bernard Scott—Cincinnati Bengals
- Mikel Leshoure—Detroit Lions
It’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to own Matt Forte due to his potential, but coming off an injury-shortened season and with the addition of Michael Bush and the potential for a holdout (though talk of this is less of a concern at this point), there is too much risk to consider him an elite option.
He’s more of a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 entering the year, in non-PPR formats.
Fred Jackson does offer some risk, especially with C.J. Spiller potentially stealing some of his touches.
Handcuffing Jackson makes sense, just to be safe, but Jackson showed last season just how good he could be (nearly 1,400 total yards).
With the majority of the league moving to two-back systems, unless you think Spiller is going to be the top back in Buffalo, there is no reason to shy away from Jackson.
Tim Hightower and Roy Helu
Early word is that it will be Tim Hightower, not Roy Helu, opening the season as the Redskins’ top RB.
Does anyone truly believe that will last?
While dealing with a Mike Shanahan running-back situation is always risky, Helu is the option I’d be targeting.
Maybe I’m a little too optimistic on Jahvid Best, but all he needs to do is stay healthy for an entire season for us finally to see how good he can be. He’s already shown flashes, especially when he amassed 58 receptions in his rookie season.
Obviously, in PPR formats, he’s never going to come in this low.
That said, I’d be more than willing to select him as my FLEX option in 2012 in all formats.
Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman
With Rashard Mendenhall out for the early part of the 2012 season, Isaac Redman is the RB to draft first from the Steelers.
Even when Medenhall (out due to MCL surgery) returns, can anyone really guarantee what we are going to get from him?
In deeper formats I’d stash Mendenhall on the bench, but that’s about it.
New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers Running Backs
Both the Panthers (Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams & Mike Tolbert) and Patriots (Stevan Ridley & Shane Vereen) bring significant risk with them, as we may not know from week to week who will get the bulk of the carries.
While Stewart/Ridley would be my choices as teams head into training camps, that could change quickly. It makes these options more suited to be low-end FLEXs with upside.
Is this the season Shonn Greene finally lives up to the hype? We’ve been waiting for it year after year, but he just consistently has disappointed.
I’d try to avoid drafting him as one of your top two options, but as a RB3 he’d be a good get.
Will Adrian Peterson be healthy for the start of the season? Will the Vikings ride him as their main back?
The latter is doubtful, and it’s impossible to answer the first question at this point.
Time will tell, but you have to draft him with caution.
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:
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