Fantasy Football: Revisiting the 2012 Rookie Running Backs

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IDecember 28, 2012

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 23:  Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns as he warms up before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Browns 34-12. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

When I looked at the top five 2012 rookie running backs I ranked Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson, Isaiah Pead and Bernard Pierce as the top five. I was on the mark with Richardson and Martin.

Wilson did not get enough opportunities to do his thing, but I still think good things will come. I totally missed the boat on Pead, and Pierce was just decent.

The biggest surprise was Alfred Morris.

He came out of nowhere to become a top-10 running back. Vick Ballard, Daryl Richardson and Bryce Brown also had some moments. All in all, not a bad class. Here is how I rank them for keeper leagues.

1. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

Richardson came in with the top slot, but will finish the season third in scoring. His injuries are troublesome and a major source of concern, but the upside is there. He is a gifted runner that is very capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. He has a great mix of power and speed. He will get the short-yardage touchdowns and has the ability to break the long one as well.

2. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Martin is explosive. He reminds me a lot of Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s short (5’9″), but he is stocky, fast and powerful. He’s a load to bring down and when he gets to the second level, he’s gone. Martin will lead all rookies in total yardage.

He only had a couple of duds on the year. Unfortunately, one came in Week 15 in a dream matchup with the New Orleans Saints. I think he remains a top-five-to-seven back for years to come. I just see T-Rich as having more upside.

3. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

Morris was drafted in the sixth round. He is a perfect fit for Washington’s system. He hit a little wall in the middle of the season, but rounded nicely back into form. He’s been the most consistent rookie running back. He’ll likely lead the class in rushing yards. Sustainability is a little more uncertain compared to the top two.

4. David Wilson, New York Giants

He could end up leapfrogging all of the backs if he is given the opportunity. His future is more uncertain that the other three. Hence, the fourth ranking. He is electric. However, he plays for a pass-first team. That’s when the offense isn’t a complete mess like it is right now.

I still like his prospects. I just don’t want to go “all-in” until I know he’s the lead back.

5. Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams

I think Ballard has more immediate value, but Richardson has a brighter future. Steven Jackson probably has one more year left in him. Ballard will likely always be part of a committee of sorts. Richardson should get the keys once S-Jax hangs it up.

How do you rank the rookie running backs?

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