What a glorious feeling it is to be close enough to the next football season that people don't think I'm overly obsessed because I'm talking about fantasy football.
With that, I feel it is safe to post my first positional ranking of the year.
There is no better place to start fantasy football evaluations than with running backs. Having a solid stable of running backs is a foundation for fantasy success.
So, without further ado, here are my top three running backs for the 2013 season.
No. 3: Ray Rice, Ravens
Before I get into Ray Rice, I feel compelled to discuss Doug Martin. He is garnering lots of buzz as a top running back and the potential is certainly there. I'm not suggesting Martin is a bad pick. However, I excluded him from the top of my rankings because I like consistent producers with my top picks.
Martin was productive as a rookie, but he suffered long stretches of anemic output. Until he proves he can produce week in and week out, he will not make my top three.
Rice's 2013 was productive, but it was still a touch underwhelming. He wound up with 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns rushing the ball, and added 61 catches for 478 yards and another touchdown. It speaks to his elite expectations that those numbers could be construed as underwhelming.
There is the danger of Rice losing touches to Bernard Pierce, but I fully expect Rice to be one of the centerpieces of the Ravens offense, and he will produce in a big way.
No. 2: Arian Foster, Texans
Arian Foster has been an amazingly consistent producer. He is coming off yet another fabulous season as he piled up 1,411 rushing yards that led to 15 touchdowns last season. He also added 40 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
He should put up similar numbers in 2013. While there is always the chance that Ben Tate will steal some touches, the Texans have proven they will give Foster all the work he can handle.
Another thing I like about Foster's chances to generate value next year is the addition of Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the roster. Hopkins is an explosive player who will help take the top off the defense.
This will take some of the defense's attention off of the Texans running game, and it will help open things up for Foster on short passes.
No. 1: Adrian Peterson
It's not exactly bold to put Adrian Peterson first on this list, but there is no way to look at this rationally and have anyone else at the top.
Peterson, as I'm sure you are aware, is coming off of one of the most amazing seasons in NFL history. He rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also found the time to add 40 receptions for 217 yards and a touchdown. He also did all of that coming off of knee surgery.
It would be shocking if Peterson could match his level of output from last year, but as we've seen, Peterson specializes in shocking us.
It will help Peterson if Christian Ponder and the Vikings passing game can evolve into a consistent threat. However, this would simply be a bonus, as Peterson has proven he can dominate even when teams stack the box to stop him.