Top 80 RBs: 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings (Updated 8/15)

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Top 80 RBs: 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings (Updated 8/15)
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Don't hold out too long, MJD!

Heading into the second week of the preseason,  there are a couple star running backs in the NFL we need to take a closer look at. Both Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew have the skill set to be top five fantasy options on draft day, but one is moving up the boards while the other is trending downward.

 

MJD Will Be Worked Back Into Offense

Those of you who follow my work know I’ve been a fan of Rashad Jennings for a few years now. A knee injury cost him the 2011 season, but Jennings was back this spring running with the first team. By the start of training camp new head coach Mike Mularkey singled out Jennings as a standout player through there OTA camps.

Jennings has been the clear-cut No. 1 option in the running back core without Maurice Jones-Drew around and has the talent to be a starter in this league.

In his first preseason action, Jennings looked good, showing a burst on the edge, picking up the hard yards in situations where the Jaguars needed a first down on third-and-one.

Just before their second preseason game, coach Mularkey has now gone on record to tell us Jones-Drew will be worked slowly back into the offense if and when he ends his holdout.

If his holdout ended in the coming weeks, he would probably be first in line for the starting job come Week 1. However, if he should string this out into September, we would see Jennings start.

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This makes sense, as we’ve seen running backs such as Chris Johnson struggle with not only conditioning but a new playbook when he returned from his holdout.

At this point, I have Jones-Drew just ahead of Ryan Mathews as a low-end RB1 to high-end RB2. Again, if he should return by next week, he should have enough time to be the starter to open the season but after that, fantasy owners will almost have to treat him like a flex play option until he gets up to speed.

If Jennings should start over Jones-Drew he would hold flex play value to start the year. If Jones-Drew is still in a holdout when the season begins, look to Jennings as a low-end RB2 option weekly.

 

McFadden Looks Ready For Week 1

Back from his Lisfranc injury, Darren McFadden is the fourth-best tailback on my board for standard and PPR leagues. Based on his performance against the Cowboys, McFadden looks ready to start the season, showing the same burst he had before the injury.

Off to an MVP-like start of the year, McFadden should continue to play close to that level when on the field in 2012.

Clearly a much tougher and stronger runner at this point in his career, McFadden is one of the best running backs in the league. With Michael Bush finally leaving the team, McFadden should see more goal-line touches, but I will be interested to see if Marcel Reece gets some looks at fullback.

After Rice, McCoy and Foster are off the board, fantasy owners will have to choose among options with drawbacks be it health, a long holdout, poor offensive line play, a pending suspension or lack of production from the previous season.

Of those options, go with McFadden; we know what he will do on the field. Just make sure you snag Mike Goodson in the late rounds, assuming he recovers from his injury last week.

1

Arian Foster

2

LeSean McCoy

3

Ray Rice

4

Darren McFadden

5

Jamaal Charles

6

DeMarco Murray

7

Matt Forte

8

Steven Jackson

9

Maurice Jones-Drew

10

Ryan Mathews

11

Chris Johnson

12

Trent Richardson

13

Fred Jackson

14

Ahmad Bradshaw

15

Marshawn Lynch

16

Peyton Hillis

17

Isaac Redman

18

Doug Martin

19

Adrian Peterson

20

Michael Turner

21

Darren Sproles

22

Stevan Ridley

23

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

24

Willis McGahee

25

Shonn Greene

26

Frank Gore

27

Kevin Smith

28

Reggie Bush

29

Donald Brown

30

Beanie Wells

31

Roy Helu

32

Mark Ingram

33

DeAngelo Williams

34

Ryan Williams

35

Mikel Leshoure

36

Ben Tate

37

Rashad Jennings

38

Cedric Benson

39

Ronnie Brown

40

C.J. Spiller

41

Jacquizz Rodgers

42

David Wilson

43

Jonathan Stewart

44

Ronnie Hillman

45

LeGarrette Blount

46

Evan Royster

47

Toby Gerhart

48

Pierre Thomas

49

Delone Carter

50

Kendall Hunter

51

Michael Bush

52

Robert Turbin

53

Tim Hightower

54

Jonathan Dwyer

55

Alex Green

56

Shane Vereen

57

Bernard Scott

58

Daniel Thomas

59

Mike Goodson

60

Rashard Mendenhall

61

Isaiah Pead

62

Lamar Miller

63

Felix Jones

64

Bernard Pierce

65

Brandon Jacobs

66

Montario Hardesty

67

LeRon McClain

68

Bilal Powell

69

Joe McKnight

70

Danny Woodhead

71

Leon Washington

72

Mike Tolbert

73

Dion Lewis

74

Taiwan Jones

75

James Starks

76

Terrance Ganaway

77

Javon Ringer

78

LaMichael James

79

Jahvid Best

80

Patrick Turner

2012 Redraft Rankings Top 200 | QB | WR | TE | Cheat Sheets |

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