Fantasy Football 2012: Top 30 Tailbacks in Points-Per-Reception Leagues

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterAugust 14, 2012

Fantasy Football 2012: Top 30 Tailbacks in Points-Per-Reception Leagues

0 of 31

    The following slideshow reflects my countdown of the Top 30 running backs in Points-Per-Reception leagues.

    When it comes to evaluating (and separating) the various tiers of pass-friendly rushers, I place a huge value on two components:

    1. Receiving targets
    2. Weekly track record of five catches, 90 total yards and/or one touchdown

    This listing will likely undergo a few more changes before September. But right now, it's a reasonably accurate profile of my preseason rationale.

    For a quick look at my Top 60 PPR tailbacks, click here.

    Enjoy the show!

Special Mention: Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

1 of 31

    2011 Stats: 677 Total Yards (390 Rushing), 3 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 5

    Skinny: Yes, Jahvid Best is a virtual lock for 90 total yards every time he takes the field. Yes, few defenders can match his top-end speed in the open field. And yes, Best (85 career catches) could be a top-seven running back in PPR leagues this year.

    But none of this will occur if Best continues to be plagued by concussion problems, and that should be a big concern for every Round 8/9 investor in PPR drafts.

    To remedy this potential problem, owners are advised to handcuff Best with second-year bulldozer Mikel Leshoure (missed 2011 with an Achilles injury)—a sneaky-good candidate for 10 TDs this season.

30. Peyton Hillis, Kansas City Chiefs

2 of 31

    2011 Stats: 717 Total Yards (587 Rushing), 3 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 6

    Skinny: Peyton Hillis' 2011 campaign with the Browns was a textbook example of how not to let one season of success (1,654 total yards, 13 TDs in 2010) go to your head: contract brooding, inconsistent play, alienating teammates (allegedly attempting field goals during practice) and falling prey to the doom-filled legend of the "Madden Curse."

    But from a fantasy perspective, his final year in Cleveland wasn't a complete waste of time. In five of his 10 games, Hillis racked up at least 87 total yards, and in the first three outings, the Arkansas product was targeted 18 times (with 15 receptions).

    Fast forward to the present, where Hillis stands as a must-handcuff to Jamaal Charles with the Chiefs.

    In fact, I am confident that Charles (torn ACL last September) and Hillis will be one of the NFL's five best rushing combos by season's end.

29. Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals

3 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,099 Total Yards (1,047 Rushing), 10 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 8

    Skinny: This pick comes with a warning of shared carries involving Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Ryan Williams, my choice for fantasy rookie of the year in 2011 before he ruptured a patella during the preseason.

    But Wells has certainly done enough through the years to score a top-30 ranking, especially with Arizona mired in a potentially fruitless QB competition (Kevin Kolb vs. John Skelton).

    Targets: 1,124 total yards and nine touchdowns

28. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts

4 of 31

    2011 Stats: 731 Total Yards (645 Rushing), 5 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 5

    Skinny: If you were listening to SiriusXM NFL Radio on July 31, you might have caught an interview with Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

    During the segment, Arians boldly predicted that Indy would run the (heck) out of the ball this season, partly due to Andrew Luck's rookie installation at quarterback and the burgeoning talents of tailbacks Donald Brown, Delone Carter and Mewelde Moore.

    Arians, the former offensive coordinator of the Steelers (2007-11), also compared new Colts receiver Donnie Avery to Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace. But for this stanza, let's stay focused on the running game.

    In 2011, Brown had five outings of 85 total yards and/or one touchdown, a slight improvement from his 2010 numbers of the same criteria.

    But the primary reason for Brown's lofty ranking lies with the confidence that Arians has in the Colts' running attack. With his offensive coach's help, this is the season for Brown to take a big step forward.

27. Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings

5 of 31

    2011 Stats: 721 Total Yards (531 Rushing), 4 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 4

    Skinny: If Adrian Peterson had never suffered a devastating knee injury (torn ACL in Week 16), Toby Gerhart (per-game averages of 96.8 total yards, two TDs in 10-touch games last year) likely wouldn't have accrued enough touches to be known as an elite handcuff.

    By extension, Peterson (1,109 total yards, 13 TDs in 12 games last year) would be classified as a "workhorse" back in fantasy circles and would be an easy top-five selection during the August drafts (standard-scoring).

    Instead, he'll have to share the limelight with Gerhart while recovering from an injury that will likely bump him into the 31 to 40 range on draft day.

    Bottom line: This may be the most important draft-day handcuff. With no more injury setbacks, Peterson and Gerhart are both reasonable targets for a minimum of 1,000 total yards and six touchdowns (with AP garnering substantially more yards and TDs).

26. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals

6 of 31

    2011 Stats: 826 Total Yards (667 Rushing), 11 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 8

    Skinny: The Bengals deserve credit for targeting only one premium free-agent back and landing him at a reasonable rate, even if I thought the runner would be Kentucky native Michael Bush.

    But enough about Bears backups. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (24 TDs the last two seasons with New England) has a great opportunity to put up sizable numbers with the Bengals.

    The club also has a solid offensive line, and opposing defenses should have their hands full confronting Andy Dalton, Jermaine Gresham and receiver A.J. Green, a superstar in the making.

    Bottom line: The door is open for Green-Ellis to collect 1,170 total yards and nine touchdowns.

25. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7 of 31

    Skinny: The Buccaneers deserve credit for sticking to their plan of drafting an elite running back in Round 1, even if they didn't land Trent Richardson.

    But Boise State's Doug Martin (1,554 total yards, 18 TDs in 2011) may, in time, prove to be the perfect back for head coach Greg Schiano's power-rushing attack.

    For now, Martin will likely split carries with incumbent LeGarrette Blount, but one look at Martin's highlight reel tells us his day as Tampa Bay's feature back will come sooner than later.

    It's difficult to project great college backs into the pros, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anything about Martin's game that won't translate well to the next level.

    If he wants the ultimate real-world and fantasy respect, Martin must evolve into a 40-catch talent within the first two seasons.

    Targets: 1,187 total yards and six touchdowns

24. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers

8 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,174 Total Yards (761 Rushing), 5 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 7

    Skinny: Jonathan Stewart didn't have a 100-yard rushing game last year, DeAngelo Williams tallied fewer than 1,000 total yards and new acquisition Mike Tolbert may not get enough opportunities to vulture TDs from Stewart, D-Will and QB Cam Newton.

    For now, though, Stewart gets the nod over the other Panthers backs on the strength of his immense potential.

    But make no mistake, the free pass has an expiration date. At age 25, it's time for Stewart to consistently reach that next level of production.

    Targets: 1,233 total yards and eight touchdowns

23. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

9 of 31

    2011 Stats: 830 Total Yards (561 Rushing), 6 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 5

    Skinny: In teammate Fred Jackson's stead last year—particularly Weeks 15-17, when he racked up 405 total yards and four touchdowns (per-game average of 135 yards/1.33 TDs)—C.J. Spiller reinforced the notion that he was finally ready to carry the Buffalo offense.

    With Jackson (137.6 total yards per game in 2011) and Spiller healthy and ready to lead the Bills to their first playoff berth since the 1999 season, the duo has a realistic shot at 200 combined yards per game.

    Spiller targets: 1,183 total yards and five touchdowns

22. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

10 of 31

    Skinny: The best fantasy template for Trent Richardson might be Adrian Peterson's rookie campaign of 2007.

    During that preseason, Peterson's pre-draft value conservatively stood at 46, even though fantasy owners were aware of his immense upside.

    Along those lines, fantasy owners may ultimately view Richardson's knee scope last week in a positive light, since it has tempered much of the absurd hype that followed the Cleveland rookie before training camp.

    Even if Richardson (2,017 total yards, 24 TDs with Alabama last year) is ready for action in Weeks 1 or 2, the expectations for 2012 should remain modest, at best.

    With that, the window is now open for savvy GMs to land Richardson sometime in the late 40s.

    Targets: 1,078 total yards and seven touchdowns

21. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons

11 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,508 Total Yards (1,340 Rushing), 11 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 11

    Skinny: Michael Turner has a grand total of 40 catches in four seasons with the Falcons (2008-11), which likely explains the Grand Canyon-size gulf between his pre-draft value in standard-scoring (late in Round 2) and PPR leagues (Round 6).

    But there are some positives to consider here: Last year, Turner posted career highs in targets (26), catches (17) and receiving yards (168).

    And until proven otherwise, Turner (50 TDs in four years) will be considered a healthy lock for 1,200 yards or double-digit touchdowns.

    Targets: 1,291 total yards and nine touchdowns

20. Shonn Greene, New York Jets

12 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,265 Total Yards (1,054 Rushing), 6 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 7

    Skinny: I like Shonn Greene's chances of finishing at or above 1,265 total yards (last year's figure), but I'll be (pleasantly) surprised if he registers seven or more touchdowns.

    That's the consequence of the Jets needlessly trading for backup QB Tim Tebow, who will undoubtedly be used in short-yardage and goal-line situations this season.

    (Why else would the club want him? Round-the-clock attention during training camp? Oh wait, never mind.)

    But hey, Greene still can be a force between the 20s and in mid-range red-zone scenarios. Perhaps he'll even score a touchdown or two from beyond 25 yards—something he failed to do in 2011.

19. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

13 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,109 Total Yards (970 Rushing), 13 TD in 12 games

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 10

    Skinny: This ranking may seem like a cop-out since I've already made the decision to pass on Adrian Peterson until Round 5 of all 12-team drafts, regardless of scoring rules.

    By extension, it essentially guarantees that I won't have Peterson (44 TDs from 2009-11) in any of my 11 fantasy leagues.

    But the man has certainly earned the right to be amongst the PPR top 20. He's also earned the benefit of the doubt when vowing to be ready for Week 1 action.

    When healthy, Peterson (6,752 career rushing yards, 67 total TDs) is a top-12 back in PPR circles; in fact, he'll probably reclaim that honor in August 2013.

18: Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

14 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,546 Total Yards (1,091 Rushing), 6 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 10

    Skinny: In my mind, there is no gray area with Ryan Mathews and his broken clavicle—an injury that occurred on his first preseason carry on Aug. 9.

    For Rounds 1-4 of PPR drafts (non-keepers), he won't even be a consideration. That's the cold, hard truth of this setback.

    Even if Mathews (1,546 total yards, six TDs last season) is ready to play by mid-September, he'll remain a prime candidate for re-injury every time he takes a clean, above-the-waist blast from a remorseless defender or crumples to the turf off a standard hard tackle. And no doctor in the world could probably guarantee otherwise.

    If healthy, Mathews would have been a reasonable lock for 1,600 total yards and nine touchdowns; and for PPR leagues, he might have finished the season as a top-five tailback.

17. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins

15 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,382 Total Yards (1,086 Rushing), 7 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 8

    Skinny: Reggie Bush garners inclusion at this spot for two reasons, neither of which run in concert with his desire to win the NFL rushing title in 2012:

    1. Four straight 100-yard rushing games (519 yards total) to close out the season.

    2. The Dolphins have no big-time receiving options to steal the spotlight from Bush and No. 2 back Daniel Thomas. (Sorry, fans of Davone Bess, Legedu Naanee, Brian Hartline and Clyde Gates.)

    But then again, perhaps Bush should be downgraded for having no other Miami stars to distract opposing defenses. It's important to remember that 2011 was Bush's first 1,000-yard rushing campaign. He only had two outings of 50-plus receiving yards as well.

    Targets: 1,267 total yards and six touchdowns

16. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins

16 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,019 Total Yards (640 Rushing), 3 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 5

    Skinny: On the surface, Roy Helu at No. 16 seems like a reach, especially if Evan Royster and Tim Hightower are viable candidates to be the Redskins' opening-day starter at tailback.

    But Helu corralled 1,019 total yards and three touchdowns out of only 200 touches (5.1 yards per touch); with 50 to 60 more touches—an ultra-conservative estimate for a high-end back—that's 1,300 easy yards!

    I am supremely confident that Helu can take a big leap forward this season, but I'm also aware of Royster's development in the Redskins offense. I'm also cognizant of how many skilled offensive pieces Washington has, including QB Robert Griffin III.

    Bottom line: For Helu to gain the ultimate respect in his second season, he must be a force around the goal line. Let's just hope the extra touches entail a bump in red-zone opportunities.

    Targets: 1,363 total yards and seven touchdowns

15. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

17 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,080 Total Yards (897 Rushing), 2 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 5

    Skinny: From Weeks 7-12 last year (a six-game span), DeMarco Murray amassed 915 total yards and two touchdowns. If he had finished the season with that stellar run, he'd be a top-10 overall pick in standard-scoring and PPR leagues.

    But that's not how the world of fantasy works sometimes.

    Instead of being a Round 1 selection and gracing the cover of fantasy magazines everywhere, Murray will have to sing for his "elite" supper once again in 2012 while being flanked by Felix Jones in the backfield.

    On the bright side, Murray averaged five receiving targets during that six-week blitz. That's a healthy figure for a rookie or any other young back on the precipice of PPR fame.

    Targets: 1,337 total yards and eight touchdowns

14. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers

18 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,325 Total Yards (1,211 Rushing), 8 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 10

    Skinny: Frank Gore had a fantastic 2011 campaign, but things may be a little different at old/new Candlestick Park this fall.

    For starters, the 49ers have upgraded the receivers, adding Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins and Randy Moss to the mix.

    Next up, Gore, Brandon Jacobs, Kendall Hunter and rookie LaMichael James might comprise the NFL's best (and only) four-man backfield.

    If that weren't enough, there's the little matter of playoff hero Vernon Davis (tight end) reclaiming his standing as a premium red-zone target.

    Bottom line: If you're going to draft Gore in Round 4, reward yourself with the handcuff of Jacobs or Hunter sometime in Rounds 10-13.

13. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

19 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,416 Total Yards (1,204 Rushing), 13 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 12

    Skinny: Marshawn Lynch recorded career highs in rushing yards (1,204), total yards (1,416), carries (285), touches (313) and total scores (13) in 2011 on the strength of only one game of 30-plus touches.

    That tells me the 26-year-old Lynch has the potential for yet another leap in his fantasy development this season, complementing the Seahawks' savvy offseason signing of QB Matt Flynn.

    The key to Lynch's success may depend on another addition of years past: wide receiver Sidney Rice.

    If Rice can stay healthy and continue to stretch opponents' defensive alignments—in a way that Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens no longer can—it should help create more running lanes for a back who's been reborn (at least on the field) in the Pacific Northwest.

    Regarding his fate with the NFL's discipline committee, in the wake of a DUI arrest during the summer, we'll cross that bridge later.

    Targets: 1,472 total yards and 10 touchdowns

12. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants

20 of 31

    2011 Stats: 926 Total Yards (659 Rushing), 11 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 11

    Skinny: Throughout the spring and summer, I harbored mild resentment toward Ahmad Bradshaw for the unpardonable sin of (allegedly) missing curfew and getting suspended for a good chunk of Giants-Cowboys in Week 14—the first week of the fantasy playoffs.

    But given the recent surgeries of Ryan Mathews (collarbone), Trent Richardson (Browns) and general uncertainty surrounding Detroit's Jahvid Best (concussion), Bradshaw has suddenly earned a battlefield promotion back into my fantasy heart...and the top 12 in PPR leagues.

    It also helps that Bradshaw has per-season averages of 1,238 total yards and 9.5 TDs this decade.

    Targets: 1,472 total yards and 10 touchdowns

11. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints

21 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,313 Total Yards (603 Rushing), 9 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 14

    Skinny: This ranking is considerably lower than the elite status Darren Sproles (111 targets) enjoyed at the end of last season.

    But there is one obvious factor working against Sproles replicating 1,300 total yards or 86 receptions (a career high): the year-long absence of Saints head coach/play-caller extraordinaire Sean Payton.

    Regardless of who mimics Payton on the play-calling end—even QB Drew Brees—it's hard to imagine Sproles being as explosive this year. But it'll be close.

    Plus, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas will hopefully remain healthy and productive all season.

    Targets: 1,206 total yards and six touchdowns

10. Steven Jackson, Los Angeles Rams

22 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,478 Total Yards (1,145 Rushing), 6 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 11

    Skinny: The Rams should be commended for drafting University of Cincinnati standout Isaiah Pead (1,578 total yards, 15 TDs last year) in April, creating the illusion that Steven Jackson's per-game workload would be reduced in his ninth NFL season.

    But we all know where things are headed for 2012.

    While the Rams sort out their huddled mass of receiving candidates—it's anyone's guess for Nos. 1 through 7 on the depth chart—they'll ultimately lean on S-Jax for another season.

    And why wouldn't they? Jackson is easily their most reliable weapon in the red zone. He'd also be a good bet for 50 catches if the Rams chose to prioritize him in the passing game.

    Targets: 1,421 total yards and seven touchdowns

9. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

23 of 31

    2010 Stats: 1,935 Total Yards (1,467 Rushing), 8 TD

    Skinny: On pure talent alone, Charles is a Round 1 fixture, but some owners may be skittish to reach for him on draft day, citing his ACL tear in Week 2 against Detroit last year while also wondering how RB Peyton Hillis (free-agent acquisition) might cut into Charles' rushing and receiving attempts.

    Of course, these may be the same owners champing at the bit for Adrian Peterson's return—even though Charles had a three-month head start of recovery time. Go figure.

    Bottom line: If you believe Charles can quickly recapture his old speed, quickness and explosion, you'll be happy to invest a low Round 2 pick. If you're worried about his capacity to carry the Chiefs offense, then wait until Round 3 or 4.

    It's that simple.

    Targets: 1,512 total yards and seven touchdowns

8. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders

24 of 31

    2011 Stats: 768 Total Yards (614 Rushing), 5 TD in seven games

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 5

    Skinny: This ranking will probably draw catcalls from both ends, with some saying Darren McFadden (768 total yards, five TDs in seven games last year) is too injury-prone to be a top-10 asset, with others declaring that, when healthy, D-Mac is more bankable than Matt Forte or Chris Johnson.

    For the most part, both sides would be correct...although I would classify Lisfranc foot injuries as freak occurrences, not the calling card of players who can't stay on the field.

    Assuming full health, McFadden should have a monster season with the Raiders. Michael Bush is gone (no more vulture TDs), and Mike Goodson currently stands as the main backup.

    Throw in the fact that opposing defenses will have to respect a Raiders quarterback for once (Carson Palmer), and McFadden should be a fantasy force, per usual.

    Targets: 1,494 total yards and 10 touchdowns

7. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

25 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,376 Total Yards (934 Rushing), 6 TD in 10 games

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 9

    Skinny: Fred Jackson was the AFC's leading rusher at the time of his season-ending injury (leg), a setback that helped perpetuate the Bills' late slide in 2011.

    Backup C.J. Spiller filled the void admirably, leading some to wonder if he was finally ready to assume the No. 1 rushing duties.

    That sounds great for offseason chatter, but Buffalo execs are probably more comfortable with a two-back attack, with Jackson having the bigger name on the marquee for now.

    After all, that should always be a courtesy extended to backs averaging 137.6 total yards per game—a figure that's eerily similar to the No. 1 asset in our countdown.

6. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars

26 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,465 Total Yards (1,047 Rushing), 4 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 15

    Skinny: It's upsetting to downgrade Maurice Jones-Drew (the NFL's reigning rushing king) on the rationale of a simple contract dispute.

    But heading into the second round of preseason games, we're getting perilously close to that danger zone of wondering whether MJD (six consecutive years of 300-plus yards receiving) will partake in any August practices with the Jaguars.

    If MJD was familiar with the offensive scheme of new head coach Mike Mularkey, perhaps I'd let slide things for another week or two.

    But when compared to Matt Forte and/or Chris Johnson, I'll take the safer options right now.

5. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

27 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,487 Total Yards (997 Rushing), 4 TD in 12 games

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 10

    Skinny: Of the top eight tailbacks in this countdown, Matt Forte is the only one who endured a four-game stretch without 100 total yards last year.

    Normally, that wouldn't be such a deal-breaker, but we're talking about Forte and his 7.1 TDs per season.

    On the flip side, Forte should firmly rank as the No. 5 tailback and Round 1 lock in 12-team PPR drafts. If healthy, he would have flirted with 2,000 total yards in 2011.

    Targets: 1,724 total yards and seven touchdowns.

4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

28 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,465 Total Yards (1,047 Rushing), 4 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 12

    Skinny: Most fantasy owners would throw a parade for a running back with 1,465 total yards, but that was hardly the case with Chris Johnson's 2011 campaign.

    From his high-profile holdout and lack of conditioning during the preseason to the September slump and four total touchdowns, it was a turbulent season full of sound and fury, but ultimately signifying nothing.

    But the year was not a total loss. Johnson posted seven games of 100 total yards or more; he also recorded career highs in targets (79) and receptions (57).

    Put it all together, and it's enough to make one believe the 26-year-old speedster will rebound in a major way this season. He simply has too much talent to be just above-average.

    Targets: 1,747 total yards and 10 touchdowns

3: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

29 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,624 Total Yards (1,309 Rushing), 20 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 15

    Skinny: LeSean McCoy is not likely to replicate his 20 total touchdowns (17 rushing) from last year, but he is a great candidate to eclipse 1,624 total yards—which included 11 games of 90-plus total yards.

    In fact, I'll be shocked if "Shady" comes in under the 1,750-yard threshold, a testament to his expanding role in the Eagles offense.

    From a PPR standpoint, McCoy drew five or more targets seven times last season. He was also a perfect 15-for-15 in racking up five catches, 90 total yards and/or one touchdown during meaningful games for Philly.

2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

30 of 31

    2011 Stats: 1,841 Total Yards (1,224 Rushing), 12 TD in 13 games

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 11

    Skinny: Since there are no obvious flaws in Arian Foster's fantasy game, we'll have to nitpick our way through this rationalization of the No. 2 ranking:

    1. The Texans offensive line (sans Eric Winston) is largely anonymous to NFL fans living outside the metro Houston area.

    2. A healthy Andre Johnson (hamstring woes all of last season) will get his fair share of red-zone opportunities once again.

    3. Despite catching 53 balls and attracting 72 targets last season, Foster has a zero percent chance of collecting two receiving TDs of 78 yards or more in 2012.

    But all is not lost for Foster. He might be the next member of the 2,000 Yards From Scrimmage club.

    Targets: 1,987 total yards and 13 touchdowns

1. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

31 of 31

    2011 Stats: 2,068 Total Yards (1,364 Rushing), 15 TD

    Games of 5 Catches, 90 Total Yards and/or 1 TD: 16

    Skinny: In his four pro seasons, Ray Rice has developed a pattern of 2,000 total yards and 70-plus catches in odd-numbered years, with totals short of that in even-numbered ones.

    Using that convoluted logic, Rice likely won't become just the 10th running back in NFL history to cross the 2,000-yard threshold in consecutive years.

    That aside, Rice is still the kingpin in PPR circles. He's the only lock for 60 catches, 1,700 total yards and double-digit scores.

    He's also the only back to go 16-for-16 in the above threshold of five catches, 90 total yards and/or one touchdown last season.

    Targets: 1,871 total yards and 11 touchdowns