Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs (Updated 08/05/12)

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Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs (Updated 08/05/12)
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With training camps well underway there has definitely been movement in our rankings.  Let’s take a look at how things currently setup among the Top 40 running backs:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans
  2. Ray Rice – Baltimore Rice
  3. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars
  6. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers
  7. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders
  8. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
  9. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns
  10. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks
  11. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys
  12. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams
  13. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
  14. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills
  15. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
  16. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  17. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  18. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants
  19. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins
  20. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons
  21. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints
  22. Shonn Greene – New York Jets
  23. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots
  24. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals
  25. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals
  26. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos
  27. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins
  28. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
  29. James Starks – Green Bay Packers
  30. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
  31. Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions
  32. Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings
  33. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills
  34. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins
  35. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers
  36. Michael Bush – Chicago Bears
  37. Peyton Hillis – Kansas City Chiefs
  38. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts
  39. Bernard Scott – Cincinnati Bengals
  40. Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions

Thoughts:

  • Jahvid Best has yet to be cleared to return to the field due to concussions, creating significant questions about him moving forward.  Do we really expect him to stay healthy all year?  When will he be cleared and how much can we actually expect him to play?  While I wouldn’t invest heavily in Kevin Smith, he is suddenly looking like the better option for fantasy owners who are drafting early, though he has his own injury risks.
  • There has been quite a buzz around Stevan Ridley over the first few days of training camp as all reports have him getting the bulk of the first team looks.  Is that always subject to change?  Absolutely, but right now he needs to be bumped up draft boards.
  • Will Marshawn Lynch be suspended for his DUI?  It remains to be seen, but things are extremely close between the running backs in his range, so the threat of missing time is going to drop him a few spots in the rankings.  I wouldn’t avoid him, obviously, but one must be cautious.
  • There are no more contract concerns for Matt Forte.  Obviously, the rest of the issues (like the presence of Michael Bush taking his goal line carries) remain, however, so I’m not pushing him up to the Top 5.  That said he is looking like a better pick at this point.
  • According to John Clayton of ESPN (click here for the article), “Under Schottenheimer’s system and Fisher’s philosophy, the Rams will be a run-first team featuring Jackson and supplemented by second-round choice Isaiah Pead. Pead is a Darren Sproles-style back with speed, decent hands and an ability to run up the middle well.”  While we all know Steven Jackson is going to be the lead back, could Pead really start to eat into his touches in order to keep him healthy?  It is definitely something to monitor this preseason as it would have an impact on Jackson’s value.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

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